When to Meet?
Plan your meetings at a time and place to which you will be able to adhere. Meetings can be after school, on early-dismissal days in the evening, on Saturdays, or after services on Sunday morning. 1½ hours is widely accepted for meeting length. Two meetings a month work well to maintain continuity of learning without overburdening the girls’ schedules.
Sometimes older girls find it difficult to attend regular meetings as more demands are made on their time. Do everything you can to accommodate their schedules such as having a secondary meeting that is convenient to them.
Your First Meeting:
- Begin with a snack and conversation. Play a mixer game if the girls do not already know each other.
- Introduce the GFS program to the girls. Describe your plans for them and what you are hoping they will learn. Ask for their ideas for possible projects and activities.
- Introduce the GFS motto and make a craft with them that reinforces the motto. A study guide is also available if you feel the group is ready for an in-depth discussion.
- Service projects are a great way to bring a variety of girls together for a common cause. Start planning an easy service project.
- Finish with the Friendship Circle Song.
- Follow up by a mailing or emailing the New Member Packet to parents.
Now that you have an idea of who your members are and what they are interested in, it is time to plan out the next few meetings. Think about your goals and the feedback you heard from your members. Be aware that often crafts take longer than you expect. Plan enough activities for each meeting, but don’t be surprised if you find that some activities have to be postponed until the next meeting. Here is a Sample Planner.
Start to fill the Blank Planner in and you will be surprised at how the year begins to plan itself. Having a plan made out in advance can be a lifesaver for a busy leader unless spontaneous planning is your game. It all depends on your personal style. The planner isn’t necessary, it is just a guideline.
If the members of your group cover a large age span, you will want to break into groups for the badge work. However, it is generally beneficial for the girls to be mixed during snack, enrichment and community service activities. The older girls can be examples for the younger members and model good behavior. GFS is a fellowship for all ages.
If some members miss meetings due to schedule conflicts or transportation problems, see if you can accommodate their needs by scheduling some make-up time with them. Also, let them know they are always a part of GFS and continue to invite them to special events and on outings even if they don’t make it to regular meetings.
End-of-Year Awards Ceremony
Count up the badges that the girls have earned. Record the information on each Badge Tracking Sheet. Record her service hours on the Parish Service Tracking Sheet and the Community Service Tracking Sheet. Order the badges from the Diocesan Board and place the badges in an envelope for each girl.
At a special ceremony, announce each girl’s accomplishments, congratulate her and shake her hand. She deserves recognition for her commitment to her parish and her GFS branch. This can be done at a Sunday morning service or at a special service.