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College of Science and Engineering

Is Your Council Ready?

Is your council ready to implement Inquiry in the Community? Take this quiz and find out if IC is right for you.

1. How many of these items are in my council's strategic goals?

  • Supporting volunteers' implementation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
  • Increasing girls' access to science programming
  • Improving the quality of girls' experience in Girl Scouts
  • Increasing retention

If you answered

  • Two or more: IC would be a very good fit for your council. You could work towards many of your council's goals at once by using our curricula and resources
  • One: IC may be a good fit for your council. You could focus on one of your goals while receiving some unexpected benefits (improved GSLE implementation, more quality science programming happening in "everyday Girl Scouts," etc.). And, while we don't have quantitative evidence for retention impacts, all four councils we've worked with to date think it will impact retention over the long term.
  • Zero: This is probably not a good fit for you at this time. One of our keys to success is that you use our tools to meet goals you already have. Keep us in mind for later, though, in case your goals change!

2. My council could involve the following people on a steering team for Inquiry in the Community:

A. Representatives from most or all of our membership, program, and volunteerism-related departments, plus our marketing, fund development, and strategy people as needed.

B. Two or three people from our membership and volunteerism teams.

C. One person. It's the STEM program manager's job, right?

D. Nobody. We have all been beamed to an alien spaceship.

If you answered…

A. You are well-positioned to start your planning and implantation work.

B. If your two to three people include your membership director, learning/training staff, and a program staff member, you should be fine - especially if you're a small council. You may want to bring in your marketing and fund development folks as needed.

C. We've learned the hard way that it's not as sustainable (or effective) to have only one person who's learning about and implementing IC. Obviously, your council would get at least some benefit from using just our adult curriculum, or our troop support ideas. But since our volunteers get their support from many departments in the organization, we recommend that they're all informed and supportive of the project.

D. Congrats on finding Wi-Fi in the belly of the aliens' ship to read this website. Your work with IC will have to wait, though, until you're beamed back to Earth.

3. Our council staff culture is…

A. Each department does its own thing, for the most part.

B. Each department does its own thing, but we do work on cross-department teams occasionally.

C. Each department has its responsibilities, and we have a number of cross-department teams.

D. We regularly work across department boundaries, and/or we have an integrated staff structure.

If you answered:

A. Inquiry in the Community will be challenging for you to implement. If you're interested in promoting more cross-collaboration, however, this might be a good project to start with. Just make sure you consciously create organizational practices for cross-collaboration: good communication, setting expectations, creating a safe space to take risks, and celebrating successes.

B. You will probably have success with IC. Make sure to reinforce the best practices for cross-collaboration that you already have, and use this as an opportunity to identify and work on a couple new collaboration skills as a group.

C. or D. Your collaboration skills will be put to good use with this project. As you develop your council's implementation plan, we recommend a mix of cross-departmental and inter-departmental planning. When different groups can brainstorm ideas for how to use our curricula and tools, you never know what great ideas will shake loose!

4. Our council makes decisions…

A. In a top-down manner. Our directors and senior leadership decide how something will happen, and our managers and on-the-ground folks implement it.

B. Our directors and senior leadership set the direction and boundaries, with input from staff and volunteers, and our managers and on-the ground folks decide how to implement things.

C. Our managers and on-the ground folks decide what to do and how to do it, with our directors and senior leadership providing support.

If you answered…

A. Inquiry in the Community relies on a collaborative leadership model. Often, senior leadership and/or director-level staff provide our professional development workshops to manager and coordinator staff. Then, the senior leadership and directors provide overall goals and boundaries, and the manager-level staff decide where and how to implement it (within these goals and boundaries). If your council is a more hierarchical one, you will need to do some work to shift to a more collaborative leadership culture while (or before) implementing IC. Our curricula can be a great tool to help aid this shift; we also recommend augmenting it with other resources on collaborative leadership models. Also, don't forget to build this collaborative leadership with your key volunteers as well (facilitators/trainers, service team members, and the like).

