Badges and signs offer many opportunities for girls to make choices and to grow. What can you, as their leader, do to maximize these unique learning experiences and help keep the program alive and stimulating?
Remember that you are not alone. Take full advantage of support from your local council and other community agencies. Attend training events, ask for assistance, take refresher courses.
Concentrate on helping girls make their own decisions and take more responsibility for their own actions.
Recruit other adults and older scouts to help with specific badge and sign activities.
Choose "action" over lecture when working with 9 through 11 year olds.
Plan extensively with the girls before taking trips or visits. Talk about what they'll expect to see, safe behavior, information they'll want to find out, a way to evaluate the total experience.
Show girls that you, too, are learning. The best model for a learning child is a learning adult. Learn from parents, other adults, and the girls themselves.
Supplement activities with outside resources you know about: people you've met in religious, civic, cultural, educational, or business settings who have something to share and know how to share it with children.
Recognize that there will be times when girls doing the same badge or sign will choose different activities. This is a healthy situation but requires patience. Here are some ways of handling it:
Girls can work on different activities in interest groups at troop meetings. In needed, ask an extra adult or older scout to help out.
Individual girls or small groups may like to do activities between meetings. Encourage girls to work together at home or at school, with appropriate supervision.
Some girls are natural instructors. Capitalize on this fact and use their talents and desire to help others.
Many of the activities can be done within sight and sound of the troop meeting place during any season of the year: backyard, schoolyard, park.
Recognition activities are good to work on during troop camping and day and resident camp. Integrate out-of-doors experiences into the normal flow of the troop year.
Adapt activities to suit a particular situation, if necessary. The purpose of the activity substituted or adapted should be the same or similar to the original one.
Use your copy of Safety-wise as a guide to safety practices in all badge and sign work.
Information gathered from 1980 Leader's Guide