Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cadette Girl Scout Amaze Journey, Session 2

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 .

41 comments:

Bridgett said...

"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."

Amen!! But it sounds like you made this work just fine. Are you doing this to earn the silver award?

Gail said...

Yep, this is for the Silver Award.

One of the leaders had been very pro-Journey before (before we ever did one, and before we were REQUIRED to do one), but now I'm not so sure how anyone feels about them, or whether we'll ever do another until we're forced to.

Anonymous said...

Our first experience with the Journey's was not great and hated the fact that they must be done prior to earning the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. This year going much better. Unlike last year we had no Leader's guide and that guide does make a difference. I am saving your blog for when we use this book over the summer.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the posts above. My girls (6th graders) have been very disappointed with the journeys. Although they earned their Bronze award last year, they told me that "they would rather not go for their Silver award if it means having to do another Journey."

Nicole said...

Thank you for posting this. I totally find the same issue with lack of practicable information about. The journeys are relatively new, so hopefully more posts like yours will be out there to reference.

Anonymous said...

I see no usefulness in any of the Journeys. These girls want to be active, do patch activities, not sit and discuss things. We're doing the Amaze Journey,only because a Journey is required for the Silver Award.

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion, I too, am not so hot on the journeys - nor are my girls. However, we have incorporated the traditional girl scout activities of camping, skits, getting out and about, and most importantly - having fun, all during the journey.
What I do is ask the girls what activities they are interested in doing and I incorporate it into the journey or we do the journey for the first half of the meeting and move onto something like planning a mall trip or community service event. We actually went to the movies to watch a teen aimed movie about stereotypes, and did a mall day observing clicks, and even did a camping trip where I had the girls discuss why they thought their Girl Scout relationships worked and if they thought they were a "click", and why over smores and a campfire. Many, many possibilities. Just have to be able to take it and have fun.

Liza Webb-Mcmichael said...

Hello:
Thank you for sharing. How do you play the Bob game?
Thanks Liza

Gail said...

The word "Bob" in the post is a link. If you click on it you'll go to the directions for playing the game.

Anonymous said...

My troop has just started the Amaze Journey. Glad I found this about session #2. We went to a corn maze last weekend as part of the Journey. Do you have any suggestions for the rest of the Journey? We are finding ways to try to make the activities more fun and are interested in an any ideas. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. We are starting Media tonight...seems to be a lot of overlap in the topics! Amen on your assessment of the journeys and the powers to be at GSUSA! My girls are doing them because they "have" to!

Anonymous said...

Ditto on all said..My girls did the journey for their Bronze and that was painful! But I'm hoping the Amaze Journey will be different and more fun. Love all of the things you did Gail. Thanks for the guide; because the Leader books provide maybe 2 or 3 sheets of valuable information and the rest is filler. My girls will love the Improv...

C Nicole said...

Thanks so much for sharing. We're working on this journey, and the Junior journey was challenging. They make it really hard to be Girl-Led. Wrack my brain trying to make it fun!

Jodi said...

I laughed at your Girl Scout 'Powers that be' comments, because it's everything I've said before. I once got read out by a Girl Scout council shop employee because I complained about the journeys! Thanks for the info and ideas!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I thought I was just being negative. Somehow it is comforting to know leaders all over feel as I do about the Journeys and the "powers that be." How can these people be so disconnected from what girls really want?

Anonymous said...

Your kits turned out so cute! I wish I had seen them before we did ours. Ours turned out nice too because the girls are so creative. I would have loved to add the GS promise inside. What I am searching for now is ideas on how to the take action part of this journey. Scouring the web hopefully I can find some ideas.

Heidi said...

Thank you so much for your post. I, too, have been struggling with ways to make the journeys fun for the girls.

becomeawomanofstrength.com said...

Thank you, this is an activity my girls will love.

Teachingchef said...

I share so many of your feelings about these stupid journeys. Our troop has really found them getting in the way of the girls exploring new things.

Thank you for your blog. I'm going to pin it and refer to it as we start our first year as Cadettes.

Anonymous said...

Our 6th Grade girls went through the aMAZE Journey last year and the majority of them found it to be extremely boring. We had 3 girls drop out of our troop after this year -- first time we've had any girls leave the troop since we've been together as Kindergarten Daisies. I wish the Journey wasn't a requirement for the Silver and Gold Award. I think the girls would have a much better experience if they didn't feel they had to complete these Journeys.

Nykicia Anderson said...

I really appreciate you sharing this with us. I will be a new Cadette Advisor this year and I have no idea where to start. This has given me a bit of guidance.

thank you

Anonymous said...

I love some of these ideas and will use them. i have a multi level troop so if you think the journeys are bad try using the "connections" shown in the girl guide to plan.I have found the badges that "go with" the journeys are helpful in creating activities to keep the girls interested. My advice- the journey is a guide- the object is to teach the girls about how to become leaders however that can be done. I use my journey as ideas for subject matter but I am not married to the thing, so I only listen to it as much as I would an annoying spouse- use what you can- and tune the rest out lol

autumndaesy said...

THANK YOU!! I absolutely love finding leader blogs that explain how their girls completed a Journey or badge. Not everything will work for every group, and having lots of ideas to chose from is wonderful! (Do you have a petition to start a Ravelry-style volunteer resource? I'd sign it!)

I also agree that the Journey programs (while great in theory)are just too much like "school", and the girls want to learn by doing, not homework. Some councils or service units do the Journey in a workshop format (one Saturday to do the whole thing), which we are going to try this year. Wish us luck!

Jackie said...

We lost over half of our troop due to the Junior Journey. The rest got their Bronze Award the following year - but now we have to start a Cadette Journey in order to get a Silver.

