I'm not big on the regular holidays, just cause I feel they get so drawn out at school, church, and everywhere else, I get exhausted. So I'm not really interested in having holiday parties, etc. But I think we will do something for Thinking Day. Feb. is a bit slower time of year, and I hope we'll be done with Brownie Quest by then, so we might have a ceremony and present awards as well.
Girl Scout Mamas Thread!!!! Leaders, volunteers and parents (dads too :) - Page 2
Last night we had our 2nd meeting to decide on a TAP. I think we could use about 5 more! The girls just decided to help a local endangered animal. That puts the responsibility on the leaders to research what animals and what kinds of projects are happening this time of year (all the parents of our Brownies are leaders). I think it sounds like fun. What I'm realizing, though, is how much time needs to be dedicated to this part of the journey, if the girls are to have any say in what they want to do. We only have 4 Brownies, I can't even conceive of what this process looks like with 10 or--yikes--20 girls!
It was fun to hear some of the brainstorm ideas "help restaurants make more money", etc. We did get suggestions to help a specific family, which I enjoyed hearing. I'll be interested to see what we will be doing. It's going to put us in touch with some interesting people and projects.
I'm dismayed to hear that one of the leaders and her daughter might be leaving the troop after our journey. I love love love their energy. I don't say it in front of anyone, but they are *my favorite* people in the troop. But, they have activities every night, and something has to go. We will still be friends with them, but even that might be difficult as we live 17mi away and homeschool. Her dad is away during the week, and weekends are family time. :( I shouldn't grieve before the decision is made, but Girl Scouts is always the first thing to go, isn't it?
Our chosen schedule of meeting 1st, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays is working out well. We have an "unmeeting" on the 3rd (and 5th) weeks. The first 2 weeks we work separately, Daisy/ Brownie, and the 4th we share and play games. When we had high absenteeism due to illness, it was easy just to shift the agenda off for a week.
The unmeetings have been fun and often silly. Last month we learned about celebrating Hanukkah from one of our observant girls. We just learned the candles and the prayers, and then the girls spent the rest of the time playing with the dreidels. Our usual schedule has been jostled around because of the holidays, and that's another reason I like our plans. It has made planning so much more spacious.
Think mine have lost interest in the Quest. Nobody did Healthy Family. But they love snacks so I suggested we do the badge, and make a healthy snack for them to take home to their families. That could fulfill the step and we could go on with the Journey. I really want to finish the journey, was hoping to do it by Thinking Day and have a ceremony then, but that's not looking too likely at this point.
We did the chocolate-dipped apples for an earlier meeting, and they loved the activity. Also I was surprised that most of them didn't seem to have used a knife before. So maybe the Snacks badge would be a really good learning opportunity for them.
We only meet 1-2 x/mo. Was going to do 2 in Nov but I got sick. Only 1 in Dec. because everyone (maybe self most of all) is overscheduled and I don't want to compete with that. Already had to redo the meeting schedule because somebody scheduled after-school art (the only art they get in this school district!) on top of some of our meetings. So I'm kind of done for the year. But still thinking a lot and planning.
And yes, GS is always the first to go! I try to remember why I stuck with it as I got older, and mostly what I remember is that in high school we decided to have one meeting/mo, and it would be a camp-out. We stayed in an unheated cabin in the winter. Wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.
Do you find you spend a lot more time planning than you thought you would?
Not this year, not with the Quest. Also, we have divided the Daisy and Brownie planning. The Brownie group has all leaders as parents. So, one way or another, there is always two leaders taking charge of something. We did the Healthy Living, but our family and one other crapped out half way, but, hey, we tried and that counts (it would have helped if the girls hadn't chosen "less sugar" and "less TV"!) I think meeting more often really helps keep the momentum going, even if journey/badge work is only 2 of those meetings.
We will be getting busier--well we are getting busier. We are researching possible animal projects, and I wonder if the Daises, doing 3 cheers, couldn't join us for some of that. Cookie training has arrived. After this journey, we will be doing girls' choice for the Brownies, and planning on those badges. DD1 wants to do another journey, but I am ready to do some shorter badge work. That means, since she's a 2nd year Brownie, she and I will do the remaining journeys as a family so she can earn her Summit at the end of summer. The girls bridge in the fall. I'll let her work on both Brownie and Junior awards this summer.
Last summer we did the last 2 Daisy journeys for my younger daughter and another girl. I planned out a journey-in-a-day, and she planned out the other. All in all, a lot of planning, but right now, a break. It is a lot of work, but I have support, and I have a lot of time.
Still wrapping up Quest. We chose our endangered species to help, and it seems every person I've contacted to help us with this is not getting back to me. Grrrrr....... so they are getting their "Take Action" key for learning about our animal (Streaked Horned Lark) and creating a presentation for the Daisy half of our troop. *sigh* Meanwhile, I am still trying to salvage something by continuing to.... .... contact people who can get us something more hands in in the future. I just didn't want to wait weeks to finish up this journey.
And then there are the cookies. Selling cookies is fun. Tiring, but fun. The administrative part is no fun, though.
We have a new girl in our troop. I like her. I'm not so sure about her mom. It seems like she keeps trying to get concessions from us. I don't think she means to. She's busy with a lot of kids and she homeschools, like us. Maybe she's just settling in. No, we are not going to have enough activities for her tagalongs necessarily, she needs to expect to keep them busy. She wants her younger daughter in a troop next year, so she might have to start a Daisy troop. Could she share our meeting space? Um, no..... I don't know if her daughter can stay in for long because here sister wants to be a GS, and we are not going to be doing any Daisy work next year, nor do we want to, and she will be so much younger than our girls. In 5 years, that might not make a difference, but now? Huge, huge difference. We will see. Her older girl is a 2nd year Brownie, which we need so desperately.
