Agent of Change

I started the Agent of Change Journey at the end of my 1st year of Juniors.  My 5th grade Junior girls transitioned to intermediate in our school district and several elementary schools merged.  The troop from the other elementary school asked me to lead their troop as well.  I lost a few girls to outside activities and they lost a few girls and odd enough I have the same number of girls as I did last year, a total of 18.  However, the new girls to my troop did not begin the Agent of Change Journey last year so I decided to introduce the Journey new again this year.  This presented some challenges to prevent boring my girls who had already learned the concept of "Power of One".

I am currently in the process of presenting the Agent of Change Journey so I will post my plans for the year and update as I make changes to the schedule or material.  One reason I chose the Agent of Change Journey is because the concepts within Agent of Change neatly align with the goals of the Bronze Award.  Ultimately the Agent of Change works to promote positive change in our community with a Take Action Project which is a requirement of the Bronze Award as well.
Agent of Change Journey
We kicked off the new year introducing ourselves to one another.  The merging of 2 troops creates a host of challenges.  When I walked into the room there was a clear division amongst the girls.  So we played a name game.  Each girl had to create a hand movement that they performed when they stood up and said their name.  One girl chose the 'thumbs up' sign and another chose to make a heart using both hands etc.  The girls had to work to memorize not only the girl's name, but her hand sign too.  They had fun creating a sign and trying to remember names.  Next, we took some time to talk about how we run our troop and to review some Girl Scout business like the Promise and Law.  We read pages 10-12, "The Beginning of GS", in our Girl Scout Guide.  Also we discussed the concepts of SWAPS and popular GS days.  Then, we explored the idea that we would earn the Agent of Change Journey and coincide our Take Action Project with our Bronze Award.  We briefly covered the concept of the "Power of One."  I explained our 1st field trip the following meeting would be bowling/laser tag.  Both activities are an individual sport that requires the Power of One to earn a high score, but you could also make it a fun team sport by combining individual scores.  Finally the girls shared their Summer experiences.  Many girls brought photos and talked about family trips and camps.

October was unique this year in that we have 3 meetings this month.  Our 1st meeting we reviewed the concept of the Power of One.  I played a powerful, short 2 minute video on YouTube that shows how the power of one individual can make monumental changes in history.  I encouraged the girls to believe that they alone can make a difference in this world.  

The girls also laid down on the floor, closed their eyes and listened to Donna Summer's song, "The Power of One".  I asked them to concentrate on the words.
​We discussed how women were rarely given credit for their accomplishments in the past and we read page 17, "Looking Back at Her Story".  I asked the girls to think of examples where women did great things, but were overshadowed by men.  I also mentioned women were sometimes persecuted or killed for their beliefs or actions sometimes because men were jealous or wanted to take credit for their accomplishments.  Next we read about Sorjourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, good examples of women who at the time did not receive proper credit for their heroic acts.  Then I drew names from the green bag (refer to Tips Tab) and separated the girls into small teams of 4 and they were asked to create their own comic strip highlighting a heroic character.  I suggested that one girl create the theme or character, one girl make the logo, another create and present the story and another provide the text in the comic.  The girls spent close to a half hour in groups and another 15 minutes presenting.  We quickly moved onto the concept of the "Power of Team".  We talked about how the Power of One  affects the Power of Team.  I quizzed the girls about what makes a good team vs. a bad team.  We related the concept of the Power of Team to the idea of consensus.  We talked about how juries are very much a team effort based on the opinions of individuals.  To reinforce this concept my co-leader and I created a mock court.  We presented a case with 2 sides and our defendant was an adorable puppy.  Here is how the case was presented: 

You have been chosen to decide the fate of our defendant. If found guilty this offense is punishable by up to 10 years in a juvenile hall separated from family.
Case - The defendant was found “stealing” food from a dumpster behind a local Chic-fil-a. It has caused a rat problem and as a result a decrease in business.
SHOW PHOTO of adorable puppy

Co-Leader: My defendant is young only 1 year old. His mother was killed in a car accident right in front of Chic-Fil-a. The puppy attempted to catch bugs and lure patrons into feeding him with left-overs, but sadly it was not enough to feed himself and his 3 brothers and 2 sisters. The dumpster holds an endless supply of left-over food that no one is using. He never meant to be sloppy or hurt anyone. His family was simply starving and he had no choice to survive.

Leader: As sad as this story may seem, the puppy committed a crime. It is illegal to “dumpster dive”. Not only is it unsanitary and potentially dangerous to the puppies, but this activity usually causes an influx of rats. The puppy will inadvertently drop pieces of food which attracts rats and causes a foul odor. This unsightly rodent problem will scare off customers. The true victims are Mr. & Mrs. Smith and their young daughter, Mary. Due to the puppy and the rodent problem people are choosing McDonalds over their restaurant and they are unable to pay their bills. It is likely the restaurant will have to shut down and Mary will not have the money for new school clothes.  

Ironically we were surprised when the girls nearly unanimously agreed that the puppy was at fault despite his precious face he broke the law.

While we did not have time to play, I had intended to have the girls participate in some team building games.  I still hope to introduce them to these games sometime this year.

All Together - PAIR up girls have them sit back to back and try and stand up

King Frog - Sit in circle choose animal and gesture for the animal (snake, elephant, moose, fish, spider, bunny, longhorn, dog - tongue out, chicken) may have to split into 2 groups; clap knees then hands, call your animal and gesture call another girl’s animal and gesture, continue until someone messes up and then they are out, play til last 2 standing

Hand Game - Get into a circle on hands and knees, cross your left hand over your neighbors (all the way around) one person starts and taps the ground, causing chain reaction of every person’s had to tap one after another CLOCKWISE, a girl can reverse the tap with a double tap, if you mess up take out that hand and continue to play until both hands are removed, last girl standing wins.

