Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daisies Year 2, Meeting 12

We, GSUSA are a MO (member organization) within WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts).  WAGGGS currently has four world centers with a fifth in the works.  One of the world centers is our Sangam which is located in Pune, India (to put it in better perspective, it's not too far from Mumbai). The Sangam Friendship Project is an easy project that any troop can do.  They have asked us to send in friendship bracelets. They sell these friendship bracelets to help raise money for things like children's camp and to help raise awareness on various projects, such as Stop the Violence.

Today we worked on the petal friendly and helpful.  We read Sunny's story from the guide book to start us out.  It was a great story on how to make new friends feel welcomed and how to overall be nice.  The girls were feeling a little sluggish, so we played some games.  We didn't initially intend to play games, but it gave us a good in on how to be friendly and helpful to our GS sisters.

Last week when we earned our cookie business leaf, we also talked about places we want to visit in the future (when the girls are old enough).  We mentioned the possibility of visiting one of the world centers, including the Sangam.  What better a way to be friendly and helpful than making friendship bracelets for the Sangam's project?!  We did exactly that.  We had very little time, so made simple bracelets (I don't know the name, but you take 3 pieces, knot one end, twirl it till it's spun up, fold it in half and let it gather up on itself, then knot up the two end pieces).  The girls were told that they could make a bracelet for themselves, one to give a friend, and one to give to the Sangam.  We went over our goal and made plenty extras to send to India, yay!

Next week we'll be earning the My Promise, My Faith pin.

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 11

I feel the need to start out this blog by saying I absolutely love the Daisy journey Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden!  It is the perfect "first thing" for Daisies to do because it introduces them to the world of Girl Scouts.  I think it was so beautifully done and I am so glad we got a chance to do it this year, especially with all of the new girls we had.

Sadly though, we finished up this journey today.  We learned so much from it though, especially with our Take Action project.  The garden is far from done though, and we plan to keep it up as long as we meet at this school.  There was one thing that we did differently to finish this journey.  The end of the story, we see the girls write a letter to future girl scouts.  There is also an activity for us to do that as well.  We will not be doing that activity until the end of our year, and we will be giving it to a new Daisy troop next year.  I thought it would be a great thing for them to do to finish out their year and help them bridge.

Our next item on the agenda was the cookie business leaf.  Earlier this year, the girls decided that they wanted to visit Juliette Gordon Low's house for their end of the year party, so today was a chance to talk about that.  Visiting the house is not free, so the girls need to earn some money to do this!  We looked up how much it would cost per girl (the fee for the program they want to do, their lunch, and patches), how much we earned per box (which isn't that much) and translated it to how many boxes everyone needs to sell.  We also talked about other things we wanted money for, like paying for next year's registration, Brownie uniforms, journey books and more.  In the end, we were able to come up with our goal and make a more concrete list of how we want to spend that money.  It's a great lesson for the girls on basic budgeting, saving and earning money.

Next week we'll be working on a really great project!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Daisies Year 2, Meeting 10

Cookie season is quickly approaching, as is the holidays!  The safety pin is something that all levels have available, and like with all of the "new" Girl Scout curriculum  each level of the pin is appropriate for the age of the girl.  This meeting was a great opportunity for us to not only earn this pin, but learn very important safety points that the girls need to know.

The first thing we learned about was safety points we need to remember while out selling cookies. We learned that we need an adult with us at all times, to never go in someone's house or car, which then lead into stranger danger.  The girls learned what to do in case a stranger approaches them or even tries to take them.
We reminded them to always look before crossing a street and that it's a good idea to hold an adult's hand.  We also learned who is safe to approach in case you get lost, and what to do if you get lost.

Next up, we made first aid kits.  In Target's dollar section near the cosmetics, they had some small kits for 97 cents.  We bought the kits, but then took them apart so that the girls could put them back together later, so they could learn the why.  As we did that, we explained it all.  We also got out a bigger kit and picked it apart so they could learn about other things that might be found in a kit and why.

The next thing we did was to learn about stop drop and roll. This was something they had already learned in school, but we just wanted to reinforce it.  Lastly, we touched on choking.  We demonstrated all the methods (including Heimlich), but stressed to get an adult and what the universal sign for choking is.

We have a cookie rally-sleepover coming up and we're going to be going over these safety points again, plus more for the older girls.  It can never hurt to reinforce these safety points!

Sleepover! AKA, how to do a journey in a day....

The Girl Scout curriculum was carefully designed to go hand in hand with the school curriculum (Common Core Standards).  For example, the financial literacy leaves for the Daisies.  Right about the time we began the first leaf, our girls had already completed learning the basics about money in school.  We then took that concept and expanded upon it.  In other words, that means that each level in scouting is going to be different than the other since it corresponds with school work.  That also means that planning a joint sleepover with a journey is a little tricky, but totally doable with the right planning (good thing I'm a planner!).

