aMUSE Journey in a Day - My experience

I'm ambitious and well, maybe a bit crazy when it comes to challenging myself to take on tasks in Girl Scouts.  Personal challenges as a leader is what keeps it interesting for me!  So I decided to take on the aMUSE Journey in a Day.  aMUSE seemed the best fit for the venue we chose and for my girls' personalities.

Logistical details:  Held on April 27th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Seven girls in attendance from the same troop (originally 8 signed up).  The session was held at a non-profit, with a large meeting room, breakout room and kitchen.  I was the only adult overseeing the session.

I knew if the girls were going to work for 8 hours, it had to be interesting.  There are a number of resources on the web for doing a journey in a day, journey in a sleepover, or a journey in a weekend.  I would have loved to do it in a sleepover but was limited by the time of year and my girls' busy schedules.  It took me 4 days (several hours per day) of intensive planning and about 5 hours of research to put together the day.  Then an additional 3 hours to shop for supplies. I would guestimate that total prep time is 25-30 hours.  I bought the majority of supplies at three places:  Michael's, the Dollar Tree and Party City.  Pinterest was an invaluable resource in putting this day together.

Seven of my eight Juniors attended the session which was held at my work, an ag education non-profit with an office (a converted farmhouse) on 200 acres. A school, church or community building would work just as well.  We also had access to a kitchen and a separate breakout room.  You need lots of space!  Originally the weather was supposed to be wet and rainy but the sun came out and so outside time was not only possible but necessary.  Remember that the adult book, "How to Guide Girl Scout Juniors Through aMUSE, It's Your Story--Tell It! A Leadership Journey" is just a guide.  Think of it as an outline, or a book of ideas, rather than a lesson plan or curriculum.  You do not have to complete or adhere to every single activity or idea in the book.  At many of the Girl Scout leader retreats and trainings, the main advice service unit, council and seasoned leaders give:  "don't get bogged down in the details."  The books are full of ideas, but are not "requirements."  A journey also doesn't have to take six months to complete or feel like "school" to the girls.  Get creative, talk to your girls and plan what works for your troop.

The aMUSE Journey Award has three parts:   Reach Out, Speak Out, Try out. The Reach Out Award is about understanding the many roles women and girls play in the world around them and the leadership skills used to play them.  The Speak Out Award an awareness of how stereotypes could hold people back from trying on roles, and then taking action to help stop stereotypes; and the Try Out Award encourages the girls to have the courage and confidence to try out new roles.  Below are pictures, anecdotes, hints and do-overs from the day. A detailed outline of how I did the Journey in a Day to follow soon.

A Flurry of Roles!

Observation:  I was surprised by how strongly some girls responded to being assigned roles they thought weren't right for them. One particular girl, whose mom runs a daycare business, did not want the businesswoman role.  I encouraged the girls to think outside of what they know about themselves and visualize themselves in a role, no matter how foreign it may seem.

Ultimately they chose one role they really wanted to be "when they grow up".

Team Prop Box!

Do-over:  I would have the girls put down scrap book paper first to cover the box, then add the pictures and letters.  I would also have provided more varieties of magazines.  Time:  45 minutes

Take the Stage

Rather than writing "active" roles on index cards (page 31 adult guide), I downloaded the card game from the now defunct page. You can find all the resources from our aMuse Journey in a Day on my resources page:

Role Models

Rather than make role model dolls, (page 20-21 in the girl's book, each girl was given a prepainted canvas.  I instructed the girls to choose an action phrase "I am", "I can", "I will", "I love", etc.

This activity took an hour and was a favorite of the day!

Breaking the Mold

Do some words make you feel powerful, like you can do anything?

Once they thought of their word each girl decorated a pennant on the pennant of power.  Because I have a laminating compulsion {squeal} I laminated each pennant, including the extra spacers, scored them at the top and strung them on rainbow yarn (pics are not great...sorry!)


