recently have been reading posts from GS adult volunteers who are busy planning
next year's program calendar...some say they have their's complete down to what
awards will be earned, field trips to be taken, community projects to be done,
etc. I am always a bit dismayed when I read these sort of posts. Where is the
"girl-led" part of the program? Even the littlest Girl Scouts have opinions. Give them choices.
As girls get older, they should be researching the program opportunities,
selecting awards, planning events, etc. IMO by the time girls are in high
school, the program is theirs to plan yet I know of so many troops where the
adults are taking the lead. Adults "brag" about all they have
planned, the badges already bought in advance of the girls even earning them,
field trips booked, supplies purchased...basically everything is done and just
waiting to happen. Have the girls been asked what they think? Have they voted
on how to spend the troop money? Is there flexibility to allow for unexpected
opportunities that pop up? What if they don't like what has been planned, do
they get discouraged...drop out?
Girl Scouts is for the girls. It's not a
competition of who's troop does the most, earns the most awards, has the most
fun patches on the back of the tunic/vest/sash, takes the biggest field trips,
or holds the grandest ceremonies. It's about girls learning leadership, making
decisions, exploring new possibilities and challenging themselves. They may be
successful...perhaps not...but they will have learned life lessons they can
take into adulthood. I always tell adults, it's the quality of our program that
counts not the quantity. You know you are successful when the girls leave a
meeting with a smile and come back next time.
I am most inspired by the troops where the adults
really listen to the girls, inspire them towards new things, allow them to be
individuals instead of forcing the concept of "everyone has to earn the
same thing...every girl's tunic, vest/sash must be identical. We are not cookie
cutter people. Allow girls to choose their own path now and they will be better
prepared to walk their own path in their future.