Working with Seniors

Understanding Healthy Development for Girl Scouts

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.

Senior Meeting Activity

High school girls and their troop leaders are encouraged to “think out of the box” regarding meetings and gatherings. Deciding the format of a high school level Girl Scout troop meeting is an essential task for the girls, and one that encourages cooperative learning and learning by doing.

Troop leaders can guide the planning by asking the girls (and themselves!):

  • How often can we truly get together?
  • What format and places will work best – bi-weekly evenings? Meeting at a coffee place? Saturday mornings? Monthly sleepovers?
  • What do girls want to accomplish when gathering?
  • How can the Girl Scout program support the girls in their lives and other activities?

Meeting Ideas from Experienced Leaders

The following are successful story examples from Girl Scout leaders and their troops. Share them with the girls in your troop as a catalyst for their own decisions on how to structure their Girl Scout gatherings.

Field Trips and Outings

Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors value the opportunity to learn by doing through outings. When girls plan trips, they learn about setting financial goals, organizing transportation, connecting with other organizations, and ultimately discovering a larger world.

As girls grow, they will typically want to find adventures outside their hometown. However, don’t overlook the fact that many girls (and adults) may not have had the chance to explore attractions in their own backyard! So discuss all options. A trip to a local previously un-visited location can be economical and FUN!

Sample ideas for outings:

  • Festivals
  • Restaurant dinners (night on the town)
  • Bookstores – a great gathering location also
  • Attend a sporting event together (professional or one that one of the girls is actually playing)
  • Ice skating/roller skating
  • Musicals and plays
  • Jewelry studio/store that also gives classes on jewelry making/beading
  • Challenge courses
  • Museums
  • Radio stations/ TV stations
  • Real estate agent to learn about choosing an apartment
  • Spa days
  • Plan an extended trip! Please remember to consult the GSNWGL troop travel policies. For some travel opportunities, Council preapproval is required.

Career Exploration

Career exploration opportunities are ideal for Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors. As girls make decisions for their future, such trips can be integrated into the Leadership Journeys, badges, and troop activities. Help the girls apply trip planning skills to prepare for these explorations.  Do advance research on the person, the professional field, or the location. Plan out the time frame and the route to get there. Before the trip, girls can discuss the topics they want to cover and prepare specific questions to ask of business owners, politicians, or college admissions staff. After the visit, guide the girls to reflect on the experience and express what they have learned. Ask them about the new questions they now have and any changes to their personal interest in the topic.

On-site tours to businesses and organizations: Visit locations owned or managed by women. Utilize local chambers of commerce or women-focused professional development groups to find tour opportunities.

Government offices at the city, state and federal level: Visiting women government officials, whether elected or career employees, may be rewarding and memorable.

University/college campuses: Admissions offices will gladly arrange tours. The Career Services centers on campuses are also a valuable resource and provide tours and information on career planning for young adults.

Adult training programs: Girls may also be interested in touring adult education sites, such as business schools, paralegal training programs, medical/dental assistant training companies, aircraft maintenance training, floral design or apprenticeship/journeyman programs.

All of the above: Your girls may think of others that can assist girls in making informed decisions on their career path following high school. Again, preparation and reflection following the visit will ensure that the experience provides for real exploration of the world beyond high school!

Girl Scouting is a learning experience.

You know it’s happening when:

  • Girls are allowed to make mistakes (non-life-threatening).
  • Everyone has a chance to voice her opinion.
  • Brainstorming is an accepted way of generating ideas.
  • Girls and adults are talking with each other.
  • Girls are participating in self-government.
  • Girls and adults say “our” project.
  • The leader asks the girls what is going to happen.
  • Girls are making their own plans and adults are encouraging them.
  • There is evidence of compromise.
  • Girls are actively directing an event.
  • Discussions are among girls, more than between adults and girls.
  • Adults are close enough to answer questions when needed . . . and far enough away not to interfere.
  • Girls are planning complete events.
  • Girls encourage their friends to join the troop/group.
  • Girls actively participate in evaluation.
  • Older girls’ events have greater attendance because they have been planned by girls.
  • Girls take responsibility for getting consultants, drivers, and permission forms, and reading Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • The leader comes back “less tired” and more relaxed than her girls.
  • The girls take the adults along “to drive the car and sign the checks.”
  • A girl says, “I can do that – I can do anything.”
  • An adult does not speak for the girls when the group is asked to report.
  • Girls and adults trust and respect one another.
  • Strengths are utilized; weaknesses are given an opportunity to strengthen.
  • Everyone’s schedules are taken into consideration.
  • Meetings run smoothly and in a timely fashion with everyone participating.
  • Both sides live up to agreements and project commitments.
  • Responsibilities are rotated equally or agreed upon democratically.
  • Girls have equal voice in decision making.
  • Adults can let go of their own ideas, traditions, histories, and stereotypes

Statements collected from Cadette, Senior and Ambassador girls and leaders.

Additional Awards

At the Senior program grade level, unique earned awards are available to these older girls. These awards are girl-managed and leader-approved.

Silver and Gold Torch

This award can be earned by a Senior Girl Scout who serves a full term in a leadership position in a place of her choice. A leader approves and awards the pin. Prerequisite: a Senior Leadership Journey.

Counselor-in-Training I (CIT I)

A Girl Scout Senior mentors younger girls in a camp setting for one camp session. The CIT I leadership course is typically offered as a summer camp session at Camp Birch Trails.

Volunteer in Training (VIT)

A Girl Scout Senior mentors a younger girl troop outside of a camp experience. For more information about the VIT leadership course, contact the Customer Care team,

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.

For the most up-to-date information on the Girl Scout Senior Vest and Sash, Badges and Awards, and Journeys visit the Girl Scouts online shop and/or explore the national website.