Saturday, August 25, 2012

Everybody Counts

When I was in grade school, I remember participating in the Everybody Counts program.  Parent volunteers assisted program leaders to help young students experience what it is like to be physically challenged.  I vividly remember trying to tie my shoes while wearing mittens.  I was fascinated to learn about Braille and sign language.  The program was successful, for me anyway, since I recall these lessons some 25 years later.

As I was brainstorming ideas for the "Respect Myself and Others" lesson (dark purple petal), I thought it would be great to recreate the Everybody Counts program for our troop.  We divided the troop into two groups.  At one station, the girls tried to button my coats while wearing gloves.  This task proved to be challenging, and I was proud to see how determined the girls were to succeed.

The second station involved gently placing cotton balls in their ears.  I read parts of a book, whispering to exaggerate the effect.  To be honest, the girls totally called me on this one.  They knew I was whispering.  It was not as effective as trying to hear a story while wearing noise-cancelling headphones.  However, we chose to use cotton balls instead of having the girls share headsets.  

I would have loved to have the girls walk on crutches or allow a friend to guide them around the house while wearing a blindfold.  We did not have time, but I thought I would offer these activities as suggestions for your meetings.

One of our troop moms is a Sign Language Interpreter by profession.  We were able to have her teach our troop how to sign everything from their names to numbers to colors and favorite animals.  They even learned to sign the first verse of the song "Make New Friends."  It was a really fun meeting!  

By exposing the troop to a few of the hardships that challenge many people on a daily basis, they learned the importance of respecting others.  This was the first step they took toward earning their dark purple petal.  The girls also had a manicure party that served as a dark purple petal activity.  Please check back as that post is coming soon.  Thanks for reading!

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