Thursday, 5 November 2015

First steps on the Journey Programme!

IGG members throughout Ireland are taking their first steps on the exciting new Journey Programme. What’s the reaction been so far?

“The Journey Programme is brilliant! It’s easy to understand and really great fun, full of colour and the new badges are great.”

“The book tells you at the start what you have to do for each badge. It's very clear.”

"The new interest badges are brill and the new shapes and colours are great!"

“The new programme is way better because it is interesting and easier to do. It won't be boring in any way and I love the names of the different parts of the programme.”

"This is going to be fantastic. I am planning to get that Trail Blazer badge. It looks so cool!”

These are the thoughts of some of the members of Carrigdhoun Guides in Cork. Their Leader, Marg McInerney, adds:

I was won over by the Journey Programme when it was launched at national conference back in March - the razzmatazz, the bright colours and the actual content of the programme. I knew that anything new was going to be different so, as I flicked through the programme, I was expecting loads of new and some bits of old.

I was delighted to get an A4 page which had the old programme badges named and a picture of the badge in colour on the left side of the page with an arrow going from each one of them to a picture of the new badge and its name. This for me made it so easy to see from the start that, if a Guide was in the middle of her Spruce award, she could either finish the requirements for the badge and get her Spruce badge or decide to start afresh on the new Journey Programme at that level, beginning with the Pathfinder badge.

As a Guide Leader, I was delighted that this A4 page gave me the old and the new programme badges for all branches. Now I know that Ladybirds are going to be earning powers and doing Discover, Grow and Fly badges, Brownies will be earning gadgets and doing Detect, Investigate and Explore badges and Senior Branch have different pathways in their new programme and can earn awards and pins like Bronze Stars, Silver Moons and Golden Suns.

August came around very quickly this year and the other Guide Leaders in my Unit were sitting around my kitchen table with mugs of coffee, tea, Kathryn's banana cake and chocolate fingers trying to think, prepare and plan the Guide programme for the next term.  We knew that we would be getting a training on the Journey Programme in early September at our Regional Conference but we wanted to at least put together some kind of timetable for each of the meetings from September to Halloween. So we decided we would introduce the Journey Programme to the Guides on the first night of the new term and to try to complete two or three new badges before the mid-term break. We told the Guides that we were all going on a new journey together.

For the first September meeting we had the picture of the new programme badges (Pathfinder, Voyager, Innovator, Trail blazer) and the requirements printed out for each of our test work groups.  We stuck these up on the wall each week in the hall. Each night we give 15 - 20 mins to test work, play two games, have 10 minutes’ patrol time and do something else for 30 mins.
In September we began with the Healthy Friendship badge. It really got the new Brownies and Guides mixing together and talking from the word ‘Go’. To complete the requirements for the badge we used programmes we knew already and used the new book too. To find out what makes a person a friend, we used the IGG Health Promotion Guide book (page 51). This also partially covered the Guide Choice Challenge - Teamwork Adventure on What Makes a Friend (page 43 no. 5) of the new Leaders’ Travel Guide book. Over four meeting we played an exclusion game, discussed bullying issues, acted out scenarios, talked about friendships etc.

Last night we started the Science Badge as Science week is in November. We got a Scientists and Inventors crossword puzzle from and made up a science-orientated wordsearch as another activity. As part of the patrol time, the Guides discussed how they were finding the Journey Programme. They love it and are looking forward to taking their next steps …

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