The three Daisy journeys introduce the girls to scouting, teach the girls about the basics of traveling, and teach the girls about the importance of caring for animals (and themselves and others).  The three brownie journeys teach the girls about planning and doing a take action project, how to enjoy and conserve water, and how to engage in the world around them through stories and imagination.  In other words, these six journeys are so different!  First step for me was to read (and re-read) all of the Daisy and Brownie journeys.  I also got the leader guides to see if this was even doable.  The leader guides were another must on the reading list.  Those things are often a lifesaver when planning your meetings!  They have so many wonderful ideas, which was great to build upon my planning for this sleepover.

After reading everything, there were a few things that I saw.  The first one was that there were several elements of the journeys that really needed to be done over time, in a troop setting.  Some of the journeys advocate doing a take action project, which is something that really can't be done overnight.  Another aspect is the portions that literally take the scouts on journeys (field trips/outings/camping).  I started comparing the journeys within their categories.  By doing that, I discovered similarities in the It's Your Story- Tell it! aspect.

The three main elements of 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals! include caring for animals and yourself (respect myself and others), how to do this, and how to advocate in caring for animals.  The four main elements of A World of Girls are interpreting clues in stories, empowering the girls, advocating for each other and how to reach people all over.  I don't know about you, but once I started with that outline, I thought my head was going to burst.... but it didn't.

The actual logistics of our sleepover were very well planned out ahead of time.  We had a group of older girls who came out to help run this too (and they rocked it!).  The girls were divided into four patrols- two of Brownies, two of Daisies.  Each patrol had a few adults with them, and the older girls manned the journey stations.  Four activities (two Daisy, two Brownie) were done Friday evening, and the remaining four were done Saturday morning.

To start out our sleepover. everyone made terrariums out of recycled bottles.  We told them that once their seeds have sprouted enough, they need to ask an adult to help them transplant it somewhere, then recycle the bottle.  That took care of the Take Action component.  It's not something big and extravagant,  but with 60+ girls there, if only half of them remember to do it, that little bit can make a big difference!

The Daisies were asked to bring a used (empty and cleaned) milk or juice container (the quart size) to make a bird feeder.  Before doing this, they read a passage from the journey book.  On Friday evening, they then got to do a fun activity of making pipe cleaner crafts.  It really didn't have anything to do with the journey, but they did learn to make flower rings, and it was fun.

For the Brownies, we created a "storybook" theme.  We asked the brownies to bring with them an empty cereal box.  On Friday evening, they created their journal.  We gave them a lot of freedom with it, since it's their journal.  The only requirement was that they put several pieces of construction paper in it, and the copies of GS mad libs we made, and decorated it anyway their hearts desired. Next, they read a passage from the journey book and created positivity "globes."  It started out like our Mother's day vases (plastic bottles decoupaged with tissue paper).  Before they finished, they all took small scraps of paper and wrote encouraging words/phrases on them and stored them in the bottles.

It's time for a lesson learned.  After we cleaned up from Friday's activities, we had snack time.  I bought ice cream for the girls.  I thought this would be a good idea because they would get so excited, gobble it up, and then be tired.  Yeah, no.  They were all a little wound up.  We played a movie before bedtime thinking that would calm them down too, but when it was over, at least 90% of them were still up (and it was after 11 when the movie finished!).  I am never serving ice cream at a sleep over ever again!

Saturday morning started out with a bang!  It was something fun, but was also some creative juice to fill the Brownies heads for what they would be doing next.  We gave the girls crazy hair!  They had the choice of getting Cindyloo Whoo hair (Whooville hair) or Pipi Longstocking braids.  The end results were incredible.  I was afraid I would have angry parents calling me later, but I didn't, thank goodness.  The girls hair did give us some great photos though!

Saturday morning, the Daisies learned some basic first aide skills after reading a journey passage.  This didn't take up the entire time slot we had planned, but the smart cookies that they are, the older girls took the groups and used the rest of the time to play games.  Then, the Daisies read another passage from the journey and learned some basic yoga and origami.

The Brownies used their journals all of Saturday morning.  In the first station, they read a passage from the journey, and then paired off to work on the mad libs.  They had six total, and the girls came up with some very funny stories!  For the next activity, the girls were asked to write/draw some comic strips based on what we did at the sleepover, and anything else they wanted to do based on Girl Scouting.  I didn't see all of them, but the girls came up with some awesome stuff.

So, how long did this take you ask?  We arrived for setup at 4 PM, and the girls started coming at 5, with dinner at 6, and activities starting at 7.  Lights out were at 11 PM.  Breakfast on Saturday was at 8 AM, with activities starting by 9 AM, finished up by 11 AM, and then we all cleaned up, telling the parents that pickup was at 11:30 AM.  So yes, you read that correctly- we did two separate journeys in less than 24 hours and did some fun stuff.  It's completely doable, really!  I'm doing this again in the spring for the journeys, so I will tell you all about it then!

If any of you want my plans for this sleepover (and I have it all typed out in details/times), please feel free to email me at troop30426(at)gmail(dot)com and I will be more than happy to send them!  I know that journeys take up a lot of time that we don't always have, and the girls just love sleepovers!

