Monday, September 10, 2012

Staying On Track Throughout the Year

Badge Tracker Poster
At the end of our first year as a Girl Scout troop, we decided to play a fun little game, splitting the girls into two teams and quizzing them on the things they'd learned and done throughout the year. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the girls could barely name the Try-Its we'd completed. (And don't even get me started on the blank stares we got when we asked them about the service projects we'd done as a troop ... one of which we'd wrapped up just weeks prior.)

That experience taught us a valuable lesson. No matter how active your troop or how involved your girls are in the planning, it's important to continually remind them of the bigger picture and what you're working toward. As leaders, it sometimes seems like we're being repetitive, but repetition can be an effective tool in learning. During our meetings, we regularly discuss the activities we've been doing, the badges or Journey we're working on and what lies ahead. 

While we've always maintained a badge tracker to monitor who has completed what, this year we're adding another tool to our arsenal.

Tonight, I created a visual badge tracker, outlining all of the badges that we're hoping to earn this year. (I'll go into how we went about selecting the badges in a later post.) The poster shows each badge, what it looks like and the five requirements. The plan is to display the poster at each meeting and check off requirements as we complete them. This is especially handy as we don't always work on a badge from start to finish. For example, we're going to start Animal Habitats this fall but will likely need to wait until the spring to visit an animal sanctuary. This helps tie the requirements together and allows girls to see what's been accomplished and what we still need to do.

I'm not much of a designer, so it's nothing special to look at. But it's a simple idea I wish I'd thought of years ago, so I thought I'd share.

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