Girls United! is not a new challenge but if you've never looked at it I highly recommend that you do. I found that there was lots of choice and the activities were all really interesting.
The challenge is described as: Girls today need to know how to get along with others, how to build strong connections with each other, how to be a support for each other and how to build strong rewarding friendships. “I Believe in We!” is a list of 26 activities that Girl Guide units can use to promote healthy relationships and prevent bullying. These activities highlight the negative impact of social aggression and bullying and create a sense of caring, belonging and mutual responsibility between all girls (Girls United Challenge Pack)
We had been having some issues with fighting and unkind words in our unit since September. While the Fall camp helped some of our girls to bond and make new friendships some of our new and returning girls hadn't quite found their groove in our unit. This challenge provided us a great opportunity to look at the impact our words have, how to treat others as we would like to be treated and how we can all be a little more kind to one another.
Below are some of the activities that worked really well with our unit.
One of the first thing things we discussed was what the difference was between Bullying and mean behaviour. The girls were pretty well versed in this because they had talked a lot about it in school. We talked about the importance of being an "Active Bystander" and that in order to help you don't have to actually stand up to the bully.
The girls were really interested that 2 other great ways to help someone being bullied is to console the victim - take the person being bullied somewhere else, offer to go play something different, etc. OR go get help from a teacher, parent, older child, etc. When we discussed ways that they could help without actually confronting someone they seemed more willing to step up.
After this conversation we did a little exercise to help the girls know who they can talk to if they are being bullied or know someone who is. Each girl traces their hand on a piece of coloured paper and wrote the name of an adult ally on each finger. Each person was someone they could talk to if they were having issues with someone at school, home, etc.
I think that girls know who they can talk to if they are having trouble with others but it was really telling when we asked the girls to come up with 5 people they could seek help from and some girls could only come up with 2. After some more discussion all girls were able to come up with 5 allies they could get help from if needed.
After this activity we played a Four Corners type game where i read out situations and the girls had to make a decision of what they would do (Source). An example of one of the situations was:
You notice one of your friends is teasing and making fun of the younger children in the summer camp. Your friend has started taking things from them as well. What should you do?
1. Tell the camp leaders what is happening without letting your friend know.
2. Help your friend in taking things from the younger children in case he/she starts to take things from you.
3. Tell your friend that you think that what he/she’s doing is wrong and that they should leave the younger children alone.
4. Something else (Open corner).
We went through 4-5 scenes and the girls had some great answers/ actions they would do to solve the problem.
Our girls are BIG crafters and so we wanted to work in a craft to this Challenge. We tried out the activity Pinwheels for Peace (Source) which an organization that looks at peace and kindness between people. We had the girls think of one or more ways that they could be kinder, maybe at home or school, with friends or family and write it on the inside of their paper. Their kindness promise would then be folded to be on the inside of their pinwheel which they would take home as a reminder to be a little more kind. The girls loved this activity and many took a lot of time to think of the ways they could be kinder to others.
The last thing we did with the girls to finish off this challenge was a Secret Friend gift exchange. In this activity girls picked a name out of a hat and without revealing who they got had to do nice things for that person over the next two weeks. We culminated the secret friend experience with a handmade gift exchange at our upcoming holiday party. This was a nice way for the girls to think about other people and doing nice things without spending money.
I am happy to say that by completing the Be You! and Girls United! challenges our unit has become much more cohesive. I think that all my girls have become more comfortable with one another and when unkind words are said we have some shared experiences to look back on. The girls have learned a lot this fall about themselves and working with others. Its great to see them working so well as a team!