Friday, April 14, 2017

Have a Soaring Summer

Make it a Soaring Summer! Whether you are blowing bubbles, flying paper airplanes, or getting a sugar rush on homemade ice cream sandwiches… put down the electronics and have some fun outdoors and indoors.

Sample activities include:
  • Make homemade bubbles and a bubble blowing wand
  • Bird watch to discover 6 different types of birds
  • Document a “week in the life” with photos or journaling or both
  • Plant flowers to attract butterflies
  • Set up a net for volleyball or badminton
  • Watch for fireflies
  • Paint a design on canvas sneakers
Patches are available NOW and all orders placed by October 15, 2017 are guaranteed to be filled. After october 15, 2017, we will sell off remaining stock and that will be the end. 

If you can't print at home, you can order a guide we print and mail to you!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

When Humility Goes Too Far

This is me... sharing a story about myself. Something I have battled with throughout my lifetime.

I was raised to be kind, genuine, and humble. I don't boast about my accomplishments. I don't step into the spotlight. I often pass the credit on to others. None of those qualities really made me feel like I was missing anything, until one fateful day.

I have a new boss for my full-time job. I instantly respected him. I quickly connected with his line of thought. I genuinely feel he has the company and my best interest at heart in every decision he makes.Those are rare qualities for a manager... sad, but true.

For a full time gig, I'm a computer programmer. I code ColdFusion. I'm proficient in SQL, HTML, CSS, and I'm learning all about this responsive design internet world we live in. I'm getting pretty good at that, too. (It took everything in me not to rewrite the proficient, pretty good, etc. and remind myself it isn't ostentatious to admit you have skills that you've worked hard to achieve!)


I work in a predominantly male career field. I have fought for the past 12 years against the "boys club". I have quite often been dismissed or ignored by my peers and my female bosses. When you hear people talk about the gender gap, I have lived it. I do live it. I typically feel I have to fight to be taken seriously. I have to prove time and time again that I am good at what I do. Being second-guessed has simply become part of my routine. It isn't that I don't have the experience. It isn't that I don't have the knowledge. I don't even think it's that I don't have the respect of the people I work with.

Two weeks ago... my boss (remember, I really like him)... asked if he could give me a call after a conference call we had together. This happens a lot, so I thought nothing of it. What he told me was like running full force into a brick wall. It hit me so hard, that I have went back and thought on it multiple times. Of course, in his true fashion, it was phrased so eloquently and insightful... and that is why it made such a huge impact. He told me "The way you presented yourself today, it just lacked confidence. The phrases you used when talking about the issues that had come up and that you resolved or had made decisions on how to resolve just didn't sound like you were sure of yourself. You handled everything. Everything was resolved or you have a plan on how to take care of it. You know what you're doing. You get the job done. You just need to present yourself in a more confident manner." Of course, this is not verbatim, but the overall intent is there.

So... for the past 2 weeks... I have self-monitored myself. I have listened to how I speak about things I accomplish. There is a huge difference between being humble and self-deprecating. I now sit and wonder how many times I felt I was fighting the boys club and it was really a fight against myself. A fight that I was losing because I was too kind or too humble to take credit. I think back and remember how many times I allowed someone else to take the credit and they would say "I I I" when it was really "ME ME ME!" or at least "us us us".

If you are so humble you have crossed the line into not allowing others to give you a compliment and take credit when it is due... you are your own worst enemy. I'm preaching to myself here. We need to step up and say "Yes. I accomplished this and I worked hard for it." "I took care of it. It's resolved."


How does this fit on a Girl Scout blog? WE are leading the future women for our planet. We tell them to have courage, confidence, and character. We instill the values to be kind, helpful, and considerate. We need to make sure we are balancing the scale and tell them to not put themselves down. Don't downplay your contributions. Don't feel as though if you say "Thank you" to a compliment that you are boastful. We work hard every single day. We deserve credit for what we have done. We definitely don't deserve to allow ourselves to be shut down, overlooked, or discredited. This has nothing to do with gender, either. Shocked, I know. This has to do with personality and human character.
This week, I actually followed up with my boss and asked what he thought of my presentation on a call. I told him I was trying to sound more confident and not downplay my contributions. He remarked that he had made a mental note on the call that it did sound better and he was pleased that our discussion was taken to heart. I appreciate that he tok the time to point this out to me in a way that really did make me stop and think.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. (And no... I'm not "that" old).