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 9

Today we worked on the petal courageous and strong.  I love the story in the guidebook that goes with it.  The situation on the playground is something that most of our girls have encountered at some point in time.  It's also a good anti-bullying story.  After we read the passage, we had a discussion about what it meant to be courageous and strong, instances where we've had to be brave, and then launched into a brief manners discussion.  That perfectly lead into our extra special guest speaker!

We are very lucky in that we live in a town that has a military base.  There are veterans everywhere, literally. Last year, my husband came in to talk to the girls. This year his work schedule did not allow it.  However, my friend's did, so he happily came in.  It was very interesting needless to say!  He has two boys who are older than the girls, so trying to explain what he did was interesting.  All of the girls in our troop, except for one, have fathers in the military.  So while he was trying to figure out how to explain his job, we jumped into what does your daddy do, which killed some time.  The girls had some great questions (they always do!).  We had one question about have you ever seen a shark?  To, you push the boat?  It was quite amusing, but I think they learned a lot.  We tied all of this together by asking our guest, are you courageous and strong?  Being the modest man that he is, he didn't want to admit it, but to the girls, doing what he does, he very much is, as is all our brave men and women who are serving.

Our meeting was finished up by writing thank you notes to our lovely guest.  I met up with him later to pass them off and got a chance to read them.  These girls really have embraced the Girl Scouting spirit, and their notes exemplified this!  One cute note even said I love you!

We have more guests coming up, but we've haven't told the girls (shhh it's a surprise!).  After our first guest, I think it's safe to say they will do great with more.

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 8

Halloween is such an amazing day, but for us Girl Scouts, it's one of our "holy" days.  Why?  Because it's Juliette Gordon Low's birthday!  And, the amazing Juliette loved this because it meant doing extra special stuff on her birthday!

Lucky for us, with our meetings being on Wednesdays, Halloween fell on a meeting day this year.  We invited the girls to wear their costumes to the meeting.  Our first point of business was learning more about our namesake Daisy (for those who don't know Juliette's nickname was Daisy).  Our journey, Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden, did have a little bit about her, but not a significant amount.  My daughter got a great children's book for her birthday this past year about Daisy, that we read to the girls.  It was like a biography for young kids, and was a great starting point for the girls (as they get older, we'll go more into detail about her life).

Next up, we had a fun craft planned for the girls. We made skeletons from Q-tips, much like this one:

All of their skeletons looked different, and it was great!  I had a big jar of googly eyes in various sizes that the girls got to be creative with.  We had a few cyclops and a few "monsters" thanks to the many eyes.

We finished our meeting with the shoe game.  While this is a great game, I think we might hold off on playing it again until the girls are Brownies.  We had some trouble with the whole multitasking aspect of the game (pass the shoe while singing a song about passing the shoes).  It was a great learning experience though.

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 7

Lavendar, and tulips, and broccoli, oh my!  Today was another interesting day out in our garden.  Before we resumed work on clearing out all the weeds, we had a small planning session.  We talked about everything we had learned about what we can and can't plant.  For example, the girls learned that cherries are grown from a cherry tree, and many of the flowers they want to plant can't be planted for a few more months.

We, the adults, were still recovering from LEAP, so the rest of the meeting was low key and we played a bunch of games.  I had almost forgotten how long it takes to play a new game with kids this age. We had to do many practice rounds just to make sure they all got the rules and the points to the game.  50/50 hind sight, calling playing games wasn't as simple as I thought it would be, but, the girls had fun, and that's ok by me!


Obviously, there are many, many, many opportunities for Girl Scouts.  There aren't nearly as many for adults, but that's because we're not the scout anymore.  However, of the opportunities that are around for us, they are completely and totally AWESOME!

Down here in lil' ole Historic Georgia, we have this lil' thang called LEAP- Leadership Experiences for Adults Pathways.  In other words, its a fun weekend where we get to camp out and learn about new things that we can bring back home and teach our girls!  Plus, we get be silly and dress up, but more on that part later.

Remember that little Take Action project I brought home from GWF?  Well, at LEAP, I was afforded another amazing opportunity to further my work.  On Friday evening, I got to facilitate a course all about the MDGs.  My time slot was three hours long.  The first thing that went through my head was, oh my gosh, that's it?!  I need to figure out now how to cram everything in such a short time period!  There was just so much I wanted to do, and so much information to be gotten out.  After a lot of work, I managed to whittle it down to exactly three hours (and by that I mean we ran over by 5 minutes, but in my defense, we took a break half way).  One of the things we did was play several of the games I've been working on for the girls.  Here's what we played (we copies in case you want it!):

(will post them later from my desktop)

Saturday was a fun day.  I started out the day by facilitating a session on how to cook with the younger girls. For those of you who keep up with my blog, you know that it is totally doable!  For the newcomers- it is totally doable!  You need to make sure you have clear kitchen rules, and you might want to have an extra set of adult eyes on hand to help out.

Next, I got to take a fun class about games (some I knew, some I didn't, so it was very useful), a class about water conservation, and a fun science class (we made things go BOOM!  Ok, not really, we did the Mentos in Coke, but it was still awesome!).

