Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Practice what you preach

I have been a leader for 6 years. Prior to that I was a youth minister. I can't count the number of times I have told a young person to "just try it", "just do it", "believe in yourself", "jump!". I have said the words and truly felt them with my whole being. At the same time, I haven't practiced that in my own life. 

Then.... this happened.... watch it... listen to this woman... hear what she is saying.

Did you listen? Did you hear? Maybe you don't struggle with the same things I do. I struggle with self doubt. I struggle with taking a chance on me. I build up others. I encourage others. I stand behind and cheer them on. But, when it comes to me... I play safe. It may appear I'm brave, but trust me... I play safe. I take the job that pays the bills. I keep the job with the benefits and the paid vacation and the health care, because I don't want to be left without a "sure thing". Here's another little tidbit for you about me... I married my HS sweetheart for fear no one else would ever ask and stayed married to him even though I no longer loved him for 5 years (1/2 of the marriage!) because I really didn't think I could make it on my own... what if I left and fell flat on my face... what if I wasn't able to support myself.. I ran the numbers several times a day for months before I gained enough courage to step out on my own. I haven't regretted that choice once. 

I'm now 39 years old and for the first time in my life, I feel as though I'm truly being brave. 
I'm still playing it somewhat safe... but I like to think I'm being smart and minimizing the risk.

Here goes nothing... I'm launching my own Patch Program company... BCG Patches... right now I have one patch program, but have plans to launch one per month or on a bi-monthly basis. Come visit my store. BCGPatches.com I'm just getting started, so be nice and be forgiving and be patient... the best is yet to come... just gotta jump and be brave.


BCGPatches.com

Friday, March 25, 2016

Daisy: Making Choices Petal


Step 1: Difference between Need and Want

Supplies: Making Choices booklet from the Daisy Girl's Guide

There is a great worksheet in the booklet with photos of needs and wants. It was shocking to see how wise these young girls were... one of the photos had a stack of blue jeans. One girl said "That's a want. You don't need a whole STACK of jeans." Obviously, she is not a child of the 90s where you have a pair of jeans for every day of the week plus a few more... HA!

Step 2: Try setting a goal

Supplies: Making Choices booklet from the Daisy Girl's Guide

This was a fun one... I had the girls think of something they would want to purchase and decided on it... As a computer programmer and publicly declared nerd/geek, I was quite proud of their choice. 

The girls decided they wanted an online account to access MineCraft... uh huh... MineCraft... 6 year old girls choosing a simulation game for building their own world. Absolutely awesome! That's right, girls, blast those stereotypes to smithereens!! 

Here was our budget:
  • Minecraft costs $26.95 for an online subscription
  • We get $5/month for allowance and intend to save it all... no ice cream until we have Minecraft!
  • It will take us 6 months to have enough money to purchase the game and then we'll have to work with Mom/Dad to set it up.
  • With the remaining money in the 6th month, we'll ask to go to McDonald's for an ice cream cone!

Step 3: Help Others

Supplies: chopsticks, cardstock stars, glitter glue, laminated tags, ribbon, glue
Image from Magic Wand Project FB Page

Magic Wand Project - make wands and discuss what things they can do for their 3 RAK

Now, I will say this effort doesn't seem to be very active, but... that shouldn't stop you. Having something as cute and fun as a magic wand to spread cheer is ALWAYS a good idea. So... build on, fearless Leader.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Super Scout Summer Patch Program

This post is old. For the latest information about the Patch Programs offered by BCG Patches, please "like" our Facebook page, join our Newsletter mailing list, and visit our website.

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I'm very excited to announce the Super Scout Summer patch program. This patch program encourages scouts to put down the electronics and check out the great outdoors for a variety of activities. Some of the activities may require use of the internet, but only for research briefly before heading outside for fun.



This is the 1st patch program offered by BCG Patches. Yep.. it's a new venture of mine that I've been working on for a while. 

Scouts earn this patch by completing various activities outlined in the Super Scout Summer Patch Program guide.

