Working with Cadettes
Just being attentive to what girls are experiencing as they mature is a big help to girls. So, take some time to understand the likes, needs, and abilities of girls in this grade level. As you listen and learn along with girls, you may find it useful to review the highlights of their development in the chart below. Of course, each girl is an individual, so these are only guidelines that help you get to know the girls.
Cadettes are ready to grow beyond their typical school meeting place, and it’s a good time to move your troop meetings to a new location, or rotate locations, to keep things changing for these girls on the go.
Meeting times might be extended to up to two hours, to allow plenty of time for socializing and small group discussion, which is important in girl-led leadership but also takes more time.
Encourage Cadettes to keep their own records and notes about Girl Scout activity. In-person meetings can use troop notebooks the troop leader takes home to review; virtual meetings can include shared documents stored in the cloud. Leaders can use these notes to combine ideas, remind girls of their goals, and help them identify next steps of whatever project they are working on.
Middle school sports and extracurriculars are hugely important for Cadettes. Not only do these girls get a busier schedule, but you may also begin to see a divide in the direction they want their troop to take. For example, it’s normal for middle schoolers to identify and pursue their own unique hobbies and start to self-select out of opportunities that don’t hold as much interest for them. Invite girls to attend as many events as possible, but don’t make a girl feel awkward for not attending an event she wasn’t interested in. To keep the troop together, emphasize the fun and value of “learning by doing” as a group.
Practicing a form of troop government may become more important and valuable to middle schoolers who can apply their Girl Scout leadership skills in school leadership positions. Encourage girls to pursue those school positions and recognize their effort with the Girl Scout Silver Torch award and Community Service bars.
Girl Scouting is a learning experience.
At the Cadette program grade level, unique earned awards are available to these older girls. These awards are girl-managed and leader-approved.
Leader in Action (LiA)
Cadettes can earn a Leader in Action (LiA) award by assisting a Brownie group on the National Leadership Journey that correlates with the Journey they are working on. Cadettes share their organizational skills, use one of their special talents, teach Brownies something important from their Journey, and reflect on the experience. The complete requirements for earning the Leader in Action award can be found in the Brownie Journey Leader Guides and the Cadette handbook.
This award can be earned by a Cadette Girl Scout who serves a full term in a leadership position in a place of her choice. Prerequisite: a Cadette Leadership Journey.
Program Aide (PA)
The Program Aide pin is earned by a Girl Scout Cadette who completed Program Aide training and then works with younger girls over six sessions to earn the LiA .
Community Service Bars
Girl Scouts provide at least 20 hours of service to the same organization. Leaders should approve the organization and the type of service provided. Girls track their own hours and leaders approve and award the pin.
Service to Girl Scouting Bars
Girl Scouts provide at least 20 hours of service to Girl Scouting at the troop, service area, or council level. Girls track their own hours and leaders approve and award the pin.