Heading into this long weekend full of family, friends, and way too much food, I think we’re all feeling ready for a little break. It’s been a busy fall! I just finished leading two super fun Brownie Wonders of Water Journey Day events where over 150 Brownies started their Journeys together, and I can’t wait to hear about the amazing Take Action projects each troop comes up with (don’t forget to share your story with us, it’s the only way I get to hear these things!).
If you haven’t had your first troop meeting yet, let alone started on a Journey (what even is that?), DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! Lots of troops are still getting started, and I know that all of these resources (Girl’s Guides? Journey books? Activity sets? Oh my!) can be a bit overwhelming. Read on for tips on how to lead your troop through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (or “GSLE,” for us insiders) with little to no stress. You’ve got options, you’ve got support, and you’ve got this!
What is the GSLE?
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is basically the framework for everything we do here at Girl Scouts. It’s based around three key activities: girls Discover who they are and what they care about; Connect with others; and Take Action to make the world a better place.
Option 1: Make it your own. Girl Scouts has tons of amazing resources to help leaders get creative and use their own connections, skills, and resources to help their troop through the GSLE. In the Journey books, Girls’ Guides, and activity sets, you’ll get options and ideas for every step, so you can put together a unique activity your girls will love. As girls get older, they can take over more and more of the creative process – soon, they’ll be running the show! You’ll be amazed at what you and your girls will come up with.
Option 2: Use our activity plans. If you’re not really keen to add “curriculum development” to your LinkedIn skills just yet, we’ve got you covered. Head to River Valleys’ website to download easy-to-follow activity plans with step by step instructions to lead your troop through fun activities developed by our in-house curriculum experts, and earn a badge or Journey in one to three meetings!
Option 3: Connect with your service unit. Many service units put on badge earning events of their own, or may be able to point you to some local resources to help you get it done. They may also know of another troop in your area looking to earn the same badge, troop leaders who’ve already done it and can give you advice, or an older girl troop that is looking for a chance to lead!
Option 4: Come to an event. Go online and register for a council-sponsored event in your area and start your Journey or badge earning alongside troops from all across River Valleys! We’ll get your girls through some (or all) of their steps, and you can take notes on activities or styles you want to try leading yourself (we don’t mind – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!).
Option 5: Work with the experts. Check out the field trip page on our website for organizations in your community who can help your troop through a badge or Journey on location at a working farm, art studio, doctor’s office, and more!
P.S. One more piece of advice, if I may. Remember that the GSLE is so much more than just earning badges, so don’t feel like you have to earn a badge at every meeting – helping their community, going on exciting trips, exploring the outdoors, and improving their cookie business are all important parts of Girl Scouts too!
Natasha Brownlee – Natasha is a Program Specialist at River Valleys, where she develops and leads awesome Girl Scout events – and runs the In the Loop blog! Her background is in curriculum development, programming, and creative writing. She has BA’s in Peace Studies and French and a MSc in Gender, Development & Globalization and has worked with various girl-centered organizations in the US and abroad. Natasha loves traveling around the world, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her dog, Rooney!