Patches are currently being manufactured. They are scheduled to arrive early May 2016. 

Patches are:

  • 3" circle 
  • Fully embroidered
  • Sew-On patches We chose sew on, because let's be honest.. iron on patches don't adhere and stay for long and you end up sewing it on or purchasing fusible web or patch glue to make it stay anyway. So, why add the cost. 

Patches are $2.00 each. This includes tax and shipping costs. Orders containing 7 or more patches will have tracking numbers assigned. 

Email updates on the order status will be sent weekly... typically Thursday or Friday. 


PRE-ORDER YOUR PATCHES HERE

A portion of the profits will be donated to Troop 70258 for their 2017 trip to Girl Scouts National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. This is NOT a fundraiser for their troop, but a small way for me to "give back". 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Is this the hill?

So the past few posts haven't been badge related and this one isn't going to be either... sorry... I promise I'll get back to that. Very soon.

You can tell it's cookie season. Everyone is stressed, tired, and counting the days until it's over. This happens each year and I tell myself to remember that it's just cookie season. It isn't really how I feel. I don't really want to throw in the towel and say "forget it!" I don't really want to reclaim the hours I put in each year and spend them doing nothing... though, it does sound lovely at times and think of how clean my house would be.


I've been struggling with personal "stuff" lately and decided to go on a quest to better my understanding and give clarity to situations. While on that quest, I read a book about choosing battles. We've all said that, right? "Choose your battles"... with kids, with spouses, with friends... but this one was a little different and I really grasped the concept... it stuck deep in my mind and heart... "Is this the hill you want to die on?" 

Maybe that won't speak as loudly to you as it did to me, but when dealing with frustrated leaders, upset parents, and the emails about what's not being done correctly (oh yes, I get to hear all the criticisms) I receive each week... I keep in mind that I don't want to die on this hill... very seldom is an issue worth dying over.

I'm not saying I don't fight for my girls, because I do. I'm not saying I don't defend my friends and volunteers, because I do. I just try to be flexible enough to not dig my heels in unless it's something that REALLY matters. Those items are far and few between. 

Does it really matter if we take a few extra couples for a dance after the deadline? Nope. Would it matter to have sad little girls that just wanted to go to a dance with their Daddy? Yep. Decision made. Be flexible. 

You can only control your actions and your reactions... you can't control someone else's actions or reactions. You CAN control your decision whether or not to die on that hill. 

I really wish I was a chemist, because I've been trying to figure out a formula that starts with the same 2 elements and then depending on what you add the item will explode or neutralize/stabilize... if anyone can help me with that... I'd love to know. This is where I wish I would have take more science... just for this blog post. HA.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Girl Scouts & Responsibility

The Cadette troop I help with is comprised of 3 girls, basically. We have a few others registered that don't attend because of of other activities. They have matured and grown in the past 2 years. I'm very proud of each of them. 

One of my proudest moments came at this week's meeting. We were talking about Cookie Money, because it's that time of year. I asked the girls if they had thought about what they may want to do with their Cookie Money. Almost in unison, they said "Orange Leaf!". I laughed and said "okay, but that isn't much of a reward. Are you sure that's all you want to do?" They took turns explaining "Well, we want to save for Convention" and "Convention is going to cost a lot and the more we save the less we have to come up with" and "We don't need to do something big with our money, Convention is going to be awesome." 

The more I think about how mature and responsible these young women have become, the more it makes me remember why I do this... why I put in the hours of time... the sleepless nights... the staying up until 11PM to put together card kits for a service project... the counting cases of cookies over and over and over to make sure we have the right amount for booths, extras, cookie share, etc. 

This is why I do what I do. 

They get it. They have learned that you don't always have to spend money to have fun. You can save up and not have instant gratification. Sometimes working and waiting is better than spending immediately. 

In an age where college students take out student loans at a blink of an eye to finance more than their education... at a time where society says you have to have it all or you aren't successful... when stores tempt customers with junk on end caps because of impulse buying... if these 3 girls learn nothing else, I hope they grow up to be wiser about money and financially responsible in their decisions. 

