Results tagged “journeys” from GSSA Leader Blog: The Virtual Volunteer


At this time of year, we are working to recruit new adults to work with girls.    Many adults find leading a Girl Scout troop daunting.   There's the paperwork just to get involved.  

As a reminder, we do this because we want the girls to be safe. You would be stunned at the number of adults who come back with issues that keep us from allowing them to volunteer.   After the paperwork, there's the online training.   Although not hard, it seems like there are plenty of rules involved.   Actually, becoming vetted to become a Girl Scout leader is probably the hardest part of the process.   The fun and value of the experience is being with the girls.

A number of years ago, I was with a brave Daisy leader who had a huge after-school based troop.   I was invited to do something with the troop.   When I arrived, there was noise and chaos -- girls laughing, playing, talking to one another. I wasn't sure what was going on.   After awhile, the girls quieted down and the meeting got underway.   I think I was there to talk to them, so we had a conversation.   Conversations with Daisies are always good happy events.    At the end of the meeting, there were crayons and coloring. 

When I talked to this courageous leader, she said she had learned the hard way that she had to be sure two things happened at each meeting. The girls needed time at the beginning of the meeting to play and talk, so she allows that.   Then, during every meeting, her girls wanted to color.   If they didn't get to color, they didn't enjoy the meeting, so no matter what the activity is at the meeting, they color.   It was so simple.

We had a volunteer come in to lunch the other day asking questions about what Journey book to start with.   The response around the room was the same.   Each Journey book in the series has something to offer, but it is best to talk to the girls and let them decide what they are interested in.   This, of course, was not the answer the volunteer was looking for, but the shared opinion in the room was you should find out what the girls want to explore, and then make decisions about books, materials, and activities.

I listen to many leaders complain about the Journey materials, but the girls really enjoy them.   Again, it is the same issue. Because the curriculum is not overly prescriptive, it affords a lot of latitude in the Journey.   This creates a vacuum for the leader until there's some meeting of the minds on what the girls are interested in.

When I worked in higher education, I was frequently surprised by the wisdom of the students with whom I worked.   They wanted to try things I didn't believe they could achieve.   I was wrong.   The best leaders and experiences are those where the girls have a lot of input on what they do to have fun and learn.   Those are the girls that stay with the program, and those are the girls who achieve in many areas.   Believe the maxim ... and a girl shall lead you ... because she will. 

Perhaps you have heard about the upcoming Girl's Guide 2 Girl Scouting (GG2GS), which will be available in September.  If you have, we know you have plenty of questions, so we have a document that answers most of them.  Every level will have their ownGG2GS which will encompass the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, including badges and journeys.  Read all about it in this document, and get ready for a great new year!
Are there outgoing people in your troop who would like to inform others about why Girl Scouting is important to them? Then submit an application to be a Girl Scout Press Rep! Girl Scout Press Reps can be girls or adults, who enjoy public speaking or writing and would like to represent the council.

Press reps will hone their writing skills and learn about different kinds of media by participating in It's Your Story- Tell It! Journey-based activities. Press reps will be required to write at least three articles during the year about Girl Scout activities for possible publication. As part of the 100th Anniversary, press reps are encouraged to attend the anniversary celebrations and submit photos, videos, or articles.

Parents, it is very important to note that the majority of representation for the council will be internal to the Girl Scout community - through our website, blogs and newsletters.

To apply, submit the following application by September 15. Applications will be reviewed and confirmations sent by September 30. There will be a Press Rep Workshop in Montgomery and Mobile. A snack will be provided at both.
??????? Montgomery Workshop: October 17, 2011 from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
??????? Mobile Workshop: October 18, 2011 from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

You can submit applications to: or the Mobile or Montgomery Service Centers.
The three available journeys for each level of girls make it fun and easy to plan a Girl Scout Year!  The ideas below tell how to use the journey format to make your time with your girls as rich and interesting as possible.

Use your adult journey guide as a base for creating a fun and exciting experience for girls. You'll find ideas about using activities, starting discussions, and earning awards so that the "whole" feels like one big adventure. The journey will be so much more fun and relevant as you assist girls in making it their own!

Sample sessions in the journeys suggest several ways to engage girls. Many girls and volunteers will quickly find there is more they will want to do! The journey books are filled with tips for you to add more to the experience. Let everyone's imaginations take hold and extend the journey with ideas from girls. Do you have a short time frame? Follow the tips about doing what's most important!

Are Ambassadors interested in partnering? What would happen if Seniors worked together? What do Cadettes in your area have to offer to Juniors? What if Brownies link up on steps of their journey? How could Daisies benefit from meeting other Daisies? Connecting helps make a powerful Girl Scout journey!

