STEM, healthy living, creative arts, outdoor awareness, financial literacy… these are just a few of Girl Scouts’ favorite things. It’s so important for girls to try their hand at new and diverse experiences so that they can get to know what they like, but as leaders, it can sometimes be overwhelming – where do you start?! In an effort to support those leaders who appreciate a little structure and guidance, Girl Scouts River Valleys is excited to announce a ‘program theme’ for the year, based on one of our Journey themes (drumroll please…): It’s Your Planet—Love It!
“We’ve never had a program year theme before, why now?”
Here at council, we’ll be focusing our efforts and making things easier for you, the troop leader, to feel more connected to the River Valleys community. You’ll have more opportunities to hook up with other troops in your area who are doing similar things, a streamlined way to communicate with families about what exactly their girls are doing when they’re with you, and a more cohesive Girl Scout experience.
“Sounds great! So what does this mean for me and my troop?”
This planet-loving theme is truly for everyone. Whether or not you’re doing the It’s Your Planet—Love It! Journey this year, you can add an earth-friendly twist to everything your troop does. Add a recycling officer position to your kaper chart, have girls bring their own water bottles to every meeting instead of using juice boxes, get creative with outdoor art projects before the weather turns, or host a clothing and home goods supply drive and donate to a local organization like Goodwill to help keep these items out of our landfills – the possibilities are endless.
More than anything, we at River Valleys can’t wait to see what this theme means to our Girl Scouts. Because Girl Scouts is girl-led, we know that it’s our job as staff and troop leaders to ask the right questions so that girls can discover, connect, and take action. So, use the activity suggestion below during your first meeting to help your girls take this theme and run with it!
It’s Your Planet—Love It! Troop Activity
Time: 15 minutes
Materials: (Recycled) paper or whiteboard and markers
- After reciting the Promise and Law, begin your meeting by spending a few minutes talking about the Girl Scout Law – What lines are especially important to them? Why? How can they as Girl Scouts live by this part of the Law? Listen for girls to mention “use resources wisely,” and use this to segue to the next step.
- Announce that this year, all River Valleys Girl Scouts will be planning their year with the theme: It’s Your Planet—Love It! This is a great opportunity to help our community, country, and planet use resources wisely and live by the Girl Scout Law.
- Next, have a brainstorming session. Ask girls “How can we love our planet this year in Girl Scouts?”
- With Daisies and Brownies, pass out paper (preferably recycled) and ask girls to draw or write their ideas, then come together to share their ideas. Record all of their ideas onto a whiteboard or flipchart at the front of the room. Don’t leave anything out even if it seems too big – you’ll be surprised at what girls can achieve when they set their minds to it!
- With Juniors – Ambassadors, have girls get into groups of 3-4 and ask them to brainstorm together some ideas. Next, have them present their ideas and ask for feedback and suggestions from the rest of their troop.
- Then, make a plan! Have girls vote on the ideas they most want to do and discuss real, tangible ways to address even their grandest ideas (although they might not be able to take a troop trip to the Arctic to save the polar bears, they can definitely raise awareness right here in their own community!).
Doing this activity with your troop will help you as the leader find out what girls are interested in and give your troop a starting point for planning their Girl Scout year. In the following meetings, you can continue the planning process by helping girls develop their timeline, delegate tasks, and take action for their planet. Find out more about the program theme – and see which badges your troop can earn – on our website. We can’t wait to see how your troop goes green this year – don’t forget to share your story with us!
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!