We Survived The Silver Award

Our Cadette Girl Scouts received terrific news this week. Four of our Cadettes have earned the Girl Scout Silver Award!

If you have not yet begun the Silver award process with your Girl Scout troop, keep in mind these tips as your girls begin.

Be Prepared

Before your Cadettes even breathe a word of wanting to start their Silver Award project, make sure they truly understand the expectations of Silver. There is a reason whythe silver Award is the second-highest award in Girl Scouting.

Don’t rely on just passing out a copy of the Silver Award requirements. Make sure both Girl Scouts and their parents understand the commitment this project truly needs. A 50-hour project is no small feat.

Encourage your Cadettes to complete your council’s Silver Award training, which likely also counts toward your project hours. Believe me it is time well invested.

If you can, try also to hear from Cadette or Senior Girl Scouts on their experiences earning Silver Award. You may be able to head off additional problems by hearing where they went wrong.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Our girls were a little lucky in getting started with their Silver Award. They knew who they wanted to work with (their fellow girls in the troop) and they knew roughly what they wanted to do (help a ministry they knew about through our church). Making the magic happen was a different story.

The girls struggled to gain traction. They didn’t assign roles to the team members, come up with a rough timeline or define a budget beyond x amount of cookie sales.

And it hurt them.

The girls spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out what they were doing as they went along. They realized they didn’t track schedules or spending. And even though their project was designed to be flexible despite distances and family travel, they still scrambled at the end of summer vacation to get their work completed and their hours finished.

But here’s what I saw.

Despite those challenges, those girls learned from their missteps. As they’re planning for a camporee for our service unit they are far more mindful of jobs, gaining consensus and hitting milestones.

Paper Trail Saves Time

It’s a challenge for young Cadettes to remember to keep records. Saving emails was a great way for them to remember when they worked on project, even when they didn’t write it in the time log initially.

Leader, Let Go

One of the hardest things to do as a leader was not to help fix their problems.

  • Encourage them to talk to each other to solve problems instead of asking you.
  • Be transportation and the checkbook but largely let them take responsibility, even if it drags out the process.
  • It’s ok to stumble, backtrack and do over.
  • Don’t rush in to fill gaps on paperwork or anything else. Even if the end result seems less fabulous than it really was.
  • They will learn from mistakes.
  • Enjoy watching them bloom!
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