B or C. Much of the IC curricula model these approaches. You will find our project's curricula and tools useful for communicating and reinforcing your collaborative leadership model with your staff and volunteers (both new and experienced).

5. Our council's staffing and volunteer support structures are…

A. Going to be reorganized.

B. Being reorganized.

C. Just got reorganized.

D. Haven't changed recently, and aren't changing soon.

If you answered…

A. We recommend you wait until after you've reorganized until you implement our resources and curricula. However, it's a great time to lay the groundwork; by creating your staff professional development and planning timelines now, you'll be able to hit the ground running once the reorganization happens and the dust has settled somewhat.

B. Right now, you're probably in the middle of a crazy time. That's okay. We'll still be here when you get done. Focus on making sure you have the structures and basics in place - things like staff, volunteer structures, key business practices - and then start the Inquiry in the Community work later. However, if changing your adult workshop (training) curricula is part of this reorganization, then this may be a great time to use our curricula as a basis for your own. Why re-create the wheel?

C. If you're just starting to pull out of the craziness, and are able to think about things like program quality (instead of, say, "how on earth do we place girls in troops?!?"), it's a great time to start IC. Your staff will appreciate having a project that's fun, interesting, and rewarding to bring them together.

D. Have at it! If things are running smoothly, you can use our curricula and resources to take your council's program quality to the next level.

6.You tell your staff and volunteers that you'll be using Inquiry in the Community resources to make some changes to volunteer workshops (trainings), service unit meeting content, events, and/or recruiting activities. They…

A. Are instantly overwhelmed, dig their heels in, and won't budge.

B. Roll their eyes at "yet another change," but are willing to give it a shot if it's executed in good faith.

C. Ask a bunch of good questions, then start learning more.

D. Say "oh, good, I've been needing to change ____________anyway."

If you answered…

A. You obviously have a challenge on your hands. If your staff/volunteers are truly overwhelmed and dealing with significant other changes (e.g. a staff reorganization or major business process changes), you may want to back off for a while. If, however, part of the challenge is that they don't fully understand previous changes - particularly the Girl Scout Leadership Experience - you can use our materials as a way to help them learn about the GSLE.

B. Focus on linking our curriculum and resources to existing program concepts - like the three processes. Many people will agree that "girl-led," in particular, is something that's abstract and hard to teach (and talk about). By positioning the project as a way to build your council's ability to support "girl-led" and the three processes, and genuinely involving key staff and volunteer groups in deciding how to leverage our materials, you will gain credibility and trust.

C. Invite them to explore this website and see how other councils have implemented our curricula and resources. This will get the creative juices flowing. There is also an "Inquiry in the Community" community on Pearl; by joining it, they can ask questions of others who have used the materials before.

D. Invite them to explore this website and the Pearl community to see how our resources might be useful to them in their upcoming changes.

7. If you had to make a generalization, you would say your council sees basic science activities as…

A. Something anyone can (and should) do with girls.

B. Something that some people can (and should) do with girls - like event and series volunteers, or people who have access to kits.

C. Something that scientists and special "science-y" people can (and should) do with girls.

D. Something that is our STEM program person's job, or the province of the local science museum.

If you answered…

A. Our curricula and resources can help you reinforce that perception.

B. Our curricula and resources can help your troop leaders, facilitators, service unit teams, and staff realize they all have a hand in supporting science programming on a local level.

C or D. We can help you change your science culture in your council. Our curricula and resources teach anyone how to do science with girls, no matter their background. By equipping all your adults to do at least some science with girls, the girls in your council will grow up with an expectation that they, too can do science - it's not just what "special" people do. You will need to consciously reinforce the expectation with all your staff - not just your "STEM" staff - that they, too have a responsibility to encourage all volunteers to do science.

Ready to learn more? Consult our planning checklist and see what's next!