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August 8, 2011

The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting

by Jennifer Allebach

Have you heard about the new resource coming this Fall, for use with the Journeys? GSUSA has written a definitive guide for each age level of Girl Scouts. Click here to download the info for each grade level and click here to download the FAQ. If you have a question or comment relating to these guides or retiring badges, please leave a comment below.

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goldie said:

Excellent blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I'm completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks! goldie http://a-i-r.info/?p=104

Posted on: June 3, 2013

Denise said:

Im new to girl scouts my daughter wanted to join and become a Daisy. I volunteered to be a troop leaderbecause no one eles would do it. Im at a loss of which forms i need to fill out. I already did my clearance. Does each girl have to pay the reg fee of $12. How do i get the parents to pay for it. Also i was told to collect around $25 for each girl for patches and pins. Is this a normal things to ask for the parents. I already bought the gsep patch and our troop number for each girl. I am going broke. Please give any advice you have. Also what about the cookies when do we do that?

Posted on: October 30, 2012

Krystal said:

You said you wanted to hear from actual Girl Scouts. My daughter started as a Daisy and is now in her sixth year (her second year as a junior). SHE. HATES. THE. NEW. PROGRAM!!!! She says the Journeys are "stupid, boring, and written for a second grader." She earned several of the now retired badges and she says that most of the new ones are "too easy" and she doesn't feel like she's earned anything when she's done with them. She also thinks that the majority of the new badges look "hideous". She has earned her Bronze award and both My Faith, My Promise awards. She did a create a badge last year and is working on one for this year. She is quickly loosing interest. The only reason she goes to meetings now is to see her friends. No one in her troop likes the journeys and they resent having to do one every year. I know that people say you get out what you put into it, but that is only partially true. Sometimes you just have too little to work with at the start. My daughter would like to know why GSUSA felt the need to "dumb down" the program and "take away the challenge". You seriously lowered the bar of expectations with too many of these new badges. Oh, and way to go, GSUSA, for getting rid of all the science badges and keeping "jeweler". I'm sure JEWELRY making will be so much more beneficial to my daughter's future than those science badges that were retired would have been! And geocaching will be a real plus if she ever gets lost somewhere in the woods. Heaven forbid they learn how to mark a trail, read a compass, or learn to build a fire, right?

Posted on: September 19, 2012

Christine said:

As one mom put it, Journeys are "a scripted, colorful, $7 after-school curriculum." I've done Journeys in Daisies and Juniors, and I'm not a fan of them (and my girls don't like them either); however, they are certainly necessary should our troop ever like to pursue a Bronze Award.

Posted on: September 10, 2012

Ruth Penderghast said:

I have been a Girl Scout leader for 6 years now. I lead both my daughters' troop: Cadette and Junior. I admit that the Junior Badge book was overwhelming when I first saw it and I was happy to hear the National would be reviewing and revising. The Journeys put me off a little but we've forged ahead. Both of my troops bridged this May and after reviewing the new books, many of my parents complained. Exactly how am I supposed to allow parents to help without them having to become super-involved? Before I could tell the girls "Pick a badge and sign up for a meeting (or two, depending on age) to work on the badge." Moms and daughters LOVED being the teachers for once and I loved the mental break. Most of our badges were earned together, but many were only partially earned and then the girls took the initiative to complete them on their own. The new badges are boring, compared to the old ones. (I have looked through the Brownie, Junior and Cadette books -- and so have my 13 Cadettes and 12 Juniors). I am hoping that National will add to the badges so that there are more choices. The Journeys are nice and all, but really, my 2nd and 3rd graders were expected to create a 'sustainable' project? In case National missed it, 2nd and 3rd graders aren't developmentally able to do this, without A LOT of support from their leaders, who are volunteers and may (like me) work outside the home and (like me) have other kids who also participate in multiple activities. Would it make me a bad leader if I said that I told my girls to pick a badge and teach it, making reasonable modifications to make it more enjoyable and a better learning experience? I wish National had actually gotten some feedback from real leaders along the way -- I think this program has potential that is, sadly, being wasted.

Posted on: July 14, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

Hi Louise, The Summit Awards are earned when a girl earns all three Journeys in her grade level! Thanks for your question. Jennifer

Posted on: July 2, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

Hi Karen! Badges are updated on a periodic basis in Girl Scouting. Not to say anything is wrong with the badges or try its, rather, it is a relevant update!! Thanks for your question. Jennifer

Posted on: July 2, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

Hi Kimberly ! The badge requirements can be found in the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting. I hope you enjoy the book!

Posted on: July 2, 2012

Karyn Lynn said:

What was so wrong with the Tryit badges anyway? I made them to competative? Only if the leader allow it to be like that. You can simply make each badge a learning experience instead of a competition...then the badge is the reward for completing it. Girls that age need to try new things and open their minds to different things...THEIR KIDS. Let them me kids. To teach leadership skills and how to care for their community is all fine and dandy..but why not keep the tryits so the kids can still have some fun while learning to save the planet and write letter to congress.

Posted on: June 9, 2012

Kimberly Moore-Woerle said:

Is there somewhere online that lists what the requirements are for each badge, or must you buy the packets?

Posted on: May 11, 2012

Louise Kritzberger said:

Could you elaborate on the Summit awards?