Explore Stories!
Stories capture the imagination and motivate, and inspire us to put values into action. The journeys engage girls in stories--real and fictional--of girls and women taking action in the world. You and the girls decide how much time to spend on them before going on to create their own adventures.

Leadership and You!
As a Girl Scout volunteer, your experiences--and your view of leadership--will influence and inspire girls. Use the reflection exercises in your journey guide to think about the three leadership keys (Discover, Connect, and Take Action) and how you can best apply them as you team up with Girl Scouts on their journey.

Click on the image to start your journey with your girls!

2011 Starter Kits are available for purchase through the council shops!
2011 Starter Kits InfoPurchase a starter kit and receive a free Girl Scout bag (while supplies last).  Call 800-239-6636, ext. 2602 or visit us in Mobile or Montgomery to order one!

Coming this Fall! The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting

Where can a girl find exciting new badges, the 100th Anniversary handbook, information on bridging and Bronze/Silver/Gold Awards, and much more all in one place? In The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting, of course! There is a Girl's Guide for each level of Girl Scouts from Daisies to Ambassadors.

The Girl's Guide features robust skill-building badge activities, updated and new awards, information on Girl Scout history and traditions, and -- most of all -- lots of fun!

With this fall release, girls can grow as leaders and build new skills with a complete National Program Portfolio: Journeys + The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting!

Take a peek. Let Brownie Elf tell you more...

See the Anatomy of a Badge, if you'd like something to print and share this exciting news with your troop!

Girl Scouts of the USA is on track to deliver new program resources in time for the 2011 membership year.  The new books will be available for purchase  in our council shops in September.  At this time, we do not know exactly when we will receive them, but will let you know as soon as we have the books in hand.
Below are some FAQs regarding these new resources:
  • What will happen to the current resources, such as the Junior Badge book or the Cadette Handbook? GSUSA is currently working on a new "Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting" for each program level.  It will provide updated badge activities and handbook information for girls and will be available in September 2011, when girls can begin enjoying the new badges in the guide.
  • What do we do between now and September 2011?  Leaders/advisors can help girls choose a Journey and continue enjoying the current badge activities.  Check out the online "Journey Maps" for examples of using journeys and badges together for a great Girl Scout experience.  Click here <>  for the maps.  Here's a graphic that shows the connection between the Journeys and the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting.
  • Will we still be able to purchase older resources and insignia? As part of the roll-out of the Journeys and the new guide, the GS Shop will begin to streamline existing inventory by retiring certain merchandise this summer.  This will affect the availability of certain patches, books, and other merchandise.  To check on item availability, please contact the shop at 1-800-239-6636.  
We encourage you to share this information with other Girl Scout members.  Additional information will be announced as it is released.  


We have received many questions lately about deadlines for Girl Awards, especially in view of the fact that we are still in transition to the new Journey Awards. Girls who are completing their awards under the 2006 Studio 2B standards (planners currently available on the GSSA Website) have absolute deadlines for all completed and approved paperwork:


Bronze- September 30 of the year the girl enters 7th grade

Silver- September 30 of the year the girl enters 10th grade

Gold -September 30 after the girl graduates from high school


Please note that the absolute deadline for all completed and approved paperwork for all of these awards is September 30, 2011.


Girls who are working on awards under the new Journey standards have absolute deadlines for all completed and approved paperwork:


Bronze-September 30 of the year the girl enters 6th grade

Silver - September 30 of the year the girl enters 9th grade

Gold -September 30 after the girl graduates from high school


More questions? Contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz, extension 1202

Gold Award

Image via Wikipedia

In order to earn a Gold Award, a girl has to interview with the Gold Award Committee twice: when she submits her proposal; and when she finishes her entire project. Interviews will be held quarterly and the following paperwork deadlines will apply:


September 30 -paperwork submission deadline for Fall interviews*

December 30-paperwork submission deadline for Winter interviews

March 30-paperwork submission deadline for Spring interviews**

June 30 -paperwork submission deadline for Summer interviews


*final deadline for proposals for high school seniors

**deadline for final reports for high school seniors


Please note that September 30, 2011 is the absolute deadline for all approved and completed awards under the 2006 Studio 2B Guidelines. Therefore, June 30 will be the deadline for all girls working under these guidelines. The only exception is high school seniors, who have March 30 as their final deadline.


Please consult the revised Gold Planner for more information.

