Saturday, June 16, 2012

WOW! Wonders of Water - A Brownie Journey Review

Well, it has been a long time since I posted anything, and a number of months since I reviewed the Daisy  Flower Garden Journey, but since I have a little time this morning (before heading to a Girl Scout camp fundraiser!) I'll take a stab at what I did like and didn't like about the Wonders of Water Journey.

Things I liked:
-The girls were challenged to use less water - a good goal.
-Incorporating science into the journey - making rainbows.
-Using tea to teach about the phases of water - solid, liquid and gas.
-Girls learned about the scarcity of clean water and how that affects girls worldwide.

Things I didn't like:
-The journey takes so long, and so little is actually accomplished.
-Most of the games and activities were pretty lame.
-The girl's book was pretty much impossible to use in meetings - the girls had enough school before meetings and didn't want to sit around and read.  Plus, one of my brownies was just learning to speak English, so it was doubly hard to do reading as a group.
-All of the suggested projects are exceedingly lame

Things I did:
The journeys seem like okay jumping off points, but are just full of politically correct garbage and just aren't that much fun.  My brownies chose Wonders of Water out of the three journeys, which I will admit, surprised me!

To ramp up the science in the journey, I added in the following experiments
-Diffusion experiment: we put in food coloring to still water to see how it moved through the water, then we put the food coloring into stirred water to see the difference.
-Homemade hydrogen experiment: we used 9-volt batteries, salt water, and copper wire, which I had on hand because this is an experiment that Eva did for Chemistry this year.  Before this experiment, I had the girls build water molecules with a molecular model set I had at home, so that they got the idea that water is made of hydrogen and oxygen.
-Ooblek experiment: This was the favorite (and the most messy) of the experiments.  We only made a small amount because I was working with the amount of cornstarch we had on hand.

For our project, we raised money for a water project.  In several months we should get a picture and GPS coordinates of the project we helped to fund.  We did this by putting out change collection jars around our small town.  To do this, the girls had to write letters to local business owners asking to put jars in their businesses.  I also wrote up a quick letter to the editor, and set up this website through charity:water, the organization I found to work with.  I did suggest this project when it came time to choose, but I had all the girls make suggestions as well - they voted and chose the fundraising.  I just don't think it occurred to them, since all the journey ideas in the book are so...well, stupid is the word I'd use for them!  The book suggests the following: Shut off that faucet!; Stop that leak!; Choose a broom, not a hose!; Ban bottles!; Grow water smart plants! - all basically have the girls making educational posters, doing skits or writing to local government.  So, we set a goal of raising $200, but it took longer than I expected to get permission to put up jars (particularly in the school!) so, we raised just over $100.  Still not bad for our small troop in our small town.

The BEST thing that we did came about unexpectedly.  I was trying to get the last of our troop's cookies sold at a community event, and our boss (not sure what her title is, but works for Girl Scouts and keeps track of the area leaders) was there trying to recruit more volunteers (which is always an uphill battle!)  A woman I know pretty well from church came by and was talking to us, and we mentioned the journeys, and that the brownies were doing the Wonders of Water journey this year.  Well, she works for the government dealing with water, and she offered to come in and do an educational talk about aquifers, because we live over and get all our water from the Ogallala Aquifer.  So, for our final (and possibly most memorable) meeting, she came in, talked about aquifers and water in general, and then led the girls in making Ice Cream Aquifers

Overall, I am not sure that I would do another Brownie Journey.  The Daisy ones are nice because they give the Daisies something else to do once they have earned their petals, but with the new Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for Brownies, I think the journeys are too much to deal with when you can actually be earning badges.  It took us the majority of the year to earn the four patches for the WOW! Journey, and it took us 2-3 sessions to earn two patches out of the new Girl's Guide - painting and first aid.