Posted on: March 15, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

Maria, Thanks for your comments about the new Program and Journeys! It is great to read your enthusiasm and it sounds like your girls are enjoying themselves while gaining those leadership skills! Keep up the momentum and great work!

Posted on: February 29, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

Kathy, The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting is available in our shops at this time!

Posted on: February 29, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

EXCITING LINK- Check this out! http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/home/badges/ Everything you ever wanted to know about the new badges. Let us know what you think!!

Posted on: February 29, 2012

Kathy D said:

Jennifer - Are council shops going to be the only outlet for purchasing the new books? I've had several parents ask if they will be available at retail locations that sell uniforms in the future. Thanks!

Posted on: January 30, 2012

Maria K. said:

Well - there's one in every crowd, and I guess I'm the "one" - LOL! I've been a leader for 2 years (and I was a Brownie and Junior myself in the 70s) and we are on our second Brownie Journey and 1st Daisy Journey (I have a mixed troop) and honestly, I think our girls and parents LOVE them! Our co-leader is the "dedicated" Journey leader and she makes them fun and educational! We use the book, of course, but bottom line is that our Daisies are watching their garden grow and our Brownies are so excited about WOW that I think they look more forward to their trip to the watershed to pick up trash than they are to camping! Bottom line - if I was the "dedicated" Journey leader in our troop, it may not have been as fun because I am not super creative, but since we were lucky enough to find a parent/leader who is, and who enjoys teaching Journeys, then I think we are benefitting from the Journeys in exactly the way they were intended. Are we the minority - probably...but is it possible to make the Journey's exciting - absolutely! Now as for badges - yes my Brownies enjoy getting them and will probably be disappointed in the reduced number as Juniors (we're sticking with a second year of Try-Its and moving to GG2GS next year), but honestly - I never had badges/Try-Its as a Brownie and I loved Girl Scouting regardless. In fact, I think there were actually too many Try-Its...too much competition and focus on "just getting another patch" and I am partly to blame as the leader. I'm going to try to move forward with the new layout in GG2GS with a positive outlook and as a leader, I will just have to make the girls aware that the badges will be fewer in number, but more in meaning. They can always look forward to more FUN patches on their backs anyway! Honestly, I look at it this way - I chose to be a leader and I've been given materials to work with...my attitude toward the materials gets reflected back to me by my co, my girls and my parents so I try to have the best attitude possible. If my co and I complained about the books, my parents would complain too I'm sure - but what's the point? Girl Scouts is what the leaders, parents, and troop make it to be...with or without 10 extra badges...it's all in the attitude, IMO! Heck so many troops that I know of don't even wear a vest and/or don't even put their patches on. Finally, although my Brownies aren't using the new Guide yet, I think the DAISY version is fabulous!!!! Such a clear path forward to earning petals and a nice layout for award earning milestones and uniform insignia placement. My 3rd Grade Brownie is actually "envious" of her little sis's Daisy Guide!

Posted on: January 7, 2012

Jennifer Allebach said:

Renee, I just called the shop and the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for Juniors is available in the shops. Not sure where you are located but they are there!

Posted on: January 4, 2012

Renee Mattie said:

I really wish I could get hold of the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting for Juniors. It is never in the stores or the council shop. Any idea when it will be available?

Posted on: December 12, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Bunny, I am glad your daughter is interested in Girl Scouting and I would like to provide some clarification regarding the badges, etc. Throughout the years, Girl Scouts have updated the badges offered to girls. They are revised to meet current interests and the requirements are updated to support this. (for example- the badges that focused on computers several years ago- just couldn't keep up with what girls are doing in technology now) This year GSEP is proud to present the National Program Portfolio as designed and updated by GSUSA. This includes Badges,Awards (in the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting) and the Journeys. While the Journeys are guides (for both Adults and girls) they are filled with activities that girls can do. Leaders all around the council have found neat ways to make these interactive and not complete the them as workbooks. So a girl who joins Girl Scouting now, uses the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for her badges and awards, (there is a neat pullout chart so that you can see all of the badges and awards she can receive at each level) and then the Journeys, (there are three at each level). It is an exciting time to be a Girl Scout. On our website there is a Journey tool kit for Leaders to use and understand how to use them with girls. We are rolling out a new Grade Level Essentials learning opportunity for new leaders and interested adults (course schedule on website) I could go on and on, but I will stop. Please email us at volunteer@gsep.org if you would like to get more specific information to make your daughter's Girl Scouting experience the best possible experience for her! Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on: November 22, 2011

Bunny said:

I am a parent possibly enrolling my daughter in Girl Scouts. I was a Cadette myself and stopped scouting when I was 17. I am VERY disappointed to learn that most of the badges were done away with recently. I loved scouting because there were many skills to learn and areas to explore that I might not have learned otherwise! Since resources were limited where I grew up, I expanded my horizons by reading the badge book back in the 70s and 80s. I challenged myself and was drawn into new activities by participating in the many tasks associated with earning a badge. Children love structure and love goals when they can explore and EARN something. It seems that you have taken away a very important part of Scouting. I am willing to allow my daughter to participate, but if she has to complete workbooks as folks have said on this blog, she will NOT stay a scout. Being a Scout is learning how to be a leader with ACTIVITY, not workbooks. She is already doing plenty of workbook activities in school and after-care...the last thing she wants is a program that give her yet another workbook...LEARN by DOING, not by writing/reading about it!

