When You Need an Expert, Call Our Community Partners!
So we’ve got all these awesome badges and your troop is super excited to earn them. But there’s a little problem. Some of the badges your girls really want to try are just a little outside (or maybe a lot outside) of your comfort zone. Anyone just a little unsure about their space science knowledge? Or not an expert robot programmer? And what exactly is geocaching anyway?
Don’t despair! While our badges are written so that the girls (and you) can build new skills even if you’re all a complete novice in that topic area, sometimes you just want an “expert” to help you out. And we’ve got some! They’re our wonderful community partners. So if you’re in need of some help with a badge (or two) channel your inner Beatle and get by with a little help from our friends (community partners)!
What are Community Partners?
Community partners are people and/or organizations within the community who understand the Girl Scout mission, our program processes, and who provide fun and exciting Girl Scout specific program opportunities to our members on topics (often badge or award related) that they are knowledgeable about. Collaborating with these partners allows our council to provide our girls with greater access to awesome resources and experiences, and the partners get to share their skills and experience with the youth in their communities. It’s a total win-win!
So how do these partnerships work? The Program and Partnerships Team at our council works diligently to recruit a diverse group of community partners across western Ohio who are excited to share their expertise with our girls on a wide variety of topics. Staff share with the community partners the Girl Scout badge and award content relevant to their field, our partners share what opportunities they can provide, and staff then publish the information about those opportunities (contact information, cost, and workshop topics/options) in the Program Events Guide.
Where do you get a Program Event Guide? You can download a copy of the Program Event Guide at gswo.org and each troop in western Ohio can also pick up a printed copy at their fall service unit meeting. Not sure when and where your next service unit meeting is? Call the Customer Care Team for help at 888.350.5090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of Community Partners
So who are our awesome community partners? We’re so glad you asked! Check out just a few of our partners below (organized by the 4 pillars of Girl Scouting) and then head to the Program Events Guide for a full list of our community partners.
- Archaeology, Can You Dig It? is an entirely mobile (they’ll come to you!) outreach program whose primary purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of remembering the past and creating a desire in youth to pursue the scientific fields of anthropology and archaeology.
- Armstrong Air and Space Museum (Wapakoneta) brings space and STEM to life for girls through interactive activities and overnights.
- Cincinnati Museum Center, (Cincinnati) in January 2019 will be offering programs for Girl Scouts! Troops can schedule badge programming at the museum on topics like Daisy Model Car Design Challenge, Brownie Fling Flyer and Leap Bot Challenges, Junior Designing Robots, Cadette Special Agent and Trees, Senior Textile Artist, and more!
- Challenger Learning Center of Lake Erie West, (Oregon) is your one stop space science exploration shop. With badge workshops on topics like engineering, robotics, Brownie Inventor, and more there’s sure to be something your girls will love!
- COSI Camp-In, (Columbus) is an educational overnight that also features a camp-in building guide to assist Girl Scouts with badge requirements while also supporting state and national academic content standards!
- iSpace, (Cincinnati) is an awesome place for STEM youth programming with workshops for the Brownie Bugs, Senses, Home Scientist, and Programming Robots badges, Junior Flowers and Programming Robots badge, rocketry activities, and more! Contact iSpace for a schedule of the dates Girl Scout workshops are offered.
- Dramakinetics, (Cincinnati) will help your girls learn to conquer conflict through the performing arts. Through immersion in drama games and movement exercises they’ll build teamwork skills, confidence, and learn positive ways to handle stress. A great companion to the Cadette aMAZE! Journey or the Brownie Making Friends badge.
- Defensive Training Solutions, (Troy) builds confidence and skills in Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors by offering workshops led by professional instructors on topics like shooting sports, self-defense, and first aid/CPR/AED.
- Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, (Dayton) provides services focused on helping people reach their potential, and for Girl Scouts they have badge programs like Brownie Dancer, Fair Play, and Making Games; Junior Staying Fit; Cadette Archery, Field Day, and Good Sportsmanship; as well as fun activities like pickleball for Brownies through Seniors.
- Super Suppers, (Perrysburg) is a locally owned and operated take n’bake studio kitchen who can help your troop earn Girl Scout cooking badges and also explore what it takes to own your own business.
- Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, (Dayton) offers badge and Journey workshops on a variety of topics like Daisy Journeys (Between Earth and Sky, Flower Garden, 3 Cheers for Animals), Brownie badges (Hiker, Bugs, Senses, Pets), Junior badges (Animal Habitats, Flowers, Gardener, Camper), and CSA badges (Trees, Animal Helpers, Locavore, Night Owl, Voice for Animals).
- Cincinnati Nature Center, (Cincinnati) helps Girl Scouts meet their nature and outdoor badge requirements. They offer naturalist-led programs where individual girls can register, or where entire troops can register together.
- Dusty Boots, LTD (Weston) can help your troop with their Junior Horseback Riding badge or horse related activities. We use them for resident camp and the girls love them!
- Great Parks of Hamilton County, (Cincinnati area) has awesome opportunities to work through the requirements for nature and animal-related badges with an experienced staff member. You can sign your troop up for an existing program or set up a program for just your troop.
- Indian Lake Outfitters (Lakeview) is a great place to go to build your archery and geocaching skills through fun and interactive workshops!
- Marmon Valley Farms (Zanesfield) offers girls the opportunity to enjoy overnight camping, horseback riding, climbing wall, challenge course, and more! They’ll work with your troop to fulfill badge requirements for Junior Horseback Riding, Junior Camper, and Brownie Hiker.
- Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, (Toledo) come to the zoo for awesome animal related Girl Scout badge workshops, overnights, and outdoor adventures on their aerial adventure course, Expedition Africa Aerial Adventure!
- Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, (Dayton and Liberty Township) offers an interactive pretzel bakery tour that can also help your troop with their Entrepreneur and Financial Literacy badges.
- Bonita Beads, (Maumee) will help your troop learn about the tools and techniques used in making jewelry and also owning a small business. A great complement to the Entrepreneur badges and also the Junior Jeweler badge.
- Scoops (formerly Maggie Moo’s), (Centerville) will help your girls discover what it takes to run a small business, go on a behind the scenes tour, help make ice cream, and more!
- Tutor Doctor, (Loveland) is ready to help your Cadettes explore what it takes to start a business as they earn their Entrepreneur badge.
What about organizations not listed as a Community Partner?
While our list of community partners is long and varied, we know there are many wonderful organizations across our council who want to share their expertise with youth and we can’t possibly list them all. So don’t be afraid to think outside the Program Event Guide and recruit some community partners of your own! How? Remember, we get by with a little help from our friends.
Put your personal network to work. Ask other troop leaders at service unit meetings what activities or local organizations they have used with their troops. Share what topics and badges the girls want to earn at a troop parent meeting. Family members of your troop may know of an individual or a local organization in your community that has some expertise on a badge topic the girls are determined to earn.
Check out local organizations or clubs. Some great resources not listed in our Program Event Guide are places like your county’s soil and water district who could help with the WOW! Wonders of Water Journey, the park service in your county may have a naturalist on staff who’ll offer a Brownie Bugs workshop or a Cadette Trees badge day, local business owners could help with the Junior Business Owner or Cadette Entrepreneur badge, or a garden club might love to host a Junior Gardener badge day. Who knows what awesome local resources you may find for badge related activities?
The next time your girls want to explore a topic or earn a badge that’s not your particular cup of tea, you’ve got a plan. Use your resources wisely and call one of our friendly community partners!