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  • Journey awards?

    My daughter just started her second year as a Daisy. I'm pretty new to Girl Scouts, but I know a lot of GS leaders because they have sons in Cub Scouts.

    I recall, before my daughter joined up, that one of these leaders was talking about "journeys" and basically that it was designed to supplement the Daisy Petals and that now that there were 2 years of the Daisy program, most leaders were using the journeys for the second year. So, I didn't give it much thought last year.

    Then over the Summer, we were at Cub Scout Day Camp and there were about 6 Daisy Girl Scouts hanging out in the "Tot Lot" (aka. Camp based daycare for children of volunteers). So, one day they took the girls around and they planted flowers and I don't know what all, but when they were done, one of the other volunteers, who happens to be the Daisy leader for 2-3 of the girls, informs me that my daughter, along with the other Daisy Girl Scouts in the "tot lot," have qualified for some sort of award. I tried to ask her about it, but we got distracted and I didn't think about it again until recently.

    We had our first Troop meeting of the year and there were 3-4 new girls in the Troop. I overheard one of the new mothers asking about the Journeys program and the leader's response was, "We won't be doing that."

    Now, if this were Cub Scouts and I, as an experienced parent and leader heard another leader say that they just won't be doing part of the program, even a technically optional part, I would be appalled. Why wouldn't you want the kids to do some part of the program? Why would you, in a sense, prohibit them from earning an award if they are interested in doing it?

    But this isn't Cub Scouts. I don't know exactly what the Journeys program is. I don't know if it's appropriate for the leader to just decide that she doesn't want to deal with it (which is basically the reason she gave). Can someone enlighten me?

  • #2
    There is no required program at any level of GS. You can do the petals, Journeys, badges, Interest Projects, etc. or not. HOwever, some awards require that you do other parts of the various program offerings. You can devote your entire year to doing no more than watching Project Runway and funding a trip to fashion week. Is it going to look good? ( I assume you will.) Probably not something that facetious, but there are sufficient textile arts, business, and travel interest projects to actually support girls wanting to learn more in depth about the fashion industry.

    The petals are a traditional part of Daisies. They help learn the 10 points of the Girl Scout Law and how the concepts apply in life. They can be really fun.

    The Journeys were written in response to complaints from leaders especially in the younger levels that they were left adrift with no program. Also, GSUSA brought out the Leadership Guide with tons of metrics to measure just what the girls were learning, experiencing, trying to codify a "common experience," etc. It seems mostly focused on justifying grant writing.

    The first set is "It's your World: Change it." With a name like that absolutely no one was going to find it controversial, hmmm? At the Daisy level the Flower Friends, one per point of the law, are introduced along with not only suggested activities and meeting plans, but scripts as well. Many of these activities were too young for today's K-1 girls, at least in my troop. There is a story book of 56 nearly interminable, boring, preachy, yakity pages that goes along with it. In my daughter's troop, we ditched the book and focused on the theme for each meeting, doing our own stuff.

    The second Journey is environmental/ecology with an emphasis on math and science. I haven't looked over this year's in depth yet, but I do know that the FLower Freinds take a trip across America and look at environmental issues along the way.

    One reason why last year's Journey was not as well received had to do with the terrible roll out, lack of useful training or even explanation, zero cross referencing with existing materials, and that some really wacked out people wrote it. It was too touchy feely for a lot of people, too vague, and too New Age.

    The Leader edition with a girl's book is available for $15 at your local GS shop or on-line at the national shop. If your daughter's leaders don't want to do it, but you do, let them know you will pursue it on your own.


    • #3
      The Daisy leader's response was pretty dismissive, and as Nike notes, there is not a set program and multiple resources are available. She may be focusing on petals this year instead with plans to do a Journey next year. She may really not like the Journey material or be having a hard time seeing how to implement it. She may have some patch programs that the girls have expressed an interest in completing. The Service Area (think Pack) that the troop is in might have a lot of service projects and local activities that she is planning to do.

      I've never lead the Daisy age group. We were 1st and 2nd year Juniors when the Journey program rolled out. The troop was in the middle of earning their Bronze Award and so did not do a Journey last year. This year we are a mixed troop of 2nd year Juniors and 1st year Cadettes. The Journeys are focused on a single GS level and so this year we won't be doing one either and will instead earn Interest Projects (merit badges) and Junior Badges that correlate to each other and make it easier for me to lead the whole troop together. So - there are plenty of reasons she may not be looking at the Journey.

      What plans did she lay out at the parent's meeting? How do you feel about the direction of the troop? How receptive would she be about you leading the Journey portion of the meetings? If all of that's negative, another troop may simply be a better fit.


