Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Brownie: Making Games Badge

Making Games was one of those badges that made me stop and think "Wow! The girls are really independent thinkers. Their minds are not bound by thoughts of will this work, but rather they come up with the wildest of ideas and try to make it work." I'm not sure at what age we lose that dreaming. But, 3rd graders are great inventors. 

Making Games 1: Scavenger Hunt

Each girl was given a list of 10 items they could find in our meeting place. They looked high and low. They had to write down the location of the item (by the window, above the door, etc.) and turn it in. We had purchased Girl Scout pencils for prizes. Every girl received one, no matter when they finished. 

Making Games 2: Mystery Game

The girls were also working on Making Friends at the same time, so for their items to hide they made a SWAP and wrote a note stating one thing they like about the person hunting their items. We drew names to see who got who. Then, the girls hid their items and had to make a list of instructions to give clues to find them. Many of the girls had never done anything like this before and we did have a few hiccups... we also had a couple girls that forgot where they put their items 5 minutes later and it became a scavenger hunt for everyone... without clues. For the most part, though, it worked out fine and the girls had fun.

Making Games 3: Party Game

We played pin the badge on the Girl Scout. I have a Cricut and I cut out a large paper doll and clothing to resemble a Girl Scout. I then cut out triangles for the Brownie badge shape. We blindfolded the girls, spun them 3 times and turned them loose to try to pin the badge on the Girl Scout. We didn't use pins, though. We use tape blobs, because I didn't want to use any First Aid skills. 

Here are the pieces I used to make the Girl Scout with the Cricut Paper Dolls cartridge:
Body: Blackout
Shirt: Promboy Shirt
Vest: Leprechan Accessories 2 Shadow - cut off tails and sleeves
Skirt: Cowgirl Blackout - cut off fringe
Shoes: Raggedy Doll Girl Accessories 1
Hat: Outfit 3 shadow cut off antennae
Hair: Mermaid headwear

Making Games 4: Change the rules

The girls chose to play Hot Cookie (think Hot Potato and use a cookie box). We decided they should change 3 things. They did good with it, too. Their changes were:
  1. Each time the music stopped, the cookie box traveled the opposite direction when the music began again. 
  2. Tossing the cookie box across the circle was allowed.
  3. You had to be caught with the box 2 times before you were "out". 
I learned that you want to use a game the girls have played many times together. It's also helpful to make sure it's a game where everyone is aware of the "normal" rules. If you have the time, allow the girls to come up with as many changes as they can and incorporate them all or vote for the top choices. What is funny is that after this meeting, for a while, when playing this game they wanted to play their version... not the original "boring" version. It became something that was only theirs. 

Making Games 5: Invent a whole new sport

My awesome college student co-leader at the time (whom I still miss) took the lead on this
with the girls. We brought in a hula hoop, a few different balls, jump rope, sidewalk chalk, and strips of cloth for "flags". We basically turned the girls loose and said "Okay, come up with a game". I thought this would take a lot of time, but it didn't. The girls were very creative. 

On this, I suggest bringing in a variety of items and just sitting back and letting the girls lead. Of course, supervise enough to make sure their creativity is safe and no one is injured. But, let them play and talk and invent their sport. 

And... there you have it... the whole badge... People often ask me how long our meetings are (were). We had 2 1/2 hour meetings, but this badge was split over 3 meetings and we did parts of Making Games, Making Friends, and another all at the same time. The drawback of splitting it up like that is when girl's don't attend all meetings... They miss out on multiple badges. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Brownie: Bugs Badge

I have to say, when I think of bugs and girls my first reaction is... this won't end well.. but much to my amazement and delight... the girls were intrigued. As the adult, you just have to keep it cool and get over any bug phobias you have. Good luck with that! 

Bug 1: Make a bug poster

I gave each of the girls a sheet of poster paper (the little ones... 8 1/2 x 11... kinda like cardstock, but has a sheen to it). I brought in a lot of Missouri Conservationist magazines and other resources I gathered from the library and my own nature collection. I asked the girls to come up with a poster to prove their bug was the best bug ever. 

This takes a little time. If your meetings are short, I would suggest having them take this home to complete or work as a team on one poster, rather than making individual ones. 

Bug 2: Make a bug craft

I took the 3rd suggestion in the badge booklet and we made coffee filter butterflies. You simply use markers to decorate a coffee filter wit h lots of bright colors. These are the wings . Then paint and add glitter to a wooden clothespin for the body. When the pin is dry, clip it i n the middle of the coffee filter to create your butterfly.

We combined Bug 3 and Bug 5, because well... why not!

Bug 5: Take a bug field trip

We were going letterboxing in one of the local parks, so on the way to the box and on the way back, we watched for bugs. The park has a lake and such, so we were able to see different types of bugs around the water compared to dryer areas, etc. This is where we were able to....

