Monday, September 24, 2007

A Silver Moment

The second highest award in Girl Scouting is the Silver Award. For those familiar with the Boy Scout program, this is the equivalent of Life Scout. There are prerequisites, including leadership, career exploration, interest patches (badges), and reflection. And then there is the Project, which must take at least 40 hours, including planning and doing.

Unlike Boy Scouts, the girl must do all the prerequisites and the project in the three years from seventh through ninth grade.

DD#2 thought that she would like to do a "Welcome Back to Girl Scouting" event for the troops in our neighborhood to get the school year started. Our neighborhood had penciled in a "Songfest" event--a chance to get together and sing at just the right time. Next thing she knew, DD#2 was in charge.

"But I hate leading songs!" she protested to me.

"So ask someone else to lead the songs," I answered calmly. "You just have to plan it and make sure everything is covered. You don't have to actually do it all."

Now DD#2 has been going to Scout campfires (Boy Scout, Girl Scout, and Cub Scout) since she was a year old. She's watched me lead them, her brothers, her sister, other Scout leaders, camp counselors, other troops. She's led songs at Day Camp and at Camporee. So why did she suddenly insist that she didn't know how to put this event--which was essentially a campfire at the beach--together?

Because she's never been in charge before. Events sure look different when their success or failure hinge on you.

The most difficult part for me was not taking over.

"Has she done this yet?" asked the neighborhood coordinator.

"I don't know. You'll have to ask her," became my standard reply. My other job was to be a sounding board, to ask her questions like, "What usually happens? What are your favorite songs? What are your options?"

And to keep Hubs from driving her crazy. She is, after all, his baby, too. Worse, since he doesn't often get to see her in a leadership role, he forgets that she is pretty competent. She knows her stuff, even if she doesn't always realize she does.

The flyers were done, the registration happened, the s'more supplies were purchased, the fire laid.

"How do I start?" was her last agonized whisper to me.

"Well, you should probably welcome everyone and introduce yourself and your song leaders," I said. "Then go from there."

The neighborhood coordinator referred to DD#2's look as "deer-in-the-headlights." As the program got underway and the group (there were about 75-80 people) settled in and started singing, DD#2 became more sure of herself and lost that look. We had enough wood and enough s'more supplies. We did not set the grass on fire (Hubs' biggest concern, although there was little chance of that happening). It did not rain.

Now there is the final paperwork and the patches to be ordered. The feedback we're receiving is very positive--everyone had fun, which means our neighborhood will probably hold a similar event next year.

I'm very interested to hear DD#2's evaluation of the event. She did an excellent job, but she has my tendency to focus on what went wrong rather than what went right. And she may not enjoy leading songs, but she's good at it--and I wonder if her opinion will change after she completes a year of public speaking (which includes competitions).