Friday, April 7, 2017

My Google Drive - aka The Leader Motherload!

I try to keep my Google Drive organized and I share out portions with different groups. Sometimes, it needs a little... ummm... straightening up and decluttering, though.

Why am I telling you this? Well... because I Google a LOT... and I find things that help me now and in the future. I also find things I wish I would have had in the past.

My mission here is to help YOU! I have a folder named "Blog Shares". It's sole purpose is to help you and save you time from the Google vortex. I don't modify the documents I find. So, if it doesn't have a name on it, I don't know where I got it. If it has a name, then credit is still in tact. These are NOT all my documents .The pieces that are, for the most part, have my blog and name on them. I would appreciate you keeping that in tact and giving credit where credit is due, too.

A lot of these items have been linked on the blog at one time or another, but this is your one stop shop.

Without further blah blah-ing... here you go!!
Lora's Blog Shares Folder on Google Drive

Now, before I get a million requests for edit... I don't give edit access to docuemns in my Google Drive. You can download a copy and you can save a copy to your own Google Drive. But, I don't allow others to modify my stuff. 

FIRST... there are different types of files in my drive... There are Word Documents, Excel Sheets, Google Documents, Google Sheets, and PDFs... there are probably some jpg and png and other image files, too. Go. Explore. Check back often.... I add things...

When you look at a file, the icon will tell you what it is. PDFs are NOT editable and if there isn't a Word or Google Document with it, then I don't have one there or I don't have one at all... You can ask, because sometimes I just don't put "raw" files out there. 

In the image below, 

  • The red square with PDF in it is a PDF... easy, right? 
  • The one next to it with a great big blue W... that's Microsoft Word.
  • The blue square with squiggles... that's Google's version of Word... called Documents. Depending on the document... sometimes the Google files are formatted the best. Just being honest here. It depends if I created it in Google or if it was converted from a Word document... so... just know that formatting may be off... don't judge me... I MAY go back and check things out when I have time, but don't hold your breath. 


File types

To save your own copy in Google Drive (which you are welcome to do... but please give credit when sharing): 
If you have a Google Drive of your own. 

  1. Sign in to your Google Account, if you aren't (I'm always signed in.... always).
  2. Navigate to the folder link above.
  3. Click on the document you want. 
  4. Depending on your view, you will click in the upper right on the navigation to Add to Drive (image 1) OR if the file is open, click on File>Add to Drive (image 2)
Image 1

Image 2



If you do NOT have a Google Drive, you can still download and print copies of anything in there: 
To download a copy:

  1. Click on the link above going to my shared folder. It will open a view like image 3 below.
  2. Click on the file you want. (You may need to double click, depending on your browser, etc.)
  3. Click Download to save or the Printer to print. 
Image 3

Image 4
I do hope you find something that helps you. I plan to start adding meeting plans and such out there for various badges and things we have done... as I have time... 

Lora's Blog Shares Folder on Google Drive

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Badge Planning Sheet

A skill we are working on with our girls is planning. It's a skill that is very beneficial in life. Take the big picture and break it down into smaller steps and you won't feel so overwhelmed when it comes to tackling the task at hand. It also helps things flow more easily and relieves some anxiety and stress.

Our troop have begun to plan their own meetings. We gave them the task of providing us a list of activities they would be completing and supplies they need. Easy enough, I thought. After a year of getting plans that took quite a bit of my time to decipher and going back and forth on what requirements were missed, I decided I needed to share some secrets on planning. It will save both them and me time in the long run.

For years, when I was planning meetings I had just broken it down and typed it up and within a matter of 30 minutes or less... I had a plan that worked wonderfully. It also comes in handy when you are sick or have a family emergency and someone else has to step up and lead the meeting in your absence. Yep. Life happens!

This is the way it works... You can save the Blank Planning Sheet (listed below). Update the header and your badge/patch/activity will appear on every page. Type in the name of the badge/patch, date, who is leading, and the steps.