So... bring on Orange Leaf

... and next year... bring on Convention!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Let's Get it Together

This post is one that has been on my mind for some time... and I know that I'm probably going to upset a few people... but, this needs to be said... 

We talk about making a difference in the world. We instill values in our girls to reach for heights that we can only imagine. We want them to face it all with grace and courage. Then, cookie season happens and you see grown women fighting and bickering over a booth location. 

It's predominantly women leading and making decisions and running Troops, Service Units, Councils, etc. And... ladies... we are not always nice. I put myself in this category. I know me. I know I can be difficult at times. I know when I'm stressed, I'm not nice. I know when I'm at my limit, I just want everyone to leave me alone and do what they're supposed to do.

Now, don't get upset with me... hear me out. I feel we all have genuinely good intentions, but when the chips are down... we have the potential to be not nice. We gossip. We back stab. We hold grudges. We ridicule. We don't forget... we may say we forgive, but that resentment is still there. We talk bad about one another. We judge. We compare. We are downright mean at times. 

Does this describe any of us 100% of the time? No. Does it describe each of us at some point? As much as I want to refuse admitting it, my heart says "yes". Think about it... if you can truly say you have never held your ground when you knew you were wrong... or talked badly about another leader, including the "She must be super woman" comments, then please... tell me I'm wrong. But, I bet you can't say it with an honest heart.  


Now, believe me, no one else on the planet could say this about my wonderful sisters and not have me fly to your defense... but, ladies, between us... we need to get it together. If we want to raise a generation of leaders and women that are going to set the world on fire... we have got to learn to let go of petty issues. We have to make sure we are uplifting one another. Encourage your fellow leaders. Don't tear them down. They are doing the same thing you are... we're all doing the best we can with the tools, information, and time we are given. 

And one last thing... don't compare yourself to another Leader... don't think you are falling short or doing so much better... you don't know what they are going through or how hard they are working to get where they are. Congratulate them on accomplishments or offer some help. No matter how "together" we look, we can all use a hand and word of encouragement and praise. 

The bottom line.... be a Girl Scout.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout

I know this is a topic of debate with some, so I have to state where I stand. 

Any man that steps up and is brave enough to enter into a world that is predominantly women, is amazing! 

It's important for girls to see men such as this who care enough about the future of girls that they will risk the ridicule and judgment. 

It's important for girls to see POSITIVE male role models... some of my girls haven't had a father figure in their lives and the men serving in these roles can help them see... 

THIS is the kind of man you want in your life. 

THIS is the kind of man, if you decide to marry, that you need as a husband... 

THIS is the kind of man, if you want, that should father your children. 

If one girl coming from a bad situation where men have been a reason of disappointment, can now see there are GOOD men in the world willing to do whatever it takes and her confidence in men is even somewhat restored... 

I applaud the men that step up to fill that role.

Thank you, men who are Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Global Action 2016


This year's theme for Global Action is Increasing Girls’ Access to Education.”

For my Daisy's, they are supposed to draw a picture of their classroom and then compare it to classrooms around the world. Seems simple enough, right?

Before you go off to Google, let me help you out... this is crazy easy!! I ran across a Reuter's photography project that has pictures of.... drum roll please... classrooms around the world!!! They also have the cutest video ever of kiddos from all over the world.

So... there you go... Global Action 2016.


Have the girls draw a picture of their classroom and discuss their favorite parts. Then, show them the pictures of the other classrooms and have them spot the differences.

WOO HOO!! I love it when things work out so well, don't you?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Daisy: Clover - Use Resources Wisely

We are almost to the end of our petals... and I'm almost to the end of my 1st Daisy Program. It's bittersweet. Part of me is sad, because I'll miss them. Part of me is overjoyed their parents are willing and able to step up and continue on with these amazing girls. In either case, we have 3 petals left... this month is Clover - Use Resources Wisely. 