Posted on: November 17, 2011

Lisa M. said:

I feel I have to ring in on the recent changes to the Girl Scout program. In my experience, every change any organization undertakes is a direct result of either trying to reduce costs or an attempt to increase revenue/funding. Back in the early nineties my company changed our medical benefits program from one that was entirely company funded and covered everything (the word co-pay wasn't even invented yet) to one of “Choice”. Yes, I attended benefit information session after benefit information session about how the new program was better for everyone, blah....blah...blah. I am sure I am preaching to the choir about company provided health benefits and everyone can identify with paying more for less. This is the case with the changes that are happening with the Girl Scout program. In an attempt to secure funding from large corporate donors the “Girl Scout Leadership Program” was born. I find it hard to accept that implementing this new “Leadership program” is because it is more effective at transforming girls into leaders -- That it requires changing the activities to make them more “relevant”. Well what is relevant is different for everyone. I was so looking forward to this year, with my new Juniors tackling the badge book on their own (girl driven). I was not planning on doing a journey this year, as previous years only required to do one journey at each level. I have done two journeys with the girls as Brownies (Brownie Quest and WOW the Wonder of Water). First, both books seemed to be written for kindergartner's and were very repetitive. Most of the girls read the book at home from cover to cover the by the second meeting and were not interested in re-hashing the topic over and over again at the next eight meetings. It was extremely difficult keeping their interest and mine. Not to mention the journeys require a lot more of the leaders time and energy to prepare and can not easily be divided up to allow parents to lead a meeting or two. At our service unit kick-off meeting in August I was extremely upset to learn that I have to do a journey every year! I was even more upset that badge book was being abandoned and 90% of the badges gone. I am sorry, but the badges related to the journey for each of the three junior journeys are just not that appealing. Not to mention they are absolutely hideous. Who picked the pink color? To be sowed onto a teal green vest or sash. The teal green is already a challenge for the girls to accept, now they have to have pink badges too? I can not claim to be an expert on Girl Scouts. I am not even very knowledgable about the organization. This year is my fourth year in leadership (3 years in a Brownie Troop and this year with Juniors) and I am still figuring many things out. I was a girl scout for only one year when I was younger. I do know this: Girl Scouting over the past nearly 100 years has provided thousands of girls with opportunities to experience things they may not have otherwise been able to. The organization has challenged girls to do things outside their comfort zone. To take risks and accomplish things they may have never thought they could do (like build their own fire and cook their own food). In doing these things - leaders emerge. A “Leadership Program” claiming to grow leaders was not needed. As a matter of fact I am always suspect of “programs” that claim to do things.

Posted on: November 6, 2011

Kathy D. said:

Regarding finding the old badges: All the old badges went to Miquon / Shelly Ridge. I'm not sure what they have left, but even when I went in early September, the selection was limited. At this point, you are probably not going to find the more popular badges. However, National still has some of the badges and some of the other local councils have them as well. You will have to pay shipping, but I was able to get enough Try-Its for my whole troop.

Posted on: October 27, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Again, my apologies for the delay in writing back but I have had some serious technical difficulties. The laptop is up and running successfully now. First of all thanks to all who write. I want you to know that ALL of my responses are my thoughts and words, not anyone's talking points. When someone asks me a specific question I will research it and respond with a footnote perhaps, but basically, you are getting my thoughts. Secondly, I will only edit words that some readers may find offensive, for example, suck. That is not a word that I will keep in a person's blog. Now to the answers------ so many thoughts. Many of the bloggers know me, and know I have been in Girl Scouting since 1963. (yep- I am 54!) I have seen many different changes, uniforms, curriculums, etc. (I earned the First Class, not the Gold- that is how old I am) In my opinion, the reason Girl Scouting is still around for 100 years is because we adapt to the girls of the time. While you may dislike Journeys, and girls feel they are homework, the reality is- Girl Scouting is a leadership program and the Journeys and the Girl's Guide address the girls of today- not only the current girls, but the girls we hope to reach. I am currently working on Grade Level Essentials- courses for volunteers, divided up by grade levels and include activities and discussion on including Journeys, Girls Guide, Take Action and Awards. They begin in December. Look for courses to be scheduled by mid November on the Council Course schedule. Look at the Journey Tool Kit for ideas. We have lots of ideas in there. Finally, please please take your lead from the girls. When Journeys first came out a few years ago-one very wise Leader in Berks County told me she has scheduled "Journey time" and only did it for a specified amount of time, and then went onto other activities. May be worth a try. Volunteers- Journeys are here to stay-- they are what we do, and are the basis for the girl awards. We have to find a way!

