Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Think Bigger Picture

THIS is what I love about Girl Scouts... I've been silent for a few weeks. I'll blame busy schedules and too much fun. It isn't that I haven't had thoughts about various topics, but it took one close to my heart to make me speak. 

This article came out in the NY Times. First, I need to say "Bravo!" to the 10 year old girl who noticed something many others have and many have done research on. But, she is a girl after my own heart, because she decided it needed to become a patch program. I love patches... but, I LOVE this idea even more. 

Go read this and then come back for my thoughts: I’m 10. And I Want Girls to Raise Their Hands.

This isn't said in the article, this is my take away... in 2017 in the USA girls/women are only limited by our own fear. It isn't that girls are told not to raise their hand... I do believe some teachers pass over the girls, but that's a whole other fight. It starts with girls. We need to raise our hands. We just don't do it for reasons listed in the article... fear, embarrassment, overshadowing. (and my opinion.. unfortunately, many times, the ridicule and embarrassment is because of our own gender pressures!! stop being mean girls!). 

This concept needs to start at a young age, but you're never too old to learn and apply something new to your life. If you want equality, then you must take the risk and raise your hand... put yourself out there... leap... stop whining  it isn't fair (yes, I said whining... no it isn't far-fetched to understand that griping to our girlfriends about how we were passed over for the last career advancement or employment opportunity isn't whining... ) and do something about it (and remember not to be mean girls! use your mind and present yourself professionally... you'll have better results. It drives me nuts when a grown woman resorts to tactics beneath her intelligence to get her way... it's mean, it's unprofessional, and no one takes her seriously.. this doesn't just apply in the office, either)

I can wholeheartedly say as a female tech, it isn't easy... it isn't always fair... it isn't "right"... but you stand confidently and represent and pave the way for the next generation. It isn't all about you... think bigger picture. Yes. It gets old. Yes. It makes you so frustrated you want to scream. Yes. It can feel like a continual fight to be given the level of respect you deserve. But, at the end of the day... it is worth it. Hopefully it's easier for my daughter and for yours. Then, easier for their daughters. It's a process and it won't change overnight.

I'll also add... stop shaming young women for making decisions about their lives they feel are the right move. We need intelligent women in the work force, but we also need them at home shaping the minds of the next generation. What she feels is the right place for her, is the right place for her. No matter if you agree with the choice or not. It's okay to be a mom who works outside the home. It's okay to be a mom who stays at home with her kids. It's okay to be a wife who devotes her life to her family and friends. It's okay to be single and chase your dreams... Married women can chase their, too, btw. We need to respect the choices we all make and understand until you walk in their shoes, you don't know what the perfect fit for anyone else is... most of us are still searching for our own perfect fit. Cut each other some slack. Support the decisions. Value the friendships. Respect one another.

and check out this program: http://www.gscnc.org/raiseyourhand

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Because of her...


I'm embarking on a trip tomorrow with 3 Senior Girl Scouts and an awesome co-leader. We are going to the 2017 Girl Scouts National Convention in Columbus, OH. I attended the 2014 Convention in Salt Lake City, UT and came back energized and ready to conquer the world.

This is a bittersweet trip for me. I remember coming back last time to a girl at home who was excited I had gone, excited I was home, and hopeful to go with me this time. We planned it. She aspired to meet the CEO and BE the CEO of Girl Scouts in her future. Wow... 3 years can bring about change.

My girl isn't in Girl Scouts anymore. She is an amazing, talented young woman who plays the guitar, writes her own songs, and plays golf for her High School. She's doing well academically as a Freshman and has good friends who I adore. I really can't ask for a better 15 year old. She's way better than I was at 15. But, to say it's the same would be a lie. To say I won't miss her on this trip, would be the ultimate lie.

I'm travelling with 3 girls who are not my own... yet, they are. I love these girls. They drive me a little crazy at times, but I'm sure I return that favor. Two of the girls in the group I only met 3 years ago. One I had as a Brownie for a couple years and then she changed troops for a couple years and then returned. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Each have their own aspiration to change the world and I know they will do it... and already have in some ways.

What's the point here? I guess I'm sharing all this to remind you why we do it. Why we put in the long hours. Why we are sewing badges on a uniform the night before we leave for convention, so everyone can show off their accomplishments. Why you pick up road trip snacks and pack a few of their favorite games.

Because of her.

"She" is amazing. "She" needs someone on her side. "She" needs to know that someone is willing to put in the extra time, use vacation time, adjust schedules, help plan activities she chose, and stay up late working on one last project. "She" needs to see that someone takes the time to make it special. Because... "she" is worth it.

