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Running Your Girl Scout Troop - Brownies
If you took the council training, do you feel prepared for your first meeting?
What are you going to do for 2011-2012?
Brownies for Dummies
This Hub-page is basically going to be Brownies for Dummies. So if you have some experience with running a troop you might read some of this and say “no kidding”. Take what you can and try to remember what it was like when you knew nothing. If you have already taken the required training class at your council it should have given you an idea of what you are in for. Some of you have not taken this training for a variety of reasons. Maybe the date of the class just hasn't happened yet. Even if you have taken the class, I have found the best teachers are those who have been doing the meetings. So if you are a beginner read on. If you are a pro I hope there might be a new thing or two you can use.
When I started my brownie troop, brownies was for three years, first through third grades. I had a lot of time to complete Try-its with my girls. Recently Girl Scouts changed the format of their program. You will only have your Brownie troop for two years, second and third grades. I was able to complete over 30 Try-its with each of my troops, about 12 a year. The other reason I was able to do so much was how I ran my meetings. I did what I called “stations”. I was lucky enough to have 3 other adults at each meeting to help. Once I explain how to complete a Try-it this will all become clear. So let’s get started.
What Do Brownies do?
There are no “Awards” at the Brownie level. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are earned at the higher levels of girl scouts. Girls Scouts have now added a new line of books for the girls. They are called "Journeys". As of the Winter 2010 they have 3 books to choose from. They have phased out the Try-its and are having the girls do a "Journey" each year. I did not cover these books in this Hub. I plan on doing so at a later time with a separate Hub. I did include a link to those books below. (As of the 2011-2012 year they added the Girl Guide books. These books have new badges for the girls to earn. Since I do not have a Brownie girl any more I have not seen the Brownie badges. I do plan on looking at them as soon as I can.) I have decided to leave this Hub up as it can give you ideas to use withing your troop. If you have a Try-it book, use it. You may not be able to get a Try-it patch anymore but that does not mean that the activities aren't worth while. If you do any of them you can get a Fun Patch for the back of your girls' instead.
Try-its are triangular shaped patches that go on the front, bottom, left and right sides of the girls brownie vest/sash. They never go on the back of the vest/sash. The requirements for the Try-its are found in the Try-its for Brownie Girl Scouts book. You can buy this at your council or click on the site to the right. (There is also a Brownie Handbook that has the requirements for bridging and other activities. These two books can be purchased as a set) Try-its are broken down into five different categories. They are:
1. Brownies Girl Scouts, Let’s get started!
2. Taking Care of Yourself
3. Family and Friends
4. What’s Out There?
5. People Near and Far
Try to do a variety of Try-its from all the categories. This is also where your parent’s talents can be helpful. I had one parent who was a gym teacher. She did "GirlSports" with the troop. Another parent taught Zoomba and was able to do "My Body" with the troop.
Each Try-it will give you five to seven choices to complete the try-it. You must complete four to earn the Try-it. Before you look at the choices, read the introduction to the Try-it. It will let you know what the try-it is about. This is important. There are times where I had to improvise or substitute an activity for my girls. It is import to only do this as a last resort and to keep the change within the spirit of the Try-it. For example, the Sports and Games Try-it, in the past our town had a Bicycle Rodeo every year. I used that for the Bicycle requirement of that Try-it. The Rodeo was more involved and covered a lot of safety rules. Lastly, I felt the police department was better equipped to teach the girls than I was. So use your head and give your girls as rich of an experience as you can.
On-line Try-its and Other Activities to Earn
There are also some on-line Try-its, pins, and patches your girls can earn. You need to go to the Nation Girl Scout web site to get the requirements for these. They are changing these awards throughout the year 2011-2012 so please look them up for yourself. Some that I have listed may no longer be available. The address for their site is http://www.girlscouts.org. You need to go to the Program tab than the Girl Scout Central tab and in the index at the right hand side click on Awards, Badges, Bridging and Other Insignia. Lastly, click under Brownies. The names of these patches are:
Computer Smarts, Cookies Count, Point, Click, and Go, Smart Cookie, Wave the Flag, Girl Scout Cookie Sale Activity Pin, Safety Award for Brownie Girl Scouts, Ms. President Patch (The White House Project), and Water Drop Patch.
Click on the name of the one you would like to see the requirements for. Wave the flag is a Try-it and both my troops had fun with our local Foreign Legion earning that one.
Earlier I said I would run my meetings in stations. Since there are four requirements for each Try-it I would have four stations at a meeting, one for each requirement. The girls are broken down into smaller groups of 3-5 depending on how many are at the meeting. You should also take the time to make different groups of girls for each meeting. Don't put all the "active" or "talkative" girls in one group. Mix them up so they all get to be together at one point or another. The girls move from station to station about every 15 to 20 minutes. Three stations would have a parent running them. One station would have a leader running it and the other leader would keep all the stations running smoothly. This included switching the stations on time, getting anything a station may need and pulling out any of the girls that may be having a problem, etc. These problems could range from needing the bathroom to breaking down in tears because they felt someone had hurt their feelings. Sometimes there are only three stations. It depends on the Try-it. You can do three requirements at the meeting in stations and one on a field trip. I loved taking my girls on field trips. I'm lucky to have two nature centers close by. When we went there they were able to complete a Try-it in one trip. If your parents just can't or won't help out, you can still do stations. Each troop is supposed to have two leaders. So complete the Try-it in two meetings. Just have two stations at each meeting with one leader at each station. The groups will be larger and you won't have anyone "overseeing" the meeting so you will need a little more time at each station. You also might be able to find a Girl Scout or two from an older troop that can help out at your meetings and run a station. Older Girl Scouts have many requirements for badges and awards where they need to help younger girls do things. They can be a great resource.