As Girl Scouts Enter Middle School Maze, Goal Is Empathy, Leadership, and Peace

by Sandra Foyt on April 5, 2009

in Uncategorized

amaze Herding chipmunks, that’s what it’s like to lead a troop of middle school Girl Scout Cadettes.

These girls are capable of great maturity, powerful ambition, and incredible silliness.  Nevertheless, as their advisor, I’m tasked with inspiring them to reach for the Silver Award, the highest award given to Cadette Girl Scouts, which “represents a girl’s accomplishments in Girl Scouting and her community as she grows and works to improve her life and the lives of others.”

It’s a huge undertaking as it requires multiple achievements within each step, and culminates in each girl putting in at least forty hours to design and implement a community service project.

amaze2Fitting in all the pieces of the Silver Award was never easy, but now it’s even more challenging, and simultaneously more rewarding, as I’m also trying to incorporate the new Cadette Girl Scout It’s Your World – Change It! Leadership Journey, aMAZE! The Twists and Turns of Getting Along.

At first, I was hesitant to use the aMAZE! Journey with my troop as I thought that it was mostly about bullying, a subject we covered thoroughly in 5th Grade in preparation for their transition to Middle School.  However, after further study, I realized that this journey is actually a great way to prepare the girls to take on the community service project for the Silver Award.

Reflecting the concerns of middle school girls, as well as their developmental stage, the aMAZE! Journey lays out a program of activities and discussion topics that build interpersonal skills while targeting the following leadership outcomes:

  • Girls develop a strong sense of self.
  • Girls develop critical thinking.
  • Girls develop healthy relationships.
  • Girls can resolve conflicts.
  • Girls feel connected to their communities, locally and globally.
  • Girls are resourceful problem solvers.
  • Girls educate and inspire others to act.

The journey encourages the girls to “move from using good relationship skills in their own lives to using their skills to improve relations in the world around them.”  Activities in this journey teach the girls to get past first impressions and stereotypes to embrace diversity, and foster peace.  There are a lot of valuable lessons in this journey, not just for the girls, but also for the adult volunteers.  Just in skimming the lesson plans, I’m looking forward to exploring the difference between service and taking action.

The aMAZE! Journey is truly a great complement to the Six Steps to the Silver Award, as is the Studio 2B Girl Scout Challenge 3: Courage, Character, and Confidence.  Somehow, I’m sneaking this one into our planning as well.

At the same time, I’m trying to differentiate the programs so that it suits the needs and interests of each girl, even as I leave plenty of room for girl-led experiences.

And, did I mention, that we keep adding new girls to the troop, and that we’re running out of time to achieve our goals?

Imagine using a truckload of bouncy balls to herd seven chipmunks.

amaze3

Fortunately, I’m not working alone.  In addition to the help and support from my troop co-leader, each of the girls is required to have an advisor who assists them in setting individual goals, discussing assignments, and generally keeps them focused and on track.

I’m confident that our seven ambitious girls, with help from their personal advisor and two fearless adult volunteers, will most certainly bring home the Silver.  I can’t wait to see the how they do it!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cynthia Byrd November 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I found your blog searching for “Tips on the aMaze Journey.” I have a troop of 9 girls, new 6th grade Cadettes, and last weekend we went to an event our Council holds called Cadette-O-Rama. It is an outdoor skills competition weekend, and the mom who went with me commented “It’s like herding kittens!” Yes, it is. After reading this blog post, you have me wondering how it went for you… it looks like your daughter is now in High School. Is she still in Scouts, did she get her Silver… how was the Journey? I have the same aspirations you did, going on the aMaze Journey, and hoping to encourage as many of them as possible to go for the Silver Award.

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