Many councils want to improve the quality of girls' experiences. Inquiry in the Community can be a helpful tool in this process, since it focuses on developing volunteers' skill in areas that are often challenging to learn and implement.
The "Girl-Led" Process
Girl-led, in particular, is often challenging for volunteers. Many adults never experienced a youth-led program when they were younger. Rather, they experienced mostly adult-controlled activities – in school, in sports, in other youth programs. When asked to implement a "girl-led" program, they have no personal experience to draw from.
What councils typically see, then, is that volunteers implement very adult-controlled activities. Or, volunteers will operate at the other end of the spectrum and give the girls too little direction – this often happens as girls enter middle school. Either way, girls don't receive a very good Girl Scout experience…and many drop out because of it.
We passionately believe that our well-intentioned volunteers deserve to experience the "middle ground." It's not enough to just talk about it. Our curriculum has volunteers playing, engaging, and doing activities that consciously model this "middle ground," one where activities are thoughtfully structured to provide opportunities for meaningful decision-making. This is the Inquiry in the Community way – and volunteers appreciate learning how to bring girl-led alive.
Alignment with Other Program Quality Initiatives
If your council is using other program quality assessments or improvement tools, you'll find our resources are complementary. Most program quality initiatives deal with issues of group cooperation, meaningful (and hands-on) learning, and providing youth voice and choice.
Our resources address the same issues, with two important bonuses:
- They are already translated into Girl Scout language. By using curriculum and activities already steeped in "Girl Scout-ese," your council avoids the risk of having volunteers (and staff) reject your program quality initiative as "just one more thing to do."
- They also build your volunteers' (and staff members') ability to facilitate inquiry science activities with girls, thereby increasing your council's science program capacity.
Our evaluation tools provide a ready-made way to assess whether you're meeting your program quality and STEM programming goals. Plus, they can be adapted to fit your needs.