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Summer camp hasn't started yet, it's raining pretty consistently and the kids are out for summer... What are your girls up to?  Is your troop meeting?  (I know I'd be meeting at least once a month to get that ice cream patch J)


Here are some rainy day (or any summer day) activity ideas:


Make individual servings of homemade ice cream This is amazingly simple for such a special treat. You can make an easy recipe that requires very little preparation time. The ingredients involve sugar, half and half, ice, rock salt, vanilla, ice and Ziploc bags.  (most of which you probably already have!)  The GSSA staff were discussing the recipe we've used at camp, but it will probably be a little less muddled to just link to Disney's version. 

Barbara Davis' tip: Get a large coffee can, and put the pint-sized Ziploc bag in.  Then, fill the can with ice and rock salt and roll it back and forth.  It's especially fun to roll the can back and forth with a friend; just watch Barbara and Kalishia do it!


Play Fort You know how much you loved it when you were a kid. Use sheets, blankets or comforters over tables and chairs. Put a lamp, pillow, books, games and snacks in the "tent". A giant appliance box is the perfect fort, of course, but it's a bit harder to find appliance boxes these days. You could visit a nearby furniture store with your girls. Bet they'll find one for you quickly - 'cause Girl Scouts are crafty!


Drama, what?? This may not be your girls, but I know a couple of drama lovin' Girl Scouts. I found a really cool activity your budding thespians are sure to love.  It's called 60-second fairy tales by Wade Bradford!  Talk about fast paced fun.


Journey on the Interwebs If you're going to be on the computer, you should send your girls to GSUSA's It's Your Planet site.  And I won't tell if you play around on it, too - it's that much fun!


Ok, there's four simple ideas... what activities do you have?  Bonus points if you make an instructional video!

It's Your Story--Tell It! Journey Series


Available in December 2010, the "It's Your Story--Tell It!" leadership journey series uses a storytelling theme in a fun and grade-level relevant way for girls to better understand themselves and their potential.


On this journey, an emphasis is also placed on media literacy and creative expression. All along the journey, girls have opportunities to engage in a variety of arts, including performing, visual, culinary, and new media, to tell their stories and take action to make the world a better place.


Check out the grade level titles and themes, and get a taste of the "It's Your Story--Tell It!" journey series right now by downloading the activities below and trying them with girls in troops, groups, series, events and camps.


Daisy: 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals!

Daisies learn just how much they can care for animals and for themselves--and just how good that makes them feel.


Brownie: A World of Girls

Stories teach Brownies clues about how they can create positive change in the world--change that affects girls.


Junior: aMUSE

Juniors learn just how many roles are open to them in the world and the possibilities those roles open for them.


Cadette: MEdia

Cadettes look for the ME in media and learn how they can shape media--for themselves, their community and the world.



Seniors learn how widening their network broadens their world, and benefits the world as well.


Ambassador: BLISS: Live It! Give It!

Ambassadors learn to dream big, now and for their future, and begin their legacy as leaders who help others achieve their dreams too.

Girl Scouts of the USA launched a national campaign with the girl-centered journey, It's Your Planet--Love It!, that includes eye-catching, interactive activities and games and information that we know your girls will explore and love. 


This is a great resource to use particularly if your troop is working on this journey.


Have your girls join in on the fun and check it out:  You may want to play around on it as well, we certainly did!

There was a great article in yesterday's USA Today!  It's all about Girl Scouts' green efforts as we prepare for our 100th anniversary.  Girl Scouts has always been green, but through the Journeys and the Forever Green project, we're taking green to a whole new level.  The Forever Green project is being piloted in 10 councils, and will expand nationwide next year.  I know I'm excited to take part in the Forever Green project - are you?

What makes a great Girl Scout year? Earning badges, hiking and camping, taking field trips, selling cookies, and enjoying Girl Scout traditions. Now you can tie all that together with a choice of two leadership journeys.

Six illustrated maps, one for each grade level, have been created to show how all Girl Scout activities -- earning badges, camping, selling cookies and more -- can tie into the new Journeys. Go to and start exploring!


Shop Online!


shopweb.jpgNEW!  The Online GSSA shop is now LIVE at  If our shops are too far away from where you live, you can still get all of the Girl Scout items you need, with personal service from our council. You'll find uniforms, fun accessories, new Journeys, and even gift certificates available online. The online store offers guest ordering, or the convenience of a one-time account set up, so you don't have to re-enter shipping and billing information every time you order. Questions about the store? E-mail us at

Call for Entries


WHO:   Calling all Girl Scout volunteers. Disney's FamilyFun magazine wants to hear from you!


