ReACTion is a meeting idea that National has put together partially in response to some of the negative media that has been surrounding us during and since the American Election. The activities are designed to help girls find their voice on local and global issues.
The two stated goals are:
- Girls will explore the fundamental idea that no one person is less important than another and that all individuals are entitled to feel that they belong, have a voice and have a place.
- Girls will develop the confidence and become empowered to share their voice on topics or issues that are important to them.
No matter what the current news stories are, these goals are always needed and I’m sure many units will find the meeting activities useful.
I really like the image they have chosen for this meeting. It repents the parts of our promise we make to ourselves, our beliefs, Canada and to take action for a better world.
There is a story that the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates told his students that they should pass any story they were going to tell about another person though three sieves before they told it. The first sieve is “Is it truthful?” The second sieve “Is it good or kind?” The third sieve is “Is it necessary?” If the story doesn’t fit though one of the three sieves then Socrates didn’t want to hear it and therefore the story didn’t need to be told. While there is some doubt Socrates ever said these things, the story would still make a good starting place for a discussion on gossip.
Here is an animated telling of the story.
National has released the instant meeting for the third Make a Difference Day for this Guiding year. December 10 is Human Rights Day making the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Instant Meeting focuses on Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
The Instant meeting can be found here.
Last year Girl Guides introduced Guidelines for Transgender Members. As one of the follow ups to this new policy, Quebec Girl Guides have produced meeting in a box on Gender and Sexuality issues. It is aimed at Guides and Pathfinders. The MiaB contains a great number of well thought out activities to get girls thinking about and talking about these issues. There is actually enough material for several meetings so you can pick and choose which ones to do. There is also a nice index showing what program areas are covered by each activity.
I’d defiantly present it as a meeting idea if I were working with a Pathfinder unit. For Guides I think it could work with a unit more mature then my current one.
Meeting-in-a-Box: Gender and Sexuality
This week we started the meeting with a short evaluation of the enrollment the week before. I tried out a new idea for evaluation where each girl was suppose to list one thing she want to continue, one thing she want to stop doing and one thing she wanted to add. It was clear after the first few girls that it wasn’t going to work. At least not that night with those girls. So we opened it up to a more free flowing conversation. The girls generally enjoyed the enrollment but their ideas for things to change next year were good.
Our enrollment this year was on a camping theme. We took our light up campfire and surrounded it with toasting sticks and sleeping bags. The parents pulled their chairs up around the outside. It was lovely and cozy.
Then we had each patrol make a patrol flag. We had them brain storm ideas based on the patrol flag template. Then they created a rough copy. And finally they created a good copy on a half sheet of Bristol board. Most of the patrols worked well together and the flags looked great. One patrol developed creative differences and a leader had to step in but even they ended up with a flag in the end.
Our unit was chosen to run a focus group as part of the Girls First program review. Our unit was assigned a focus group on ceremonies where the girls had to say what they liked or didn’t like about enrollment, campfire, Guides Own, horseshoe and Thinking Day. For the most part our girls seem to enjoy the ceremonial parts of Girl Guides, except possibly Guides Own which got a mixed review.
I learned a few new things about how our girls view ceremonies though. One, then want us to get out the fake campfire more often. Two, they’d like us to fix the flag stands so we can do colour party more often. And finally, they are highly motivated by snacks. Pretty much anytime food is involved they thought it was the best part of the ceremony.
National only wanted the opinions of girls who’d completed a full year or more of Guides. So while the focus group was running, our first year Guides worked on understanding their promise and law in preparation for enrollment in a few weeks time.
Then we came back together as a unit for our “knot of the week”. This week we did the clove hitch. I had the girls pair up with a rope each and they tried to tie clove hitches around each others thumbs. Once a pair was sure they had it, they went to find a pair that didn’t and helped them. Within 10 min all the girls could tie one.
We ended the night with some singing. I’ve been teaching the girls a few songs each week, trying to keep the songs within the same family of campfire songs (campfire openings, closings etc) with an aim to help them write their own campfires later in the year. This week we learned some yells. We did There an’t no flies on Us, Porridge in a Pot and Thunderation.
Dotmocracy is a process where by girls vote on ideas with dot stickers.
- Discuss the nature of the problem or idea
- Have the girls brain storm (as a group or in patrols) and write each idea on a different piece of paper.
- The papers are then posted on a wall. If different patrols came up with the same idea those papers can be posted together.
- Each girl is given the same number of stickers. They don’t have to be dots. Especially if you are doing this with Sparks they might enjoy something else.
- Each girl can stick her dots on whatever idea she likes the best. She is allowed to stick more then one sticker on an idea so that if she feels really passionate about one idea she can stick more stickers on that.
- You can iterate steps 3-5 several times if you need to reach a conscience.
We used this for Discover What’s Important to You #1 but there are lots of other applications. For older girls or for more complex problems you might want to consider using Idea Rating Sheets instead.