Panel Discussion


Sharing Our Accessories


This is my Story! Where Will it Go?


Present Speak Out! Project


Celebrate Us!

Summary of the Day

If it were any other journey, completing it in a day would not be possible in my opinion.  Many of the journeys require action projects that take more time and planning than the "How to Tell Your Story" component of aMUSE.

The biggest limitation for me was obviously time.  In the journey planner that I was using, most of the activities were only supposed to take 15 minutes.  Most of them took 30 minutes to an hour (the canvases and team prop box took over an hour).  

In my personal opinion, many of the journey's themes and lessons overlap to the point of repetition.  I was able to consolidate some of the sections by doing different activities than those outlined in the adult guide that fit multiple lesson objectives.  

Would I do it again?  It was a difficult day in that the girls were restless.  Although the activities were fun the girls were aching to expend energy.  I was limited by the weather in the morning but in the afternoon the sun came out.  I would have planned more outdoor activities and perhaps done some of the theatrical elements outside if I had known the weather would improve.  

My original plan was to provide Journey in a Day workshops to other troops.  The strenuousness of the day caused me to reconsider, or at least postpone the plan.  Logistically this would require a small girl to adult ratio.  Stations would have to be planned out to the nth degree, run quickly and efficiently, which is not always predictable.  It would also be somewhat difficult to bring girls together who don't know each other as they may not feel comfortable enough to do the more dramatic elements of the journey.

We did some things out of order, such as we had our panel discussion at the end of the day.  We did more art and creative play, rather than book work.  Our Speak Out! Project was partly digital and will be presented online through this blog and Facebook as well as in video form at our end of the year party and awards.  The girls also presented their discoveries and accomplishments to parents at the end of the day.

Is it doable?  If you are ambitious enough, absolutely!  Most troops embark on a Journey in a Day so that they are able to earn the Journey Summit Award.  For us it was to get a journey done so that we could work on our Bronze Award Project.  

If you have any questions about doing a Journey in a Day, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.  I will answer them and then generate a FAQ.  

National Convention Here I Come!

Yikes! Where have I been?  I'm even asking myself that!  I've been living and loving Girl Scouts!  Here is what I've been up to:
  • Took my troop girls to an overnighter in the mountains to earn their camping badge and learn about fire safety.  Separately the girls finished their
  • Planned and executed three Daisy, Brownie and Junior sessions at the ag education farm where I work.  It is a pleasure to work with my Girl Scout council to put on these workshops that expose the girls to the farm to table, species conservation in farm hedgerows and corridors, and watershed education as it relates to the WOW Journey.  Juniors earned the Energize portion of the Get Moving! Journey.  
  • Took my troop girls to an overnighter at the Monterey Bay aquarium where the girls earned their Animal Habitat Badge.  It was an amazing experience that my girls enjoyed very much (me too!)
  • I attended the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Annual Meeting in February.  I had been to a few annual meetings in my time but never one for Girl Scouts.  It was an honor to listen to a Gold and Silver Award recipient discuss their projects.  I also got to witness a Girl Scout Alumnae receive a 45 year pin!  Something to strive for!
  • The troop had a strong finish to cookie sales!  We did three booth sales and individually the girls reached their sales goals and earned their Cookie CEO badges.  This year's in-store cookie booth post to follow.  Here is last year's in-store booth sale.
  • Last but not least {drumroll} I applied, interviewed and was selected to be a National Council Delegate!  I'm going to Utah for the convention in October.  Whoop!
I'm so excited and honored to have the opportunity to represent Girl Scouts Heart of Central California and the Davis Service Unit at the National level.  I'll have the opportunity to vote on Girl Scout policy that will be put into effect the next three years.  I was able to sign up for pre-session and I'm adding some personal travel to the trip.  I plan to blog, Tweet and Facebook throughout the Convention so I can take all of you with me.  More to come as the date rolls closer.  For more information, visit the convention website.  Pick a strawberry and follow me so you don't miss a thing:

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