Thursday, September 11, 2014

Junior Girl Scouts: aMUSE Journey Day Two

Our Junior Girl Scout troop is working on the aMUSE Journey.  We hope to complete the Journey in four meetings.  Interested in reading about our aMUSE Journey Day One experience?  Check out this postWe held our second Journey meeting yesterday.  In this post, I will outline and describe the activities we completed.
4:15pm  Girls arrive.

4:30pm  Girl Scout Promise and Sharing.  The girls were asked to turn to Pg. 13 in the Junior Journey Book.  This was an exercise they had completed at home prior to the meeting.  They each shared their five favorite girl characters and the roles these characters play.  Then they described the NEW character they created.  We had assigned the All-My-Roles Paper Dolls activity on Pg. 22 and 23 in the Junior Journey Book for fun.  The girls were invited to share their paper dolls if they brought them to the meeting.

4:45pm   Discuss Casting Call Log.  The girls turned to Pg. 16-17 in the Junior Journey Book.  Prior to the meeting, I prepared something to say to the girls, relying on the "Logs and Leaders" activity on pg. 37 in the Adult Guide.  Here is what I said:
            By completing the Casting Call Log, you have taken a step toward the Reach Out! Award.  Look at the list of women you wrote down.  We’re going to discuss them as a group. 
               Do any of these women play more than one role?  What are they?
               Which of these women do you consider to be leaders, either at home or in their community?    Why?
               What leadership traits do you see in them that you see in yourself?
               Which leadership traits do you see in them that you aspire to?
               Think about the Girl Scout Law.  Which of those values do these women seem to honor in the roles they play?
                     Continue to fill out your log as you see more women and girls in your daily life.  We have a chance to revisit this activity during another meeting.
5:00pm   Breaking the Mold  (Read Pg.  24-26 in Junior Journey Book).  We read the stories about Bennie Williams, a professional dancer, and Debbie Black, a professional basketball player.  Both women break stereotypes.  These stories provided the perfect transition for us to assign homework for our next meeting.
HOMEWORK:  Complete chart on Pg. 27.  Interview person from Casting Call (questions provided on Pg. 29).  Complete Pg. 30-31 for next week.

5:15pm   Role-Play Switcheroo.  (Pg. 39-41 in Adult Guide)
Again, I relied on the text provided in the Adult Guide.  This is what I said to the troop:
            In your daily life, you may be playing out stereotypical gender roles without even knowing it.  We are going to take turns role-playing girls and boys in a classroom situation.  We need one teacher, two boys, and two girls. 
      Who will be the first teacher?
      Can you suggest a topic for the day’s lesson?  (math, science, language arts…)
The girls had SO much fun with this scenario, especially the girls who were playing boys.  After several minutes, we ended the skit and discussed several questions from pg. 39 in the Adult Guide:

1.      Who put their hands up most, boys or girls?
2.      Who disrupted most, boys or girls?
3.      How did being a boy make you feel or act differently?
4.      Is there anything you now want to change about how you act in class?  What?  Why?

