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Making sense of the program

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Background: The Cub Pack at our school is thriving. A number of my Webelos (now New Scouts) have younger sisters in girl scouts. In particular they are brownies. (and because of the family nature of cub scouting they have done a lot of cub scouting through the years.)


The experienced and capable cub scout moms, and now Brownie mothers, are having trouble making sense of the brownie program. (Current Brownie leader is a new leader and is moving.) The girls want to do "fun stuff like cub scouts".


I understand that the program is broad and can be focused to address the interests of the girls. I'd hate for the girls to drop scouting after all their interest.


In surfing the web it looks like the GS program underwent a change in 2008 (journeys) and then this year badges were added back in. Try-its are gone?


REQUEST: does anyone have a free tracking system like scouttrax (which is outdated) that can help these mothers make sense of program? Or can you refer to a better discussion site?


Thanks in advance for your help.

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Thanks Basement,


A whole new program is probably not the answer. These capable parents could enrich, or plan differently within the G.S. program once they understand it.


Previous troops at this school have done very well. As I said, this is a new leader who is departing.


-- AK


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I am in a very large Girl Scout program outside the US. Here is my advice for your Brownie Leaders:


1. Don't compare it to Cub Scouts. It is not symmetrical. Let go your Cub Scout self.


2. Go to basic leader training, Journey training and Outdoor Training. If you don't understand the training, ASK questions of the trainers. Get their e-mails. READ "Volunteer Essentials" and download the Activity Checkpoints. "Safetywise" is outdated, inaccurate, and needs to be recycled. Many councils have supplemental trainings unique to them: go if it sounds fun or interesting. You'll meet new people and trade ideas.


3. Attend local service unit leader meetings. That is where you will find experienced leaders who have gone through the transition and can give you great tips on the materials.


4. Join a GS forum on line. Ignore unhelpful people.


5. ASK THE GIRLS what they want to do, and then make it so as much as possible. GS is moving to a girl led model at every level. I love to tell people that the only meeting that should be entirely adult led and planned is the very first Daisy meeting. The girls should have input on all thier activities. If they want to do a bunch of CS stuff or BPSA activities, those should be done. No one has to do a Journey book, especially at the Brownie level. Girls actually love looking in the old books from the 60s, 70s, and 80s for activities. The orange Brownie handbook (1963) and "Worlds to Explore" (1978) are classics.


6. Every activity can be an outdoor activity if you have the place and weather for it. GO OUTSIDE!


7. If the girls want to go camping, take the training and go over night at a state park if allowed by Council.


8. This is not Cub Scouts. You don't have to do anything in any book or earn any badge! Just make sure the girls have fun and over the course of the year grow in thier understanding of the Promise and Law and how they can use that in their daily lives to guide them in making good decisions.


9. No one becomes a GS leader to fill out paperwork, but it has to be done. Get your signatures.


10. Have fun yourself! You will spend about 20 hours a month dealing with the troop, meetings, etc. But make sure you are enjoying it. Leader enthusiasm sets the tone for the troop.


My experience with BSA leaders transitioning to GSUSA leaders is about 50-50. Half are frustrated that there is not an exact list of what needs to be accomplished, which is a legitimate criticism of the GS program. The other half are thrilled to discover they have nearly free-rein as opposed to a very structured and, to thier minds, repetitive program for the boys, also a legitimate criticism of some aspects of the BSA program. I think it has a lot to do with whether you are predominately a right or left brain thinker.


NOTE ON TRY-ITS: GSUSA has decided that all subject specific earned awards will be called "badges" with the exception of Petals in Daisies. Brownie badges will still be triangles.


TRACKING SYSTEM: There is no current tracking system or pre-made spreadsheet due to the newness of the program elements. Look for one next fall. And, until then, use a notebook or gradebook. Remember, in Girl Scouts, no age-level's awards are dependent on any other age-level's awards. They are all discrete program modules, with one exception. Girls who earn the Silver Award, only have to complete one Journey as a Senior or Ambassador in order to satisfy pre-reqs for the Gold.(This message has been edited by Nike)

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I agree with Nike's post, just because some former BSA moms don't get Girl scouts doesn't mean that the program is deficent rather than those adults may be too fixated and not flexible enough to understand they are in a new program with new rules. The BSA and GSA are not now or ever have been duplicate or parallel programs. To those troubled new leaders, if you don't like the GS go back to the BSA, they can always use your assistance.