So, about that whole dressing up thing..... LEAP always has a theme.  This year our theme was Once Upon A Time.  Each Service Unit got to pick a book and decorate a table based on that book.  Our SU choose Harry Potter, and our table was rocking!  Our table took second place, yay!  Plus, during dinner, we all dressed up based on the theme.  Our SU decided to dress up at the women up Harry Potter, and as a group, we took first place in the costume contest.  The whole evening was amazing though.  Some of the tables and costumes were totally over the top awesome!  Next year's theme is about holidays (I forget the exact "name").

Sunday I was able to facilitate one more session about home remedies.  I had supplies on hand for us to make bug spray, relaxing bath salts and a muscle cream.  Everything we learned about it great stuff that you can have your girls make before a big trip, outing or especially before a camping trip.

I got home and was so exhausted!  I slept like a log and even had to take a nap on Monday.  It was worth it though, and I can't wait until next year!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 6

Community service is a term that is loosely used by people when they do good deeds.  For example, running a donation drive could be considered community service.  In Girl Scouting, a Take Action project is  like community service, but the difference is that it is a sustainable project that can benefit many people.

Today was the first day that we got out into the garden to really work on it.  We had our spot, but before we could do anything, we had to clear out the area.  So, we all put on our gloves and began working on that.  The spot choose was once an actual garden, but over time it was let go and became overgrown with weeds. We didn't quite finish today, but we did get a good amount done.

Over the past couple weeks, this project has been incorporated with our journey, Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden.  I just want to point out that it was the girls choice to do this garden (though the selfish side of me wants to do it too!), but their work each week has coincided with the story of the journey.  For those of you who are not familiar with this journey- four friends stumble upon this garden one day, and "unlock its secret."  As the garden begins to spruce itself up, so have my girls with their own garden.  I can't wait to see how this comes out!

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 5

My Daisies never cease to amaze me.  Seriously.  These girls are already making waves!  Today was just one of many, many reasons why I believe all of theses girls are going to do big things in life.

Before the big hoopla of our investiture and rededication, we had some free time planned to use as a planning session.  At the end of last year, we sat down with the girls and asked what they wanted to do.  Knowing that we would have a lot of new girls this year, we only planned out the first half of the year.  All of the girls came up with amazing ideas!  Some of them they aren't old enough to do, but we promised them that when they are old enough, if they still want to do them, we will.

One of the things they asked to do was a second take action project.  With the plans for the garden already underway, we figured why not.  The girls asked for the opportunity to be able to visit local nursing homes and help out there.  I'm not really sure what a Daisy can do at a nursing home, but we are looking into it (so we'll get back to you!).

So, what is an investiture and rededication? An investiture ceremony is when a new scout dedicates herself to Girl Scouting. Traditionally, this takes place or after the fourth meeting of the year.  A rededication is for returning scouts who are renewing the promise they first made at their investiture.  This also takes place at or after the fourth meeting.  This is a very important moment for our scouts!

We resused the poster we made last year and used a more simplified ceremony.  The girls began by doing a very simple flag ceremony.  We used small, desktop flags (we couldn't really ask a group of six year olds to carry full blown flags), but it still served the purpose.  From there, we explained what we were doing, and had each girl place their petal on the board and say what it was.  That was followed by giving all of our new girls their insignia tab with the Daisy pin.  We then pulled up our returning girls and gave them a special rededication patch.  We retired our flags, and so ended our ceremony.  Needless to say, our girls did amazing!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Games Go Global Badge!

This past summer, my daughter and I were glued to the TV during the Olympics.  It just wasn't possible for us to watch everything, but we tried to watch pieces of every event.  Some of my daughter's comments were just too funny.  For example, while watching fencing, she asked why were the people trying to poke each other with sticks?  She then said if they did, can't they loose a spleen and die?  Then, while watching men's diving (and before she knew what a Speedo was), she said, EW MOM!  Why are they wearing underwear to go in the pool?  That's so gross!

Today, the Daisies got to earn the badge from WAGGGS, Games Go Global.  The basis of this badge is to bring out the Olympic and team spirit, and we did exactly that!  The badge is divided into three categories- stadium (physical/athletic activities), temple (mental challenges) and theater (arts based activities).  Like the Olympics, there are three levels the girls can earn- bronze, silver and gold.  The number of activities you do determines which level of the badge you earn.  For Daisies, they are only required to do four events to earn the gold, so we went for the gold!

So, what's an Olympic themed event with out an opening ceremony?  Before we could do that though, we needed our torches!  By using construction paper and tissue paper, the girls made their own version of the Olympic torch.  No two torches were alike!  We had some stickers and markers out for them to dress them up.  We grabbed our new torches, the American flag, the Girl Scout flag and the 100th anniversary flag and held our opening ceremony.  We played the Olympic theme song and marched around a baseball field at a local park.

With our first event out of the way, we began our stretches.  We learned that it's always a good idea to do some simple stretches so you don't hurt yourself.  Once we were done stretching, we did the orange pass.  To do this, the girls had to pass an orange around the circle, without using their hands (they used their chins). It took a couple drops, but eventually they got it.

