October 31, 2008

Blogger writes about Conversations that Matter, while others use Twitter

The National Girl Scout Convention is getting some attention outside the walls.
Jack Martin Leith talks about the Conversations That Matter, learning about them through a post by Christine Whitney Sanchez, on the Open Space Technology e-list.

Jack quotes Christine:
"The 900 person Open Space for Sharing and Learning has just concluded with members posting 62 topics over two sessions. Picture girls standing at the microphones, thanking the adults for truly listening to them and adults tearfully expressing their passion and gratitude for everything they learned. Lisa Heft did a magnificent job of holding the space and inviting new thinking."
He also Twittered several times about Girl Scouts, including these Tweets

@skap5 says" K Cloninger CEO of Girl Scouts flipped business model on its head." Membership orgs?

Girl Scouts of the USA model participatory democracy using Open Space, World Cafe & Appreciative Inquiry. www.jackmartinleith.com/?p=... about 14 hours ago from web

Also excited to be here is PJClou9 from Minnesota, who tweeted just a few minutes ago:
"Having fun at Girl Scout convention!"

Early her Tweets included this:

"Hoping everyone's Halloween festivities are ready to roll. I am going to eat dinner than Wii w/Girls Scouts til 8. "

Here's another Tweet:

skap5: @jackmartinleith I spoke with Kathy Cloninger CEO of Girl Scouts recently and she is fantastic. Flipped the business model on its head.
And another:

brandologist: Went to opening ceremonies of Girl Scouts annual convention tonight. Mayor Ballard read proclamation of today as Girl Scouts day.

CMCMediaGroup: covering the girl scouts convention

Did I miss anyone?

This originally appeared in Convention Talk, a discussion board set up by the national Girl Scouts organization.

Big blow: Daughter, 24, has cancer

It's getting tiring to hear how unexpected it is for a 24-year-old to have cancer. To fight the insurance battles so soon. And to know how fast we must act.

I left Michigan on Sunday to drive to Indiana to get ready for the Girl Scout Convention, where a project was to drive Conversations That Matter and get girls to become digital storyweavers.

On Wednesday afternoon, I got the unbelievable news that my daughter has breast cancer. For the rest of the day, the phrase "first, you cry" came to mind as the tears just kept coming. I knew they needed to be out of my system before I made it to Tennessee where my daughter now lives.

The people I had been working with were wonderful - understanding why I had to leave and several people added to their jobs and new ones stepped up to take over some of the things I had taken on.

They also quickly provided support in numerous ways, making sure I ate, rested and surrounded with hugs and love.

I drove from Indy to Tennessee, through construction and detours, stopping frequently to stretch, and rewarded by being able to hug my daughter.

Today, we spent at the Hope Cancer Center learning how much we don't know yet and getting scared by what we know. One thing for sure is that it is aggressive and treatment needs to start ASAP. But first, we need to know more:

Is the cancer in one place? That requires more tests, which the insurance company says it must precertify the need first.

Did the pathologist have more information and it is just the fax that is missing it?

Yet, the doctor was frank: surgery, chemo and radiation is necessary. What's left is how much and when. And for that we need some of the blood results back, an MRI and a cat scan done.

Looks like we have found another good reason I took the buyout. I can now live in Tennessee and help my daughter survive choosing a doctor, a treatment plan and then living through it. Perhaps I can find a way to stop the weight loss, the pain.

Perhaps, my being here will help my daughter - already determined she will fight and win. In fact, she went to work today at her pizza place. She's swamped with customers, can barely stay awake and yet says she needs work to help her focus.

Much in the same way, I'm trying to help with the Girl Scout convention long distance.

But mostly, I still want to cry at the unfairness even as I know nobody ever said life was fair.

Open Space starts with listing ideas

The idea of self organizing through Open Space fascinates me. It's the ultimate in showing democracy rules, that the crowd is wise.

The people present at Open Space determine what will be discussed during the session. Before I left Indy for a family emergency, Gabriel Shirley took time from his from his Digital Production and Digtial StoryWeaving duties to give me a quick tour and explanation of Open Space.

I watched girls and women go to a table, pick up a note that listed the issue they wanted to talk about, announce it over a microphone and then go post it on the "wall."

Later, I took a few minutes to look over some of the topics that people wanted to talk about and had posted on the wall. I was glad that someone took this photograph to help me preserve this memory.

I heard lead facilitator Lisa Heft announce that the enthusiasm of the group meant Open Space volunteers had to expand the number of topic groups. That was exciting. so was seeing girls among the adults.

Volunteers are working to transcribe the discussion and plans created by self-organizing groups. I'm hungry for information from the convention floor as well as from open space.

Originaly posted in Convention Talk, a new discussion board for the national Girl Scouts organzation.

October 28, 2008

GS Central unfolds in Indy

It's been inspiring to watch the Indy convention center unfold into Girl Scout Central.

