Thursday, October 16, 2014

Guest Post : Words Hurt

My troop has been working on the Amaze journey. Part of the Interact Award is to do an anti-bullying campaign. My stepdaughter has decided to do a "Words Hurt" campaign by putting her message on business cards for me to pass out at the 2014 Girl Scout National Convention.

If you received one of those cards, you should have been routed here. If you didn't and you just found this post, that's awesome... keep reading. Please read her "call to action" below. -- and thank you for helping.

Hi! I'm from Troop 70258 and we are doing the Amaze journey. It's all about building friendships and working on relationships. It's also about anti-bullying and how to spread the word about the reason bullying is destructive and could potentially cause someone to end their own life! 

I know sometimes when you are with friends, it's easy to tease and not know when to stop. I like joking around and I do tease my friends, but there needs to be a limit. You have to know when to stop. Words hurt! If you constantly tell someone they can't do this or aren't good at that, they are going to believe it no matter what the truth is. We're all trying to get through this world and life is hard enough without having to deal with people that tease and put you down. 

So, I asked my step-mom to pass out these cards and I'm hoping other troops will join my campaign. I encourage you to spread the word at your school. Words hurt! You can never take them back and they can't be unheard. Please remember to be careful what you say. You don't what they might already be going through. 

You can send my step-mom an email, if you want, and let me know you have joined in the fight against bullying and are spreading the word. If this sparked a cool idea, please comment below or you can email and share a photo. 

Thanks!! Have a great day!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amaze Journey: Session 2

Oh, no, we did not give up! Our second meeting with the girls this year was the Amaze Journey Session 2... sort of... we tend to make it fit our troop and not follow the book word for word. The book is a reference, not a stone path to follow and if you step sideways you fall into the abyss... it's there for help, not for hindering... remember that!

This was our 2nd meeting:
(Before I begin this, please note our meetings are now almost 3 hours long... so, yeah.... we get a lot done. If your meetings aren't that long, break it down.)

Trusted Adult Activity - I asked the girls to vote on whether they wanted to do these during meetings or as homework with an adult of choice. It was pretty much unanimous to do these in troop meetings. So, we drew names and during snack we met with the girls for about 5 minutes each. I had the ones waiting work on Walk In My Shoes and the 1st Peacemaker Kit. 
You can find the Walk In My Shoes and Peacemaker sheet as follows:
  • Walk in my shoes (sheet) - pg 32 girl book
  • 1st Peacemaker kit offering (sheet) - pg 25 girl book
If you are using the overnight plan I mentioned in the first session, they are attached with the PDF.
Team Agreement Parking Lot 
I gave each of the girls 3 post it notes and asked them to write down something on troop behavior. If you have a conflict this is an acceptable way to resolve it. This thing should never be done, etc. Some examples "If you disagree with someone, it's not acceptable to roll your eyes." "If you have a conflict with a troop member, you should talk through it and explain why you are upset in a nice way."

Once they filled out their post-its, I had them create a parking lot on a large sheet of paper and discuss the various items they came up with. We didn't spend TOO much time on this, because let's get real... these girls have heard this a lot and the whole journey is about it. So, we'll bring it up more as we go. 

Beneath the surface beach ball game - page 20 girl book
The girls LOVED this game. We combined 2 games into one. We used the BUZZ game along with it, so it was more fun than just toss the ball, answer the question. 

To prep: Use the list of questions on page 20 in the girls book (or page 6-7 in the overnight plan) and write all the questions on the ball. Then, use a dark colored masking tape (I used regular and I had to layer it because you could see through the tape...) to cover the questions up. 

Time for play!
Explain we are going to toss the ball to someone in the circle and count... 1,2,3,4,5,6, BUZZ! Instead of 7, you say BUZZ. If you mess up and say "7", then you are skipped. You aren't out, you just don't get to answer a question. Keep track and make sure everyone gets a turn. The BUZZ person removes tape from a section, reads the question, and answers it. Tell the girls they have X seconds to answer or else you could run into really long stories (been there, done that... 10 minutes later... girls love to talk. We don't want to squash that, but we need to play fair and keep it moving). 

We did 2 rounds. Everyone answered 2 questions and then we stopped. The girls loved the game and asked if we could do it again sometime. Next time, I'll have them blow up the beachball and cover the questions with tape... apparently, I'm not full of hot air! Took forever to blow up that beach ball! HA!

Interact Award Activity:
I looked through the overnight plan and I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing pieces of the awards with the journey. I decided to add to it and pull out a couple things. Plus, I needed a crafty thing for the girls to do... all talk and no crafts makes a dull meeting. So, this is what I came up with. I just pulled 2 items from the list in the girls book and went with it. 

Antibullying CampaignThe girls voted on how to spread the word on this. They were told to have it done by the next meeting. Their choices:message for email/text signature line, (Just kidding just hurts)* text to all friends* locker poster* decorate back of notebook
Make notecards to give to friends
Supplies: cardstock, envelopes, paper, glue, embellishments
I brought in everything they needed to make 3 notecards and instructed them to handwrite a nice note thanking a friend for being a friend and why they valued their friendship. They were excited about this... maybe the art of a handwritten note is not lost on this generation. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Get Yourself an Assistant Leader!

I know... that's easier said than done, right? It's SOO hard (or maybe it just has been for me?) to find someone:
  • you can work with and that actually wants to help you with meetings. 
  • that can plan and carry out those plans. 
  • sharing the same values for the troop. 
  • who doesn't just sit there and stare as you run ragged around the room. 
  • providing a great role model and isn't another person to take care of during meetings.
  • willing to be an Assistant Leader and not just an 02 on your troop paperwork (tell me you don't know the difference? If you said you didn't, you lie! Or you have always been blessed!)
I'm going to confess something here... I am VERY Type A and slightly OCD (not in the clinically diagnosed way, but in the "yeah, I have some tendencies" way.) I know that I'm not the easiest person in the world to work with. It isn't like I'm mean or unwilling to hear alternative plans... it's just that I've found most of the time it's easier to do it myself than depend on someone else and those rare times I have turned it over to someone else it never came to fruition, therefore I tend to do a lot of things on my own. But, I'm learning. I'm learning to trust and delegate. Mostly because I am BLESSED this year with an amazing Assistant Leader (former Troop Leader to a troop that graduated High School 2 years ago) and two extremely talented and energetic college girls who have a lot on their plate, but still make time for troop "stuff". 

But, here's the deal... You can't be Batman without Robin. The difference in volunteering with Girl Scouts is that you should consider being in this for the long haul. If the little girl you are starting as a Daisy is over the moon in love with everything Girl Scouts (and how could she not!), this is potentially a 13 year commitment if you want to see her through Ambassadors. You need someone reliable and wonderful to help you, so neither of you burn out and quit leaving girls in the limbo world of what troop will they be able to find... and it's harder the older they get. So, share the work load with the assistant leader. Share leading activities. Share share share. 

Pace yourself (I should listen to myself!)!! Slow down! Breathe! You don't have to do EVERYTHING the first year or two. Give the girls a reason to stay in Scouts and give yourself a break. I love events. I love trips. I love service projects. I tolerate camping. But you don't have to do all of them every year. Leave time for yourself and your family. Here's a secret, too... if you have a great assistant leader, you don't have to go to everything! Let them go with a parent and the girls. It's okay!

Anyway, this year promises to be a lot less work for me and lot more fun for everyone. I'm looking forward to having a helping hand. I'm hoping