Bug 3: See bugs in action

We called ourselves Bug Stalkers for this badge activity. It felt a bit weird staring at a bug. We also discussed whether or not we felt our presence made the bug act differently. We actually stalked a few different bugs and some seemed to not care we were there and others seemed like a nervous wreck. We moved on from them, as we didn't want to be the cause for bug heart attacks!

Bug 4: Explore bug homes

Draw a cocoon. Some bugs, like caterpillars, sleep i n a cocoon. Inside, they transform into a mot h or butterfly. Find out what else goes on i n there. Then draw what you thin k it looks like inside a cocoon.

I brought in a magazine that was talking about butterflies and moths and showed the inside of the cocoon. Since we looked at a picture of what it looks like, I asked the girls to be more creative with their renditions. They sketched out what they would want their cocoon to look like if they were stuck inside it for weeks or longer. Most of them gave a little space for toys and TV. We have 21st century bug girls in our troop. 

Additional Activity

To help the girls not get totally creeped out by the bugs, I made it cool. I bought bug boxes from Amazon that have the magnifying glass in the lid and we caught a few bugs. They knew the bugs couldnt' get out and yet they were able to watch them close up to see the different body parts and such. It was worth the $5. The girls even asked to use the bug boxes numerous times after on fieldtrips, camping trips, and as a filler activity.

You can find them here (please don't tell me 6 years from now that the link doesn't work. Search for Magnifying Bug Box and I'm sure you'll find something.):

I'm sure I'm going to catch some criticism for not taking the 5th one seriously, but you have to have fun. We read all about cocoons and the girls know what they actually look like. So, instead of sticking to the exact activity... I tweaked it. It's fine to do that. Believe me, the girls don't really believe a moth caterpillar is dragging in an xbox to play with during transformation. They are way smarter than that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

COURAGEworks: Anatomy to Trust - Amaze Journey Tie In
I wish this would have been around when my girls did the Amaze Journey... for real... but, I also think Leaders can benefit from this. We all need Marble Jar Friends (no spoilers here... watch and you'll understand).

I have always had "trust issues". I'm very skeptical of people's true intentions. I'm sure that is a reflection on me and that deep down I'm a conniving, evil, deceitful person who struggles daily to be good and honest and nice... (okay, I really hope not...)... but I am skeptical of people. My husband teases me that I have a conspiracy theory for everything... I like to tell him I'm just insightful. It's a daily battle...

Anyway.. I signed up for her online Anatomy of Trust course (It's free, btw) and I've worked my way through most of it.

I'm not getting paid and I wasn't even asked to review this online course, but I love this speaker and I love her insight. At times when watching her various lectures and talks I find myself saying, I KNEW IT! Ever have a moment when you know something is more than it seems and you know you are struggling, but it just takes someone else to put it in the right words to hit home? That's what she does for me.

You can sign up, too!

She talks about how you need Marble Jar Friends... I hope you have some or at least one. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Focus on the Cheerleaders - and be one, too.

This post is only sort of Girl Scout related, but more than that it's a glimpse into my soul. If you don't want a personal connection with the author of this blog, then please stop reading here. No worries. I just have to share this today.

I've been in a funk lately and I know it's because this is the first holiday season without my Dad. We set our meeting dates over the Summer and I knew I had a meeting today. I've been thinking about this meeting today for months... today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 77. 

I miss him a lot... more than I can put into words. There have been so many times over the past 6 months that I wished I would have asked one more question or listened more and talked less or made a better effort to visit with him. But, I know he knew I loved him and I know he loved me and I know he was proud of me. I'm not sure he knew how important it is to me that he was proud of me... I remember telling my sister after he passed that I didn't know who I was supposed to be, because I've always been Daddy's Girl... 

The last couple months of his life we were looking for our new home. We found one. He saw the pictures. I remember him looking at me with tears in his eyes and saying "I'm sorry I won't be able to help you this time." and my reply of "You can just tell me what I need to do and make sure I'm doing it right." He said "No. I won't do that. I know you know what you're doing." Later, my Mom told me that he was worried about the deck on the back of the new house and wondered if my husband's grill was charcoal, because it could rust and burn through and catch the deck on fire. He just wanted me to be safe. He was also very happy to see my driveway faced the correct way for the sun to melt off the snow and it isn't a steep drive like the last house. He passed away a week before we closed on the new house.

