Girl Scout Leadership Experience FAQs

Girl Scout Leadership Experience - Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

Q:   What is the Girl Scout Leadership Experience?
A:   The Girl Scout Leadership Experience engages girls in discovering themselves, connecting with others, and taking action to make the world a better place.
Q:   What are the three keys to leadership? How do they relate to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience?
A:   Discover, Connect, and Take Action are the three keys, defined as:

Discover: Girls understand themselves and their values and use their knowledge and skills to explore the world.

Connect: Girls care about, inspire, and team with others locally and globally.

Take Action: Girls act to make the world a better place.

In Girl Scouting, Discover + Connect + Take Action = Leadership. All Girl Scout experiences are intentionally designed to tie to one or more of the 15 national leadership outcomes, or benefits, categorized under the three keys to leadership.
Q:   What are national leadership outcomes?
A:   The 15 national leadership outcomes are organized by the leadership keys:
  • Girls develop a strong sense of self
  • Girls develop positive values
  • Girls gain practical life skills
  • Girls seek challenges in the world
  • Girls develop critical thinking
  • Girls develop healthy relationships
  • Girls promote cooperation and team building
  • Girls can resolve conflicts
  • Girls advance diversity in a multicultural world
  • Girls feel connected to their communities, locally and globally
Take Action
  • Girls can identify community needs
  • Girls are resourceful problem solvers
  • Girls advocate for themselves and others, locally and globally
  • Girls educate and inspire others to act
  • Girls feel empowered to make a difference in the world
Q:   What does "Discover" mean as a leadership key?
A:   Discover means to "discover within" - to learn about one's personal values and critical thinking skills - in addition to learning practical life skills while exploring one's world.
Q:   What are the Girl Scout processes?
A:   Girl Scouting isn't just about "what girls do" (activities), but "how" (processes) they do them. Girl Led, Cooperative Learning, and Learning by Doing processes ensure high-quality programs and promote the fun and friendship so integral to Girl Scouting.
Girl Led: Girls play an active part in figuring out the what, where, when, how, and why of their activities. In partnership with adult volunteers, girls lead the planning and decision-making as much as possible. This ensures that girls are engaged in their learning and experience leadership opportunities as they prepare to become active participants in their local and global communities.

Learning by Doing: A hands-on learning process helps girls achieve deeper understanding of concepts and mastery of practical skills. As they participate in meaningful activities and then reflect on them, girls get to explore their own questions, discover answers, gain new skills, and share ideas and observations with others. Throughout the process, it's important for girls to be able to connect their experiences to their lives and apply what they have learned.

Cooperative Learning: Through cooperative learning, girls work together toward goals that can only be accomplished with the help of others in an atmosphere of respect and collaboration. Cooperative learning encourages the sharing of skills, knowledge, and learning. Girl Scouts' all-girl environment provides a space for girls to feel powerful and emotionally and physically safe. The environment helps girls experience a sense of belonging even in the most diverse groups.


Girl Scout Journeys

Q:   What is a Girl Scout journey?
A:   A Girl Scout journey is a fun and challenging experience spread over a series of sessions (usually 6-8 but with the potential to last far longer). The journey, which follows a designated theme, has a clear starting point (an invitation to explore and take action) and a definite ending point (opportunities to enjoy closure through reflections, rewards, and celebration). Along the way, girls are following a purposeful trail that allows them to have fun, get wiser, and experience all the joys of being a traveler (meeting new people, exploring new tastes and cultures, gathering keepsakes, making memories) while being able to carry this all in one "suitcase" - their journey book!

Journey books take girls at every grade level through a series of Discover, Connect, and Take Action experiences, with emphasis on inviting girls to "Take Action" on issues they care about. These books also contain stories; inspirational ideas; information about Girl Scout history, traditions, and values; facts and games; and provide space for girls to collect their own ideas and memories.

"How to" books - or guides for adult volunteers--that correspond to each of the girl books have also been created. These guides offer plenty of support, including sample sessions to tailor with girls, to help carry out the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

Q:   Are all 15 national leadership outcomes reflected in each journey book?
A:   Each journey addresses six to eight outcomes including at least one of each of the Discover, Connect, and Take Action outcomes. Each adult guide contains a chart displaying outcomes tied to that particular journey so adults will always know the intended benefits to girls.
Q:   What is the retail cost of the journey books?
A:   All grade-level girl books cost $7. The adult sets, consisting of a girl book packaged with the adult guide, are $15. Girl Scouts of the USA is aware of the importance of being cost-conscious and has worked to provide excellent value. It is ideal for every girl to have her own book to fully experience the journey.
Q:   How many other journeys will be developed? When will they be available?
A:   Currently GSUSA has developed three journeys and all are available at this time.
Q:   Do the journeys need to be done in any particular order?
A:   There is no particular order or rush to complete the journeys. They can be done in any order.
Q:   What will happen to existing badge books, handbooks, and STUDIO 2B books?
A:   These books remain available and viable Girl Scout resources. Girls may continue using them based on their interests.

As the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is phased in between 2008 and 2010, GSUSA will determine which resources might still be needed to supplement the new approach as well as which current resources might be adapted to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience for use beyond 2010. Information will be provided with advance notice as decisions are made.



Q:   Can girls earn awards with the journeys?
A:   Yes. Girl Scouts at each of the six grade levels have a chance to earn new official awards as they complete steps along the journey. The awards are designed to be worn on the Girl Scout uniform. Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes have the chance to earn several badges along the journey. Seniors and Ambassadors can mark their accomplishments at the culmination of a journey with a pin or iron-on.

