About the Author
Dr. Charlie Groth (Susan Charles Groth) has attended the UU Church at Washington Crossing (First Unitarian Church of Trenton) since 1967. She is a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts of the USA, having invested in 1972 at age 7. She has advised groups going through the Religion in Life: Girls program since 1998 and led Girl Scout troops since 2001. Both cultural groups have figured in her scholarly research projects, including a doctoral dissertation on empowering girls and women through Girl Scout ceremony. If you would like to talk with Charlie about the program, please contact email@example.com, and we’ll put you in touch with her.
Developmental edit by Gail Forsyth-Vail, Adult Programs Director of the UUA.
Website design by Alicia LeBlanc, former Administrative and Editorial Assistant of the UUA Faith Development Office.
There are two distinct versions of the Religion in Life for Girl Scouts program, one for younger girls (Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts, generally in Grades 4-8 or the equivalent for homeschoolers) and one for older girls (Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts, generally in Grades 6-12 or the equivalent for homeschoolers). Cadette Girl Scouts and others of middle school age can choose between the younger girl program or the older girl program. An individual’s choice should be guided by such factors as whether she plans to complete both programs (doing the younger girls program first and the other at a later time), which materials best suit her learning style and developmental needs, and whether there is a class or group she might join working on one program or the other. Parents and caregivers, religious professionals, and program advisors can review materials and options and offer helpful guidance in making this decision.
Completing either program generally takes a few months or a congregational year, but can take more or less time, depending on the pace chosen by the girl(s) and advisor(s). Most commonly, girls begin in the fall and end in April or May before the rush of end-of-year activities.
The program can be done at low or no cost to the girl. She needs access to this website or, alternatively, a downloaded and printed copy of the program for Younger Girls (Word or PDF) or Older Girls (Word or PDF). She will also need a Religion in Life advisor. When girls do research to complete various requirements, they may use a number of information sources–books at home or in a congregation’s library, public libraries and interlibrary loan, trusted sites on the Internet, and people they know (or are known to their families, advisors, and fellow congregants).
Individual or Group
Should girls do the program as a class or as individuals?
Either works. This program can be quite enjoyable as a group, with girls experiencing the program together while individually working on fulfilling requirements. It is even possible to include girls working on the older girls program and those working on the younger girls program in the same group, provided there are two different advisors.
While girls working individually can do the program on their own schedule, there are benefits to working on this program with others. Doing the program as a group offers girls and their advisor(s) an opportunity to build community and to share discoveries and actions. Collaboration helps with time management and can also help girls gain momentum for completing the requirements for the award. Working with other girls can also make them more comfortable with some of the activities that involve reaching out to adults in the congregation.
In the end, the number and ages of girls ready to start the program at a particular time may be the deciding factor in whether girls form a group or work alone.
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