So... here's the Girl Scout connection, if you have made it this far... 
The conversation I think of to so many times when I'm discouraged or overwhelmed with Girl Scouts (or overwhelmed) is a conversation Dad and I had in a hospital room. I tried to go see him every other day when he was there for weeks. I'm so thankful I did, too. One evening, it was just Dad and me. I was talking about Girl Scout cookies and how they were arriving and booth sales and sorting and all that... He asked how much we actually got from cookies and was it enough to really cover the expenses. I explained we had saved and worked really hard and the troop is really self-sufficient for the most part at this point. He told me he admired me for what I do with the girls. That it takes someone special to be able to help children that aren't your own. He went on to say that he was thankful I had a good job, because he was certain I put in a lot of my own money to support the activities and the organization. He knew it was a lot of work and he was sure there was also a lot of heartache that came along with it. My Dad was very insightful. He pretty much hit the nail on the head. 

I told him that I just felt I needed to help. I was so fortunate to have great parents and a stable home. Many of the young girls I have come into contact with aren't that lucky. So many things I took for granted as a girl, I now see girls longing to have... basic things... a hug from someone that cares about them... a word of encouragement... a bit of solid advice... a skill that they can take with them for a lifetime... that's why I do it... because every young girl deserves someone in their life that cares about them... I'm not saying the girls I have now don't have good families, they do... but, I have worked with some that didn't... and I help plan and promote events for a lot more that don't... it's frustrating... it's infuriating...  It is tiring... It does keep me awake at night... It does break me to tears at times... and I do get burnt out and frustrated and mad and I want to quit at times...  but, it also gives me hope for the future... it helps me stay grounded... it helps me remember to count my blessings... it makes me pray that I'm making a positive impact on their lives... 

So, today... is a Girl Scout meeting day... a special one... it's our Holiday Party and it's Court of Awards for both Cadettes and Daisies. Dad will be on my mind the entire time, I'm sure. But, I also hope he's smiling down on me and cheering me on... as he always did. I can hear him saying "You can do it. I know you can."

I will end with this... what we tend to forget while cheering on our girls to reach new heights and try new things, is that we need a cheerleader, too. We need positive feedback to keep going. We need someone to stand up and say "You Rock!"

I probably don't know you... we probably haven't met... but know that we are most likely in the same boat... what we do as Girl Scout Leaders is more than crafts, cookies, and camping... you are molding lives for the future... you are standing as a role model for many young ladies... you are putting in time, energy, and money (yes, I know you do that, too) to hopefully make the world a better place... even if it's only better for a few hours a month for a few girls... so, if no one else takes the time to say it... 

I'm proud of you. (not everyone is brave enough to do what you're doing.)
I admire you. (not just anyone would put in the time and energy that you do.)
I thank you for making a difference. (because... you are... you may have to wait to see it... but you are!)
You can do it. (didn't say it would be easy, but most things worth doing... aren't easy.)
I know you can. (and I know you will.)

Monday, December 7, 2015

You Are in the Arena

Every once in a while I run across a YouTube video that truly speaks to me and changes my perspective and I think about it for days... sometimes longer... this was like that. 

My full time job is as a web developer and computer programmer, which is weird to a lot of people. Programmers aren't considered "creatives", but I am. I do a lot of crafts, including scrap booking, painting, embroidery, quilting, cross stitch, crochet, altered items, and I really will give just about anything a try. Each time, I hear my Dad cheering me on saying "You can do this!" He's been gone 6 months now and I miss him more each day...  anyway, I digress... 

Last week, I was at a point where I was getting good feedback on the Reindeer Games and I was thinking about another fun activity to put together for my readers and my husband was cheering my accomplishment of over 800 views in less than 24 hours... everything was GREAT... but, in my mind... I was struggling with the "Who do you think you are" gremlin. I didn't know that, really... at least not until I watched this. 

As a Troop Leader and the VSC (Service Unit Manager) I often struggle with the critics. I know they are there... I know who they are. I know what ever I do, it's never enough and it really makes me want to scream "Remember? VOLUNTEER!" I put in a TON of hours each year as a Volunteer for Girl Scouts. I find myself upset at times and stressed and negative comments cut me deep... especially the ones starting with "Don't take it personally"... ummm.. ok... 

No one told me when I started this journey as a Troop Leader that I was stepping into the arena. But, you are. Everything you do will be critiqued by the girls, the parents, the friends (and not so friendly people, unfortunately), and the organization. I'm still learning how to be where I am. I have friends who have been Leaders MUCH longer than me and they're still learning, too... but this helped me embrace the critic and hopefully, soon... work with them in a healthy way for me and them.

I ask you to watch this (Yes, I know it's 20 minutes) and think about the people you have that you know will criticize your efforts and I implore you to digest what she is saying and apply it to your life. 

I leave you with this... the quote she spoke in the video: 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

Fight On! The girls and YOU are worth it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Reindeer Games 2015

I am so excited about the holiday party that I found for my Cadettes. Last year, we did the Quebec Chocolate Challenge around the holidays. This year, I decided to (sit down...) not worry about  a patch and just have fun! (I told you to sit down! You can't blame me for any injuries from fainting.)

