Our beloved Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts bring so much joy into our lives – they’re incredibly curious, outspoken, creative, and silly – and they bring an entirely new and refreshing perspective to the table! While their endless amount of energy is the perfect pairing for cookie booths and field days, with virtual meetings becoming the new norm you may be left wondering how to hold their attention.
We’ve put together a game plan for troop leaders and Girl Scout parents on ways to keep your younger troops fantastically focused during digital meetings!
Know Your Audience
Knowing more about girl development can help you plan activities that are right for the age of your troop; help you set your expectations for behavior, attention span, and capabilities; and simply understand your troop better. Here we’ll learn a little bit more about Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts.
Daisies have lots of energy and will need breaks to move around and play! They are very creative and love expressing themselves and making things with their hands. As concrete thinkers, they’ll learn more when you show instead of tell. They don’t always have the words for what they’re thinking or feeling; have them try drawing a picture instead! Daisies know how to follow simple directions and respond well to recognition for doing so. Be specific, offer only one direction at a time, and acknowledge when they follow directions well to increase their motivation to listen.
Brownies are also excited and energetic; they love to work in groups and socialize! At this age, girls love to help others and take on individual responsibilities for a task. Let girls lead, direct, and help out in activities whenever possible. Brownies are focused on the here and now – instead of just reading to them, ask them questions to gauge their understanding. They will appreciate clear directions, structure, and knowing ahead of time what to expect. Have girls create the schedule and flow of your meetings and share it before you begin. Acknowledging the girls when they have listened or followed directions well will increase their motivation to listen and follow again!
Keep in mind that with younger girls, it is best to keep your meetings on the shorter side. Zoom’s basic plan allows you to hold a forty-minute meeting for free, which might be the ideal length for younger girls.
Set your background to something simple, blur it, or set up in front of a mostly-blank space. When you can’t be physically present, it’s easy for girls to get distracted while looking at a screen. A simple background will help girls stay focused on what you’re saying.
Don’t forget to check out the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings and review it with your troop parents!
It is best to practice a regular routine at the start of your meetings so that all girls know what to expect and know what to do once you’re ready to get going! Once everyone has joined your meeting, signify the start with a fun greeting everyone can participate in (like a call and response). Some girls might be more comfortable speaking up on a virtual call than others. To give everyone the chance to participate, try a quick game that also allows them to get some energy out. Here are a few ideas (you can also ask the girls for their input!):
- Popcorn: Have all the girls stand up. Call out categories like their birthday month, favorite color, etc. When girls hear their answer, have them “pop” up as high as they can like popcorn!
- I Spy: For Zoom meetings, have each girl take a turn “spotting” something in the backgrounds on your call!
- High-Five Circle: Have each girl take a turn by calling out someone else’s name, then trying to high-five each other across screens! Keep going until everyone has had a turn.
By the time your game finishes, every girl should have interacted at least once with the group. Once everyone is settled, pick three girls to help start the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Girl Scout Promise, and Girl Scout Law before your main activity.
The main portion of your meeting can vary from troop to troop, but try to maintain somewhat of the same routine you normally would in person. Do you start with a snack? Have each girl prepare their treats beforehand and enjoy them together! Are you leading a more complicated craft or hands-on activity? Have a parent or guardian sit in to provide assistance when needed. It’s important to also allow time for simply checking in and “hanging out” as you would during a normal meeting.
While it may have been relatively easy to complete badge work and activities during an in-person meeting, the flow of your meetings will likely change when you move online. Some badges make for better virtual meetings than others – check out our At-Home Programs page for a selection of activities that will perfectly suit the digital sphere! You can work on these together by sharing your screen and watching the videos as a troop, taking the time to answer questions once it’s finished.
Just like the opening, your meeting closing should be simple and routine. You could sing a favorite Girl Scout song, have each girl share something special about her day, or take turns having each girl say something nice about one of her sister Girl Scouts! Your closer should be informal, short, and sweet – about five minutes or less.
- If your girls are feeling particularly energetic, try a guided meditation meeting opener or break to create relaxation and focus! Have each girl find a spot to lie down, close their eyes, and lead a simple guided meditation from a script or play a video. You will be amazed at the change in their focus!
- When in doubt, sing or dance it out! If you need a quick restart before jumping into the next part of your activity or starting badge work, do a quick YouTube search for Girl Scout songs and have a virtual dance break or sing-a-long!
- Use the breakout room feature in Zoom for smaller group conversations and sharing time. You may need to assign an adult in each breakout room to help guide the conversation, but as the host, you can hop between rooms to see how each group is doing!
- Looking for inspiration on badges to work on, endless virtual resources, or more fun you can do at home? Check out our At-Home Activities to Keep Your Girl Engaged!
Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share on how you’re making digital meetings a success? We would love to hear them! Send your ideas and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more ways on how we’ve continued to thrive virtually and how you can join in on the fun, check out Girl Scouts Gone Virtual. We’ll see you online!