Although we have guidelines to help us deliver our program, there is no defined syllabus that all Guides work towards so it can be tricky to answer this question sometimes. Let me explain.
This term, the St Lucia Guides are working towards their “Nature” badge. This particular badge doesn’t have set clauses that need to be completed. Instead, just like our overall program, it’s designed to be ‘girl-led’. By allowing the Guides to create their own syllabus we’re providing them with the opportunity to collaborate with peers, to take the lead and to stretch their creativity muscles.
The badge itself acts as an incentive for the Guides to complete the challenges they’ve set themselves, then it becomes a reminder of their hard work. Badges are awarded in recognition of the boundaries they’ve pushed, their personal growth, the skills and knowledge they’ve developed, their successes and their failures (because mistakes are just another learning opportunity). It’s a physical representation of all these things which they’re able to display, proudly.
For their “Nature” badge, our Guides (ages 10-14) are challenging themselves like this:
- Learn about the impact of and ways they can reduce their everyday waste
- Attempting to find an effective way to clean spilled oil from sea water and sea life
- Caring for household pets and making homemade dog treats
- Take part in a homelessness simulation which includes sleeping outside in a cardboard box during winter
- Build and install possum boxes
- Make wire sculptures of endangered animals
During the planning stage, these Guides have already considered the time each activity will take, the materials and equipment they’ll need, where they need to bring in a subject matter expert, and weighed up any risks involved. They’ve collaborated with others and reached a consensus about the activities that they’ll run.
They’ve been working in small groups (we call them Patrols) to plan and lead activities, finding their voice in an environment where they know their opinion is respected.
They evaluate their processes and their accomplishments, learning and growing every step of the way. Guides are encouraged to peer review, so they become familiar with providing feedback as well as receiving it.
At each stage of our program, the girls take the lead and as a result they are able to develop a wide skill set which will help them in the classroom, amongst their siblings, at university, in the workplace, and within their community.
Just a few of the transferable skills and knowledge the Guides will learn or develop this term are:
- Project management
- Time management
- Risk assessment
- Evaluation and process improvement
- Providing, accepting and learning from feedback
- Empathy and compassion
- Giving and following instructions
- Creative thinking
Not to mention practical experience in using hand and power tools, or becoming familiar with recycling schemes like REDcycle.
Everything they learn this term will build them up, prepare them for a future challenge that lies ahead. Whether it be dealing with bullies at school or working towards their engineering degree – whatever path they take, Girl Guides has helped them develop a wide range of skills to help them not only cope, but to flourish.
In summary, Girl Guides provides opportunities for girls to develop important skills, like leadership. Girls are able to make mistakes in a place that teaches them there’s no such thing as failure, and that success doesn’t come without learning from errors. And we help them create their own definition of success so that the only standards they’re trying to live up to are their own.
To learn more about the guidelines we use to deliver our program, read this about the Australian Guide Program (AGP).
If you live in St Lucia, Toowong, Taringa or surrounds and you’d like to know more about becoming a Guide, contact us here.