For the most part, I am using a plan I found on a girl's blog. She hosted for her family in 2012 and the games are hilarious. I added in a few different ones, because the girls aren't couples and I didn't want to deal with a scavenger hunt. 

So... this is our 2015 Reindeer Games!

Scrambled ReinDEER

Supplies: Printed Sheets for all
Description: This is an unscramble game for the nine reindeer names. 

The first one to unscramble the names correctly receives 4 points, 2nd receives 3 points, 3rd receives 2 points, 4th receives 1 point.

Introduction: Unlike scrambled eggs, scrambled reindeer isn't very tasty. Unscramble the reindeer names as fast as you can. As soon as you're done jump up and sing Jingle Bells!

ReignDEER Bubble Blowing Contest

Supplies: Bubble Gum
DescriptionEach girl receives 3 pieces of gum. She can choose to chew 1, 2, or 3. Bubbles have to stay inflated long enough to be measured. They are each given 3 attempts. The 3 bubble measurements are added together and then points are awarded. We use the same point system as for Scrambled Reindeer.

Introduction: Reindeer know just where to fly when Santa pulls the reins. But sometimes, it snows heavily on Christmas Even night and the reindeer must be skilled at blowing snow out of the way of the sleigh as it glides through the air. It's like blowing bubbles with bubblegum. here's your chance to practice. The person to blow the biggest bubble will be the "reigning" champion!


Supplies: thread, petroleum jelly, cotton balls
Description: Each girl is given a piece of string (I use crochet thread) and a cotton ball. They then have to put petroleum jelly on their nose. They have to attach the cotton ball to the string. We do a countdown from 12 (12 days of Christmas) and the girls swing the cotton ball on the string to flip up and stick to their nose. First one to get it, receives 4 points (and so on, as before). 

Introduction: Reindeer sometimes get bored on rooftops while Santa is delivering packages. To pass the time, they come up with some silly games that are easy to carry along. Their favorite is Swing the Nose on the Reindeer. Here's your chance to see if you can keep up with the team.

DEER in the Headlights

Supplies: GS trivia sheets
Description: Each girl is given a trivia sheet and 5 minutes to complete the 8 questions. This is more than enough time. No hints are given, though, if you have younger girls you might want to help them out a little. My girls are Cadettes and I hope they know the answers to these questions. 

When they think they have all the correct answers they run up to get it checked. Answers were checked, if any are wrong, they are told how many are correct and they have to figure out which is wrong. We don't tell them #7 isn't correct. We say "You have all but one correct." They are only allowed to turn in to be checked 3 times. After the 3rd attempt, they have to hope for the most correct answers. 

Scoring for this as follows:
1st one with all correct - 5 points
2nd receives 4
3rd receives 3
4th gets 4

If no one has all correct, then scoring adjusts to be:
Girl with most correct answers - 3 points
2nd most correct - 2 points
3rd most correct - 1 point

The split scoring on this helps them try harder, because they could make up points from another activity. It also helps them not totally rush through it.

Introduction: If you want to know what to get someone for Christmas, you need some basic knowledge about their interests. See if you can answer these Girl Scout trivia questions to help find the perfect gift.

ReinDEER Poop

Supplies: Spoons, cocoa puffs
Description: Hilarious activity... I use a large baking sheet and poured out the cocoa puffs (The original idea was to scatter it in the yard and if it had been at my house I would have done that... but it was at school and I didn't want to get in trouble). Each girl receives a plastic spoon and she is only allowed to use her non-dominant hand (right handed girls used left and vice-versa). The other hand to be used for holding their nose because of the stinky poop. 

They have containers the same size and then at the end of 1 minute the containers are put next to one another and the one with the most gets 4 point, 2nd 3 points, 3rd 2 points, 4th 1 point.

Introduction: Reindeer sometimes can be a bit messy, it's true. It's the elves only complaint, having to pick up reindeer poop! YUCK! But, it has to be done. Grab a spoon and see who can scoop the most reindeer poop!

Rain-DEER homes

Supplies: mini marshmallows, toothpicks
Description: Each girl is given a container with marshmallows and toothpicks. They are given 5 minutes to construct the house and then the homes are judged based on structure, design, and creativity.

1st place receives 4 points, 2nd 3 points, 3rd 2 points, 4th 1 point.

Introduction: In the North Pole, it's sure to rain adn snow, and that's why reindeer must have a safe place to go! Get ready to build a Reindeer home out of marshmallows and toothpicks. You'll only have 5 minutes to build!

ReinDEER Gear

Supplies: panty hose, balloons
Description: This is interesting to see how the teams go about getting the job done. Some will only think to have one girl blowing up balloons and others will work together. The adults remain silent on this and just let it unfold. If you have an uneven number of girls, then have an adult be part of a team or divide differently.

