Jun 4, 2009

Planning for October....Already?

I know it's only June but I'm already planning for our annual Girl Scout Fall Retreat in October. (I know...I need a vacation).

Surprisingly, the Fall Retreat concept came from my days in college in the sorority. We got together at the beginning of each year and went to a cabin out of town (typically in La Honda) and spent the weekend team building, calendar planning and goal setting. And of course, bonding.

I have carried this concept over to my Girl Scouts -- seemed logical. I recommend you consider it as well.

We began our Fall Retreat tradition as 2nd grade Brownies at Camp Twin Canyons in Lafayette. Each and every year, my girls look forward to it.

Here are some tips:

1) Go cabin camping -- might be a little more expensive but it's easier on set up with less gear to haul so you can spend the weekend bonding versus outdoor camping.
  • Did you know Girl Scouts owns and operates many campgrounds in the U.S. Here's a link to those in Northern CA. We have camped at Twin Canyons in Lafayette and Butano Creek. Both were terrific with good hiking, clean cabins. Butano is right near the beach so we spent 2 days tide pooling, chasing waves and visiting Pigeon Point Lighthouse. I am definitely not an expert tide pooler so no worries if you don't know what you are doing -- they seem to figure it out!
2) Set a theme for the weekend -- and have the girls plan food & activities that tie in with the theme

3) Keep it simple -- the point is to bond and set goals for the year. We save the "outdoor camp" experience for the spring

4) Have team building games & simple crafts ready to go. Each year, I introduce a new version of a friendship bracelet for downtime.

5) Create your own traditions at retreat. Here are our traditions:
  • We save Rededication for Fall Retreat and do it in the woods

  • We have a spider-web ceremony the final evening: Take a ball of yarn. Pick a topic/theme. Each girl tosses the yarn to another across from her (without letting go) so eventually it creates a big web -- the concept being if one girl let's go of their part of the web, the web weakens so it takes everyone to keep the web strong. THEME IDEAS: to each girl you toss the yarn to, tell that girl: 1) what I admire most about you, 2) what I learned about you this weekend that I didn't know, 3) why you are a strong member of this troop, etc....

  • For every campout, when it's lights out, the parents sing "Good Night Girl Scouts" softly outside the room or tents. The girls LAUGH every time. LOL. But it's become a tradition and we'll do it until they graduate...and beyond. (Imagine that).
Hope this info is helpful. Have Fun.


DoMoreGood said...

Teambuilding for your Troop - what a beautiful tradition for kicking off the year - thanks for sharing!

When it's time to get more parents involved in helping (drivers, chaperons, shoppers, etc.)- please consider our free and easy online volunteer signup tool. We're great for Cookie Booth scheudling too!


Lisha Fabris said...

Hey -- that's a cool idea. thanks for sharing. www.volunteerspot.com

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