Page last updated on September 3, 2006

VOTING 101 - Making Decisions easy

If you're trying to decide as a group what you want to raise money for or if it's what to do with the money you've already raised, involving the girls in the decision making process is very, very important. More than anything else, it gives them ownership of the troop.

Asking a group of young ladies what they would like to do is going to give you at least as many answers as there are girls, probably more. See if this idea will help.

Write down absolutely every idea they come up with on a chalk board or poster board, somewhere that allows them to see all of their choices.
Review each suggestion on the list, if something is absolutely impossible (a trip to Disneyland just isn't possible due to cost, etc.) give them the reason why and ask if you can remove it from the list. Consider this as your only opportunity to eliminate items you know you could not make happen for the girls. Be up front with them and tell them why that activity is prohibited or not possible.

Then give each girl three (3) pieces of paper or note cards.
Each girl will get to vote for three things on the list that she would really like to do.

After the first vote. Eliminate the bottom half of the list.
Give the girls 3 more card or slips of paper and ask them to vote for the three things remaining on the list.

Do this as many times as needed until you have whittled the list down to three items.
Then it is up to you as the leader to look into the cost and logistics of the three items and insure that at least one of the three things happens before the end of the year.

The different rounds of voting will give each girl the opportunity to support what she wants to do and, in effect, develops consensus and group support for the final choices. It is unlikely, that in several rounds of voting, a girl will not have voted for at least one of the final three. This is how we keep the girls in scouting—we give them a voice and then support them in obtaining their goals.

WHO - Determine who will be giving them out - Patrol leader / You the leader / whoever

HOW: the “necklace”? a “ribbon”? the ziplock bag? However you do it, it’s best to keep them all together with scout’s name on them. That way you aren’t picking up odd badges off the floor after the meeting. And moms won’t come back to you saying “she lost it, can we get another”. If that does happen, have the parent pay for the duplicate badge.—$1.00. The cost of the original badge has already come out of troop coffers.

Acknowledge those badges that scouts have earned on their own. They are putting extra effort into scouting and we want to encourage them.

You can save participation patches for these ceremonies too. Esp. if your concerned about having something for everyone.

WHEN? You decide - twice a year is probably minimum. Any more than 4 might be too often.


Uniform = One Form = ALL ALIKE

Please make every effort to help the girls put the insignia and badges in the correct place on their vests or sash.
Do you have a mom willing to sew on patches and badges free or for a small per item fee of 50 cents or a dollar?
Maybe the mom would do it and donate the money to the troop funds. If so, sign her up, give her the placement information and encourage the troops' moms to use her service.

Three things will happen:
1 ) Your uniforms will be just that, uniform.
2) All the girls will have their badges on their vests and not in mom’s sewing box.
3) You’ll have a smart looking troop.

There is a difference between bridging and flying up.
Flying up is accomplished by every girl who is a brownie and is moving into the Junior Girl Scout program. Bridging is earned by meeting certain requirements and a badge award is given to signify the completion of the bridging requirements.

The Bridging/Flying up ceremony can be done within your troop or via a larger ceremony involving troops within your sponsorship or service unit/district,
A review of the bridging requirements should be looked at a few months ahead of time to give leaders an opportunity to prepare.

The Basic Ceremony generally involves crossing a "bridge" of some sort.
Some Ideas:
-- Present a pretend sash with wings / bridging rainbow / membership star / GIRL SCOUT PIN. (4 or 5" wide ribbon from a craft store works well for this.
-- Present to them their new Jr. sash or vest with badges on (put this over the brownie vest, don’t have the girls trade, it's awkward and slows things down.)
-- Present something simple, like a flower and your congratulations
-- Have Uniformed Junior girl scout welcome them with a GS handshake
-- Read a suitable poem
-- It’s a happy occasion, so sing a song!

Of course, it’s always a good idea to get the girls input into this. Some of them may not have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about, however. which makes it an ideal opportunity to explain what's to happen and why, and ask them if there is something special they want to include in the ceremony.
Girls should “fly up” one at a time, and be introduced by name. Pinning each girl one at a time, takes time, which is why idea #1 works well.

For more information, please refer to bridging ceremony section of the GS ceremonies book or check GS related web sites for more ideas.

Cadette and Senior Scouts who have earned their Program Aide (PA) pin award must work with a younger girl scout troop for a minimum of 25 hours to earn the PA badge. In order for you to have a Cadette or Senior work with your troop, councils require Leader Mentor training of you. This will help to insure that you, your troop and the Cadette/Senior Scout can make the most of the experience.

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