Introduction: Reindeer have some heavy duty gear to wear every day, not just on Christmas Eve. The antlers of reindeer can get up to 39 inches in width and 53 inches in length! That's quite a load to carry on your head! Let's give it a try, shall we? Divide into teams of two.

You will be making antlers to go on one person's head. Blow up balloons and stuff them into the legs of the pantyhose. There should be 4 on each side. Then, the top part of the pantyhose should be worn on your head to complete your Reindeer Antlers!

First team done, each girl receives 4 points. 2nd team 3 points, 3rd team 2 points, 4th team 1 point each. 


Supplies: mad lib printed to complete and one for each to take home
Description: Do this together. No points are given for this one. You can either have one of the girls read the sheet for what words you need or you can have an adult do that part and the girls can take turns naming off the different types of words. Just note on the madlib, the words in the title are used throughout the finished product.

Introduction: In their free time, reindeer love to write letter and re-write songs. Their favorite one to rewrite and sing is "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Let's rewrite the song ourselves and sing it loud for all to hear.

Little DEERs

Supplies: Ziploc, printed labels, oatmeal, bird seed, red and green sugar crystals
Description: We have a little Daisy troop that the Cadettes mentor. This is a little gifty for the Daisies from the Cadettes, so as part of their holiday party make magic Reindeer food. I searched high and low for a recipe that was okay to put outside. i didn't want to endorse scattering glitter on the ground. I'm not a bird killer. So, here is the recipe:

2 c. oats
2 c. birdseed
2 tbls red colored sugar
2 tbls green colored sugar

Mix together and divide into ziploc bags. 
Attach Reindeer Food labels with poem.

Introduction: We all love our little dear Daisies, so we are going to make something for them to welcome the reindeer to their homes. This recipe is to share the magic of the season.

EnDEER to the End

Supplies: Solo Cups
Description: This is a cup stacking game. You give each girl a stack of 28 cups. They race to see who can get them stacked into a shape of a tree the fastest. Solo cups works great for this, but if you are trying to save money, you could use dixie cups or the clear plastic cups. I had 3 girls playing, so it was okay cost-wise. Another idea is to take turns and time it to see who can stack the fastest, then you don't have to have as many cups.

Introduction: Reindeer know how to put up a tree, no matter what they have to construct it out of. Grab your cups and stack it up... into a tree shape that is. Don't worry about the trunk, cedar tree limbs brush the ground. 

ReinDEER Snacks
Supplies: Rootbeer, chex mix
Description: It's snack time... just point them in the direction and they'll figure it out.

Introduction: After a long night of flight, reindeer love going back to the north pole for a cool, refreshing Root-Deer.. along with some salty reindeer chex!

This was definitely a copy from Cher at Life.Design.and the Pursuit of Craftiness. I tweaked it and added and changed a few things to make it work for our meeting. It was super fun to plan. I did redo the handouts for games and added in a scoring sheet for the bubbles and overall totals for our party and have those linked below.

Game Board

Supplies: posterboard, printed game titles, printed game introductions, scrapbook paper (or cardstock or construction paper), repositionable glue dots

Directions: Using a large piece of poster board, I created our Game Board and put all the titles on it. Then, I covered each with a piece of paper. On the side facing the title, I put the Introduction for each game and any directions that I was afraid I would forget. That way, I didn’t have to have this packet with me. Everything I needed to know was on the card I flipped over. To secure them in place, I used repositionable glue dots (though, velcro will work well if you decide to splurge and get it laminated... which I might just do!)… They hold tight and yet you can move them around when needed.

As we progressed through the games, it was fun to say “Let’s see what’s next!” and remove the card to reveal the game title. It kept it suspenseful!

Listed below are all the games we played, the supplies, the descriptions and introductions. Have fun!!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Brownie: Meet My Customers

Honest moment... As much as I hate to admit it, Cookie Season is right around the corner and I'm not looking forward to it... but, with it comes the opportunity to do a few financial literacy badges. 

The Meet My Customers badge can be done many ways. We did this badge along with our cookie training for the girls. We go through goals, strategies, elevator speeches, etc. to get prepared. So, this tied in quite well. Love it when things work like that. 

Here is what we did for this badge. 

Where are the customers?
This was a discussion around the table. Each girl thought of a place where she could ask people to purchase cookies. Easy peasy!

Talk to customers
This was a 2 part activity. One we did during the troop meeting and one was sent home to get finished. 

During the meeting, I had the girls role play (skits) and  pretend to be different types of customers. They had to think on their feet and figure out what their response should be to the different scenarios. We had one customer that was too busy, one that didn't like cookies, one that said they are too expensive, one polite and nice, one that just rattled off their order, one that refused to support Girl Scouts, etc. BTW: All of these scenarios came from past experiences at cookie booths... yep... been there, done that.