Posted on: October 21, 2011

Maureen said:

I have to say that from my experience working with girls at various ages over several years, I too think that the new materials do not keep it interesting enough for the girls. While they may work to develop leadership skills, they do it in a boring fashion and these skills could certainly be nurtured in other ways (as they have for the past 100 years). They also seem to be too big for the age of the girls involved, especially since many of them have multiple activities they are involved in. Maybe it would be OK if all they did was Girl Scouts, but that is just not the case with most of our girls. I also think that the new materials put much more burden on the leaders. The requirements are much harder to delegate to parent helpers. Where we used to be able to show the parents a try it (for example) and ask them to prep for it, the new "legacy" badges and certainly the Journeys just don't work like that. I also do not like the fact that most of the badges involve either a trip of some sort (gets very expensive and hard to schedule) and/or talking to an expert in a particular field. While connecting to experts is a wonderful experience, doing it too frequently ends up feeling like being lectured all the time. As a parent of 3 daughters, I also feel that the new offerings do not pay adequate respect to the history/legacy of Girl Scouts. I know that my younger daughters have looked forward to earning the same awards that the older sister(s) have, but nor there will be no real comparing the badges each earned at various levels and how they earned them. It causes a sort of disconnect in the scouting tradition. Unfortunately the new programs are so unappealing that we are already getting complaints from parents. It is also leading me to make a decision to discontinue my leadership at the end of this year since it has become too big an undertaking and really does not seem to take either the girls' or the leaders' opinions into account. I now that many of these complaints about the Journeys have been out there for quite a while, and yet GSUSA chose to go ahead and roll out new materials and take away the existing ones without any regard for those concerns. A final note, the fact that it is the end of October and many leaders still cannot get the materials is really a problem. I know we have always tried to do some planning for the year during the summer to "be prepared," and yet now we find ourselves trying to figure out the new materials without even having access to all of them yet. Very poor.

Posted on: October 20, 2011

Joyann said:

Our brownie troop did 2 journeys: leadership quest and WOW. We used most of the ideas from the leaders guide with success. The girls were really engaged with the water journey. Would be happy to share more of our activities.

Posted on: October 15, 2011

Sheree said:

I'm just a little upset with all of these new changes and find it hard to believe that there is such widespread acceptance towards this based on what i've been reading on this blog. Were any people in our Council (GSEP)on this committee for these drastic changes? We've had to purchase the books because there is no other options at this point. We were told that we would still be able to get the old badges this year-which my girls enjoy doing- only to find out that they are no longer available! I don't understand why one thing is said and another is done. As far as the Journey book goes, again I brought it to my girls attention and they are not happy with it at all - as several people commented - they view it as homework and frankly so do I. I've purchased the new book and while it looks very pretty I think the badges are very young looking - I have Juniors and to me they look like badges for Daisy's. My girls like the traditional looking badges as well as all of the choices we had. I'm sorry for the way this may be coming across but I'm upset that I've tried to order badges for my girls for things they have already earned and now can not present them with them. I think for our 100 year celebration we maybe should have reintroduced some of the older badges that were done in the beginning instead of revamping everything that made it Girl Scouts.

Posted on: October 14, 2011

karen d said:

I was at the Fall meeting, and I must say that no one was happy about the journeys or the bools. many were concerned about the price. This is going to be a hard sell. Hope you have some positive ideas -that are genuine -to help leaders. I have not received any positive feedback yet. very sad.

Posted on: October 14, 2011

Patti M. said:

So frustrated right now. Trying to figure out what I can do with my troop that might interest them other than Journeys which is like pulling teeth with my girls. So I decided to do the Make Your Own Badge. Start reading the requirements and go to the website provided only to find out that this won't even been available until February, 2012. What is up with GSUSA? So ready to chuck it all as the new badges, Journeys and GSUSA is so frustrating.

Posted on: October 12, 2011

Lara said:

Is anyone at GSUSA listening to the leaders and the girls? The Journeys are really, really bad. They are terribly boring and limiting. My troop signed up for an extracurricular activity, not another curriculum. I don't believe the "research" and, if GSUSA is going to keep justifying these programs on this basis, then I want to see the research and the methodology. Another grade-level training is not going to salvage these stinkers. I've e-mailed GSUSA, several times, but never get a response. Same with my Council (it's not this one). I tell the council's service unit rep. . . she says things that are almost identical to your responses in this blog--which makes me think GSUSA is giving you talking points. GSUSA knows the Journeys are bad, but they must've sunk so much money into development, now they're going to stick with them no matter what. To force us into compliance, they're yanking beloved badges and try-its. Please, please, please make these Journeys go away.

Posted on: October 11, 2011

Jamie Mosser said:

@Laura Reese- Don't quit Girl Scouting just because you dislike the Journeys! I've been involved in Girl Scouts since I was a 3rd grade Brownie (Yeah back when we had those!) I earned my Bronze, Silver and Gold and became a leader as soon as I graduated. I'm now in my 3rd year of being a leader and while I love being a leader I HATE Journeys! Unfortunately quitting won't get GSUSA's attention. Neither will sending emails or complaining on a counsel blog (which stinks because I love complaining to counsel!) Leaders like you and I (and everyone else on this blog who is dissatisfied with Journeys)need to come together and attack National head on. I was always taught as a Girl Scout to fight and stand up for what I believe in, not to quit when things got too hard. That's the whole point of being a Girl Scout! I really think that everyone who hates Journeys needs to march on National and protest RIGHT outside their headquarters but that's just me with my extremist ideologies. It sounds great in my head but might not work so well in reality. If I could get enough people behind me I would LOVE to do it though. Just remember, DON'T QUIT KEEP FIGHTING! Girl Scouts have changed the world in the past so there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to change our own rules when we don't agree with them!