It would have been easy for me to leave when my girl left scouts. It would have been accepted and understood. But, then each day, I would have looked in the mirror and known... I let them down. I have had several girls in my group that have needed the stability of a good and constant role model. I'm not perfect and far from a replacement of a parent... but I can be a constant. I can be someone she can count on. I was blessed with amazing parents and a strong family. Not every girl has that. Thankfully, the three girls going with me this weekend have good families. So, why stay? Because I want them to know by my example that you can and should give your time for people even when they aren't related to you. When they are grown, I want them to see that I cared about them... not because we were related... not because my girl was part of their group... not because I had to stay... but, I wanted to stay. I cared about them. I love each of them. They are "my girls" and I am honored to share their Girl Scout experience and hope I can give them something good to look back on.

If you are travelling to convention, be sure to look me up on the app. I'll be there Friday night through Sunday. I'd love to meet some of my blog followers. I have SWAPs!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bridging to Senior Girl Scouts

I was overwhelmingly excited to coordinate a special evening for my girls to bridge from Cadette to Senior. They chose to do this in the Fall, rather than Spring, because two of them were earning their Silver Award and needed the Summer to wrap it up.

That just gave me more time to think about how to make it special, which was greatly appreciated.

Let me give you the rundown for the evening.

We did several different ceremonies in one and held it in the backyard at my home. Court of Awards, Silver Ceremony, and Bridging.

Prep for Court of Awards:
Badges and patches were stapled to cardstock sheets and covered with precut scalloped  paper. I printed their names for the front of their packet. Badges and earned awards that go on the front of the uniform were stapled. Fun patches and things for the back were in a baggie.

I also had a spreadsheet view of all the awards each girl was receiving and jotted down the highlights on a list I had with me during the ceremony. Instead of reading off every thing each girl did, I would simply say "3 of the girls earned..." The exceptions were awards such as the Silver Torch, Service to Girl Scouting bar, etc. Those I mentioned who earned what, since those take a lot of effort.

Silver Ceremony prep:
I invited a friend and Board member to join us and help present. I also invited our Media Coordinator for our Service Unit. I had Council mail me the certificates and pins and searched high and low for the perfect way to present. I chose the Silver Ore Ceremony. You need 5 regular candles and then 1 silver candle for each girl receiving the award. If you can't find silver candles, you could tie silver ribbon around them.

This is the Silver Ore Ceremony I found and used... I changed several things with this to fit our group. I don't have enough girls to read the parts, so I changed the wording. I also did away with presenting flowers and such and kept it very simple. But, it was very touching.

Bridging:
I tried and failed to find a Senior or Ambassador troop to help with our bridging. So, I invited a couple young adult Girl Scouts to come help. They were so gracious to attend! We had a short little thing to read (see below) and I gave their names to cross our "bridge". Once across they were greeted by our Board Member and 2 young adult Girl Scouts. They received their bridging patch and the Senior/Ambassador scarf was tied onto their neck.

"Cadette to Senior: As Girl Scout Cadettes, you demonstrated leadership by helping younger Girl Scouts, and you began to understand the power of your voice, and the responsibilities of being a leader as you made more decisions in your group. As Girl Scout Seniors, you will have even more opportunities to Discover a wider world, Connect with more sisters and community partners, and Take Action through Journeys, and as you begin your pursuit of the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. As each girl is called by name, she will receive her bridging certificate and award, and will be received by her sister Girl Scout Seniors. Please welcome our newest Girl Scout Seniors (applause)"

Decoration: 

I made a Trefoil table runner with 3 trefoils on it. The background fabric I found on ebay. I believe it's uniform material for Brownie or Juniors from the late 80s/early 90s.

Since we were doing a Silver Ceremony, I ordered a silver tablecloth from Amazon and silver candles. I also ordered rainbow bunting, a rainbow pennant banner, and frames for their Silver Award certificates (the certificates were provided by our Council, along with their pins).

The setup was fairly simple. I used the folding table we use for cookie booths. Covered that with the silver tablecloth, table runner down the center, and 3 candle votives on the 3 trefoils. The 2 silver candles and 5 votive candles for the Silver Ceremony were all placed in front and lit as the ceremony progressed.

I also used the PVC pipe cookie booth frame we use and draped a white tablecloth over it, pinning it around the pipe at the sides and top, and used the pennant banner to decorate. Finally, 3 rebar posts were driven into the ground and the rainbow bunting was in front of the backdrop to form our "bridge".

In the trees behind the table and then on the ground to light the path over the "bridge" I strung clear lights. Since we were doing this at 7PM, I needed the extra light and I do have to say... it was quite magical.

We did have refreshments afterwards, but guess what... total fail on my part and no pictures were taken of any of that...

I baked cupcakes with green icing and a single white confectioner's pearl to symbolize the pearls Juliette Low sold to pay for the first national GS office. We had punch made from Hawaiian punch, pineapple juice, and 7up. Then, trail mix which was a 70258 special... only the things they like (mini marshmallows, M&Ms, pretzel goldfish, and frosted cheerios). I don't recommend that for trailblazing... there isn't enough protein to help you out at all... but for celebrating, it's a sure fire hit.


How do you celebrate your Girl Scout achievements?