The city too! I came back to my hotel tonight to discover a request to share my unused lotion, shampoo, etc. by putting it in the provided Girl Scout bag for a local service project

Speaking of donations ... got time to help some of us transcribe what happens at Open Space (a few spots left - register at 8 Thursday). Stop by StoryWeaving Cental anytime after 3:30 Thursday. That transcribing will take awhile so if you can't make it Tursday stop by another day.

We also want to share results from conversations. If you are willing to text for those who can't stop by, get a Ask Me About texting sticker. During or after the business meeting just text when asked, see if a conversation supporter (in aprons) has collected written thoughts by non- texters that you can text or stop by StoryWeaving Central to see what we have collected.

You will be able to see texting results live on screens at convention and via a web site plus on some printouts.

Oh and we are looking for people who were at 2005 convention to interview. Plus we need folks willing to journal about this year's convention.

We have other needs posted on site. Stop by. Say hello!

Originally posted in Convention Talk, a discussion board created by the national Girl Scouts.

Meet a StoryWeaver

A big part of the effort at the Girl Scouts annual convention is to use story to connect people.

In Convention Talk, the online discussion board for Girl Scouts, I wrote:

Remember back in July 2008 when the first Convention Connections newsletter was distributed to Girl Scout Councils and posted on the convention web site. One article suggested we practice story-telling by thinking about our own Girl Scout experiences, including leadership lessons and special people who had an impact on our lives.

In the past three months, I've "met" some incredible people by becoming involved in the StoryWeaver project. (I put met in quotes because those meetings have happened over the phone and on the web.) And I love hearing, reading and seeing their stories, especially their Girl Scout stories.

One of the first people I "met" was Gabriel Shirley But Christine Whitney Sanchez was the second.

I've been inspired to do a little weaving thanks to Lou Creber, who was heading up the Story Looms and organizing the Elders and Greeters. Unfortunately, Lou won't be in Indy.

I did get to meet Nancy Moeller, when I went to Macy and did some practice texting and worked with three girls who used borrowed video cameras to interview adults about their Girl Scout leadership stories. (Watch for the videos soon, and watch for the girls in Indy.)

Meanwhile, keep coming back through the convention.

UPDATE: Lou did make it to convention - she arrived on Wednesday. I still didn't get to meet her as I had to leave to be with family. (Yes, before the official opening of the convention. Thank goodness for the Internet)

October 27, 2008

So many firsts: Some alarming, some scary

It's not often I get to have so many firsts on the same day/night. Let's see, 3 a.m. false fire alarm at hotel, a few scary phases and then all those new people. I survived.

We'll go backwards and start with the fire alarm that sounded at 3 a.m. in the hotel. I was almost ready to make the trip down to the stairs when the announcement came on and said it was false. Nice wakeup call.

Of course, I'm wondering if it is related to the problem of no hot water earlier today at the hotel.

Earlier in the day, I finally got to meet with some folks who really made the last three months of my life beyond interesting. I've talked with them on the phone (almost daily in some cases), exchanged lots of emails (definitely daily) and txted some (including sending one a message meant for my husband (must be careful).

Still despite that Dale Carnegie class, despite hosting a radio show, despite speaking on stage before thousands, was I ready to walk in the lobby and say hey? (They have all met before).

They didn't bite. Well, not at least until dinner.

The day started off scary - seems that a prescription is missing. I unpacked everything - including the stuff I packed for the time I'll spend in Tennessee. Nothing. My theory is the dog ate the pills, grabbing the box during the round of packing. Whatever. That left me with finding a way to get refills. (OK, first I debated skipping the prescription, but since I already skipped the flu shot I thought that might be too scary.)

I don't like it, however, when the concierge tells me "I should be safe there."

Actually, there was no reason to be scared of the drugstore or meeting the folks I could never call strangers. Dinner was much more of a family affair.

Study: Txting helps parent-teen relationship

I think I already knew this but it's nice to have some confirmation - even if the study was funded by a phone company.

Sometimes, it pays to clean out the files from your computer. I'm trying to make sure I'll have lots of space for video, text messages and other items from the Girl Scout national convention so I'm tossing a few things.

I re-discovered a study released in April that found that parents who text may have a better relationship with their teens:

  • More than half (53%) of teens that text message think their relationship with their parents has improved because of text messaging.
  • More than half (51%) of parents who text with their teens agree that they communicate more often with their kids now than they did before they began text messaging and that text messaging has actually improved their relationship.
The survey, commissioned by Samsung Mobile, was conducted by Kelton Research and included 300 American teens ages 13 – 19 and 500 American parents with children ages 13 – 19.

A press release on the survey is available. So is a video with teens and parents talking more about why they text.

originally posted in ConventionTalk, a discussion board created on the national Girl Scout web site to discuss the national convention/meeting of delegates.

October 26, 2008

Helicopter or chicken soup mom: How do you decide

Struggle time - just when should a mom drop everything to be with her daughter? Is support from miles away enough? Or should I leave this event and drive six hours to be next to her just in case the biopsy finds cancer?

But what if the results are not in? If it's not cancer?

Am I listening to the words and missing the meaning when she says "please, wait to come."

Will it be enough to wait by the phone? To send warm, encouraging thoughts.

Oh mom, what should this mom do?.