Activity 1: Read Clover's Story and Discuss it

Pretty much... read... and answer the questions... done. If you want to hear a great troop doing this, check out this YouTube video:





Activity 2: Think of 3 ways to use resources wisely during meetings and promise to do them.

Next, talk to the girls about ways to use resources wisely. Toss out a few things you know they wouldn't do to help them see good manners will help with this, too. Here are a few things to get the thoughts rolling: 

  • Recycle Capri sun drink containers through TerraCycle (They have other programs, too)
  • Use reusable water bottles rather than bringing drinks each time. 
  • Buy a bag of animal cookies rather than individual packages and then recycle the bag. 
  • Be sure to recycle cardboard and plastic from packaging
  • Silly one: As if it's a good idea to break the crayons, so we have to replace them each meeting (I hope your girls aren't doing that!)
  • Use only the amount of glue needed and don't waste
  • Silly: Resist glitter parties to use up the whole tube of glitter!!
  • Wash your hands well, but don't play in the sink
  • Use a cloth towel for drying, rather than paper towels
  • Keep a towel around for spills and messes rather than using a bunch of paper towels
  • Consider using cloth napkins during snack time (We actually did this as Brownies and Juniors! The girls thought it was very fancy.)
  • Think of craft ideas you could make with cookie boxes (bookmarks, notepads, decorations for your cookie booth, photo frames, coasters (laminate them)


Activity 3: Recycled Art

The petal says grab magazines and make a collage. That would be fine, but you know I like to change things... so... and Cookie Season right now, so the girls got a bonus craft at this meeting. Two different ideas or feel free to do both, as we did.

CD Scratch Art

Supplies:
CDs
black paint
foam brush
metal spoons

I was given a TON of old Volunteer CDs from our Council. They have forms and training information and boring stuff on them. I had used some for making CD tops way back when and I still have a ton left over... So... I found an idea for scratch art

I painted the CDs before the meeting... many reasons, but we'll say "for the sake of time", instead of "Lora was horrified at the thought of 10 little girls with black acrylic paint holding CDs and painting the back of them". YIKES!

Anyway... I ended up giving the girls metal spoons to scratch their CDs. I had enough CDs painted so each girl could make two. I used a Crop a Dile to punch a hole through the CD, though you could just thread your ribbon through the center for hanging. I just didn't want to do that.

I would caution the girls not to try to get too intricate of a design. Stick to simple shapes. 

Recycled Cookie Box Sketch Books & Bookmarks

Supplies:
Empty cookie boxes
plain typing paper
hole punch (Crop a Dile)
binder clips
yarn
pencil

Okay... again... I like to prep to make it easy on people. Namely, me. So, before the meeting, I cut all the boxes apart using the front and back of the boxes for the front and back covers. The side of the box with the 5 Skills I saved and trimmed down for bookmarks. I also cut the paper for the interior pages. I used a binder clip to keep each book together and used the Crop a Dile to punch holes through the entire thickness. I put about 10 sheets of paper between the covers. 

At the meeting, I demonstrated to the girls at how I used almost the whole box as 2 "upcycled" projects. There wasn't much left to put into the recycling box after we were done.

Instructions to complete the booklet:
1. Each girls gets a booklet "set" (covers and papers with binder clip, 3 piece of yarn, pencil)
2. Thread a piece of yarn through each hole, but don't tie it. 
3. Lay the pencil along the edge of the spine of the book (the side with the holes with yarn through them)
4. Tie the yarn into a know around the pencil. This gives you a loose loops, so the book will lie flat when you open it. 
5. Once all the yarn loops are tied, remove the pencil. 

Instructions to complete the bookmark:
Each girl was given a bookmark and yarn for this, too.

Pretty simple... tie some yarn through the hole and use as a bookmark. Now, you could doll up the top with gems or such, but we kept it simple. This is just to spark the idea and hopefully they'll think of other things they can do at home, instead of just tossing the box. I hope they at least recycle the box.