You know, if Girl Scouts USA was smart, they'd have a website along the lines of PatternReview.com or Ravelry.com (websites in which crafters tell about their experiences with various patterns in sewing and knitting, giving tips to future sewists and knitters) in which various people could post how their troop did various badges and sessions of Journeys and whatnot. Then leaders trying to get ideas for how to do these things could just browse through and find the ideas that seemed to fit their troop. It would make the badges and Journeys SO MUCH EASIER to do, and make volunteers' lives a lot more stress free.
But, of course, the GSUSA Powers That Be seem to be, um, less than competent, and definitely disinterested in making a volunteer's life any easier. So, in the meantime, I offer up how our troop accomplished Session 2 of the Cadette Amaze Journey.
First off, we made our Peacemaker Kits. I had a boatload of little tins from Altoid-type mints, and asked girls to bring in any they had at home. Only one girl brought something in, but I had enough for everyone else (10 girls -- one girl was brand new and showed up without warning, but another girl announced she was quitting about an hour before the meeting started, so we were even -- by the way, isn't it annoying when you have something planned with the correct amount of supplies, and parents decide their kids can wander in unannounced? So awkward for the kids in question, so frustrating for the person supplying the stuff.)
I also had various interesting scrapbook paper cut into 6x6 sheets, stickers, etc. Annabeth had the kids trace around the top of the tin on the paper, then cut the paper to be a bit smaller than the lid. They put ModPodge on the lid using those little spongey-type brushes (the ModPodge was distributed in small Dixie cups, and plastic put on the tables), then stuck the paper on. Some chose to put stickers on right away, others waited until the end. I had supplied labels that said "PEACEMAKER KIT", visible in the picture below, for those who wanted to use them. A layer of ModPodge went over the top of the paper.
And I had printed out the Girl Scout Law in 9 point type to be put in the inside lid, if desired.
I explained to the kids that these were to function sort of as mini-scrapbooks of the Journey; they'd be putting paper and mementos in them as they completed the various parts of the Journey.
Overall, the girls loved this part of the meeting. Many asked if they could cover the tins' bottoms and insides. Um, yeah, knock yourself out; I'm really not hung up on how you accomplish this, gang. Go home and hot glue thousands of Swarovski crystals on it (those are so stunning on stage, you know) (that's an Irish Dance joke) or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Also, it's possible to cover these tins in Duck Tape or similar duct tape, but, having experimented with the concept at home, I decided Duck Tape necessitates using sharp knives (eg, an exacto knife), and I really didn't want to round up a bunch of sharp knives and supervise their use.
Okay, on to the actual subjects we were supposed to cover. First up, stereotypes. I had girls give examples of stereotypes while I wrote them on a whiteboard. Then we needed an activity, and, honestly, the ones given in the leader guide struck me as really dull. So we played Party Quirks as a group game -- in other words, those who wanted to play (and it was okay to sit out) did it as a sort of interactive charades with lots of talking, with people really engaging in stereotypical behavior. One girl was a Jedi, one was an actor, one was a "dumb blonde", etc. What I learned from the experience: make sure your first host has some imagination; also, consider having 2 people be the host at one time (they can circulate around the room separately or together).
Next, we looked at their list of what qualities they look for in a friend, p. 31 of their Amaze book. Then we did the activity suggested in the Leader book in which they drew a circle on a piece of paper, and wrote on the outside qualities they look for in friends. On the inside of the circle they wrote what qualities they brought to a friendship.
I did this with them by making my own and talking about it while I went along: "Let's see, I'm a good listener. Also, cake ... I can bring cake to a relationship, because cake is important." Glancing at Annabeth's sheet, I noticed she'd written "horse" outside the circle: "So, a person needs to own a horse? Be a horse?" "No, I meant horselover, I just didn't write it out." "That's 1,2,3,4,5 letters, and you couldn't be bothered? Really? That reminds me, I should write 'ability to deal with sarcasm' as a quality my friends need." Overall, I was trying to keep the mood light. particularly since some of the kids seemed to get stressed about this stuff insofar as whether they're writing the "correct" thing and going to be judged by others regarding what they write. After all, most of the girls joined so they could do crafts, play games, and go camping, not so they could attend conciousness-raising sessions.
Then I had them jot down something on a small piece of paper about what they'd thought about so far, and put that in their Peacemaker Kit. I had printed out strips of paper with the writing prompt "For better relationships I will:" on it, and pointed out the various questions on p. 39 of their Amaze book, in case they needed inspiration. I was hoping that by this point in the meeting that they'd caught on that it was up to them what they put on the paper -- I certainly wasn't there to judge.
Next we were supposed to talk about Peer Pressure. I used the angle of how hard it is to be someone that you're really not, and introduced the game Bob. Wow, it was a riot. Some of the girls were excellent at it, some really not so good, everyone laughed a lot. I wish we would've had longer to play, but they needed to write down another slip about what they wanted to remember about peer pressure. So, back to the Amaze book, p. 52, and think about something to put in the Peacemaker Kit, using the writing prompt "I can resolve conflict by:" if desired. "Hey, if you just want to write 'Bob' on the slip so you can remember playing the game, that's okay. It's your scrapbook."
A different mom will be leading Session 3. She was there to observe what we did during Session 2, which was clever on her part (the future leaders of future sessions weren't there, and I wonder if they'll have a clue what worked and what didn't). Plus Session 3 looked like it had some fun games written in the leader's guide.
My impression of Journeys so far: Expect to come up with your own ideas on how to make them palatable. It can be a lot of fun, but the leaders need to really, really think about what will work in their group. And don't expect any support from the GSUSA Powers That Be to figure out what that is -- they're busy spending your money revamping some of the Journeys that have issues .