The steps for earning the awards are clearly explained in the "how-to" books for volunteers created for each journey. Girls have information about the awards in their books, too. The journey books for girls and adults also have suggested reflection and ceremony ideas related to earning the awards. The goal is to provide opportunities for girls to fully understand and celebrate the achievement and growth the awards represent.

Q:   What is the LiA (Leader in Action) award for Cadettes?
A:   Girl Scout Cadettes have an opportunity to put their skills to work assisting Girl Scout Brownies on their Quest. Brownies (and their volunteers!) will appreciate having Cadettes along on the journey - and Cadettes will benefit from having the opportunity to have a position of responsibility. The steps for Cadettes to earn the LiA are described in the Girl Scout Brownie Adult Guide and online. Your local Girl Scout council is a great resource to identify Cadettes who might be interested in earning this award!
Q:   Can girls still earn badges, apart from journey awards?
A:   Girls are welcome to continue choosing and earning badges that represent their varied interests. Earning badges is an important tradition in Girl Scouting and it is here to stay! As adults and girls become more familiar with elements of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, they will be able to see how the Discover, Connect, and Take Action leadership keys can be integrated into earning other awards. Of course, no matter what activities girls do in Girl Scouting, the experience is always best when it incorporates the Girl Scout processes: Girl Led, Learning by Doing, and Cooperative Learning.
Q:   Can a journey activity be used to meet a badge requirement?
A:   Journey activities cannot be counted as completion of a badge activity requirement. The new journey awards are based on participation in a whole series of inter-related activities and discussions tied to the intended outcomes and are woven throughout the book. So rather than each experience in a journey meeting a specific requirement, each contributes to the overall experience. As has been the tradition in Girl Scouting, girls always learn best when they spend the additional time needed to meet various badge requirements.
Q:   Where are the awards worn?
A:   The journey awards are official and girls wear them on the front of the sash or vest. At Daisy level, girls may add the journey awards to the front of their tunics, in a place of their choosing. If Daisies opt to wear the new Daisy vest, the journey awards will be worn on one side of the vest and the current Daisy Center and Petals can be worn on the other.
Q:   What is the future of badges?
A:   Over the next several years, Girl Scouts of the USA will be updating some badges to ensure that all learning experiences tie to the national leadership outcomes intended for girls. The exact form the updated materials will take is part of the overall review and assessment process. Girls will have time to transition to new or updated badges. They will not "lose out" on activities they have begun.

Girl Scout members have expressed interest in the availability of badge activities online. GSUSA is analyzing this possibility.

Q:   What about local badge activities and programs including Council's Own or Troop's Own Awards?
A:   Locally created badge activities remain an important way to respond to the interests and needs of girls. The badges for "Council's/Troop's Own," are official awards and are worn on the front of the uniform sash or vest.

Councils can begin adjusting local offerings by using the Girl Scout Leadership Experience as the "engine" for all programming, purposefully planning them based on the leadership outcomes intended for girls, and using the processes of Girl Led, Learn by Doing, and Cooperative Learning.

Q:   What is the difference between a badge and a patch?
A:   Official GSUSA awards, including those earned by fulfilling requirements described in GSUSA level books, including the journeys, represent meaningful learning experiences for girls. Official awards, such as badges, are worn on the front of the sash or vest. Participation patches and other unofficial awards are worn wherever girls enjoy displaying them for fun.
Q:   What is happening with the PA (Program Aide), LIT (Leader in Training), and CIT (Counselor in Training) programs?
A:   These programs are very much a part of Girl Scouts and will be updated within the next few years to reflect elements of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Current guidelines remain in effect during the transition period.
Q:   What is the future of the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards?
A:   The Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards will remain the highest awards in Girl Scouting. New guidelines, more closely aligning the awards with the new Girl Scout Leadership Experience, will be available in fall 2009.

Girl Scout communities eager to begin planning for the updated approach to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards prior to fall 2009 may note the following:

The It's Your World - Change It! journeys have been intentionally designed to engage girls in a critical thinking process related to identifying and researching issues they care about, developing community networks, and creating and implementing plans to take action. Upon completion of a journey in this series, at the appropriate grade level (see below), girls will be prepared to move on to identify and carry out impactful award projects. Based on this, Girl Scouts of the USA anticipates that at the completion of the journey, girls will have completed much of the prerequisite work and will progress on to begin impactful Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award projects.

Grade Levels for Earning the Awards (Based on the fall 2007 Webinar Series) Bronze Award: Earned by Juniors (4th-5th grade) Silver Award: Earned by Cadettes (6th-8th grade) Gold Award: Earned by Seniors or Ambassadors (9th-12th grade)

Q:   How will home-schooled or independently registered Girl Scouts use the journey materials?
A:   Girl Scouts who are on their own - and the adults who guide them - are encouraged to network with other Girl Scouts in their communities. One of the three critical processes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is cooperative learning. Sharing some of the discussions and experiences with others will enrich the journey and provide girls with opportunities to increase team-building and networking opportunities important to the leadership keys of Discover, Connect, and Take Action.
Q:   How will multi-grade level groups use the journeys?
A:   Let's use the It's Your World-Change It! series as an example. In these journeys, "Taking Action" provides a unifying theme for multi-grade level groups. Girls at multiple levels can use their own level-appropriate journey, yet they will be able to support each other in accomplishing goals. All the journeys encourage girls to share or "pass forward" some of what they are learning and experiencing with other girls. Multi-grade groups offer a wonderful setting for this to happen.
Q:   Since the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is grade specific, what happens if a girl's grade changes and she is out of sync with her troop?
A:   When a girl changes grades, the council will work with the girl and her family to determine the best fit. Girl Scouts of the USA trusts councils, in partnership with families, to assist every girl to have the Girl Scout experience best for her. As a general practice, girls say it is important to be with their "social peers" - groups that share the same developmental characteristics.

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