The piece they took home was to talk to 3 customers from the year before and ask them why they bought cookies. 

Practice money handling

We did a quick game of "make the change". We set up a mock booth and took turns going through to purchase cookies or be at the booth. They girls had play money and had to make the sale, make the change, and then we came up with tips for our booth to make it smoother. We also talked about keeping the lid of the money box shut in case of a wind gust or distraction.

Customer Relations
We revisited our Talking to Customers piece and together came up with a plan for answers to various questions the girls may face. Until I became a leader and was at a booth with girls for several hours, I had no idea the types of things adults would say to the girls. So, we discussed how to handle those negative comments and that no matter what, we would smile and be polite. I also 'armed' the girls with truths and gave them permission to give out my name and phone number to refer them to me for follow up with any concerns. 

Thank Yous - choose design to complete next meeting with signatures
This is a tradition for my troop. Each year, we choose a graphic from the bakers Flickr site and I turn it into a Thank You 1/4 sheet. the girls sign it and then I get copies made to give them with their initial sales. Typically, I get enough for cookie booth sales and extra sales, too. It gives a personal touch, yet doesn't require them to sign 100+ Thank You cards. 

So, yeah... as you can tell this was a pretty simple badge to earn. I may have made it too simple, but it worked for us. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Brownie Badge: Making Friends

Wow... it's been 3 years since my girls did this badge... though it seems like it should be longer. The girls were in 3rd grade at the time. They are now 7th graders. Time flies, huh? 

I will discuss what we did to earn the Making Friends badge. I have to say the graphic for the badge is adorable and one of my favorites. Not only is the badge cute, the lessons learned are great life lessons... some that I think would be good for our Leaders and adults in general to brush up on at times... 

The 1st and 5th requirement were sent home as "homework" for completion. 

Requirement #2 Show Friends You Care
This was during Girl Scouts 100th birthday year. We had connected with a troop in St. Louis (100 miles away from us) and decided to trade SWAPs. So, we made a simple little SWAP and mailed them off to our sister troop in St. Louis. 

You can find TONS of SWAP ideas online. If you want to see my collection of ideas, check out my Pinterest board

Requirement #3 Share Favorite Activities 
Play a game the group decides on. I typically keep a few games in my bag of tricks at each meeting. When the girls were Brownie age, my collection consisted of Twister, washcloth toss, and hot cookie. We could also always play tag (if good weather), snake obstacle course, Juliette Says. 

  • Twister: I think everyone knows what that is...
  • Washcloth Toss: Details here
  • Hot Cookie: Take an empty cookie box, stuff with newspaper, and tape it shut. Same rules as hot potato. 
  • Tag: I think you know what that is
  • Snake Obstacle Course: Set up (or have the girls) set up chairs, tables, etc. in a pattern. Then the girls line up in a single line and put their hands on the shoulders of the girl in front of her. They have to make their way through the obstacles all together. We have also played with them sitting on the floor and scooching together through the obstacles to make it more challenging. We've also blindfolded everyone except the first girl to make it more challenging. 
  • Juliette Says: Think Simon says, only...Juliette

Requirement #4 Learn How to Disagree
For the most part, the girls got along great at this age and their school was awesome at teaching the kids how to disagree and settle conflicts. So, I decided to take a different approach for this requirement. 

The girls worked together to think of all the kind words they could think of in 5 minutes. One girl wrote them down as everyone else chimed in suggestions. At the end of 5 minutes, they went through their list and came up with examples of when they had used the word.

In addition to the 3 requirements we did in troop meetings, the girls also had 2 things they had to take home with them and bring back. This did 3 things, it allowed some flexibility, got parents involved, and the girls had to be responsible to bring it back to the next meeting. 3 years later, we still struggle at times with the responsibility thing when it comes to scouts. 

The resource sheet is linked below. 

Requirement #1 Make Friendly Introductions
Take Home (Resource below): Introduce yourself to 3 new people at school using Kind words and telling them something about yourself to start a conversation OR meet a parents adult friend and tell them something about yourself

Requirement #5 Practice Friendship
Take Home: Sit at a different table at lunch (you can take a friend with you) and make a new friend OR Go to a dance or art class, sports game, camp or other activity and practice being a good friend.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Daisy Petal: Mari - Responsible for What I Say and Do

Remember I have a 7th grade Cadette troop, too, okay? Seriously... this has got to be the easiest petal EVER to earn. I just followed the booklet and was thankful I had planned to do a leaf in this meeting, too, or else we would have been singing A LOT!

For the Mari petal, here is what we did:

Enjoy Mari’s Story and talk about it

The girls sat in the circle and I read the story. I have to say, it kinda cracks me up to see parents listening intently to the story. I don't think we are ever too old to be read to. In fact, isn't there a whole "book on tape" following to back that theory up? 

