Our troop typically meets approximately every other week for one hour at a time, and between doing the regular Girl Scout activities and journeys and celebrating holidays, we found it difficult to find time to carve time to work consistently on the award. We began two years ago with a visit to a Conservative synagogue, where the Cantor led a tour and unrolled a Torah scroll for the girls to see. We then went to a Reform synagogue where the religious school director taught about the Shema. We skipped around a bit, and in the end, we met several times at the tail end of our time together as Brownies to finish the workbook. Technically, the girls are in 4th grade now that school has started up again, and they are ready to graduate from Brownies, but we were determined to earn our Lehavah pins before "flying up" to Juniors!
Because my girls are on the older side (for Brownies), we were able to have some really great interactive discussions. My biggest take-aways for future leaders who want to work on the Lehavah Award with their troops:
- Don't attempt to cover too much in any one session.
- Mix it up with reading, lecture, discussion, independent work, music, dance, video, etc. to keep the sessions fresh and lively.
- Search online for web tools, apps, and music videos to tempt the girls who relate strongly to technology. G-dcast.com, youtube.com, and Chabad have great web resources.
- Tie the learning to a holiday (e.g., teach the Creation story close to Simchat Torah, or discuss the 10 Commandments close to Shavuot).
- Tie the learning to other patches that the girls can earn at the same time (e.g., "My Family Story" or "Philanthropy" patches). Our girls made havdalah sets (we rolled candles from beeswax sheets, decorated matchboxes with duct tape and sparkly gems, and filled sachets with spices) and earned Shabbat patches (available through our GS Council store).
- Tie discussion about values to the 10 lines of the Girl Scout Law.
- Don't be afraid to go off-topic. Some of our favorite activities included discussion about lashon hara (gossip) and the "modeh ani" prayer (gratitude), which weren't in the workbook.
Our girls were great, and super motivated. I'm looking forward to facilitating the award ceremony during Sukkot. I'm going to ask each of the girls to share something that they learned and/or talk about a mitzvah that they did during the past month, and they will dedicate their learning to someone special!