Our next event was a listening activity. We read a chapter from a Girl Scout book (a fictional one) and asked the girls questions. The book happened to take place in Savannah, so we were able to ask a few "trick" questions that we knew some of them might know the answers too.  It was also a nice chance to sit down and get out of the sun for a little bit.

The next event, I thought, was very fun.  My awesome Co and I prepared some bags with random materials in it (construction paper, ribbons, some ribbon tutus, tulle, and more).  The girls were split into two teams, and had 20 minutes to create a costume using only what was in the bag (or use the bag too).  They were permitted to use the crafts box as well (which had markers, scissors, glue sticks and masking tape).  They made one team costume and had to choose a model for each.  We played some runway music and let the costume models strike a pose!  We then had all the girls give us their best runway walk (it was SUPER cute!).

We redid the groups and prepared for the relay race.  This one was a little tricky because the girls had never seen or done one, but eventually they got it.  We used our mini Girl Scout flags instead of batons (it was way more fun that way).

Our last event was a real brain teaser.  We made cards based on the Olympics and played memory with them.  The cards each had a purpose.  We used the 2012 torches, the Olympic rings, the 2012 mascot, the Fab 5 (the USA women's gymnastics team), one of the female athletes from Saudi Arabia (they only sent 2 this year) and a few others that were centered around the theme.  We split up in two teams to work on this as a group and learned about each card as we matched them up along the way.

Like the real Olympics, all good things must sadly come to an end.  We grabbed our torches and headed back onto the field.  But, before we had our closing ceremony, we awarded our medals (patches).  Everyone also got a nice little ribbon that said great job on it.  With our shiny "medals" around our necks, we had one last parade, and "extinguished" our flames.

All of the girls had a blast!  The one downside was the heat (we live in South Georgia, we're lucky if we get 5 days of winter), but we had our water bottles on hand, and shade nearby, so it wasn't terrible.  Coming up next, our investiture and rededication ceremony!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 4

I'm about to do something very naughty.... I'm about to do an obscene amount of bragging about my scouts. So, I would just like to apologize right now, but in my defense, I am just so immensely proud of them right now!

We started out our meeting by reading chapter 1 of Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden and doing the all about me activities in the journey book in the pages before the chapter. It wasn't anything immensely special, but it gave the girls a chance to get in the swing of things.

Now, here comes the part where I brag (you've been warned!).

Our troop is so lucky in that we get meet at one of the awesome schools in our county.  We are extremely lucky because the principle of the school is allowing the girls to use the school grounds for their take action project.  Last year after our adventures earning the Global Action Badge the girls were inspired and asked if they could plant their own garden.  Being the smart Daisies that they are, the consensus was they wanted to turn it into their take action project.  Today, we went outside and surveyed the area of the school ground where we were given permission to use. On one side, there was a lovely rose garden that an organization had planted.  Behind a brick wall, we found a section that had been marked off as a garden around, but was filled with weeds.  I don't want to spoil it, but it reminds me of a chapter we will be reading shortly in our journey!

Being first graders, they did need some help.  We showed them how to use the tape measure, and helped them mark off the area with some paint stirrers and orange rope (we did this so the principle can give the final ok on our area as well).  We had a quick science lesson about what kind of climate we live in, the type of dirt in our area (yes, this affects plants here, big time!) and what is a weed..  After that, we all talked about what kinds of fruits and vegetables we like to eat.  Then came a quick lesson on herbs and a discussion about flowers.  All of the girls went home with an assignment.  From the list they came up with, they have to find out if it is possible for us to grow these things here in south east Georgia.  They also need to find out if these items need sun, shade, or both.  Each girl went home with one flower, one vegetable and one fruit to research.  Here's the best part- every single item they came up with was something they all wanted to eat and learn about.  The girls are researching broccoli, summer squash, cherries, strawberries, tulips, marigolds and more!  Some of the suggestions they came up with were not what you would stereotype a 6 year old as liking.  I was beyond impressed!

Now I really am going to do some hard core bragging.... we went back inside and had our snack a little early. When the girls were finished, we wrote letters to our local Lowe's asking if they would donate some of the materials we needed.  I asked them a blanket question- what do we need?  Those brilliant girls came up with some of the best answers right off the bat!  They came up with seeds, dirt, shovels, gloves, mulch and more that I can't remember right now.  They each hand wrote a letter that we will be sending to them.  If that's not the epitome of awesome, then I don't know what is!  Oh yeah, copies of these letters are totally going in the scrapbook!

Next week will be a momentous occasion!  The girls will be having their investiture and rededication ceremony. In the down time we'll have during that meeting, we're going to sit down and plan out the second half of the year.  We'll also take a moment to practice what we'll be doing during the ceremony.  I only hope that I'll be able to get enough photos!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Daisies- Year 2, meeting 3

I love Pinterest, so much!  It's highly addicting, but in a good way, really.  Some of the best and most fun things we have done as a troop have been inspired by many things I have found on Pinterest.  Today's meeting was one of those many gems.