How can you do this in one day/a Saturday workshop? Any links you might recommend? Where can I find the absolute MINIMUM requirements for the Journeys?

autumndaesy said...

Here is the link to the site that we are using
http://www.scribd.com/doc/59399866/Cadette-MEdia-Journey
This council also has outlines for all of the "It's Your Story" Journey levels. Our Cadettes will also put on a Brownie journey workshop to earn their LIA badge.

Last year with the Junior journey, I just used the "minimum requirements" listed in the very back of the girl's book. We touched on most of it, but glossed over the things that weren't on the requirement list. ("You guys can read about this later at home"...like that happened.LOL!)

Melssa said...

Bless you, bless you, bless you for posting this! I literally verbalized your opening paragraph to my husband and then sat down to do a google search on the peacemaker component of this Amaze Journey. So I felt very validated in my frustrations. Your idea is a great one, so thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great Idea!

However, very sad that you are a Girl Scout leader. It is so disappointing anytime I see such ugly, negative comments coming out of the mouths of people who are supposed to teach our kids to be "considerate and caring" and "friendly and helpful" and "responsible for what I say and do". We all get a little frustrated with these journeys, but should use our imaginations, and help from others (like you) to make it fun. And as to the negative comments about the other session-leaders and parents. Wow, how hurtful to them if they read this. It would be much better to be "corageous and strong" and speak to them personally rather than berate them in a blog.

I will pray for you to find peace and contentment. And for your Girl Scouts to learn only the positive things you reflect.

Gail said...

And I will pray for your reading comprehension skills. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm with Gail! We lost two-thirds of troop due to journey!

sonya danielle said...

Nice peacemaker kit-my daughter is the only Cadette in her group of 9 girls. The only reason we are in this group is because my sister in law is in charge. And we figured my daughter could be with her cousin, who's 7 yrs by the way. The girls are working on Journeys, but my daughter has to do everything on her own. She's more than capable of doing the journey on her own but she will always be the older one-so I help her so she doesn't get bored alone. We do a lot of fun patch activities together which really helps .

Bonnie said...

I am a Girl Scout leader for the 2nd time. My own daughter went all the way through earning her Gold Award and she is now 34. I am my niece's leader. We are doing the Media Journey this year. The Girl Scout program used to be that you touched on many different areas during the year - it was called the 5 Worlds - world of people, world of GS, world of the outdoors, etc. This way, each girl had a chance to do something she was really interested in. These Journeys focus on one subject and if it doesn't interest the girl then we lose her. We try to be creative with these but the girls still groan.

LrrbnPhx said...

We do the idea of the Journey without the literal journey. When my girls were Brownies they got so bored that we never read from one again. Now I have Cadettes and they did their Breathe by going to the Aquarium. They loved it.

Renee said...

Thank you for posting this and I as another leader am opposed of the journeys. I have written Girl Scouts regarding my concerns with the journeys and possibly losing girls along the way. I don't think this was Juliette's intention when she started Girl Scouting. I like you take the journey and try to be a little more creative to keep the girls interest.

Anonymous said...

Gail -

Thanks for the post and I couldn't agree with you more about the Journeys! They are horrible and I too lost 1/2 my troop because they hated the Journey so much.... even though we did the minimum requirements and I worked to try to make it interesting. No tween wants to follow a book about Pixies or have more "homework" once they're done with school. The girls dislike the Journeys so much that they told me they don't want to go for their Silver Award ... so sad.

redmama said...

I encourage all new leaders think of the Journeys in terms of the concepts and not a book to drill through. Many of my girls don't even buy the books. We just find activities to do that keep them active and engaged that deal with the concept. We never just sit and read the books through. It isn't like there is a test at the end. If you feel like your girls got something out of what you did, I consider the journey done. Maybe GSUSA won't like that approach but at least my girls are still coming to meetings and asking their friends to join the troop. Good luck everyone. Do what works and don't stress.

redmama said...

I have made the Journeys very loose. The topic is given and then we do what we think is fun on the issue. We never sit down and go through the book--you are all right, that is entirely too much like schoolwork. I don't know if GSUSA would like how I do it but my girls are having fun and they aren't dropping out so I'm sticking with it. Good luck to everyone finding ways for it to work for their troop--and thanks for posting these ideas!

Deborah Brown said...

i have completed Journeys with ever program age level now. It gets easier once you step away from the literal description and look for the concepts/ideas the journey expresses. I think it takes time to come up with a formula that works for your troop. I have 3 different troops (Daisies, Cadettes, Senior/Ambassador). For the older girls I do 2 3-4 hours meetings followed by a sleep over where we complete the journey up through brainstorming for the Take Action Project. This seems to work well for Juniors on up. My high school girls loved this approach. We then have time to complete planning and implementing the Take Action Project and then follow up with a celebration. I do think GSUSA could give us more ideas and councils could help with identifying local resources to leverage/collaborate with on the projects.

Anonymous said...

You are unnecessarily rude when referring to GSUSA. People work really hard and just because its not exactly how you would do it doesn't mean you have to knock those people down. I love your ideas, they are really helpful to people looking for ways to do these journeys, but was it that important for you to put in how much you just don't like the journeys?

Anonymous said...

I hate the Journeys, too, and I don't think nationals is listening.

Jacqueline said...

Most importantly, the girls hate the Journeys!!!! I have reported this to GSUSA without getting any response. They need to start listening to the girls.

Belinda Djukic said...

I found your lesson very helpful. I am just starting this. I am only a volnteer for a troop with daisys, brownies, juniors and cadettes. I will be working with the cadettes. I am curious how do I follow the blog? I just found it on the internet but not sure of how to follow.