      • #4
        Ok, so what I'm getting is that the Journey program is along the lines of the Cub Scouts program helps and monthly themes...a plan to guide the leader, especially geared to those who don't have any ideas of their own, but not the only resource available for that purpose.

        The leader we have usually has pretty good ideas for activities. She's not focusing on petals too much, in fact, she seems to be trying to spread them out over the entire 2 years and fill in meetings with craft activities.

        The Troop went to one Service Unit activity last year and the leader mentioned another one in November. Other than that we parents don't hear anything about the Service Unit, in fact, the only reason I'm familiar with the term is because I know the heads of the service units from our county from Cub Scouts. Our Troop leader does mention going to monthly meetings with them, though.

        Also, we haven't had a parent meeting, per se. She usually just calls all the mothers together at a regular meeting (and yes, I do mean mothers, she has been known to exclude fathers, even if they are in the room) to discuss things. All I know of her plan this year is that she has asked each family to plan a meeting. Every other meeting a parent (yes, fathers are included here) does something and every other meeting she'll do something like work on petals.

        Overall, I don't have any serious complaints. I'd be doing things differently in her place, (different isn't good or bad, just different) but I hedged when they asked me to be leader and lost the opportunity. Attempts to volunteer since then at the troop or any other level have been ignored, which is frustrating.


        • #5
          the biggest issues that many leaders have had with the jouney program is, as someone else mentioned, the way it was rolled out. Girl Scouts is not Boy/Cub scouts and it is something I've had to force myself to remember as I too have 1 in each.

          I personally love how the cub scout program works - here's the book for this age level you have to do a,b,c, etc... and you earn these beads along the way and eventually this badge.

          Where as girl scouts is - here's the books for this level, do what your girls want to do from them... and they earn these badges for each of those... and it doesn't matter what badges they earn at this rank.

          there are pros and cons for each of these...

          cub scouts is a set thing they do - every boy that was a Bear did basically the same thing... but if you have a boy that is more interested in crafts or sports or whatever and never gets to do that then he may not enjoy cub scouts.

          girl scouts there is no set thing they do - so a junior in one troop could be out camping several times a year, or could be in a troop that just stays inside and learns things and does crafts. as long as a girl can find a troop that is geared to her wants/needs then it's great because we can please everyone. but if you're in a small area and there is only 1 troop per level it is hard to please everyone all the time.

          GSUSA's biggest hope was that these journey's would be something that would generalize all the troops around the country - so that all daisy's would do a,b,c. so far that I have seen the journey's have not been well recieved by leaders and girls... last year I had senior level (HS freshmen) and they hated the journey and didn't want to do it... this year I have Juniors, Cadettes, and Senior level girls... they are still not sold on the journeys - the cadettes will work on it though because it's now a prerequisit for the silver award - my seniors are grandfathered in with the old requirements for the gold, and the juniors have already earned their bronze.

          I see the journey's staying around for a while, but eventually will fall away like the studio 2B did.

          as for the unit events... this really depends on the unit you are in. I'm the service unit manager for our unit - we do something every month except September (sign-ups) and then June or August is off (and this depends on my schedule as I'm so far the only tent-trained person in our unit and we do a family campout and I have to be there for it to take place) We are a small unit with just 7 troops and so our unit runs very similar to a cub scout pack. But I know there are some huge units out there that have 30 some troops in it and when they get that big they often require troops to sign up as a troop with their leaders attending and some leaders opt out of attending some. You can ask your daughter's leader to give you info about who the unit leaders are and find out more about all the activities are going on and which ones your daughter can attend even if her troop does not.


          • #6
            Scouting Mom,

            It is very difficult, and indeed very dicey, to compare BSA programs with GSUSA. The two organizations are completely different. In fact, comparing the two only makes for painful headaches. Journeys isn't much like CS helps. For one thing, it's less helpful and not as much fun. It is a progressive, award based program whole unto itself.

            BSA has a very structured program that is pretty much the same no matter where you go. Implementation will differ, but the core activities don't too much. In GSUSA, every troop, no matter how big or small, is whole and unto itself. As long as you don't mess up the money or commit a crime, what your troop does is up to the members and their leaders. As I wrote earlier, you don't have to do anything.

            The Service Unit is more akin to the District. It is a way for the council to disseminate information down and manage the business end of GS. Just like with BS, GS troops attend SU and council functions as they wish.

            I'm sorry that your efforts to volunteer have been ignored. It can be frustrating. If you have a special skill to share, that will help to break the ice. Your initial hedge may have unfairly been used to categorize you.