For painting, it took 1 1/2 meetings - the first meeting, I took in our Child Size Masterpiece cards for the get inspired step - the girls went through the cards and found four paintings that they liked, then we discussed why they liked them.  Next,  I put down a disposable table cloth and put out both watercolors and tempura paints and brushes.  I brought in a couple of objects to serve as still life inspiration, and gave the girls the option of painting them, or painting an outdoor landscape.  I didn't offer the portrait option, because I could see how badly that could get us off track if they decided to paint each other.  Finally, I had them paint a mood - this was hard for some of them, since it could be abstract, but in the end, all the girls came up with something - some were far less abstract than others.  Most of the girls chose happy (their other options were calm or angry).  The next  session, I put down another disposable table cloth (I know, it's terrible - but it was what I could handle cleanup-wise!) and had the girls paint without brushes - they used sponges, fabric, beads, ping pong balls, fake flowers and leaves and their hands.  They did not want to stop painting with objects, but I eventually got them to move to painting a mural together.  They painted based on the theme "Girl Scout Fun", and after the mural dried, we displayed it at our bridging ceremony.

For first aid, I had a good friend who is in nursing school come in, and she brought a classmate to help her out.  Best speakers ever!  They researched what the girls were supposed to know, brought supplies for each of them to make a first aid kit, and got through pretty much all the info in one meeting (we reviewed the next meeting and worked on putting together a camp first aid kit.)  They covered what an emergency is, calling 911, what to do if someone is having trouble breathing, how to deal with cuts, burns, the importance of hand washing, and just a ton of other information.  They made it fun and informative, and each girl made a first aid kit with gauze pads and tape, bandages, hand sanitizer, a pad and pencil filled with emergency contact information, a bandanna (for dealing with burns or applying pressure to wounds), and a pack of tissues (I may be forgetting some things in the kit!)  Best deal ever for me, I just kept the girls on track as much as I could, and gave them both boxes of cookies for helping us out.  They even travelled an hour each way to talk to the girls.  It was awesome.

In closing (because I'm supposed to be in town shortly), the WOW! Journey was okay, not terrible, not great - but I am WAY happier with the Girl's Guide instead.


centerponder said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Found it using Google. My Brownie troop started the WOW journey last fall but had some new recruits come in mid-year and we also discovered how much more fun earning badges is. So, we are going to try to finish up the WOW journey this fall. Thanks for the ideas. Once we are done we are going to resume working on badges. We have done Potter, Senses and Celebrating Community so far but they wanted to do Pets and First Aid next.

Kara Keenan said...

My girls are doing Wonders of Water too, and I agree with you. This is NOT the best of the Journeys to take on. We're just trying to get through it at this point.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your assessment. I've been a troop leader for a mixed age troop for 5 years now and I'm so disappointed in the journeys for Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes. And, frankly, my girls are much less interested in the meetings than they were when we did the badge work. I realize the point is to make leaders out of our girls but they don't have to go advocate for every issue that the Girl Scouts have decided merit the journey/attention/etc. I liked you ideas and wish I would have seen this before we completed the journey. I will definitely look for the Girl Guide.

bwired said...

I agree that the reading part is ridiculous. I have a mixed troop, brownies through seniors. It is soo hard to plan for all of the groups and keep their attention when they have to do a lot of reading. The more interactive the stuff is, the more likely we are to retain the girls and for them to get something out of it.I am planning on taking all of my girls together to one of out rivers in town, and teach them how to test water for pollution, water quality, ph balance, and teach them two methods of making water potable. Out service project will hopefully be something along the lines of helping to get some clean water sources to people who don't have them.

Anonymous said...

You are a terrific leader. I am inspired by your candid observations of the WOW journey, as well as your adventurous spirit and willingness to incorporate science into your activities.

Brenda Shuff said...

I did purchase each of the girls journey books but we do not use them in meetings at all. It is time consuming and the girls get bored reading. I copy the work pages and some of the interesting tidbits, but I find the book is very repetitious. I know repetition helps them learn, but to read the same thing over and over again bores them. I find lots of ideas that go along with the subject of the journey and use those to engaged the girls so they will have a fun learning experience. It is difficult for some of the girls to attend 10 sessions to earn the set of journey badges, so we try to combine as many sessions into one as possible to ensure the girls earn the badge for their work. We are a multi-level troop meeting on the same night but in 4 separate meetings so that each level can do their level's activities to earn their journeys. We have several in all four levels that have earned all 3 journeys before the bridge to the next level. I am always very proud of those girls because it takes commitment to do that--also on the parents' part to get them to the meetings and field trips! It took me a year or two to decide to do the journeys but once we did, I find that the girls enjoy them as long as we find interesting activities to keep them engaged. 2013-2014 begins my 22 year as a Girl Scout leader, so I think by now I understand how to stay true to the program without sticking everything that is written in a journey. Let's hope so!