Today, we learned about the Daisy Garden and the flower friends.  We talked about ways that we can live by the Girl Scout law and what it means.  To reinforce that, we did some crayon art.  We gave each of the girls a box of crayons.  To review the flower friends, we went through the ten colors, and picked out the blue center (which represents the GS promise).  We helped them hot glue it to pieces of poster board, but we set the blue crayon on it's own, so that they would remember that it was special.  After that, we helped them melt the crayons using hair dryers.  No two pictures looked alike, and it was amazing!

What we did next, I think, was truly amazing.  We had a quick science lesson about light (mainly how when we see white, it means it is reflecting all the colors of light, but when we see black, it's absorbing all the colors of the light).  Our summation was because the black crayon was absorbing all of the colors of light, it was the most beautiful crayon in the box!  We then asked the girls to then take a look in their crayon boxes and pick out what they thought was the prettiest color left.  I asked them to give me those crayons.  I had made an example to show them how it was done.  We added their crayons onto mine and have decided to donate it to a worthy cause.  A good friend of mine is helping out with an auction for Susan G. Komen and their piece of art will be in this auction!

Fellow leaders- think back to one of those moments you've had as a leader when you just thought, oh my gosh, that's it, I'm going to get in so much trouble because of something one of my girls said or did.  Well, I kind of had one of those moments today.  My girls, being the smart cookies that they are, asked what the foundation was for.  I explained that they raised money for breast cancer research, and this was especially important because Juliette Gordon Low died from breast cancer.  I was also asked, what's breast cancer?  My answer was it's something that affects your boobies (strike 1).  My co-leader's son happened to be at the meeting today, pretending to be a good "girl scout," and decided to repeat that... loudly.  That cute little 3 year-old just blurted out, BOOBIES!  I just could not keep a straight face (strike 2).  And then he said it again, and again, and of course the whole table of 6 year old girls were giggling or saying ew, and some of them started saying it too (strike 3, I'm out)!  The first thing that went through my head was oh my gosh, that's it, I'm toast, I'm gonna get a call from the GS police!  It was definitely not one of my better moments, and of course I'm a little mortified right now.  I know, boobies is far from a bad word, but to a 6 year old Girl Scout, it pretty much is.  I just hope that my troop parents can get a laugh out of it too (it was a little funny after all).

Next week, we will be starting on our first journey, Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden!  I'm so excited!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Year 2, meeting 2

When my daughter speaks fast, she doesn't always pay attention to what she says.  For example, when we start talking about GS SWAPS, she calls them "swamps."

With this being our first full meeting, we were able to fall back into our normal routine easily.  Our returning girls were great about helping out the new girls learn the ropes. After our opening, we sat down and took a look at some of the great SWAPS I got while in Chicago.  It was to show the girls that SWAPS can come from anywhere and in many different forms, and gave us the chance to really explain to them what SWAPS are all about.

Since we're participating in the SWAPS project, we went ahead and knocked out all of our SWAPS for the year.  We opted to do three SWAPS.  The first one is an oldie, but a goodie.  It's puzzle pieces painted gold and silver, and glued together.  Our next one is a clever little one.  We took several beads, put them in a bag with some glitter, and named them the Daisy beads (get it?!  I love this one!).  For our last SWAPS, we colored clothes pins the colors of the Daisy flower petals and called it a GS promise and law reminder.  They're not fancy, but were very easy for the girls to do and was a small aide in introducing them to parts of the GS law and promise.  We closed out our meeting with a quick snack and the friendship circle.

Next week we're going to dive in, head first, in learning more about the GS law.  We've got a really cool craft planned to help us out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My next scouting adventure is.....

My wonderful friend Heather calls her blog The Life of a Crazy Volunteer and she's got a good point to it!  Those who don't know, have a hard time understanding what it means to be a volunteer.  It means loving something so much that you are willing to devote your time to it, because it's for a greater good.  It means things like cooking 150 breakfast burritos at 4 AM, or driving 3 hours round trip just to get a special patch, or even walking into a room of strangers just to tell them about your experiences.  

I have two new adventures in scouting coming my way, and I am so stoked about them!  I literally just began my first one today.  I was accepted into the WAGGGS Online Leadership Course with 49 other participants from all over the world!  It so happens that a couple ladies I attended GWF with are also a part of this course.  Yes, I am excited to know that I have a met a few of these ladies face-to-face.  I am however bummed that I may never get the chance to meet some of them, but, I can remain hopeful that I might get that chance one day!

As for my second adventure, well, how do I put this?  I am not crazy.  Ok, so maybe just a little, but in the good kind of way, I promise!  I took on a second troop of Juniors.  We have not had our first meeting yet, but will be very soon!  For those of you who are not familiar with what Juniors do, well, that depends on the troop.  "Traditionally," the first meeting with Juniors is when they sit down and plan out the year.  Every troop is different, and having not yet met these girls, I don't know what track they will want to take.  As their leader, I will do my best to be open to anything they want to do (ok, back to that crazy thing- I will not let them do something like go skydiving, I am not crazy enough to do that!).  I'm really excited though.  Normally, I don't do well not knowing what's going to happen next, but surprisingly I'm ok with it right now.  

