Thursday, September 15, 2016

Explore Earth Patch Program

It's time for the September 2016 BCG Patches Release! 

The Explore Earth Patch program challenges you to find out more about the planet on which we live. Selecting from various activities you will learn, build, and spread the word of how awesome our home rock truly is. Here’s to exploring the 3rd rock from the sun.  

Sample activities include: 
  • ​Earth Trivia
  • Moon Phases
  • Stepping Stone
  • Acrostic of EARTH
  • Earth Cupcakes
  • Clay Earth
  • Recycling Service projects
  • and more...
Download the FREE Program Guide

Patch is:
2 1/4" x 2 3/4"
fully embroidered
sew on

Don't forget to Order The Patch! The patch will be available through February 15, 2017. At that point, what I have in stock will be sold until the patches are gone. If you plan to work on this patch, please place your order by February 15th in order to guarantee availability. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mummy Madness - Halloween party made easy!

Update 11/2/16: Patch is sold out and there are not plans to reorder at this time. 

Available through November 1st.

Make your Halloween party one to remember with the Mummy Madness patch program!

Using the activities suggested in this guide, you can plan one great party for your group! As a bonus, they’ll have a super cute patch to remember the event.
The Mummy Madness patch program is designed to make party planning a cinch. You have a variety of activities to choose from. Select the 6 activities you want to complete, set up your stations, and order the balloons! It’s time to make some memories.

Patches are: 
​2 1/2" hexagon
Fully embroidered
Sew on

Sample activities include:
  • Mummy Trivia
  • Play Anubis and Mummies
  • Make a Mummy Necklace
  • Make a Mummy Jar
  • Snack on Mummy Bananas

Download the FREE Program Guide to see how to earn this patch!

Order your patches by November 1st to guarantee availability!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Build a house for yearly planning

Do you find yourself stuck trying to figure out how to plan the year and you need a better option? Build a house!

I found this idea last year on a Council site in a booklet talking about working with Cadettes. I don't remember where I found it and I have searched and they must have removed it. Anyway, my super cool co-leader ran with it. What's even better... the girls LOVED it and asked if we were going to use the house again this year. Of course, we are!! It's hard to find things teenage girls like to do. 

We are filling up our house to plan our scouting year... We have 2 meetings each month. One is a badge meeting. One is a service project meeting. 

Here is how the house works: 

Draw a house on a piece of poster board. Divide the house into however many rooms you need to fill your year. We meet during the school year, so we have 9 rooms. If you meet all year, you can have 12 rooms. If you only want to plan 6 months at a time, then... 6 rooms. You get the idea, right? Make sure your house has an attic!

We give the girls the badge booklets and any other patches we are considering to choose from and they write down on a post it the name of the badge and their name. Then, they place the post it in the attic of the house. Those are all the ideas. We let them go at that for a while. If you have a large group, maybe limit them to their top 3 choices. We're small, so we just let them go for 10 minutes or so. This is supposed to rather quick. It's not the time to look up and read the whole badge. Read the title of the badge, think if it sounds interesting, write it down if you want to do it. 

Then, together, we find the duplicates and stack them together. The more duplicates, the more popular and the more likely it is to make the cut. At the same time, we work together to figure out which month and put it in the appropriate room. We keep going until we have the house filled up. Anything left in the attic are choices the girls can do on their own, if they like, OR we save them for the next year. This is our last year as Cadettes, so if they want any of the leftovers they have to do them outside troop meetings. 

Next, for our group, comes badge assignment. Who is going to lead this badge? Typically, it's the girl that suggested it. But, if that isn't even... start discussing and have the girls volunteer to lead the various badges.

Finally, we start brainstorming on service projects and organizations to help and what to do. We make a list. We think about campaigns for each month (ie October is Breast Cancer Awareness, November is Veteran's Day, etc.) Assign them to a month and voila... year planned!

Inside our rooms we also place any Service Unit events or such that we will be doing that month. We do this to get a clear picture of what else is going on that month that we need to think about. 

I really hope this helps you. Our troop seems to enjoy it and it gets the girls talking and planning and it helps the leaders know what is coming up and your year is planned in one big swoop. With younger girls, this may be a bit too much to do in one meeting, so break it up or only plan 3 months out. 

It's a great tool and I'm so thankful for finding it. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Let's Be Real... Find Direction

I hear from Leaders quite often that they feel they are making it up as they go along. They aren't sure they are doing what they should be doing. They don't know if they are fulfilling this mystery of a Girl Scout experience. They think they are failing. 

My response, depending on the level of anxiety I'm hearing from the leader in question, is "You are probably doing a lot better than you are giving yourself credit." That is the case 99% of the time. Unless you are habitually cancelling meetings, ignore as they scream the whole time, and never give any of them one single word of encouragement... you are probably alright. 

As I sat in the first troop meeting of the school year with my 8th grade Cadettes, my mind
started to wander. They need guidance to stay on track at times. They need mentoring for a little help in understanding that you can adjust activities to meet the need. But, they don't really need me to figure everything out for them, well at least not most of the them. 

My mind was wandering back to the first few years of being a Troop Leader. I would plan over the summer what we would be doing. I'd make the phone calls to set up this or that. I'd try to see what badges they said the Spring before to complete the upcoming year (That was always part of our May meeting... let's choose a few badges you want to do next year). 

Let me let you in on a secret. Let's be real. Leading a Girl Scout troop isn't easy. There are going to be times you feel like you have no idea what you are doing. There isn't a clear path that I can give you. There isn't a set list of badges you must complete or activities you have to do. The only requirement is that you listen to your girls and try to make what they want to do happen. That's it. It's that simple. (Insert chuckle, because listening to the wants/needs of girls is never simple.)

Sure, when they are in the younger levels (Daisy/Brownie) you are doing most of the prep work for meetings and you may be doing most of the picking of badges, too. But once they get to Junior level, they can definitely let you know what they do and don't want to do. Oh, can they let you know.... They can help plan the badges and they can help decide which activities to complete. Yes. It can be more work at times with this mindset. But, it turns your meetings into girl-led. No. They may not want to do the Inside Government badge or the Screenwriting badge ("12 page script? Are you kidding me?" --- Yes, actual girl quote) But, that's okay. I've always told my girls there are a few badges that I feel they need to complete at each level and we're going to do those. The rest are up to them. (What badges, you ask? Girl Scout Ways and First Aid... those are my "must do" badges")

So, if you feel you are lost or failing... talk to your girls. Be honest with them. Tell them you aren't sure what the troop wants to do this year and you need them to help you plan. The answer is right there in front of you. As Juliette Low said, "Let's ask the girls". I really feel GS USA has moved away from that in some regards and that is a reason for decline in membership. Take out of the badge list. Go through the badges with them. Get their input. Pick out the badges for the entire year. There is your direction. You found it. Now, decide if the girls are going to be responsible for badge activities or if you are going to take care of it (the older the get, the more they should be doing... Personally, I think Cadettes should be leading their own meetings and I have gotten to the point of just sitting in the chair and waiting a bit before saying "We probably need to open the meeting, right? Is someone going to do that?" It's my passive aggressive way of reminding them they are in charge of their meeting.)

One last comment to hopefully put your mind at ease... I would say 98% of our Leaders ARE Leaders... Sometimes, it's hard to balance leading and mentoring. It takes patience and determination and the ability to "let go"... delegate some simple tasks to the girls at first and then build it up... they will give you direction. They know what they want to do... just ask them.