For each step, you have a row in the table. List the requirement number, requirement description, activity with instructions, estimated time (if you want... I do this to make sure I have enough and not too much planned for the length of the meeting), Leader, and Supplies List.

Why each column? 
Requirement #: I list this, so I can make sure I have all my steps done. If you are splitting a badge across a couple meetings, this will save you so much time. You can reference both meeting outlines and make sure you have all of them covered.

Requirement Description: I list this piece of information so I can quickly reference why we are doing what we're doing when we're doing it. Yes. I know they are listed above, but sometimes you have multiple pages and if you are fortunate, you can hand a page to someone else to lead. They have all the information about the activity they need.

Activity: This is self-explanatory. You need to know what you are doing. I will add that if it's a rather long description, sometimes I put "See Activity Sheet" or something.

Estimated Time: You know how long your meetings are, so why not track the time for each thing to make sure you don't have too much or too little planned. You can always let things run over time or under time.

Leader: With the girls leading meetings and splitting badges, it helps to know who is doing what. So, I list it or have them list it.

Supplies: Always good to know what you need. I try to keep "fluff" out of this column, so when I go shopping for supplies or it's time to gather supplies, I can quickly look down a list of things needed.

Resources


I hope this helps save time and energy. If your girls are still young and aren't at the point of planning the whole meeting, then use it for yourself and for assigning other volunteers tasks at your meetings!

Completed plans are also great to start building and saving and sharing with your Leader friends... they will give you great big hugs.

Note: You can also use this for Event Planning... Instead of requirements to complete, use it for Stations at your event.

Friday, March 24, 2017

20% off 7 Patches at BCGPatches.com

FIRST TIME EVER!!
I have marked down SEVEN of the BCGPatches.com patches by 20%. 

All prices have been adjusted and are waiting for your to order... and YES... shipping is still included in the price.

Sale ends March 31, 2017 or while supplies last (inventory in the store is correct. If you see it, it's available).


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In the midst of a cookie storm


I know I've referenced this song before and I may again, so hopefully you like it.

The past month or so has been all about cookies. We have been taking orders, delivering, transporting, shuffling, selling, boothing, and getting really sick of them (just being honest). I think at this point, all the adults and girls are tired of cookie season. We still have another 2 weeks to go, but our troop... is done. 

This morning, I made an early day run (like prior to 7am!) to a friend's house to trade out this for that to fill some orders from parents. On the way down the street to turn around, I was thinking about the sacrifices we make as Troop Leaders. We give up time with family, friends, and ourselves. We become stressed, overwhelmed, snippy, and down right mean to those we love the most at times, too (talk to my husband... he'll tell you I am not perfect..) ... myself included. I really try to keep myself in check... but it's hard when you have a million things to do, badges to sew on, cookies to sort, meetings to prepare, trips to plan, and then all the normal "stuff" we do. 

I turned my car on and the song by Tim McGraw was playing.. "Humble and Kind". It was at that part in the song where it says "Always stay humble and kind"... "when you get to where you are going, don't forget to turn around and help the next one in line." I have to say it stopped me in my mental tracks and spoke to my heart.

The girls that I've watched grow and mature and take on responsibility and laugh and plan... they are why. They are worth the early morning cookie run, the late night badge sewing session, the crazy week full of here and there activities, the booked calendars, and the sometimes unrecognized sacrifices.

In the midst of the cookie storm.. take a moment and remember why we do it. It isn't about the money for the troop. It isn't about being the top seller. It's not about being recognized for the things we do. It's about setting the example for the next generation. They may not see it today... but they will see it. They'll understand it. They'll know. Someone cared enough about them and the world we live in to stand up and say "Yes. I will do this."

Thank you, to all the volunteers who Believe in Girls. 
Invest in Her. 
Invest in our Future. 
It really is ToGetHer There!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Yes! I listen to your comments

One thing you most likely don't realize, unless you read my entire blog daily and compare all the content, is that I do read and listen to comments. Comments on older posts are read. Posts are reviewed. Updates and improvements are made.

Today, I want to point you in the direction of a Junior Badge, Independence. I had a comment about the Bad Habit Tracker. You wanted to see it. I'm going to be honest and tell you that post was made a few years ago and I wasn't always the best at sharing resources... sheer laziness on my part. Since then, I've set up the Blog Shares folder on my Google Drive and links galore are going to it.