We continued with Scenario 2 (from pg. 41 in the Adult Guide).  I instructed them to switch roles from previous scenario (those who played boys now played girls and vice versa).  We allowed the teacher to choose to be a boy or a girl.  They were asked to pretend they are at recess on the playground.  The other leader and I were cracking up at these girls!  They had more fun with this scenario than with the classroom role-play.  We ended the skit by "blowing the whistle" which meant the girls were to line up at the end of recess.  We discussed several more questions that were found on Pg. 41 in the Adult Guide):
1.      Who uses the basketball court? 
2.      Who stands around and talks? 
3.      Who gets invited to play games? 
4.      Who plays to win?
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to be.  You have been acting out what you’ve seen and experienced in your own lives.  Being aware of (or discovering)  how stereotypes affect your decisions, behavior, and relationships is what this Journey is all about.
5:30pm   Ads Assume  (pg. 50-51 in the Adult Guide)
            I hoped to follow this activity as described in the Adult Guide; however, I didn't find the right type of ads.  My husband grabbed a couple issues of Men's Health and Men's Fitness from work, and they were FULL of ads that used stereotypes to promote a product.  Jackpot!  I chose quite a few that I thought would generate a good discussion.  I began the activity by saying (from pg. 50 in the Adult Guide):
Advertising experts have the job of selecting pictures or photos to place in ads and on packaging for products girls see every day, such as toys, games, and sports equipment.  It's usually the company’s top executives who make the final decision about which image will sell their product best.  Here's a funny story.  When Mr. Travis (my husband) was little, his grandma bought him an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas.  Before wrapping the gift, she cut out a picture of Bill Cosby and glued it to the box.  She didn’t want him to feel badly because it was a “girl” toy.  Good thing she didn’t buy into stereotypes because today he is an excellent cook! 
I read through a list of questions from pg. 51 in the Adult Guide before showing any of the ads.  I wanted the girls to be thinking about the questions when they saw the ads.  

      Are you seeing any stereotypes in these images?
              How is it useful for advertisers to use stereotypical images in their ads?
              When boys and girls are shown together, who is taller?  Who looks older?
              Which images seem to appeal most to girls?  To boys?
              If you were an advertising executive, would you change any of these images?  How?
For reference, here are a couple ads we discussed:

The girls quickly picked up on the fireman being a boy, and the teacher being a girl.  Someone also identified the teacher holding an apple as a stereotype.  They pointed out the female figure skater, the male hockey player, and they noticed the boy was the one sitting in front on the motorcycle.  Then I showed this ad:

We talked about the girl's posture and facial expression and what she may be feeling or thinking.  We also talked about how the guy is not even looking at the girl and what he may be feeling or thinking.  We decided the ad was directed toward guys, especially because it was found in a Men's Health.  With some help, the girls concluded the point of this ad is to say if you (a guy) wear these super cool Skechers, the girls will all want to hang out with you.  I explained that stereotypes like this can be found everywhere, and we may not even realize it when we see it.  Then I showed them this ad from a Lands' End catalog:

 "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING?!" was the response we heard from two of the girls when they saw this ad.  We repeated something that was said earlier in the meeting: 

Being aware of (or discovering)  how stereotypes affect your decisions, behavior, and relationships is what this Journey is all about!

 5:45pm   Closing Ceremony:  A Good Yarn  (pg. 57 in the Adult Guide)
            We did have time to try this activity, but the girls seemed like they'd had enough for the day.  Instead of having them make up a story, we described the activity.  They understood the yarn would make a web as they each took turns building the story.  I explained that the web connects all of them and symbolizes the story they told belongs to all of them.

6:00pm   Closing—We ended the meeting, and I gave the girls a sneak peak at what next week's meeting will bring.
During our next meetings, you girls will create a story about a stereotype that you care about.  This is for your Speak Out! Award.  Your story will educate others about how it’s wrong to limit the kinds of roles people have open to them.  You will eventually tell your story to an audience, and in doing so, you are being a leader.  You will hopefully inspire them to try new roles themselves and possibly stop stereotypes.
We have a creative and talented group.  I'm already looking forward to next week's meeting.  I hope you are too.  Thank you for reading!


  1. Have you done day 3 and 4? Is there a link to a blog for those days? This is exactly what I want to do, aMuse in 4 meetings. Awesome!

  2. Hi, Shannon. Here is a link to the Day 3 post:
    I have not yet written the Day 4 post because the girls took longer to write their puppet show than I expected. They spent the first half of Day 4 finishing their script. The second half of that meeting was devoted to painting the puppet show scenery on two pieces of poster board. We met again last night, and they were given 20 minutes to finish painting. They will perform their puppet show in a couple of weeks. We will present their Journey awards to them on that day as well. We had a lot of fun with this Journey. Hope this helps. Have a great time with your girls!