Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Be a Leader... show her She Is Worth It.

It's "that" time of year once again. The time of year when people start thinking about school starting up. In the Girl Scout world it means trying to find Leaders for girls who want to join Girl Scouts. This isn't as easy as one might think.

I don't want to be preachy or give a lecture unnecessarily. I just want you to stop and think for a moment... are you really TOO busy to spend time with your daughter, step-daughter, niece, cousin, friend's daughter, or any young girl that just wants to be a Girl Scout. I have friends who are Moms, Step-Moms (like me), Sisters, Cousins, Aunts, Childless women who are Leaders. They give their time, their heart, and their effort to changing the lives of many young girls. I've heard it a million times... ANYTHING you can provide is more than they would get otherwise. And that is the truth.

Girl Scouting building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. That's the motto. That's the goal. How can you say you are too busy to help that movement? I understand you have a list of reasons. We are all busy. We all have reasons to stop us.

Will spending a couple hours a week planning and a couple hours a month with a group of eager girls make a difference? Ask the girl who is going to a home where no one is excited about her accomplishments, if it mattered when you told her she was amazing. Ask the young women that send their GS Leader a wedding invitation and birth announcements of their baby girl, if their Leader was important to them. Ask the young mother that has been counting down the days until her daughter starts Kindergarten so she can be her Troop Leader and follow in her Mom's footsteps if she liked  her Mom being a Leader. Ask the entering college Freshman who is sure she can conquer the world because she had years in a troop building her confidence in who she is if your time was worth it. 

Do all Girl Scouts turn out to be members of Congress? No. But, some do. Do all Girl Scouts enter into medical fields doing research to cure disease? No. But, some do. Do all Girl Scouts learn that they are great just the way they are and can do anything they put their mind to? Absolutely. At least I hope my troop of nine will.

Let me ask a question... (I have fell back on this many times in my life... and I should be a ton more. I can't remember where or who started this little synapse in my brain, but I am forever grateful they did. )
"What you are doing right now... 
The decision you are trying to make...
The things you are spending your time doing... 
Will it matter a month from now? 
Will it matter 6 months from now? 
How about a year? 
10 years? 
20 years?" 

Now, we can justify and categorize anything and say "YES! It will matter." But, will it really? Trust me. I am the best at placing significance on something that really doesn't matter. Does it matter that the coffee cup isn't in the dishwasher? "YES! It will attract ants and bugs and they will take over my house and attract rodents and they will eat my house and I'll be homeless and I'll be on the streets and catch pneumonia and die!!! All because of a dirty coffee cup!" See... Told you... I can jump there with the best of you. But, does it really matter? No. Just pick up the cup and put it in the dishwasher. It takes like 5 seconds. My favorite catch phrase inserted here... Seriously???

I can honestly say my decision to being a Girl Scout Leader WILL matter 20 years from now. My step-daughter will be 31. I hope and pray she has a family of her own and is happy with the life choices she has made. I know she will recognize the time and effort I spent making sure she went to every event she wanted to go to, realizing the time we spent together is priceless, and the opportunities she had because I decided she was worth it. She was worth the time. She was worth the energy. She was worth the heartache. She was worth the frustration of cookie sales season. She was worth dealing with parents that sometimes are the worst. She was worth every single second and dime I spent making sure she had a great Girl Scout experience. She is worth it!

It's kind of like the story of the starfish. As the boy throws the starfish into the sea, the old man says "You can't save them all. What difference does it make?" As the next one is tossed back in the boy replies "No, I can't. But, it made all the difference in the wold to that one." So, maybe we don't save them all and maybe they don't all become world leaders... but if one does and the only thing standing in her way was an adult that wouldn't step up... how do you decide it's okay to stay silent?

Show her she is worth it. 
You can talk until you are blue in the face and it won't have near the impact of your actions. 
She is worth it. 
No matter how or if you are related. 
The girls are worth it. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Service Unit Event: Teddy Bear Sleepover

This post is a little different, as it isn't something we do as a troop meeting. It's a Service Unit level event. I am adding it because I love the idea of collaboration and sharing things that work with others. I don't see it as stealing the idea, but rather a compliment that someone else feels our idea is good enough to use.

I coordinated the Teddy Bear Sleepover event this year for our Service Unit. This event is for 3rd grade Brownies bridging to Juniors. It helps them complete most of the requirements for Bridging AND they earn the Junior level Junior Girl Scout Ways.

Juniors and up volunteer to help at the event. My girls attended as Brownies last year and were quick to jump at the chance to help run the event this year.

I'll give you a breakdown of stations and how they tie in to Bridging Brownies and the Junior Girl Scouts Ways badge. Both Brownies and Juniors earn this badge.