So... as requested... the Bad Habit Tracker has been added to the drive in Word format. you can download it, modify it, use it, ignore it, and do whatever. Just please remember to give credit where credit is due.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Just Sing! <--a patch program

As a leader, I'm always looking for easy things to fill the time and something that creates a memory. That is the hope for the Just Sing Patch Program.

The 6 page Just Sing program guide has some tried and true favorite songs of my girls from our own meetings and larger events. Yes, I included Tom the Toad and I'll just apologize in advance. That toad will be the death of me, yet. For the past 5 years for our day camp, I lead songs. If Tom isn't in the book, I get asked why and if we can sing it anyway. If Tom is in the book, I hear the begging of small scouts every single day to sing. Why Tom is so loved is beyond me... but, he's in program guide for Just Sing... a tribute to all the pleading little girls I've heard for the past 5 years.

Just Sing is a quick and easy patch program you can work on during the time in the meeting when you flew threw everything else or when you are waiting for parents to arrive. Sing a song or two. Share some laughs. Earn a patch... with Tom the Toad and all his other friends.

Not all the songs are silly, mind you. I included my favorite traditional songs that we've sang. Linger has a special place in the heart of my stepdaughter, as we sang it as a send off for her older sister leaving on a missions trips. Say Why is in there because it's just the perfect way to end camp each year. It's also a beautiful song for graduating girls, bridging, end of a special event, or even a troop year. Taps... well... this is a song that I had no idea had words until I became involved with scouting and so I'm hoping I'm not alone in the lack of knowledge. I'm spreading the word. There are words to Taps and they are thought provoking.

If you promise not to judge, laugh, or leave snarky comments... I invite you to check out the BCG Patches YouTube channel, as my girl and I have added videos for sing-a-longs for each song. Yes... we Just Sing and are proud of it.

The Just Sing patch will be available through July 15, 2017 and you can order it now in the store.

Just Sing!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cookies....


It's been quiet around the blog for a couple weeks.. you know why?

COOKIES have arrived... selling cookies, delivering cookies, cookie booths, cookie money... cookie cookie cookie...

Plus, I celebrated my 40th birthday and it's taken me a little while to adjust to the fact that I'm 40...

But, be watching this week for a couple fun announcements.

If you haven't checked out the BCG Patches store... please do. Sign up for our newsletter, too. They go out on the 15th and include information about the latest patch releases.

Chat soon... after I dig myself out of the cookie cases and resume a normal home free of the sweet treats!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Put Yourself Out There

Put yourself out there ...  be brave!! Preaching to the choir, sister (or brother)!

About a year ago, I decided to start designing and selling patch programs... BCG Patches. For years, I told the girls to "just try it". "You'll never know unless you try". "The only real failure is not starting". Wow... do I love to eat my words. 

Almost a year down the road (March 23, btw), I've worked to build the programs, listen to customer needs, spread the word, and try to get my name out there. Of course, there are hurdles and lack of knowledge on how to really launch this into a multi-million dollar industry... I need a Shark, right? (uh, no... you would see me cry on TV) It has never been the plan to replace my full-time job... the plan was to do something where I could use my creative side (design), my analytical side (organized guides), and my personable side (I am pretty good at talking to people I don't know like we've been friends for years... It's a skill...) and help people leading youth out with some easy activity ideas.

The latest and greatest "thing" to join the BCG Patches family of services (talk about your lingo...) is the YouTube channel.

I have several video tutorials out there for Handmade Treasures and Spring Surprise. Some of the Handmade Treasures videos are a bit old and please don't judge my tie-dye. But, it's getting there... and the plan is to have it all snifty and edited one of these days like to cool kids... for now, I'm happy if I don't have something weird on my face or my hair all crazy-like.

This is me... putting myself out there... be kind. and subscribe to my channel!!!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Spring Surprise Patch Program

Spring is coming. Robins are returning to the area. The poor crocus believe it's time to pop up and say hello. Spring is a fun time of year, unless you have allergies... then you and I are in the same company of despising pollen. Spring is fun, though! Have some fun with your group with this month's release. 