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I do not know if this will help or not, but here it goes. You definately need to stick with the GSUSA program, but I do know of GS leaders buying and using BSA literature top supplement. Had a lot fo GS leaders buy HOW TO abnd PROGRAM HELPS back in the day

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Nike has some great points. May I add a couple of things.


Have your new GS leaders check with their council and see what activities are already going in their area. Things will be winding down now spring is here but most councils have huge activity programs that are council run. The 2 councils I live in/near both publish 200+ page books every fall with activities that range from songfests to high adventure campng, glass blowing to SCUBA diving, mall lock ins to backpacking trips. Some are open to individuals to sign up for some are troop only activities. These books usually have lots of advertisers (pays for free distribution to every girl in the council)ranging from the pottery shop in Anytown that offers GS workshops once a month (and birthday parties too) to SCUBA stores that offer intro classes for GS (and yes classes for the public). If a girl can dream it up its probably in the book or there is an advertiser in the book that offers something similar to it.


Also tell you leaders that they aren't bound to using only their council for activities. GS is less concerned about you belonging to XYZ council and supporting them exclusively than they are about every girl doing something fun and benefiting from the program. In fact GS camps are open to all girls, members or not.


I guess you can summarize what I'm saying into use your resources. Sometimes they aren't out in the open like the BSA but they are there. Most of all HAVE FUN! (yelling)

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The changes have made things very difficult and are confusing even seasoned leaders. This is my final year as my daughter is bridging into adults at the end of the school year. My girls have never enjoyed the journeys. With the new badges my troop has used the old ones this year since we were given the choice, but I looked through the new books - I'm not found of them. Plus with a smaller unit here we always end up with a merged troop of cadette, seniors, and ambassadors with the old badge program we could do that easily, but now there's 3 books to go through with them to figure out who is doing what. The only positive with the new badge books is that there is more building upon each thing each level which they have in BSA so hopefully that becomes a positive.


but being involved with GSUSA for 13 years now, and BSA for 9 years now - I prefer the system in BSA.


oh you asked about a site for more girl scout postings like this... http://forums.delphiforums.com/GSLeaders/? is a good one

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because of the family nature of cub scouting they have done a lot of cub scouting through the years.


Can GS host activities that involve boys (e.g., family camping weekend, community dances, service projects)?


I've always assumed the answer was a strict "no" because that was part of the motivation for some cadets to also join my crew. Is is officially the case?


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Girl Scouts can most definitely host family campouts (one family to a tent, please) and community activities to which they can invite anyone they wish. Just fill out your insurance paperwork and get a check in the mail.


Do remember though, that when Girl Scouts started girls did not routinely do anything outside thier extended family other than go to school or church. Girl Scouting was about helping girls get out in the world, to be independent thinkers and leaders, and to be active contributing citizens, before women even had the right to vote. We still have that mandate of fostering independence in girls, which is a core reason why Girl Scouting isn't as family oriented as Cubs.



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Thanks all for all the discussion and responses.


AHG will not work for this group as per Basement's observations.


IM_Kathy -- yes, you are on to it, some of the problems may be related to the Journeys and the newness of all the changes to the program. Can the girls work on old badge programs now, or was that just part of the phase-in period?


Former cub mothers will not step up until current leader is gone. (I'm not doing it for them, I'm on to Boyscouts.)


I don't think anyone is interested in changing the whole dynamic to coed or family style -- just enriching the experience.


Nike -- get your point about having fun.


Still does anyone have a overall map of the brownie program?


Thanks all!

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Above is a link to a graphic that illustrates the options in the Brownie program. There is no list of what activities must be accomplished, however individual awards do have requirements. If your friends try to make one to one correlations between Cubs and Brownies, they will not be happy. The best thing they can do is to approach Brownies with an open mind and an empty calendar. As in Cubs, every girl deserves a trained leader.


"Ask the girls.". This is the wisdom Juliette Gordon Low left us before her death in the late 20s. Leaders can plan a great year without asking the girls, but the program is about girls learning to express themselves and then cooperating to make their dreams reality.

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