Pre-Start Station (Fulfills Junior GS Ways: Spread the friendship of GS): 

Each girl brought Teddy Bear for donation. They were disbursed to the police department, Ronald McDonald House, Rainbow House, and True North. To make it more personal, the girl named their bear and wrote it on a bookmark tag that had a poem about teddy bears. They then tied on a patch from a previous year and tied it around the teddy bears neck.

The girls also made SWAPs to keep out of puzzle pieces and googly eyes. They were super cute. The SWAPs are a tradition from the past, too, for Junior GS Ways.
Poem on tags: 
A teddy bear is a furry friendwhose love and support never end;keeps your secrets, never liesfriendly, fuzzy, cozy, wise.Tell it your secretsit'll keep them wellyou don't have to worry,it won't ever tell.Whenever you need oneit will always be therethe same old teddy bearwith the same old stareready to listen, ready to care.Hello, my name is
 _______________________May I be your teddy bear?

Photo Station: 

After they got their bears done, they headed to the photo booth for groups photos with all sort of props. I made mustaches out of felt, bought over sized glasses and leis, etc. at the $ Tree. For a backdrop, I used plastic tablecloths and folded them over rope to hang on the wall.. much prettier than a plain white wall. My amazing husband came to take photos of the groups and I'm so glad he did, as there is no way I could have done that and checked people in and all the other running around I did. 

Songs Station: (Pick Songs for an Occasion for Junior GS Ways)

The girls were quizzed on what was appropriate and what wasn't for the event. They then chose 3 songs to sing together. We did this all together right after Opening Ceremony in a large circle. It was fun and we even coaxed the Leaders to join in. I love my adults, but sometimes they are the hardest to convince to set a great example and "just join in."

Craft Station: 

For Teddy Bear Sleepover (TBS) I ordered pillowcases from ColorTime.com. They have alot of great designs. They were a little pricey and I probably won't do that next year, because of the budget. But, the girls loves them. Caution: The markers they sell are AMAZING, but stinky. The girls and adults helping in that area needed more ventilation. 

Skits & Power Posters: (Read the GS Story for Junior GS Ways)

My girls actually led this station. They read the story to the Brownies and then quizzed them, because the first group wasn't paying attention and they had to come up with a skit to act out based on the story... so, they took it upon themselves to quiz the Brownies after that. HA!

They also made Power Posters with words that describe the powers you gain as Girl Scouts. My favorite was "So much better than Boy Scouts!" Ha! Gotta have that Girl Scout pride. 

Each group presented their posters and acted out their skits later in the evening for the rest of the group. 

Games: (Learn a Tradition from the Past for Junior GS Ways)

The girls were told "back in the day" there weren't electronics to entertain, so kids played outside games with whatever they could find. One of the games they played was Washcloth Toss. They also did a Relay Race to put together a Junior uniform on a bear and a Bronze Award puzzle. If they had time, they also did a Hula Hoop Relay around a circle. 

To finish up the Junior GS Ways badge, everyone did something to help clean up either at night or in the morning. Everyone was assigned a kaper and we did leave the place cleaner than we found it. 

In order to do some of the Bridging requirements, Brownies were able to interview a Junior Troop about what they like the most and what being a Junior Girl Scout is all about. The same troop had just finished up their Bronze, so they were  interviewed about that, too. It was impressive to hear the questions the girls had for the older girls. 

As far the schedule for the night, this is what worked for us. I had three Junior and Cadette Troops that led the three stations (Crafts, Games, Skits) and the Brownies rotated through them. I had 40 Brownies, so it was a small event for our Service Unit, but if you have more girls then you could make the Songs, Interview, and Opening Craft a station or double up stations to make your groups smaller to rotate through.  

For the most past, we stayed "on time". We had some issues with the music for the dance party (because I couldn't find the speaker on my laptop.... ), so that went a little longer than planned. Tangled was over about 12:30am. 

5:45-6:15pm: Volunteers arrive to get set up
6:15-6:30pm: Check In & Bear drop-off
6:30-7pm: Settling; Photo Booth and Bookmarks
7-7:15pm: Opening Ceremony and Overview
7:15-7:30pm: Singing
7:30-8:00pm: Station 1
8:00-8:30pm: Station 2
8:30-9:00pm: Station 3
9:00-9:15pm: Interview a Junior troop
9:15-9:35pm: Pizza snack
9:35-10:00pm: Group Skit & Poster Presentation
10-10:15pm: Dance Party
10:15-10:30pm : Night Routine
10:30-Midnight : Tangled
Midnight: Lights out
12:00-6:00am: Sleep
6:00-6:30am: Older girls wake up to prepare for breakfast
6:30-7:00am: Wake up/Morning Routine
7-7:30am: Breakfast
7:30-8am: Clean up and Troops Leave