Patch is: 
  • 3" x 2 3/4" laser cut shape
  • fully embroidered
  • sew on
Complete enough activities to total 60 points and you have earned the patch! Sample activity choices include: 
  • Decorate an egg (real or fake)
  • Color the Spring Surprise coloring sheet (included in guide)
  • Spring clean your closet or dresser and donate outgrown items.
  • Make a Tape Resist Canvas in Spring colors
  • Make boo boo bunnies to keep or donate
  • Visit a zoo or petting zoo or farm with animals
The guide is 6 pages long and includes tin punch art patterns, a word search, and coloring sheet. We, once again, have a Spring Surprise Pinterest board set up with additional ways to complete the various activities. In addition to all that, we will be posting some short videos on our YouTube channel over the next couple weeks.


FREE Guide


Order the Patch


Patches are in stock and guaranteed available through June 15, 2017.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Helping Hands: Felt Fish Cat Toys

Our troop is working on the Helping Hands patch program this year. We do one service project each month and at the end of the year, we'll have the patch earned. It helped us tremendously when planning our service meetings this year.

In January 2017, we focused on the Humane Society. We made felt fish stuffed with catnip. In February, we are delivering the fish and socializing the animals while we are there. It will be a fun trip for the troop.

So... felt fish... this is how we did it.

Supplies: 
chipboard for pattern
scissors
felt
embroidery floss
needle
catnip
hot glue gun'hot glue sticks
large ziploc bag



Step 1: Make a pattern out of chipboard. 
I found a simple fish graphic. Printed it out on paper. Cut it out and then traced that onto chipboard (heavy cardboard like you find on the back of legal pads). I cut that out and voila... pattern.










Step 2: Using your pattern to trace onto felt. 
I double the layers of felt, so we always had matching sides for our fish if the shape happened to be a little off when they were cut out.










Step 3: Sew on an eye. 
Okay... so we were doing to do this to all of them and the girls were struggling... what's that saying about the best laid plans... anyway, we did sew eyes on about 6 of them and then decided to cut that from the list of "to do" items.




 Step 4: Hot glue around 3/4 of the fish.
You need to leave an opening for the next step (stuffing with catnip). We left an opening on the top or bottom of the fish.








Step 5: Stuff with catnip.
When I say "stuff", i don't mean until it's busting... we probably used about a tablespoon in each.









Step 6: Hot glue the rest of the way shut. 
Obviously, if you have little kiddos doing this you need to be careful and smart with the glue guns. My girls are older, so they are aware.


Step 7: Put in a sealed bag and plan to deliver to an animal shelter. 
You could also pass out to friends and family with cats. I know Newman the cat loved his felt fish.








You can still order the Helping Hands patches and download the free guide from BCGPatches.com. The patches are only going to be around until they sell out, though, so be sure to order yours soon. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cutest Headband EVER!!

At least I'll be styling the cutest cookie headband EVER while freezing my butt off at outside cookie booths in March... in Missouri...

I was talking with my awesome-sauce friend, April, about this too cute to boot headband and after we spoke back and forth about placement of the cookies and the proper color green... she turned the cookies into clips!!! I can position them however I want and put them on a scarf or my shirt or in my hair or whatever... HOW amazing is that?!?!?

I told her I thought I probably had a few other people that would "need" one, so I decided to do a post here and a few other places I frqeuent.

Check out her Etsy shop and you can order your very own... because just like the real cookies... you need to get your own. You can't have mine!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/494153118/scout-cookie-headband

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Can We Just Be Friends?

I haven't done a "feelings" post for a while, so hold on to your hat, grab some coffee, and try to take it all in.

The past few weeks... months... there has been a lot of disagreement on what is best for the world in which we live. We all form opinions and hold fast to what we believe. That's a great quality, but you gotta keep it in check so it doesn't divide what you are trying to unite. I don't know about you, but I could use more people to call friends. I don't think we have a limit on that.