Posted on: October 11, 2011

Lynn said:

So far, I'm very disappointed. I think the new curriculum should have been introduced before September. Trying to plan is impossible. The choices in badges are so limited. I would really like to know exactly who the research was done on and the number. My oldest daughter does journeys with her troop and doesn't like it. And she is the quiet, reader sort that I really would think would. As a leader for my youngest daughter, we chose not to participate in Journeys - because feedback from the other troop was so bad, "Boring" is what most say. Now - new Juniors - we really have no other options. It stinks. And the cost is unreasonable. Comparing it to activities is silly because we WANT to spend our money on activities. THAT is what the girls want to do. Activities! Not book work. And we try very hard to offer free ones or cheaper ones as it is. Not all parents can afford this. Today I had a meeting where we tried to discuss one subject. It kept their interest for less than 5 minutes. I can not imagine my girls being happy at all. Also - the new badges are ugly. They look like cartoons. Why are they pink for goodness sake? As my daughter pointed out "most of the girls in girl scouts are 'Tom-boy's - and don't like pink." As a girl scout myself - I think these changes are not good ones. And to think we are celebrating 100 years this next year - by throwing out years of history. Leaders I know are VERY unhappy and talk about quitting. - Which is probably the REAL reason membership is down. GSUSA needs to re-evaluate their new program.

Posted on: October 5, 2011

Kathy Dunsmore said:

Jennifer - I have Brownie Quest. Some of this stuff is a repeat of things we did in Daisies - like the Discovering Me star. We did the same thing with flower shapes last year. Or it just doesn't sound interesting - like the Circle Map or the Brainstorming session. I'm really going to spend whole meetings talking at 2nd graders? I can't keep their attention for more that a few minutes at troop meetings. I also have concerns about the Take Action projects. The Council guides say they have to be "sustainable" and "measurable". I understand that at the Cadette and above level, but for 7 year olds? I have enough on my plate. Now I have to come up with elaborate projects and ensure that someone is going to do them year after year? We are volunteers and you are asking way too much of us.

Posted on: October 3, 2011

Kathy Dunsmore said:

First, I had to laugh at the comment that they seem well made. I'm not sure who at National thought 3 ring binders was a good idea for little girls. I've had my book for a couple of weeks and it is already groaning and the rings are loosening up. I bought a copy for my daughter with the intention of letting the other girls use it. Unfortunately, I now know this is one book I won't be able to let the girls touch. (On a positive note, I have looked through the requirements for the new legacy badges and I like most of them. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the badges.) Jennifer, I am really hoping for some guidance from Council on the Journeys. I have one of the Brownie Journeys and I actually like some of the concepts in the books. It's just that the tasks are kind of boring. I spent the summer trying to come up with ideas and I was frustrated! As a Daisy leader, I got a lot of good ideas for Daisy Petals off of leader blogs. I would really like to have a resource where leaders could share their ideas on how they met the requirements of a Journey and still kept it interesting.

Posted on: September 30, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Kathy, Hmmm that is the first I heard that the book is not ideal (three ring binders). I am working on Grade Level Training right now to be able to offer to volunteers. Which Brownie Journey do you want to hear about? Are there any leaders who have done any of the Brownie Journeys and have ideas? Leave a post! Thanks.

Posted on: September 30, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

In order to get the girls who did not already do a Journey caught up, I would ask a parent to come in for a specified amount of time each meeting, and work with those girls to complete the journey! Good luck!

Posted on: September 29, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Girls are welcome to blog and share their thoughts about the Journeys! Thanks

Posted on: September 29, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Dear Recent Bloggers, I will answer the rest of the posts in one blog entry. Several of you expressed concern that this is more like school than Girl Scouts. Coming later this fall will be Grade Level Training. Daisy, Brownie, Junior and Cadettes each have their own workshop and Senior/Ambassadors will have a combined workshop. I am working on the curriculum right now for each workshop and hope that those of you who need assistance after expressing your concerns will join us at one of the sessions. Thanks for your thoughts- we have heard them and we hope to see you at a workshop to discuss them further. Price of items. The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting costs $16.87 until March 12, 2012. Yes, the Journeys are additional, but I have thought a lot about this. All activities that parents sign their children up for cost money. If you divide the cost of a Girl's Guide and two Journeys over the span of two years that is only $1.30 a month. I think that is a good value and price to pay for a Leadership Program. Finally, for those of you who can't wait till the new badges are in the shops- I hear they will be there by mid October. The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting is already available. Thanks everyone for your comments. Jennifer

Posted on: September 29, 2011

Debra McCann said:

I have looked through the Girls Guides for Daisy through Junior, all levels in my troop. However, the badge requirements included are only for legacy badges. My juniors wish to complete the Camping badge when they go camping next week. Where do I find the requirements for this badge? Why are not all the requirements included?

Posted on: September 28, 2011

jennifer e-m said:

Are the GGGS books in store yet? From this blog, it was indicated that they were to be in store by now but from my understanding, they're still not available.... What's the official word?

Posted on: September 28, 2011

Sonya Vitarelli said:

Is there are release date yet for the Activity Badge sets yet? We have a multi level camping trip and would love to see if we can get the camping related(at the differernt levels) badge completed or at least half done.

