It seems that each year our troop takes on additional younger girls. Siblings or friends, or that single left without a troop, I can’t say no. It was during my second year as a leader that they introduced Journeys. Many at our service unit said “No Way, these are boring.” I tried to avoid them. I felt a bit guilty so having a science background I didn’t let the girls choose, I picked the “It’s your Planet” Series and ran thru it like a science class. The girls weren’t excited so I then tried to compensate by having super fun meetings working on badges, but not all the badges are super fun all the time and with a mixed ages we weren’t covering stuff for each level. In the end they didn’t even remember they’d worked on a journey. I needed to step back, look at it all, and plan a bit.
As I had progressed as a leader from one age group, to two, to three and then added journeys, I wanted to find some ways that we could coordinate our meetings to be of interest to Kindergarten thru 5th grade. The girls loved the fellowship with the different age groups, but needed more developed age appropriate activities from me. I decided since I would have new Daisies I’d have them do the petals on year one and I’d have to finally do at least one daisy journey on year two. I pulled out the Brownie and Junior Journeys (World of Girls and Agent of Change) and tried to find some cohesion. I want to capture those Daisies and make sure they love scouts. I hadn’t had much luck with the flowers friends so decide to make each Petal associated with a Disney Princess.
Of course the Daisies love all the Princesses and know them better than I, so I found 10 princesses to symbolize each piece of the Girl Scout Law. I started my list and things were working great when I noticed that World of Girls was about similarities, differences and interconnections between girls around the world. The Agent of Change journey follows the stories of powerful women and how they can make a change. Each petal had a princess but to tie in to the older girls each princess had a country and each country had a REAL powerful women story. This set our theme for each meeting. We had a snack from the country assigned, we had games or representative craft, and we had stories. It was fun for the girls to try new foods each meeting. Some things we tried; figs, humus, gruyere and goat cheese, oat cakes, croissants, kringla cookies, and ohh the SWISS chocolate!
Each of the age groups broke off and had individual time to complete journey or badge requirements. For example our Friendly and Helpful meeting was Belle from France. The Daisies got to play a serving game with plates balancing balls to the tune of “Be Our Guest” and they made a poster with a celery stamp rose in the center of ways they could be helpful. The Brownies learned to sing Frere Jacque and worked on finding clue in stories. The Juniors heard about Joan of Arc and worked on the Power of One, they also worked on some their “Social Butterfly” badge. I thought the older ones might have outgrown the princess aspect and I tried to keep it separate, often they were jealous of the games and activities the Daisies got to do while they “worked” thru their journey. I let them all have a break when we got to “Brave” – Coureagous and Strong – for which we did mini highland games with mock caber and haggis toss games, and q-tip archery.
AT the end the final piece “Be a Sister to every Girl Scout” We had a Princess Party. In talking with other leaders I found a Senior troop who on their list of things they wanted to do that year they had written “Dress like princesses” It had confounded their leader as to why they wanted to do that as senior scouts, but it was too perfect. My troop of daisies thru juniors invited the seniors to the party. The seniors worked out a candle ceremony, came dressed representing each of the princesses, and had a ball with the younger girls.
I learned that I didn’t have to follow the leaders guide exactly for a journey. I needed to cover the core concepts of each piece. This freed me up to consider other options. Later in the year I helped our Service Unit plan a Daisy Day for “Between Earth and Sky” in which we used the Wizard of OZ as a theme. This year when I jumped to four levels, I decided to try Making Friend’s Journey in a Bag for each grade level to give myself a much deserved break in planning. They are a hit, but I feel a Cadette Level “Divergent” theme in my future.