I remember a time when the girl was about 4 or 5 and we went to the play place at a local business. She didn't go with a friend. She was on her own. I didn't really have the desire to crawl up into a giant twisty turny entrapment, so she had to figure it out. I have to say, I was always a little apprehensive about her being by herself, but not after this one particular day. We had been there for 5 minutes or so and she noticed another little girl playing alone. She asked if it would be okay to go talk to her. Of course, I said. She walked over and said "Hi! My name is ___. Do you want to be my friend? My favorite color is pink." I was so glad it went well and the other child replied "Yes. I'll be your friend. My favorite color is pink, too!" And off they went. They played for hours. Her mom and I talked about how easy it was for the two of them to be friends and find something in common. Sharing a favorite color was enough.

Fast forward 10 years and something has happened along the way. It's much more difficult for that 14 year old to start a new friendship, than it was when she was 4. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. You do need to be careful who you are friends with. No one wants to have to answer questions from the police about their whereabouts and relationship with a certain person... but, those cases are very far and few in between... so we can't really use that as an excuse too often.

As adults, we make it even more difficult. But, I ask you this. Does it need to be? Are we so set in our ways and so quick to judge and critique that we are refusing to be friends with people that don't share each of our values? Are we really willing to have less people we consider friends just because we don't see eye to eye on everything? Are we so rigid that we can't carry on a conversation with someone that has different views on the world?

I'm preaching to myself here... I'm so guilty.When people ask me if I have a lot of friends, I say "No, Not really. I have a lot of acquaintances and people I work with, but I don't have many I consider true friends." I limit the number of connections I have on Facebook, because I don't really want everyone under the sun seeing into my life. I keep most people at a distance where it's comfortable for me and rarely share a lot about my personal life. We'll say I have trust issues.

Something happened, though, a month or so ago. I was out to dinner with a couple friends and we were talking about life. My friend was sharing some things she was going through and the whole time I sat there thinking "wow... I'm not alone". I just smiled and when she had finished I said "I'm just really glad to know that I'm not the only one dealing with this type of issue!" And it hit me... THAT is what it's about. Friends are there with the purpose to help you through life. We share laughs. We share tears. We share frustrations. We share life. We let one another know we are not alone. Someone is in our corner and can relate or at least empathize with what we're going through.

I encourage you to truly evaluate yourself and simplify your friend making process before it's too late. Think about the simple things that make you YOU...

Hi. My name is Lora. I like crafts. I like baking. I love my family. Can we be friends?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Getting Girl Led Meetings

Note: This is going to be lengthy... and full of information... take it one step at a time. 

Girl Scouts is supposed to be girl-led. Even though I will agree that females do all qualify to be "girls", we need to turn at least portions of the meetings over to the under 18 years of age girls at every level. This isn't an automatic thing, as we all know our sweet little Daisy's would blow their cookie profit on ice cream and Pokemon. But, no matter what the age, the girls need input and responsibilities... it is, afterall, THEIR troop... not ours.

This is sort of how I see the breakdown/transition working. Obviously, get a group of leaders together and you'll have 10 varying thoughts. This isn't written in stone and you need to know your girls. But, start somewhere if you haven't.

This is really the flow of changes that happened for our troop over the years, too. It works. Now, as 8th grade Cadettes, they send us supply lists and meeting outlines in advance for the badges they are leading. Some are better than others in doing so without reminders, but you'll also find that difference in adults.

Daisy: 
Yes... Daisy's need to have input and lead portions of their meetings and troop activity. They can absolutely take on roles of:

  • Opening the meeting by saying the Promise and Law (if you do that). 
  • Collect dues (if you do that)
  • Take roll
  • Pass out supplies
  • Collect supplies
  • Clean up the space
  • Vote on activities
  • Decide how to spend their troop money (with direction, of course)
  • Suggest snack ideas
  • and many more... 


You know your meetings... what can you turn over to the girls? Not their parent, though they will be involved. What can the GIRL be responsible for?

Brownies:

They've been in Scouts for 2 years, most likely, but even first year scouts can get in a routine. The trick is making sure they know they are responsible for it or it doesn't happen.


