Re: Older Girls Retention (long)
Lisa A. Varner (lavarner@JUNO.COM)
Sat, 17 Aug 1996 09:39:08 EDT
On Tue, 13 Aug 1996 11:21:06 -0700 Robin Hollis
> I'm looking for information, advice, tidbits..especially related to
>retention of older girls. In addition I am also Neighborhood Director
>(same as Service Unit Manager).
You, as a Neighborhood Director, can help your area greatly with older
girl retention. My feelings on keeping kids as teenagers is involvement,
I feel GS (especially in my area) needs to find more ways to ease up on
the leaders (so they will stay on long enough to have older girl troops)
by using the great talents they have spent years cultivating in our
teens. My daughter (a Cadette) had attended quite a few day camps as a
PAL (program assistant leader). She has noticed (big time) the
difference between a camp that uses the older girl input, and a camp that
leaders plan and have older girls implement. She and the other girls
were much more excited and enthusiastic about teaching what they helped
plan, which carried over to the younger girls. The younger girls love
learning off the teens (so did the newer leaders).
They like to feel useful. Having them help in the community, especially
if you can get them to some event in full uniform. This is where they
really feel like a group. To my daughter it was doing a flag ceremony
for the Hall of Fame Banquet for the Americans With Disabilities. She
had to borrow a uniform, and go with 2 other scouts, none of them knew
each other. But she felt so important doing this for these people who
they could see were so proud to have them there. Now she is so
interested in how things work at a higher level in scouts. (Before she
never realized there was a whole network of people working to pull off
events for scouts, they just kind of happened!)
Many times, an older girl can only participate in events her troop is
interested in. If there were more Service Unit (or Neighborhood)
activities they could truly explore what interests them whether their
troop was interested or not. Ideas for this are things like a flag corp,
event planning committees for older scouts, a group of girls that would
lead and present workshops with very basic scout skills (maybe even
teaching newer leaders!), troop assistants. and I'm sure there are many
Having more Service Unit (or in your case Neighborhood) wide events for
the older girl. During the year the older girls spend a lot of time
doing service projects, and planning events for younger scouts. This
causes a lot of meetings which require them to really work. We have to
work extra hard to balance those meetings with yet more planning meetings
in order for them to have some fun times too. Some adventure things are
easy for a Service unit to put together, while very difficult for a
leader to provide all safety-wise personnel and have necessary training.
These events also get the girls familiar with other scouts their age,
other than their troop. New faces, new sharing, new adventures. Helps a
troop where the leader has gotten into a rut, and the girls are
frustrated. It also exposes the leaders to other troops their age, which
allows more idea sharing!
Teens even enjoy just an ordinary sleep-over, with a few activities.
They have a great primal urge just to spend hours on end talking to each
Not every event has to be action-packed beginning to end. They are happy
to socialize. Social games, singing, a craft with a history, and
exposure to something they may have never seen before can make for a very
One thing to remember as a leader of older girls is that you do not have
to be able to do the high adventure stuff the girls are interested in.
If it is out of your league of capabilities then find a way to provide
the adventure in a safe environment with someone who does know and can do
the adventure properly, and you can be there cheering them on.
At this age they like to experience things first hand. They don't want
to read about someone from another country, they want to meet them. They
don't want to put together a book of songs, they want to sing them, They
don't want to watch videos of how to train your dog, they want to train
one, or go to a training school and see how it is done 1st hand. They
don't want to study government, they want to visit the courts watch the
trials and mock with some of their own.
Think of every building in your community as an opportunity. The girls
want to learn about life and how things work. From visiting McDonald's
and the post office as young scouts to visiting a glass-blower, a t-shirt
or embroidery shop, an adult day care, a theater, or a museum. They want
to see behind the scenes not just the standard tour, they want to see
what it takes to do what the townspeople do, and they want to try it!
Never squelch an idea, that's the quickest way to loose the girls.
Instead give them safety-wise and a local phone book and have them see
what it will take to implement it. Sometimes they themselves will
discover an idea just isn't feasible, but if you told them, it would be
SHE won't let us do that, forever.
Hope this gives you a few ideas.
Lisa Varner <<LAVarner@juno com>>
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Haven't been there. Don't want to go. Don't need another t-shirt!!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City