Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:07 AM
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 "Safetywise" is outdated, inaccurate, and needs to be recycled.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)