  • ALL the Daisy stuff, plus more...
  • Digital Secretary. I had a point n shoot camera and we rotated who got to use it at meetings to take photos. Some of the best photos ever, because they are from their perspective of what is important, not yours (or mine).
  • Song Bird: Each girl had a troop song book (See Twilight Camp songbook post) and they were responsible for choosing the songs to be sang at the beginning and end of our meeting. If they didn't do it, it didn't happen. They really liked to sing, so a couple times of seeing I wasn't going to fill in and they started remembering.
  • Good Turn Leader: Each meeting at the end, we stood in our Friendship Circle and stated on Good Turn they would do before we met again. The Leader started us off and recorded what each person said. At the next meeting, during opening, they would ask if it was done. It taught accountability.
  • Activity Leader: By this point, the girls can read. Have them read over the badge activity before you begin it, so they know the purpose behind whatever you are doing.
  • Trip Planning: Yep... let them have say in the menu, location, activities, movie (if there is one), how to fairly divide the group between vehicles (if necessary), etc. The sooner you get them planning their trips, the more invested they will be to make sure things get done. Especially overnights for journeys or camping or whatever. They have ownership of it, so they are more likely not to do the "I don't want to" speal.


Juniors:
All the Daisy and Brownie stuff and more...

Juniors is a tough age... They aren't little girls, yet they aren't big girls. They think they are big girls, but they act like little ones most of the time. I know that's a general statement and it isn't meant to sound harsh... it's just a tough age.

In order to get Juniors more involved in Leading, you are going to have to plan ahead. No more late night one day prior to the meeting to plan what you are doing. Remember... a Girl Scout is always prepared.

Plan the year of badges with them. Use the house method, if you want. Once you have your badges for the year planned, ask who wants to be responsible for a couple badge activities?
Each girl should take 1 or 2 badge activities they are going to be responsible for. They need a copy of the badge booklet, if they don't own their own. Give them a deadline for the plan and supplies. I will say, have a back up plan. Just in case they aren't there or forget, the rest of the troop doesn't suffer because of it.
Troop Money Management: I actually started this as Brownies, too (I didn't have them as Daisy's). I gave them the balance of the troop account, how much we spent on supplies for that meeting, how much we were setting aside for badges. Get them involved and knowledgeable about how much things cost. It's this much for a badge. It's this much for a patch and let them decide whether it's worth it. Talk money with them as an ongoing thing... financial responsibility will benefit them throughout their entire life. Start early.

Cadettes:
Cadettes is where I brought in back up (an enforcer... ha!) and really got on track to having the girls lead their meetings. They were used to me doing pretty much everything for them. So, for me, it helped to turn them over to a new co-leader who had had an older girl troop before.

6th grade, I still did a lot of the planning. They chose their badges, took care of typical meeting "stuff" (opening, business, closing, ceremony planning, trip planning, etc.). This was also the year we brought 4 troops into one and that had it's own set of obstacles.

Then, we began mentoring a Daisy troop. So, in essence, my Cadettes planned the meetings for the Daisy's. I showed them the badge booklets for the petals and had them make decisions on what activities to do, what supplies would be needed, etc. This really gave them the first glance at planning out an entire meeting for a younger level. I feel this helped them tremendously for their 7th grade year.

7th grade... we did the house method of planning at our first meeting. We divided up the badges and started holding them responsible for planning it out. We still helped them and still planned part of it for them. We led them down the path and offered advice, so to speak. But, for the most part, they were responsible. Now, we also had a couple badges in our back pockets (the boring, let's sit and talk badges) just in case someone didn't follow through. We also brought extra supplies and tried to see where their pitfalls may be to cover for them in case they needed help. But, the girls really did soar on their own.

By our 8th grade year, the girls sat and planned their year of badges, dividing them up between them. They are then also responsible to email a plan, supplies list, and lead the entire meeting. They lead opening to closing. If there is something like Cookies happening, I tell them in advance (like when we hand them the copy of the badge to review and plan) "I need 20 minutes of your meeting to cover _____" I also tell them about any meetings I need part of at the beginning of the year. I know December I need time for cookies, February I want time for Thinking Day and Global Action, and I like to plan 2 "parties" a year for them in December and May.

Planning meeting... the first meeting in August or September after school starts is just that... only planning. Badge work isn't really accomplished. We look over badges, we talk about the summer patch programs they were to work on, we talk about the service projects and overall mission of the year.

