Last week, I went to the Girl Scouts Act Now 2012 Conference, focused on strategies for increasing membership. The organization wants to grow by 1 million volunteers in five years! Wow!
I heard some great things. I had fun! Most helpful to me– 10 Essential Elements for Creating the Girl Scout Experience. Based on research with nine troops, 10 elements are essential to the quality of the girls’ experiences in Girl Scouting. It reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place. Take a look!
1. Families welcomed – when families understand how our commitment to girls helps them be leaders in their daily lives and in the world, girls have richer, more meaningful experiences in GS.
2. Belonging to a big sisterhood – getting girls excited about belonging and looking forward to the fun and impactful opportunities that await them may help retain them down the road.
3. Leadership development – is the core of the GSLE
4. Community engagement – through journeys, girls explore opportunities to change their communities and make a difference in the world
5. Skill building – choosing and earning at least one skill-building badge helps girls gain confidence in their ability to use their new-found knowledge
6. Expanding world view – by taking a trip, meeting an expert, or exploring in some other way, a girl’s world of ideas, people, and places expands
7. Ceremony and tradition – celebrating and honoring how girls have learned and grown in GS helps to point them toward new adventures
8. Adult support – especially in the use of the three processes (Girl-Led, Learning By Doing, and Cooperative Learning), volunteers can make the GSLE come alive for girls
9. Earning and learning – by participating in product sales, girls have the opportunity to “earn and learn” five skills (goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics)
10. Experience progression – share the exciting opportunities girls will have if they stay with Girl Scouts
Tell Me: For experienced GS leaders: Have you found these elements in your work with Girl Scouts? For new volunteers: Are you hoping to develop these elements in your troop?
Resources: How do you include these elements in your troop? GSUSA has created toolkits for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors, available at: http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/quickstart/