Anyway, we read about the Cupcake Promise and then talked about the questions. 

Practice ways to be responsible throughout the day

Next up... SKITS!

I had the following written on slips of paper and let the girls draw one from the bucket to keep it all fair:

Morning: make bed, brush teeth, put breakfast dishes away, remember stuff for school
School: pay attention in class, put things away, follow directions, eat lunch on time
Afternoon: help with dinner, dishes, homework, pick up toys, bedtime routine

They took turns acting out how this would go. Then we discussed if they typically did that item and how being responsible is important. 

Practice being responsible 

Lastly, we practiced being responsible. I had the girls clean up our Daisy meeting place. We had done some painting for the holidays and such and put together a little foam reindeer, so there were lots of little pieces of plastic and such around that needed to be picked up and thrown away. I reminded them in order to earn this petal EVERYONE had to help. Otherwise, they wouldn't receive the petal. 

It is interesting to see the various levels of commitment to helping out when you have 10 girls from 10 families with 10 different sets of values. But, at troop meetings... everyone is held to the same rules and obligations. The troop is their family, too.

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Daisy: Money Counts Leaf

    The Daisy Money Counts Leaf is one of 4 leaves Daisies can earn. I wasn't really planning on trying to earn these, but... I reviewed the requirements and figured it would tie in well with Fall Product sales and Cookie sales. When meetings are only an hour though, you have to stay on track and keep the girls focused at the task at hand. 

    Guessing jar of coins

    As the girls arrived to the meeting, I showed them the little box of coins and asked them how much they thought was inside. Guesses ranged from 20 cents to $100. I also asked parents what they thought, just to get them more involved with activities.

    I then set that aside and told them we would find out in a little while. We were doing our Tula petal at the same time, so we had some things to do to prepare our canvases. 

    Understand different kinds of coins

    As the canvases were drying, I gathered the girls into a circle on the floor. I picked out a penny and asked them what it was and how much it was worth. I did the same with the dime, nickel, and quarter. 

    Then, I quizzed them about how many pennies it would take to make each of the larger coins and a $1 dollar bill. I had a coloring sheet of a piggy bank with pennies for them to color in how many it would take for a dime, but I cut that activity for sake of time. I can use it at a later meeting for a different petal or to reinstate this one. Cookie season is coming, after all. 

    Then, I asked one girl to sort out all the pennies, one for nickels, one for dimes, one for quarters. After the coins were sorted, I asked different girls to count each one and help me do the math to see how much value was there for each type of coin. We then added it all together. I used "old school" math and held up fingers to count the columns and come up with the result of how much money was in the box. I will note here, I purposefully kept this number low, because I didn't want to be counting all day. We had roughly $7 in coins in the box. $4 of that was in quarters.

    Know more about paper money

    In the leaf badge handbook is a great graphic of paper money. I simply held that up for the girls to see and we talked about the different values of paper money and how many coins is would take for the various values. 

    Find out the cost of fun

    I have to say, this was enlightening to me. I was impressed to see how well the girls understood what was free and what cost money when it comes to activities. Again, I simply used the page in the badge booklet. 

    We briefly discussed what we would want to do for fun. We talked about going to the movies and how much tickets were and what that would mean for a group. 

    If you are interested in any of the resources mentioned above for this leaf, you can download a complete copy off my Google Drive.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015

    Daisy Petal: Tula - Courageous and Strong

    In November 2015, the awesome Daisy troop earned their Courageous and Strong Petal.

    For a beginning activity, the girls were given a choice:
    Complete the Courageous and Strong Maze
    Coloring page for courageous and strong
    The beginning activity is for girls who arrive early and then at the meeting time, they stop and join Opening Circle. I printed these as double sided, so I was using resources wisely. 

    Petal Activity #1: Enjoy Tula’s Story and talk about it (snack!)
    The girls loved the story and I'm amazed each time how attentive they are to the story and how quick they are to want to answer questions and have a discussion about it. This is a great time for snack, as it keeps them quiet while they hear the story. It also sets a limit on snack time, so it doesn't drag on for half the meeting.

    Petal Activity #2: Make an art gallery celebrating women who are courageous and strong
    I wanted the girl's to see they are courageous and strong and they can be great, too. A recent study I saw told us that girls self-esteem peaks at age 7 or 8 and then begins to decline. So, anytime you can remind them they are awesome... worth it!

