Getting Started with the National Leadership Program through Journeys
The Girl Scout program is based on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), in which girls discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place—all within the safety of an all-girl environment where girls take the lead, learn by doing, and learn cooperatively. Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan produces an annual program guide that’s full of programs that align with the GSLE called The Source. Be sure to take a look at The Source with your girls and encourage girls’ families to do the same. Girls may attend The Source programs with or without their troop and there are even events designed especially for Girl Scout families!
At the core of the GSLE are National Leadership Journeys, fun and challenging experiences grouped around a theme and spread over a series of sessions. Each Journey has all the important components of the GSLE sewn right in. So, to guide girls on a great Journey, all you need is enthusiasm and a sense of adventure. Before you dive in, try these six simple tips:
1. Be sure to check out the Journey maps. These maps show you how all the fun and meaningful traditions of Girl Scouting fit right into any National Leadership Journey. There, you can also find information about the topics that each Journey covers, which you can share with girls. And you’ll find even more fun traditions to complement your Journey in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, a resource for each grade level of Girl Scouting.
2. Choose a Journey. Because Girl Scouting is girl-led, it’s important to give girls the chance to pick the Journey they want to do. Talk to them about what each Journey for their grade level is about and let them choose one.
3. Get to know the Journey. Pick up a girls’ book and an adult guide. Read the girls’ book for the pleasure of it, just to get an overview of the Journey’s theme and content.
4. Review the sample session plans in the adult guide. These sample session plans give you ideas about bringing the Journey to life with girls while leaving plenty of room for creativity and customization.
5. Invite girls (and their parents/guardians) to use their imaginations to make the Journey come to life in ways that excite them. Remember that you and the girls don’t have to do everything exactly as laid out in the sample sessions.
6.Step back and watch how the girls, with your knowledge, support, and guidance, have enormous fun and a rewarding experience. Celebrate with them as they earn their National Leadership Journey awards—and perhaps some Girl Scout badges, too!