I’m going to be completely honest – I am not a huge fan of either the Journeys or the new patch programs. I miss the Brownie Try-Its that I earned as a child, and the huge IP book that was waiting for me when I got to Cadettes. The new patches don’t have enough variety for me. They used to have a Try-It for every activity you could think of and more. There was a little something for everyone to enjoy. The new badges have so many of them focused on business type things and topics and themes that aren’t anywhere near as fun. I know that it’s important to learn practical lessons from Scouting, but the fun stuff is what keeps girls around for years to come.
However, my dislike for the Journeys overwhelmed even my disappointment in the badges. I was in the process of earning my Silver Award when they were implemented, which means I got to skip doing one for that and I was over the moon. I hate their formatting – they remind me (and my girls) of school work and my girls are never interested in sitting down and listening to me read them a story like all of the Journeys have at their core. So our troop has actively avoided them since they became a thing.
However, I want my girls to have the chance to earn everything and anything they can. And I have two Juniors in fifth grade this year that want a Bronze Award. So we’re starting to dive into Journeys.
The more I read about them, the more I’m okay with them – just not in the format handed to me by Girl Scouts. We are not about to spend meetings listening to stories about the Flower Friends hanging out in gardens. (I tried that for the petals and was asked “Do we really have to listen to a story again this week?”) We’re going to spend meetings being active and doing things, because that’s what little girls (and big ones!) like to do.
What I’ve discovered about Journeys is that to figure out what you NEED to do, you need to focus on the awards within each one. Figure out their requirements, and let those tell you where you need to go. Just pick and choose the ideas you want from the books because their sessions are mostly a lot of nothing. I’ve managed to hunt down these “Journey Tip Guides” from the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois that break down the awards and their requirements. When I make my posts about the Journeys we earn, I’ll include links to the PDFs for that and anything else I have that helped me rework the Journey into something my girls would want to do. It sucks that we have to go to such great lengths to work with these materials, but we’re Girl Scout leaders – the most resilient, creative, hardworking people there are – and if anyone can do it, we can!