I kind of have one more adventure coming up, but it's more for the adults than everything else.  I'm facilitating a few sessions next month at a leader's retreat at Camp Low, and one of them is based on what I did at GWF.  We're going to be playing a ton of games I've come up with to help teach the subject materials.  I'm also facilitating a session on how to teach younger girls how to cook and how to use your own pantry to make simple first aid remedies.  I'm excited!  I already have my course outlines done, now I just have to find some hot deals on the supplies/materials I need (if you guys have the hookup on essential oils, please, let me know since I need a bit and that stuff is expensive!).

Year 2, Meeting 1

I'm very sad to report that for a good bit of our first meeting, our darling Daisies were left to do their own to do arts and crafts while we the adults took care of paper work and questions.  But, it was nice to be back to meeting time (even though it was also my birthday).  While the adults talked, we let the girls make name tags on some large, foam flowers we found at the dollar section of Target, and they got to color an all about me sheet.  I know, not totally fabulous, but add some glitter glue and they made them look extremely fabulous.

We did get a chance to go over the quiet sign, and we got to teach our new scouts about the friendship circle and song, and did a proper closing.  Something so small can be so awesome because we the leaders got to truly see the dynamic of the song right before our very own eyes- "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, and the other gold!  A circle is round, it has no end, that's how long I want to be your friend!"  Our circle had our returning scouts and several new scouts.  When we got home, Leah started telling me about the new friends she had made that day, and it was nice to hear about it.

Next week, we're going to try and knock out a bunch of SWAPS for that project I set up.  If we have enough time, we're going to be making something nifty to donate to a charity raffle/auction, that will benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation.  I'm not sure yet what the girls will make, but I have a few ideas ready for them!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Investiture and Rededication prep, take two, part one!

New troop, new girls.  Traditionally speaking, investitures are supposed to take place around meeting four.  I'm not yet sure as to exactly when we will be working this into our fall program, but it's on the list!

At the beginning of last year, we did a cute investiture and rededication that involved a poster with the Daisy petals and a cute "play" about it.  So that's out for this year.  After flipping through a booklet I got at our local GS store, I got an idea on what we could do, but still keep it within the Daisy theme- ribbons!  So, challenge time:

Challenge 1: Do the ribbon theme, and figure out the logistics of it

Challenge 2: Do this as cheaply (inexpensively) as possible

Challenge 3: Figuring out when to do this

Challenge 4: Coming up with "new" dialog for the girls to say during the ceremony

Challenge 5: Figuring out the logistics of the ceremony

Challenge 6: Trying to figuring out the when part

First up, with challenge four- I have a few ideas already.  I've been researching how we can do this.  It also depends on how many girls we will have to participate, so the exact logistics will have to wait until the time comes.  My first idea is to do a cute skit about Juliette Gordon Low.  I found an adorable story on scouting web.  The story had the girls do various actions for certain words.  We worried back in October if the girls would be able to memorize their lines.  This is easier since we can do it so that all the girls do the action (that story has one girl at a time doing it).  My next idea was to do a series of songs.  There's so many more songs we haven't introduced yet, but could. The girls catch on to them quickly, so that would be easy enough to accomplish, and the parents love having moments like that to record.  The next idea involves an actual skit, though with how much time we might not have, it might not be the best idea I've had, though still cute.  Thankfully, we have some time to decide.

Challenge five isn't entirely horrible.  After looking through many resources, I'm sure we'll be able to find a fresh way to do this.  Challenge one and two go along with challenge five, but once we sit down and do some solid planning, I know we'll figure it out.

I'm hoping that once recruitment season is over and we have a set meeting place, the logistics of our investiture and rededication will fall right into place.  For the most part, we have an idea of where we want to take this, and that's half the battle!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Girl's World Forum... the wrap up

Back at the Atlanta airport, and now back home.... I promised Madison and Sa'Haara that I would try not to cry, but I made no guarantees (they saw how sappy I got at the closing ceremony!).  I did good and didn't cry again until later, so at least I was able to spare them that embarrassment.

We were in Chicago for barely a week, but so much had happened in that short time.  308 girl scouts and guides, 219 young adults, facilitators, and staff, 78 council volunteers, 79 countries and 89 councils were there being represented.  In other words, over 600 of us came from all around the world to make a change, and we did it!

By the end of the forum, I heard so many people make the same comment.  They said that it was amazing how we all felt so close in such a short time.  I find that statement to be completely true!  I came in knowing two people and came out knowing hundreds, all of whom are amazing ladies.  Even my room mate, Emer, has already become a great friend whom I miss dearly!

During our first evening in Chicago, we very briefly met Anna Maria Chavez.  I was content to hang back and take pictures of the girls, but Anna Maria very graciously pulled me aside for a quick moment and said thanks for everything you're doing.  Puzzled, I simply said thank you, shook her hand and walked away.  Once I was back home and sifting through all my patches and SWAPS to show my daughter, I found that she had slipped me one of her own patches.

Knowing that she remembered Sa'Haara, I really shouldn't be surprised, but I am!  We've had a few amazing CEOs over the years, but I must admit, Anna Maria is my favorite to date.  Oh, and remember how I told you she got down and boogied with the girls during the opening ceremony?  According to the WAGGGS GWF blog Madison was one of them!!!