    For this activity, we made a Super Girl canvas.  They turned out super cute and it gave the girls something to take home to remind them they are super girls who can set the world on fire!

    tablecloth, hair dryers, canvas, paints, mod podge, scissors, foam brushes, super girl images, names, strips with courageous/strong words on them 
    1. Paint background with foam brush and allow to dry. I used orange, yellow, and a metallic golden orange and just swiped across at a diagonal
    2. Cut out super girl graphic, trim down words, cut out name
    3. Once canvas is dry from painting, apply thin layer of mod podge with foam brush to the area you are applying paper objects.
    4. While mod podge is still wet, lay papers on top. I found it was good to work in small areas at a time and not cover the entire canvas with Mod Podge. It dries quickly.
    5. Once you have adhered all your words and graphics, apply a thin coat of Mod Podge over top of it all and allow to dry. 
    We brought hair dryers, just in case the girls got the paint too thick.

    Petal Activity #3: Practice being courageous and strong 
    While the background of the canvases were drying and as we used blow dryers to dry some of them, we did a circle discussion thinking of characters on TV, movies, books that are courageous and strong and how/why.


    Monday, October 26, 2015

    #StandByHer Week - Closing the gap

    I was fortunate enough to have a Mom who I admire for her independence, creativity, and strong will. She taught me from an early age to be my own person, chase my dreams, and to just try it. She never once put limits on me "because I was a girl". 

    My Mom owned her own business and baked the most beautiful cakes as long as I can remember. I don't think I ever realized as a young girl what a big deal it was that my Mom was a small business owner. It's a big deal! Not only did she own a business, but she was able to be my Mom and be with me each day. From an early age, Mom taught me how to sew, embroider, decorate cakes, and so much more. She also encouraged me to read and learn and find my own interests. All those skills have made me who I am today. It instilled the value that I can do anything I put my mind to. It helped my reasoning, methodical thought process, creativity, and perseverance to see the project through completion. Those skills are what it takes to be a successful woman in today's world. 

    I love the video above saying to Stand By Her. Help her close the gap and gain equality. My only hesitation is that I hope we don't drive our young ladies to a path they don't choose for themselves. The definition of success is not measured by salary or title. Success doesn't mean you have an office with a view or are partner in a prestigious firm. Success is defined by chasing any dream you put your mind to and achieving it. Success does not come without failure. You have to work hard. Try over and over and over again. Have a level of commitment that can't be compromised by passing winds of change. 

    As a woman in 2015 who has a career and family and volunteerism is a huge part of my life, I would hate to think young women feel they have to choose that path to be successful. Stay at home mom's are needed. I know... not the women's lib message, huh? To me, women's liberation means I have a choice. Do I want to climb the corporate ladder or do I want to mold tomorrow's leaders as my main focus? Or will I find balance between the two? 
    Encourage your young ladies to define what success is to them... don't let the statistics discourage them from chasing their dream. Stand By Her as she chooses what is the best fit for her. Uplift her as she struggles between the roles. Hug her tight when she wonders if the choices she has made are the right ones. Be there. Be her friend. Be her confidante. Stand By Her. 

    Friday, October 23, 2015

    Troop Leader: Why do it? #5ReasonsToLead

    This post is as much for me as if it for anyone who reads it.  I have been struggling with my roles lately, and I found a graphic someone put together for their organization and thought "Hmmm... I need one of those" So, I went through my pictures and found five photos from the past few years to put it together. 

    Why do we do what we do? Why do we put in countless hours for planning and meeting and talking and wrestling with how to make the money in the account stretch so the girls can do what they want to do? Why do we lie awake at night wondering if you are making a difference and thinking you aren't and praying you are? Why do we spend so much energy for a majority of children that are not our own and in the meantime, taking hours from our own family and friends?

    That's pretty depressing if you just roll with that, huh? Well, keep reading. I hope to enlighten both of us. 

    Girl Scouts provides an environment where girls are challenged and accepted. They learn. They grow. They take up traditions. They start their own traditions. They build memories to last a lifetime. All at the cost of volunteers who believe in them. 

    If you look at the photos I chose in the graphic above, you will see girls belonging to something bigger than themselves and challenged to uphold the legacy of a more than 100 year old organization. You see young women learning to take aim and hit the target. They may be practicing archery, but they learning a life lesson to push your limits, get out of your comfort zone, and keep trying until you hit the mark. You see young Americans saluting their flag, showing their patriotism, and honoring their country, state, and organization. You see our littlest of Girl Scouts joining in a Friendship Circle. They are learning what it is to belong to the largest sisterhood on the planet. Finally, you see young girls simply having fun. They are learning they matter. They are seeing volunteers who are willing to give up their time to make it happen for them. 

    Is this all Girl Scouts is? No. Not even close. Are these the best representation of the 5 reasons? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it is a reminder to me (and I hope to you) that all the work isn't in vain. 

    I challenge you... what are your 5 reasons? Why do you do what you do? Share it with #5ReasonsToLead

    I may have narrowed it to 5, but I have 16 very important ones who all have names...