WHAT: As part of an upcoming story celebrating Girl Scouts, Disney's FamilyFun magazine would like to feature Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Girl Scout troop or group projects and activities. The best stories will reflect fun, learning, and inspiration and be those that Girl Scouts and their families can enjoy.


In addition, the best entries will:

????         Be memorable group projects, crafts, games, or activities;

????         Highlight the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Stories about girls enjoying the Girl Scout Journeys are encouraged.


Volunteers whose stories are published will receive $250 for their Girl Scout troop or group, a free set of FamilyFun recipe and craft books, and a free print or digital subscription.


HOW:   To enter, send a description of your Girl Scout troop or group's project, craft, game, or activity.  Photos are encouraged!  Please write "Girl Scouts" in the subject line and send your submission to:


WHEN: Submissions are needed by Friday, Sept. 25

Stumped on what your troop should do this month?  How about using the environmental events for September?  They're a great way to incorporate the new Journey.

September 3 The Wilderness Act of 1964 enacted by Congress

September 18 World Water Monitoring Day,

September 19 International Coastal Cleanup, 

September 26 National Public Lands Day,


Journey 2, "It's Your Planet - Love It" are now available at GSSA Shops

Our girls are the most enviromentally-aware young people since the "Green Movement" of the 70's. The new Journeys help them develop and focus that interest.  They'll learn about the earth and have fun!  Here are the details:

Girl Scout Daisies: Between Earth and Sky -- On this journey, flower friends take to the road, living the Girl Scout Law with new friends and old. Join them for sunshine, fresh air, and colors and shapes, too--and big Daisy lessons.

Girl Scout Brownies: WOW Wonders of Water -- Girl Scout Brownies find plenty of ways to WOW! themselves and everyone else on this journey. You'll find everything you need to guide the girls to LOVE water, SAVE water, and SHARE what they know.

Girl Scout Juniors: Get Moving! -- This journey offers endless energy in all its forms and functions, plus ways big and small to Energize, Investigate, and Innovate. So get set to guide Girl Scout Juniors to see that energy is what leaders are all about.

Girl Scout Cadettes: Breathe -- On this journey called BREATHE, there's plenty of space for Girl Scout Cadettes to focus all their senses on air. And all along the way, you'll be guiding the girls to their very best flair!

Girl Scout Seniors: Sow What? -- When it comes to food, what's really best for people and the planet? Girl Scout Seniors will figure that out (with you!) as they dig into far-reaching food networks on this Sow What? journey.

Girl Scout Ambassadors: Justice -- On this journey to JUSTICE, Girl Scout Ambassadors create a brand-new equation for something Earth and all its inhabitants need. Do you yearn for it, too?

Each of the six membership levels of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience takes girls on a journey--a voyage to someplace new, with adventures along the way. These adventures engage girls in exploring the three keys to leadership--discover, connect, and take action.


But it is not just what girls do, it is how they do it. Beneath the fun and excitement of the books, the work of our experts ensures that girls are growing and developing their leadership potential in ways that are meaningful to them. The activities in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience embody the girl led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning processes.


On their journeys, girls grow in their understanding of themselves, of each other, and of how they can work together to change the world for the better. Each journey culminates in awards that help the girls see just how far they've come.


Getting Started:  The Recipe for a Great Adventure
All you need is a sense of adventure to guide girls on a great journey. Check out these five simple steps to getting started:

  1. Boot up your computer and take a 10-minute walk through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience interactive resource at This bilingual interactive resource is designed for the busy volunteer. A guide talks you through each component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and provides clear definitions, illustrating how each piece is part of a well-researched, powerful, and change-making experience for girls.
  2. Kick off your shoes and sit down to relax. Yes, this is where the real fun starts. Read the (age-appropriate for your troop) girl journey book as if you were a girl just for the pleasure of it.
  3. Break out your accompanying adult guide and flick straight to the sample sessions at a glance two-page spread for a "bird's eye" view of how to bring journeys to life.
  4. Now that you know what is possible, invite the girls (and their parents) to use their imaginations to make the journeys real in ways that excite them (girl led). You do not have to do everything as exactly as laid out in the books. The books are a great resource with lots of room for creativity. Remember, the books just provide the vanilla scoop: The girls and you add the sprinkles!
  5. Now step back and watch how the girls, with your knowledge, support, and guidance, have enormous fun and a rewarding experience.

Throughout the journey--and even before--volunteer and staff members are there to offer crucial support and advice with learning opportunities. Don't hesitate to contact us: Teri Eversole at 251.344.3330, ext: 1302, and Cheryl Miller at 334.272.9164, ext: 2302.

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