Have you overheard leaders say:

  • they are not going to do GSUSA Journey’s because they seem too much like school work
  • their girls don’t want to do them
  • they are too confusing
  • they don’t understand them?

“Journey” from “passage or progress from one stage to another”. This definition seems to fit what I think that what the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:

  • Discover
  • Connect
  • Take Action

KEYS to GSUSA Journey Planning

  • Girls step outside their lives/boxes
  • Look around at possible resources
  • Think about the talents that you, your co-leaders, parents, and girls have.
  • What are their interests?

Objective: Deciding on a Journey matches the interests of everyone. Everyone will be taking the Journey. I look at planning a Journey like planning a vacation.

  • When planning a vacation, you look at travel guides, maps, and websites.
  • You talk to others who have “Journeyed” to the same locations as you have.
  • You take their suggestions and comments into consideration while planning.

The same idea can be used when planning a Girl Scout Journey. When you take a vacation (or Journey), you don’t follow a guide to the letter – you change and enhance it, then share with others so that they can do the same.

Our girls are AMAZING!!!

  • Use the Journey books as a guide.
  • Take the training classes offered by Council (there will be others in the training class looking for the same information).
  • Learn from others and take their ideas and enhance them, making them fit with your group.
  • Take the ideas that you have learned from other adult leaders and volunteers to your girls.
  • Girls can take one simple idea and turn it into something special.

For example: My troop is a very diverse, multi-cultural, multi-age group. We are all very interested in keeping our individuality but working together as a team. Sometimes individuality and creativity can lead to bullying. We are using this theme and participating in the “Million Misfit Sock March”. The original theory is to wear misfit socks and show our individuality. A very simple project – wear mismatching socks on a certain date and discuss with others why you are wearing them. Our girls took that concept and wanted to collect socks and make a tag for each sock explaining the project and pass them out at a special event. When talking about this project with others and explaining how the girls took the idea and made it their own, another leader suggested passing out the socks and telling everyone to find another person with their match. Taken back to the girls, they fine-tuned it further by finding their friend with the match, but also discussing the sock that did not match (learning about our similarities and our differences). My point is that you take one simple idea from someone who started their “Journey”, enhance and grow it to fit your needs.

I would like to share some of the “Guides” I use when planning a Journey with my Co-Leaders, parents, volunteers and girls (carefully review any website and make sure that info is appropriate):

  • Council Training – Take trainings to learn about the basics and meet other leaders who are in the same situation as you are.
  • GSUSA Journey Books and Guides – Read through both (the adult and girl books). Jot down ideas and discuss with others.
  • – a craft website that although not officially endorsed by Girls Scouts as far as I know, but is obviously run by a leader/volunteer just like the rest of us. This website has programs and suggestions (what I like to call a start) for not only Journeys, but badges too (they also have a lending library for Journey books)
  • – a great website that has patch programs, community service patches and ideas, etc. – also obviously run by a leader/volunteer and not officially endorsed by Girl Scouts
  • – a website that has all kinds of documents/plans/guides available (not only GS documents, so use caution)
  • – a place where you can find ideas and blogs from others (use caution with children, this is a web based crafting and idea site)
  • – a site that teachers can post documents, information, lesson plans, etc. and people can purchase and use them. Wonderful site that you can search on a topic by age level.
  • – lots of inexpensive crafts. Example: When planning an animal journey, there are lots of fun animal type crafts that can be fit into your Journey.
  • – S&S Worldwide. Another place to purchase craft and activities. Maybe a tad more expensive than other places, but the crafts are top notch, come with all of the supplies, and educational ideas for the crafts.
  • – A wonderful science website with fun experiments for children. Has instructional videos and pages. I bought UV color changing beads for one of our environmental journey experiments.
  • Other Leaders/Volunteers – Learn from other leaders and volunteers about what they have done. What worked, what didn’t, what they would change – do an evaluation. Take their ideas and turn them into your own.

Have fun! Be creative! Enjoy yourself and your girls! Think outside your box!

Holly Jordan
Troop 25262