Posted on: September 27, 2011

Patty S. said:

Hasn't anyone complained about the price? I'm a Brownie leader, and of course last year I bought the handbook and the badge book, which was around $20. Now this year, I have to buy the new binder at almost $17, plus the Journey book that is $7, and the pages to go into the binder for another $4. And I'm supposed to encourage my girls' parents to each buy one for their daughter. Not everyone will be able to afford it. The quality of the binder is very nice, and worth the money, but Girl Scouts is supposed to be a very affordable activity, and I think this is a little steep. Next year when my troop moves up to Juniors, they'll have to buy another binder, as well as a new sash or vest and the patches to go along with it. Please correct me if I am mistaken. Thanks.

Posted on: September 27, 2011

PA Junior Leader said:

I am also in the "too much like school" camp. The changes to the badge program are very distressing and will lead to most girls dropping out of scouts by the time they hit Cadettes. In an attempt to be "relevant" you've taken the joy and the fun out of Girl Scouting for many girls and leaders.

Posted on: September 20, 2011

Elizabeth said:

I agree with Denise the girls feel like they are in school. Pretty pages in the books but not very fun. The girls do not even want to hear the word Journey at their meetings. Are the girls allowed to post their feelings here? I know some of mine would love too.

Posted on: September 19, 2011

Cathrine said:

I have to say - I agree with Denise 100%. She is spot on. I'm quite frankly not sure what my 2 troops are going to do this year. Also, I'm very disappointed in the resources. When I purchased a $22 badge book - I expected to at least get all 32 of the badges available - not 12.

Posted on: September 18, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Denise, Thanks for providing us with your candid feedback. The bottom line is the National Program Portfolio which includes three Journeys for each grade level and the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting is not going to change. Research has been done to determine that it does meet girls needs in a leadership program. All that said, I am currently working on curriculum for volunteers that will provide each level with it's specific Grade Level Journey Training. Please email me at jallebach@gsep.org and after October when the courses will be done, we can talk about bringing the Grade Level workshop to your area. Jennifer

Posted on: September 15, 2011

Bronze Award/ Journey Help said:

I have a 5th grade junior troop with 17 girls and we did the Get Moving journey last year in prep for the bronze award this year. I now have 3 new girls this year - 2 with no girl scout experience and 1 who was a junior last year but did not do a journey with her old troop. So my question is what is the best way to get the 3 new girls a journey experience so they can work on the bronze award with us? Looking for any suggestions.

Posted on: September 15, 2011

Denise said:

Hi Jennifer, count me as another who doesn't get the Journey's. People have pointed out some issues that need to be addressed. Our junior troop tried the Get Moving program. I found the books themselves very awkward. It's not practical to follow a 12 week program as listed in the leader book. (Count us a troop that like the smaller more manageable and FUN badges.) so I tried to look at activities that would meet the requirements, but found myself going through both the girl and leader book and still am not sure what the requirements are. A HUGE POINT: this really is too much like school. After spending all day in school, our girls don't want to do more assignments.I'm not sure which girls this was tested with but I don't think it meets of the majority of the girls we see. Yes, they want to learn, but they want to have fun. If the journey's and the girl scout program become school like, girls will leave. It almost appears to be a wash-out program. There needs to be changes made to make this more applicable to girls overall. I'm not looking for encouragement to work the journeys as they are. I'm looking for information on how to change the program to meet our girls' needs.

Posted on: September 11, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Hello everyone! Sorry I have not responded but I am having technical difficulties: Jennifer- the Junior Signs are no longer available. The Junior Aide, however, is and here is a synopsis of the requirements Junior Aide Basic requirements – make and complete a plan to guide Girl Scout Daisies or Brownies on one of their Journeys. Follow these three steps to earn the award: 1. Get Ready: Talk with your adult volunteer or the person who is helping you about becoming a Junior Aide. Find a group of Daisies or Brownies to work with. 2.Get Set: Talk to the Daisy or Brownie Leader and find out what you can do to help. Arrange dates, times etc to get together with the girls and discuss activities that you will do for at least three meetings. 3. GO! Meet with the girls!!! Laura- Since I had the Junior Book open for Jennifer’s answer, I checked and for the Junior level there are 27 badges, and 20 awards. You are correct that this is far less than before, but GSUSA changes and updates the amount of badges to reflect the changing interests of the girls. This is rooted in research and focus groups that were held around the country to find out what girls really want. I will be anxious to hear what your girls think of the new Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. Elizabeth- sorry to hear your girls did not like the Journey. Have they seen the third Journey (It’s your story, tell it) ? Let them explore that one and select activities that resonate with them. Also contact the Journey Hotline at 1.800.355.3847 x 1459 or email journeys@gsep.org. We will be glad to help!

Posted on: September 8, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

The new GGGS books will be available at the Valley Forge Retail Shop on Thursday, September 8; the Lehigh Valley Retail Shop on Friday, September 9; the Shelly Ridge Retail Shop on Monday, September 12; and the Delaware County and Jane Seltzer Retail Shops will have their books on Wednesday, September 14.

Posted on: September 8, 2011

Elizabeth said:

Unfortunately I see many questions and not many answers. My comment is that my troop tried the Justice Journey this past year. Only one decided to complete it because she has to in order to the Gold Award. I can honestly say they disliked them. What are they going to bring in to keep the girls interested? The girls ages are 15 and 16. They went to 3 of the Justice Journey programs and decided this was not for them. Sad

Posted on: September 7, 2011

Jennifer said:

Will Juniors be able to earn the 4 signs (sun, star, rainbow etc). Also will they be able to earn the junior aid badge as I have not seen the badge in the stores so I am wondering if it was retired.