Ah, the joys of volunteering, you get to work with every person, no matter what their expectations, talents, and needs are . . .
Starting the cookie thing. Excited but also concerned about the time commitment.
Started Snacks badge. Kids liking it so far. Going to try to dovetail that with health family activity for Brownie Quest. We have 7 meetings left! Hard to see how we can get this all done! As for thinking of a need in the community, . . . hm . . . not getting much from the girls.
I'm a bit confused about the latter 2 keys. last step of 2nd key is to note a need and do something. then the 3rd key is all about that too. I don't see the difference here, except maybe that take action key is more in depth and oriented to the girls doing something, as opposed to writing a letter to the mayor or whoever. Definitely more things we can think of that would be projects we could work on, as opposed to things we could write a letter about. 02 suggested asking the swimming pool to offer healthier snacks, which I thought was a great idea. Not sure how to make the girls feel they own that, if we suggest it.
would welcome any insights.
(Also, what are the three steps of the 3rd key? I couldn't tell from the leaders' guide.)
We also didn't like the letter part of the second key. Instead, we tried to come up with other ways to connect with community. Except for us, it happened right when everyone left for the holidays. So, we talked abut ways we connected with community--volunteering, festivals, parades. My girls and I went to a cider pressing with many friends, close and barely known. It would have been nice if we could have done something as a troop, but.... Anyway, I got the watercolors back out and asked the girls to work on a picture of their community involvement while we played catch-up with another girl. At first, I rolled my eyes at the memory book, but the girls really, really love working on them and we can pull them out for filler time if need be.
As for the 3 steps--
Explore--Talk about what the community might need the Brownie Elf Team to do. Use the chart in the adult guide and brainstorm ideas. This sounds easier than it is. Our Brownies came up with things like "help restaurants make money", our tree farm guy sell more Christmas trees (he did say he was having a hard season) and those kinds of sweet things that are totally not what GS had in mind. Another thing that came was helping a local family with some gardening. They are not needy, and I do the gardening since they are my tenants, but they have 3 kids and she a broken foot, and it was sweet.
Link Arms--Now it's time to vote (3 weeks later...*sigh*) and the girls do something like link arms together and find out how the girl next to her wants to vote and why, then switch.
Fly Into Action--Once a project is chosen, work with them to decide how they want to help. Oh, man... if you want this to be girl led at all, this can take forever. I am cutting this short, we meet every week (though only first 2 weeks are for journey work) and I am still a month behind! Thankfully this journey is short. My advice is to expand your ideas of what constitutes an "action project" so you don't talk the girls into something they might not have thought of that requires loads of work and time. I'm finding at this age, their ideas are small, innocent, and close to home and helpful in ways adults don't put as much stock in. Don't discourage that. Conversely, they can have huge, expansive ideas like planting huge gardens and building kayaks which must be translated down to something realistic.
Good luck. You'll need it! I'm glad to be seeing the end of the tunnel.
We will not be doing any journeys as a troop for the remainder of the year. After this, we will choose badges, and I think we can have time for all 4 Brownies to get their first choice.
Thanks, that's really helpful.
I like the journey in a day idea. I can see doing that in the summer. I think I might be happy to do some work with the girls in the summer, even though they bridge in the spring. Next year most of the girls will have moved up, but I hope to stay with this troop as dd2 will be in it then.
Whew. Cookies have been taking it out of me. Almost done, almost done, almost done . . . and then we are taking an overnight to an event about Asian culture and history. Then planning with other leaders a 1-day camp/bridging. Geez, it's been so long since we thought of this, I don't even remember what we wanted to do.
One more snack for Snacks badge. This week we made no-bake energy bites, and everyone loved them. Took some home for their families. Easy, fun, tasty. That was a winner.
Still haven't totally given up on Brownie Quest.
And next year I get to be Brownie leader again, with a cookie manager! Yay!
I love the idea of a bridging/camping! We've been doing bridging in the fall, since last year we started so late and it just made sense. Maybe as the years go on we will combine camping and bridging together.
Cookies, cookies, I am dreaming of cookies, and I managed to pass off that duty to my coleader since it made no sense for me, 20 miles away, to be the TCM. Thankfully for her, her and my daughters are the big sellers, the rest just a few. Though we learned that (surprise!) initial orders cannot be transferred. That makes sense, but we didn't realize it and now we are faced with selling some boxes for the other families. Only a few, thankfully, but also I made a huge initial order and yesterday my oldest had a fever and I was thinking (oh hell and crap) we've got 3 booths this weekend, 350 boxes to sell and dh working all weekend and I can't transfer these (oh crap oh hell.) That's when the nightmares started! Glad to say she felt better, dd2 is not sick yet, and we sold nearly 100 boxes at our booth today. The end is now in sight and I think I will dream better (cookie?) dreams.
We finished BQ (yay!) with somewhat of a fizzle. We really couldn't find the kind of project we wanted to do this tim of year, so we made a presentation to our Daisies as our TAP. Lame, I know, but I just wanted to be done and the girls seemed excited, so..... not arguing. Done. We are starting some badges the girls chose, plus this month we are doing 2 financial badges. It's fun having daisies separate, because on the days we come together we can have things planned for them. We are inching along with Making Games, having a new set of games ready for our monthly together meetings. We finished Home Scientist, and next up is Dancer. We'll see where we are after that.
Looking forward to dd's Junior year next year, and hoping we have some new Juniors on board for it. I think we will do a journey workshop offered by the council or the nature center then start on her Bronze award. DD2 comes into Juniors the following year, and I'd love for once to have them work separately. But, that's next year. Still planning for this month's badgework and selling cookies and working and cleaning out our basement and taxes and spring planting and 4-H presentations and baby chicks and.... whew! I do love spring!