Girls First program: A Year in Reflection
As the Girls First team looks forward to the September 2018 program launch, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the different stages of program development so far.
Research and Analysis I 2013 to 2016
Girls First grew out of what we learned through the research we did with girls, adult members and our communities, starting back in 2013. We took a look at where we had been as an organization and where we need to go in order to be responsive and relevant to the needs of girls. We heard that
- girls want choice – they want to do things that are relevant to their world – a world that is changing at an increasingly rapid pace.
- girls love their badges and challenge crests because they reflect their wants and needs.
- Guiders want more support and a wider variety of ideas and resources that are readily available to help them facilitate unit meetings.
By the end of 2016 we were ready to develop the framework of Girls First – our exciting new program and innovative delivery model.
Drawing up the Blueprints I January to April
By April of this year the educational framework of Girls First had been developed. The process was informed through extensive consultation with members, committees and advisers, and think tanks with experts in the field of youth engagement. What we learned aligned with what we had mined through our initial fact finding. This told us that
- we need to be more responsive and agile so that programming remains relevant – this led us to the exploration of technology solutions that will enable us to remain current and accessible.
- skills-based activities are best suited to deliver the specific outcomes both girls and Guiders are asking for.
Building the Foundation I May to November
Knowing the key outcomes that are important to girls, and the skills they need to achieve these outcomes, allowed us to map out seven overarching Areas of Program (AoP) – each with three to four Themes. Next
- we continued to consult with the experts – girls – who gave us further input on what topics are important to them and what was still missing.
- we learned that in addition to badges, awards are very important to girls.
- we received further input on how Guider education can be better supported.
- we refined the AoPs and Themes, as well as the key program requirements.
Each of these key building blocks came together with the invaluable input and feedback we received from the girls and adult members that the Girls First team met during their countrywide tour this fall.
Laying the Bricks I We are Here!
Now that we have sampled the Girls First framework and foundation with thousands of members – and an awesome group of test units – the real fun has started. We
- collected provincial and national challenges to be re-purposed for the new program.
- are developing new content with educators, youth engagement specialists and subject matter experts – initially in English, the content will increasingly be adapted to French and other languages that represent the diversity of Canada.
- have begun development of the Girls First digital platform. By the time we launch next September, members will be able to explore and find the content they need – challenges, instant meetings, standalone activities, and resources – all in one place, to be saved or printed as needed.
- assembled the Girls First Champions team, who will support Guiders at in-person sessions as they transition throughout the 2018/19 launch year.
It's been an exciting journey – and it's going to get even more exciting as we move toward September 2018. When Girls First launches we will be set to give girls access to what they want and support Guiders in what they do best: empowering every girl to be everything she wants to be.
Thank you to everyone who applied to become a Girls First Champion. We had a great response to this opportunity. Applicants represented a wide variety of regions and experiences – their passion is inspiring! Short-listed candidates will receive an email in mid-December with next steps.
Thank you to the 7,340 girls in Girls First testing units who completed the badge survey. The feedback we received was tremendous in outlining girls' preferences for badge designs. We're excited to start on the next steps in designing the new badges!
All systems go! After a rigorous process , we are now in the final stages of selecting a best-in-class company to develop the Girls First platform.
We'll highlight the feedback we received from members at our Nova Scotia meet-up and B.C. virtual session. Watch our video as we dive into FAQs we've received over the fall!