Posted on: September 1, 2011

Laura Reese said:

Our service unit had its first leader meeting of the year last night. I felt bad for our membership rep. She could not answer 99% of our questions. I couldn't tell if that was because she/you have not been given the answers or she was told to "stick to a certain script". I am one of obviously many leaders that are extremely unhappy and frustrated with these changes. There are intirely to few badges. Our troop is multi-level (Daisy thru Senior)none of our 55+ girls have liked the Journey system. Like others have discussed here, they only do them because they have no choice. The lack of planning on the implementation timing as well as the lack of information and forwarning has many girls and leaders ready to quit. This organization has always bemoaned the lack of ability to retail girls and leaders - start looking inside (not out) as to the reason. I have 5 more years with my daughter, I am not sure it is going to happen at this point. I at least now get why when I emailed USA to ask for a list of badges that were staying they talked around the answer. The answer is that NONE are staying. The requirements are so different that the few being offered are very different reqardless of the name. They could have answered that instead of being so cryptic and talking around the point. They should also be selling an entire set of all the books - Badge book, Journeys and Skill building sets. As I will NOT be purchasing these books from GSEP. I refuse to pay your $1.50 per book (regardless of size) shipping fee. If I ordered a full set for just one of our levels that would be $10.50 in the extra shipping fee alone. Highway robbery and I will not do it. I will wait to order them from GSUSA site as I do with everything.

Posted on: August 31, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Joan, Your points are valid. The time schedule and release date were provided to us by GSUSA. You are right that timing is everything but once the girls see the books I think they be able to really get moving with the badges and activities in there! Thanks for writing.

Posted on: August 26, 2011

Joan Schleinkofer said:

Hi Jennifer - while all the new changes sound exciting (new books, revised training, ebiz) I think it would have made sense to implement the changes in the spring or early summer to give leaders the opportunity to get acclimated to the new ways. You may want to take that into consideration going forward. This is the busiest time of year for our volunteers with school, girl scouts, and fall activites all starting up at the same time, which does not allow much time to "study" and learn the new procedures. Thanks for listening.

Posted on: August 25, 2011

Daisy Troop #440 said:

Girl's Guide Sneak Peek? Will volunteers in GSEP have the chance to have a sneak peek of the new books? Will the books travel around our Council?

Posted on: August 23, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Dear Daisy Troop, Tonight we previewed the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting at our first Fall Kick Off for Service Unit Teams. I think the Service Unit Teams were excited to see them. Don't forget that you can reserve your copy by calling any Service Center.

Posted on: August 23, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Melissa, I am not near my Girl's Guide Resources until Monday. I will provide you with an answer then. Have a great weekend!

Posted on: August 20, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Hello everyone! First I want to thank you for your entries with great questions. Hopefully, my answers over the past week have been helpful as we begin a new membership year with exciting new materials for the girls. Here are some updates about the council shops! I peeked in the windows of Shelly Ridge's shop where I saw our staff busily re merchandizing the displays and it looks so inviting. They were being assisted by GSUSA Retail staff. I think you will be seeing beautiful new displays in our other shops as well. Please note the schedule for the next few weeks: week of August 22nd- Shelly Ridge and Valley Forge closed for inventory. Delco, Jane Seltzer, and Lehigh - open for summer hours. week of August 29th- Lehigh Valley closed for inventory and all others open for summer hours. Beginning Sept 6- regular shop hours resume with these additions: Open till 7 pm- Delco-Monday, Lehigh-Tuesday, Shelly Ridge and Jane Seltzer-Weds, Valley Forge- Thursday. All retiring badges, and resources will be moved to Shelly Ridge so call if you are too far away to visit that shop. Although badges and books are still available in defined quanities, all are encouraged to sign up for a reserved Girl's Guide at a reduced price of $16.50. Hope this helps!

Posted on: August 19, 2011

melissa said:

Could you tell me if the Junior Aide and Leadership Award will still be available with the introduction of the new books?

Posted on: August 19, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Thanks to all for your posts! Yes you can reserve your copy(s) of the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting by calling one of the Council Shops. You will be put on the list and you can pay in advance or when you pick up. You can also use Adventure Credits before they expire! The numbers to the shops are: Shelly Ridge-215 483 7744 Lehigh Valley-484 866 4140 Valley Forge-484 927 2317 Jane Seltzer-215 745 8757 Delaware County-610 328 7564.

Posted on: August 16, 2011

Kathy Dunsmore said:

Jennifer - For those of us who completed early registration, will we be receiving a voucher to pre-order our copy? Also, could you please address when the stores and website will be updated to reflect the fact that the old books are going away? Thanks!

Posted on: August 16, 2011

Jeannine said:

When will we be able to pre-purchase the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting? It seems other councils are offering this. Will GSEP?

Posted on: August 15, 2011

Kathy Dunsmore said:

Can you address when the old material will be pulled out of the shops? I was at Shelly Ridge last week and was very disappointed to see that the old Brownie Handbooks/Try-Its were still in the stores. There was nothing to indicate these things are about to go away. Same for the GSEP website. I've warned my parents not to purchase them, but why is Council not making it clear? I noted the National store has included a note in their web store about the books.

Posted on: August 14, 2011

Susan Donahue-Sinback said:

Are the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting books available for pre-order at the discount price from GSEP? I can't find any information about the books on the GSEP shop page.