Indian Chief - One person leaves circle and walks away, circle elects one girl to be Indian Chief. Ask person to come back and stand in middle. Returning girl tries to determine who is the Chief. The Chief shows circle what to do without being seen by girl in the middle. Chief makes circle, pat their tummies, rub their head, stick out their tongue, clap hands etc. Girl in middle has 3 chances to figure out chief.

Jousting - Each girl stands on one foot and holds the other foot with one hand. Then the girls attempt to knock other girls off balance. If the girls drop their foot from their hand they are out. Be safe, no shoulders. Last girl standing wins!

Hula Hoop Fun - Attempt to fit all 15 girls one foot in a Hula Hoop.  

Swamp Crossing - Designate swamp with sheets, divide into teams. Task the girls to find away across the swamp without touching the sheet (Swamp). Use bricks and planks to get across. You cannot throw items.

Block building - present 12 blocks to 2 girls, use table on the ground on it’s side so 2 other girls cannot see what the 2 girls built. The 1st 2 girls have to describe what they built and see if the other girls can follow their direction and build the same structure with directions only.

On our 2nd meeting in October we took the girls to a local outdoor mall for a scavenger hunt.  This was a super fun team event.  The girls were grouped into 4's and competed against each to figure out riddle clues and visit each store.  To avoid irritating store owners, I visited each store and notified them of our one hour event and I simply requested that the girls take a photograph of each store front to prove they visited each location.  Thus, they did not have to physically enter the store unless it was a kid friendly store and they needed a photo of a product.  By incorporating this task the girls also earned the Digital Photography badge, if they shared the photos with me for our web site and attempted to create a slideshow using a simple web site called Animoto.  Most of the girls will tell you this has been their favorite meeting to date.  they had so much fun and the weather was absolutely beautiful.  I even worked out a deal with the ice cream manager at the mall to discount a scoop of ice cream for every girl and I purchased them each a serving at the end of the day!  
Examples of Scavenger Hunt Riddles:
A well preserved pre-historic dinosaur might find a watch here. - FOSSIL
A boating crew might buy a polo here to sport on their vessel. - J. CREW
You’d be so lucky to get a pair of jeans in this store. - LUCKY BRAND JEANS
Charlie Brown’s side kick always stole the football just in time. She would look great in this work out apparel. - LUCY'S
You are limited by something black or white here. - WHITE HOUSE BLACK MARKET
This sparkly item does not do me justice. - JUSTICE (photo of sparkly item)
Take a photo with this fruit. - APPLE
Follow the arrow and find something on sale here. - AEROPOSTALE
This store does not study humans past or present, but sells some unique vintage items. - ANTHROPOLOGY
Every member of your team must make a fashion statement and don a belt for a photo.  
Find a fake tree.
Take a picture of your entire group on a park bench, adult included.
When the sun is oh so bright, I like to shade my eyes with these. - SUNGLASS HUT
To find a date I might check this store. - BARNES & NOBLE (Calendar)
If I were attending a Broadway Musical I might shop here for a new dress. - NY Co.
Buckle on a shoe.  BUCKLE
Find a Backpack.
Picture yourself on a movie poster. (Theaters photo in front of movie poster)

​On our 3rd meeting we moved to the concept of "Power of Community" and began our research on our Take Action Project and Bronze Award.  We had a guest speaker come to our meeting from Republic Recycling Services and she showed a video that traced the movement of recycled trash from your trash can to the facility and how the trash is processed from start to finish.  She explained what items were accepted at the recycle plant and what items can be placed in the collection bins.  The girls were asked to bring items that might be questionable for recycling.  The representative was very thorough and informative.  Next, we created our troop goals for our recycling project.  It was decided we would first ensure that water bottles were recycled at all home football games.  We will work to find a company that will give us bins and collect the water bottles and we will find administration representatives that can approve our project.  Our ultimate goal is to make citizens more aware of what can and cannot go in our recycle bins.  Each girl chose a non-recyclable item to investigate and decide where the item should be disposed or what company will accept the item.  Each girl is to be an 'expert' on her non-recyclable item if a resident should have a question.  We included items like medication, chemicals, paint, window glass or mirrors, scrap metal, plastic grocery bags etc.

Although we had 3 meetings in October, November with the Thanksgiving break only leaves us with one meeting.  We have decided to tour a local landfill to learn more about and appreciate the impact trash has on our environment.  This should be an eye-opening experience for the girls.

I like to celebrate the Holidays in December.  It's a nice time to appreciate how scouting makes us close friends and a great time to remember our parents and all they do for us during the year.  So often times we will make gifts for our Moms.  I always work hard to find handmade gifts that are practical and something a parent might truly appreciate.  This year I hope to create adorable recipe card or photo holders our of over-sized clothes pins.  We also rehearse our Sing Along song and traditional Holiday songs for caroling.  December is not too early to begin thinking about cookies.  Our council kicks off the New Year with cookie sales.  So I alwayslike to brush up on cookie selling etiquette and set clear expectations.  This is also an exciting time as we establish a cookie selling monetary goal.  As a troop we decided what type of cookie reward we would like to achieve.  In the past we have gone camping, slept over at a museum and spent the night at Great Wolf Lodge.  This year the girls hope to earn a day zip lining at a local park and if we earn enough money we may try and sleep at a hotel near the park.  Finally I like to have our country chosen for Thinking Day, this too sneaks up on us in February and to be ready for the evnt, we need several meetings to prepare.