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Putting the Brownie Quest Journey into Action!
Girl Scout Brownies Everywhere are Discovering that it's Never Too Early to Change the World
How are you using the new Brownie Quest journey book?
That's the question we put to volunteers across the country. It's been a year since materials for the first Girl Scout journey, It's Your World—Change It!, debuted, and we wanted to find the best practices emerging from the field.
Initial reports are great—volunteers say that following the book fosters cooperative learning and puts decision-making in the girls' hands. "The girls love that they have ultimate control over what we do as a group," says Florentine Overko of Norwood, Mass.
Volunteers also report that having the Brownie Quest how-to guide for adults is extremely helpful. The guide "can literally plan out your meetings for you but there's room to throw in your own flavor and personality," says Jennifer Horne of Broomfield, Colo. "I would recommend it to any Brownie volunteer."
Here are specific examples of how girls and their mentors are using the journey book and customizing it to suit their needs.
"We designate about 10 minutes of our meetings to reading the journey book stories [about Brownie Elf and her friends Campbell, Jamila, and Alejandra, on pages 4–39 of Brownie Quest] and discussing what we have read. The fact that the girls in the story come from different backgrounds has led to our learning about different cultures from around the world. Many of the girls in my troop speak Spanish, and I grew up in Fiji. Our talks have helped the girls discuss and embrace our diversity."
—Shenaz Haney, Troop 6891, Lubbock, Texas
"At the beginning of the year, we created a 'Discovering Me' poster for each of the girls [page 49 of the Brownie Quest book for girls and pages 42–44 of the how-to guide for adults] by writing each girl's name in bubble letters on a piece of poster board. The girls decorated their posters by bringing things from home that they felt described them in some way. I brought the posters to every meeting and they added things as the year went on. When school ended, they presented their posters to their parents as a way of showing how they'd grown since they started Girl Scouts.
"I like the exercise because it gets the girls to think about themselves. You can tell by the way they act that a couple girls sometimes don't think they're good at anything—but these posters show them that everyone's important and special in their own way."
—Ashley Goss, Troop 60141, Garden City, Kan.
"Like many other troops, we made star posters [page 49 of the Brownie Quest book for girls and pages 42–44 of the how-to guide for adults]. The girls talked to their families about their individual talents, and each made a poster with a star on it that lists her name and her talents. For every activity we do, my co-leader and I will refer to what they've said about themselves. For instance, we'll say, 'Maddie, how can you bring your talent of being a good friend into this project?'
"You see their eyes light up—it continually reminds them what they've discovered about themselves and gives them opportunities to put their talents to use. They feel like they're part of a group, but they recognize that they each bring something special. To learn that lesson at such a young age is awesome."
—Jennifer Horne, Troop 3261, Broomfield, Colo.
"We came up with a Brownie Team Agreement [page 53 of Brownie Quest and page 61 of the how-to guide]. The girls suggested details that were important to them—no touching each other without permission, no pushing, and letting everyone have their say. The girls created a poster with the team agreement on it, and then they abided by it when they started discussing what they wanted to do for their community service. They really took the time to give everyone a chance to talk. Some of the girls who hadn't been all that vocal now have more of a say."
—Florentine Overko, Troop 80619, Norwood, Mass.
"When it came time to choose an action project, I made a giant Circle of Caring on the dry erase board with the word 'ME' in the middle [pages 65–69 of the how-to guide]. We talked about where we were in the Quest and how we are all connected to our families, our immediate community, the greater community of Girl Scouts, and the whole world. The girls offered up different ways we could help our community, then they voted to prepare goodie packages for U.S. troops."
—Lisa Colasanti, Troop 704, Mustang, Okla.
"The thing my girls have loved the most is the Take Action project [pages 61–64 of Brownie Quest and pages 65–87 of the how-to guide]. We read about how Girl Scout Brownies care about their communities and they decided they wanted to clean up a local park.
"Part of the journey is to contact someone in the community. We talked about how they could write letters to our state representative and ask for dumpsters and trash bags. It had never occurred to the girls that there was a larger community they could reach out to. We wrote all the talking points on a board, and they each wrote their own letter and drew pictures of themselves cleaning up the mess in the park.
"Personally, I really appreciate the leader guide. With its meeting outlines and discussion starters, it has been an incredible help to someone whose meetings once tended towards total chaos."
—Katrina Mink, Troop 51369, Pittsburgh, Pa