Posted on: August 13, 2011

Patti Mosser said:

When will we learn the new meanings to the Troop Crests so that we can have the girls pick what best represents their troop?

Posted on: August 12, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Patti, we will check and get back to you. Jennifer

Posted on: August 12, 2011

Melody Holena said:

I agree with the other leaders who wrote, my girls are heading into Seniors and love to earn badges. They do not like Journeys except to earn their higher awards. I hate to see the badge level go down and there are hardly any extra badges in Ambassadors. It is a shame the Girl Scouts took out all the unique badges that gave the girls a chance to do things they might never have done otherwise. It also gets harder to keep them in if they are not interested. Thanks for listening.

Posted on: August 12, 2011

Sara Miller said:

I understand that GSUSA has said more badges would be added in the future, but how does that help the girls today? My daughter looked at the Cadette badges and asked "Where is the camping badge? Why is there no art badge with sculpting?" Basically, an 11-year-old pointed out that the topics are severely limited. Jennifer, I did see your post stating there are 32 badges for Juniors, but when there are only two Cookie and two Finance badges, it makes me think they were designed to be completed one per year (hence why Cadettes have three of each). And who are we kidding by saying there are "nine" Journey awards when they're packaged three awards to a pack? There are three three-piece awards. I'm sorry, but regardless of how you spin it, girls have gone from 104 badge options to 32, and considering how different each girl is, the new program is limiting at best. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind after I see the new requirements and materials...whenever that might be.

Posted on: August 11, 2011

Patti Mosser said:

I was very disappointed in the look of the new badges and the quantity of badges that can be earned in each level. We are very active troops and no matter how much I press Journeys to the girls, they are not interested and only do a Journey if they want to earn Bronze, Silver or Gold. They loved earning many badges and having so many choices, especially council's own. Our Junior and older girl troops picked and planned all their badges. It is very difficult to plan out the year with so little to choose from and not even having the requirements available to the leaders already. Also the fact that GSUSA has broken the older girls badges into levels when my large troop is a mixed Cadette, Senior and Ambassador troop who likes to work together rather than separately in groups. I'm very disappointed in the changes that have been made and I think many leaders all over the USA share my disappointment. I really feel the changes are too drastic. I already have girls who don't want to return as they are not interested in the changes. Finding leaders is also hard since they say GS seems like school now.

Posted on: August 11, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Sara, You are absolutely correct that there are less badges. We are looking forward to seeing how the girls dive into the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting and read about the badges and the awards in the books and not just on handouts. The National Program Portfolio was designed with girls input from around the country. I just can't wait till Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania girls see them! Thanks Sara for posting so quickly!! Let's keep the conversation going.

Posted on: August 11, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Hi Patti, Can you tell I am new at blogging? I am trying to sync my responses under the right comments, and I apologize if these are out of order. I think it is hard to get a feel for the look from handouts or a catalog. Once we can pick the book up and really read it and delve into it, we will be able to understand it better. You bring up a good point about multi level troops and earning age level badges. I know that multi level troops provide the girls with a choice of journeys. I will get an answer about earning badges in multi level troops and post as soon as I can. Thanks for putting your comment from facebook onto the blog. That way more volunteers can see what others are feeling about the Girl's Guide.

Posted on: August 11, 2011

Laurie said:

The new book looks like it will be a neat new addition to the program. However, the emphasis on Journeys and the elimination of most badges is, in my opinion, a sad thing to see take place. The girls like the short-term projects that badges provide; they try things they might not otherwise try. I did that 40 years ago, and I still remember my badges, those that were fun and those that I finished just to get it done :) The girls (Juniors) looked at the Journeys books and asked if they had to them. Their take? "This looks like school work." My own daughter, who loves everything Girl Scouts, looked at the newly posted grade level info, and she asked where the badges were. She then said, "that's it?" She loves, loves, loves earning badges, even those that aren't necessarily of interest to her. She wants to put the badge on her vest, so earning it motivates her to try new things or "the boring stuff". I'm sad to see this change, but as a leader, I'll do my best to help the girls and to encourage them and to find the fun. I'm hoping GSEP will help with that, because I'm one of many leaders who doesn't "get" Journeys. Thanks for letting me voice my opinion.

Posted on: August 10, 2011

Jeannine Espenshade said:

I am starting to plan my scouting year, and am a bit lost with no Age Level Books to guide me. Do you have any suggestions on how to get through September until the new books arrive?

Posted on: August 10, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Laurie, I remember badges as a very important part of my Girl Scout experience too, and I am really excited about the new badges in the Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting. Did you know there are 4 Financial Literacy, 7 Legacy, 15 Skill building, 1 Make your own badges for a total of 32 badges for Girl Scout Juniors. Then, Juniors can also earn 9 Journey awards, and 10 additional awards including the Bronze Award. Whew! Thanks for writing and write back to let us know what the girls think of the new Guide!!!! Jennifer

Posted on: August 10, 2011

Jennifer Allebach said:

Jeannine, Thanks for writing! Please go to our homepage and see some of the information we have posted about the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting. I have put the link to the FAQ's here and there are also informational sheets by age level on the home page. http://www.gsep.org/media/files/girls_guide_details.pdf.

Posted on: August 10, 2011

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