Seniors/Ambassadors:
Well.. I haven't reached them yet. But, I can tell you my 8th grade Cadettes do pretty much everything expect buying supplies for badge work (which they supply via email to my co-leader and I). There really isn't too much more to turn over at this point, except finances which I'm not sure that is allowed... I guess they could start putting together their orders for badges from the council shop or something... hmmmm...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Handmade Treasures


I have been excited about this patch program from the moment I thought it up!! I'm so happy the month has finally arrived to release it!

For the January 2017 patch, I decided to do something a little different. The patch is a plain ol' white patch with black outlining, because.... part of earning it is to color it yourself. Yes! You read that right. I worked with my manufacturer and tested different techniques to color the thread. I'm able to supply you with a patch guaranteed different for each person completing it... unless you copy off someone, then shame shame shame. It will for sure be a treasure... a handmade treasure.

With this patch program YOU will become an artist! Whether you are completing a traditional style craft (such as crochet and embroidery) or something trending now, you are sure to find something you will want to add to your list of skills.

Craft time provides a great way to relax, focus, and express yourself. I invite you to make many handmade treasures.



Patch is:
  • $2 each (including shipping!)
  • 2 1/2" circle
  • color your own
  • fully embroidered
  • sew on
Complete one project from 5 different categories to earn the patch and complete one final step. Make it as simple or complex as you need for your age group.

The guide is 12 pages of crafty examples and fun! There are even exclusive embroidery and cross stitch designs included in the guide!!

Check out the Pinterest board to support this patch program, too: https://www.pinterest.com/lora3677/bcg-patches-handmade-treasures/

All orders guaranteed to be filled through April 15, 2017. Patches are available NOW!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cadette: Science of Happiness

There are moments as a Girl Scout Leader when you wonder if you are making a difference at all. If you haven't been in that moment, believe me... it's coming. Prior to this meeting with my 8th grade Cadettes, I had been having many of those moments. What does that have to do with the Science of Happiness? Keep reading.

The girls lead their own meetings now. To the point that my co-leader and I just go into the room and sit and wait for them to start it. Sometimes a question of "Should we open the meeting?" is raised and if so, we reply "Well, it's your meeting and you know what needs to be done." Ornery, right? Hey, this isn't their first year in Scouts. So, they get chairs, arrange the tables, and stand in a circle to say the Promise and Law. I would interject here that no one has told them they have to carry on that tradition, but they do it. Partly because I'm sure they think it's expected and partly because they like the tradition.

Anyway, on to the badge... Science of Happiness.

Step 1: Make Yourself Happier
Count three blessings

The girls made a list of blessings.... they ranged from serious to completely ridiculous. As I sat their listening to one of the girls speak of her silliness as a blessing, I was reminded that adults take life way too seriously at times. She also counted having silly friends a blessing.

Step 2: Think Differently for happiness
Use your list of strengths

The Cadette leading the badge asked the girls to list their strengths to remind themselves how strong they really are. Again, I sat there thinking how easy it is to dwell on shortcomings and forget what we have going for us... even if it's as small as liking the freckle on your nose that is just like your Mom's as a reminder that someone in the world is cheering you own.

Step 3: Get Happy through others
Make something meaningful - thank you cards

The girls made 2 cards each. I will admit at this point, I wasn't really paying attention and there was a lot of writing and sharing notes and whispering... I let it go, because girls need secrets... and I'm so glad I did... when finished, they each presented my co-leader and I with a handwritten thank you note that I'll treasure forever.

Step 4: Do a helpful happiness experiment
Design your own 5 question-happiness survey

I think this proved to be the most difficult for them. I tried to explain how a survey should have a measurable result. Filling in the blank is good in some cases, but will make it difficult to truly see the results of a group if you don't have some sort of baseline. It gave us a great discussion on how to form questions in different ways to make sure you can have results from a survey.

Step 5: Create a happiness action plan
Create an inspiration collage with 5 top tips that help you stay happy

Last, but not least, the girls came up with their own tips for staying happy. They doodled and colored and made it all adorable, then discussed their lists and shared where they were planning on keeping it. One of the girls said she was going to snap a photo and store it on her phone, so she has it with her where ever she goes. That's a great idea, because we all know there are times you are out in the world and need a moment to regain your happiness.