For the older girls to earn their Babysitter badge, we tried something a little different. Pretty much all of our girls had experience babysitting; most of them are the oldest kid in their family, so they have a pretty good idea of how to watch after children. So we had them work together to plan and lead a meeting for the little girls. One thing I always admire and am forever thankful for is how good the big girls have always been with the Daisies and Brownies. I know it’s not exactly common for troops to have all levels (at least not in our area) and they’re always willing to let them tag along on hikes and play games while we’re on camping trips. Most of them have several adoring fans among the younger troop. But leading actual activities is very different.
They chose to do the Be a sister to every Girl Scout petal. Trying to figure out how to begin the meeting was probably their rockiest part. All of them seemed very hesitant to step up and be the one to start talking and telling everyone what to do. Someone finally did, and they spent a few minutes talking to the girls about sisterhood and what it means. I loved the definition they settled on: sisterhood is like best friends forever, but just for girls – no boys allowed! The girls really liked the idea of having tons of Girl Scout sisters (they haven’t learned their Law yet and apparently don’t pay attention the words very well).
The next thing they did was make friendship bracelets. Every girl made a bracelet that they stuck in a bucket, and then went around and closed their eyes and drew out a different one. Each girl went home with a special friendship bracelet made by one of her Girl Scout sisters.
After that, the girls all played Little Sally Walker for a few rounds. I thought the way L (one of my Cadettes who really surprised us and stepped up to lead) introduced it was really cute – she yelled “How many of you guys know a girl named Sally Walker?” It took them a few minutes, but then they all circled up really quickly. This game is always a hit. I was away while they were doing this, but they wrote, “Compare this to being connected through sisterhood,” next to it.
The Cadettes ended the meeting by having the girls make a friendship circle like usual, except before they went around with the squeeze, each girl had to turn to the girl sitting next to her and compliment her.
When I talked to them afterwards, they had a lot of mixed feelings about their day as leaders. “It’s so hard to get their attention” and “They didn’t always listen to what we said” are two things I heard a lot. They told my mom that they would never ever again talk while she was talking because they understand now how difficult it is! L (mentioned above) said she felt like she was being mean the entire time because she kept having to raise her voice over girl chatter – some of it from her fellow Cadettes. No troop is perfect, and we had several who kind of shirked their leadership duties today and may not earn a badge for this one. The group said they were satisfied with their meeting plan, except that they didn’t expect the little girls to take so long making their bracelets and had to spend less time on Little Sally Walker than they wanted.
Overall, I think the meeting went pretty well. I did have several of my girls checking with me to make sure I wasn’t quitting and would be back in charge next week (I’m not going to lie, it was a nice little ego boost). The older girls seemed like they gained a little respect for what me and my mom do every week and the younger girls got some bracelets and earned a petal – and I got to relax a little bit for this week!