Jennifer from Michigan said...

My troop is now currently about 2/3 of the way through the WOW Journey right now this spring. We are also about to finish the Take Action Project for Brownie Quest that we started last fall. Last year as Daisies I found out that sells Journey kits with everything you need to complete them. I used all 3 kits for Daisies and loved them. This year I tried Brownie Quest without purchasing the kits and the bottom line is that it takes much longer and is much more time consuming on the leader's part as well. When I made the decision that we would do WOW this spring, I immediately purchased the kits and so far so good. All the materials are provided and they give you 2 options to complete the Journey. One leader guide if you want to take your time with the Journey and a separate on if you want to speed it up and possibly complete it over a weekend or more like a workshop. My girls even enjoy reading from the book. Now we don't spend as much time on the extras in the book, but I do try to make a concerted effort to summarize what these extra articles are all about and why they are important. The kit comes with its own crafts, supplies for experiments, posters to use during group discussions, a scrapbook for the girls to keep journey memories, a certificate of completion, a small patch and a leader guide. Well worth the money. Next year we will complete the Brownie series when we do World of Girls and I will again be purchasing the kits. Another thing we did this year, is make sure we were still working on and earning badges. We just couldn't do Journey work at every meeting. I had the girls vote and we came up with a pretty good list of badges that we wanted to try this year. A few of them were earned at an event or Brownie Core Camp, but we got most of them completed. I just knew from the get go that we would have to periodically take breaks from the Journey to do badge work. I suppose though that is what is the purpose of the badge add-ons. Really I cannot wait for next year because since we only have one Journey left, we will have much more time for badge work and service projects.

Anonymous said...

My girls love the brownie journeys. You don't need to follow the books or the sample meeting plans/activities. There are 4 badges and each badge has 1-2 requirements. It's easy to earn 1-2 badges in 1 90 minute meetings. For example, Love Water - do something fun with water to show you love it - have a snowball fight, go ice skating, go swimming, do water science experiments, have a water fight, etc. Share Water - learn about facts and share them with others... make posters for school, church or local GS camp cabins, get permission from school principal to have a girl read a water trivia/fact over the morning announcements everyday for a week (ours said yes since it was the week before Earth Day when we did it). Save Water is just coming up with ways to Save Water and planning your project. Easy and fun! It can be done in an afternoon or spread out over months - it's up to you. Journeys are very versatile but too many leaders confuse the 'sample' meeting ideas with 'mandatory' meetings. I'd go crazy trying to follow those sample ideas!

John Lujan said...

Choosing a WOW take action is proving difficult, I must admit. It's one thing to have the girls conserve water at home, another altogether to have them hang signs at a local business, asking customers to turn off the faucet all the way after using it. I'm stuck on what to do.

رضاابو مى said...

شركة وادى الرياض
شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بيارات بالدمام
شركة رش مبيدات بنجران
شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
شركة تنظيف بجده
شركة تنظيف خزانات بجده

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بخميس مشيط
شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة حشرات بجازان
شركة تنظيف بابها

Unknown said...

We just finished our WOW journey and loved it! During our journey, we discovered how much trash (specifically plastic shop bags) goes into the ocean every day. Our girls were so appalled, they found their passion to help prevent the problem. For our service project we went on a hike near a water source and collected trash. In addition to the hike, we purchased 175 reusable shopping bags and handed them out at a local store front. It cost us roughly $200 to have them made with our troop number and logo. The girls loved the journey and felt like they did well to bring awareness to our community. Hope this helps for those struggling to come up with ideas!

Esraa Abbas said...

fattoma said...

Nagy Ali said...

شركة تنظظيف بالخبر على اعلى مستوى من الدقة والمهارة الازمة لاتمام العمل وذلك لاننا نمتلك افضل العمالة المميزة التى تعمل فى المجال منذ زمن اسعارنا لا مثيل لها زورونا من هنا
شركة تنظيف بالخبر
شركة تنظيف بالقطيف

Nagy Ali said...

شركة الاسراء للتنظيف افضل شركة تنظيف بالاحساء على اعلى مستوى
زورونا من هنا
شركة الاسراء للتنظيف
شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالاحساء

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