I know, I know, now I'm just bragging, but I gotta!  These girls kicked some butt!

Remember how the ladies from Africa came together?

If that's not enough to inspire you, then maybe this will.....

The amazing Helen, the adult delegate from UK, shared a poem with us.  Oh, but her words were not the end of the inspiration that was all around us the entire time.

Remembering our closing ceremony and what Dr. Terarai Trent said to us, there were a few things that stuck in my head.

At the end of her speech, she said something that nearly shocked me.  She said this was the first time she had ever been around this many empowered young women at once.  I simply assumed that being a woman of her caliber, she had been around groups like us before.  Still, it was comforting to hear from an outsider that they thought we were doing good things.


So, here we are, back at home.  I know some of you are dying to know what the girls take action projects are.  I have to warn you all, you are about to read about some serious awesomeness!

Sa'Haara was inspired by MDG 3 (promote gender equality and empowering women).  She has decided to start her project out by creating a workshop at her school about teen pregnancy prevention and self-esteem, with the possibilities of expanding to a local shelter or church.

Madison was not only inspired by MDG 7 (environmental sustainability), but she was also inspired by our take action day.  She has chosen to help establish a similar urban garden within her community.

As for me, I accidentally came home with a take action project too.  The baby steps would be to advocate for the Global Action Award within my council.  The marathon would be to create a series pathway that not only allows girls to earn the Global Action Award, but also earns them the WAGGGS Global Action Theme badge and empowers them to do similar take action projects (which could have potential for being a Bronze, Silver or even Gold Award).


Now, for the million dollar question- did we really make a difference?  YEAH WE DID!  I know, it might be too early to tell how much of a difference we made, but I think the proof is evident from our take action day. Even looking at photos from friends in what their groups did during their take action day, I know that everyone left their foot print in Chicago in a profound way, and in due time, we'll have our foot prints left all around the world.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Girl's World Forum: Day 5, the full run down

You would think that in such a short amount of time, very little could be accomplished.  The fact is, Girl Scouts and Guides are efficient, and we pretty much conquered the world in five days!

At breakfast on day 5, the ladies from the Cook Islands treated us to a lovely dance and thanked everyone at GWF, especially a big thanks to the planning (they earned it!).  Several other scouts and guides got up during breakfast to reflect on the past few days by sharing some songs and words of wisdom.

Our last day was on the low key side, but still very beneficial.  A number of great organizations came in for a networking session in the morning.  That list includes the Peace Corps, Care, Forever Green (yes, the GSUSA project was out there being represented!), Care, Heifer International and a number of other wonderful organizations.  Each stop offered a number of amazing materials that could benefit all of the scouts and guides in any of the take action projects they were already formulating.

From there, we split up for one last session.  For the adults, it was a chance to learn about a number of projects already going on within GSUSA and WAGGGS and do some last minute networking.  At the end of our session, we had the opportunity to make a commitment and add our "leaf" to the "tree."  I made two commitments on my leaf, but more about that in my wrap up post later!

The real work began after that.  A few nights before, I had given Sa'Haara and Madison a homework assignment to help them start thinking about what they wanted to do for their projects.  I was very glad I asked that, because we were then tasked to sit down and finalize their projects.  That too I will save for my wrap up, since I happen to think they chose very ambitious, amazing projects!

We were treated to one last joint session before the closing ceremony.  During this session, a panel of girls were assembled to talk about what guiding and scouting has done for them.  I think the best way to sum up that panel is that each girl sitting in that chair is already setting the world on fire!

Guess who came to speak at our closing ceremony.  No, really, guess!

Dr. Tererai Trent the same lady who was also featured on Oprah for the work she has done.  Her educational background was not a traditional one, but was inspiring because she overcame some of the harshest of realities to get to where she is today.  More so, she is proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.  At the end of her speech, she told us that to see this many empowered young women together was an inspiration to her, and for me, that reinforced all of our hard work.

Such a crack up they were!

The declaration was re-presented, to affirm our commitments to the work we have been doing.  We are committed to making the Millennium Development Goals a reality!

Ok, confession time.... when the girls began thanking the adult members who helped them plan GWF, I started crying.  Then, the crying turned into bawling, and let's just leave it at that mmk?

We had just barely one hour before dinner and a last hurrah, so what did we do?  Went to the John Hancock building with the Irish!

Up, up and away we went!  The elevator we rode in took exactly 40 seconds to climb 94 floors!

I have to tell you about one amazing Irish Guide who nearly made me cry again!  The Guide in the middle is named Lauren, and she's a bright young woman!  Lauren is not a fan of heights, but didn't want to let every down and miss out on this experience, so came with us.  She was very unsure the entire time, but made it through.  I am so, immensely proud of her!

Interesting photo above- I took this photo while in the John Hancock building.  The tall, silver building on the left is Trump Tower, and the tall, black building in the right is the Sears Tower (I know it has a new name, and I do not remember what it is, sorry!).

We headed back to the hotel for one last hurrah.  We were in for a real treat too!  A group of salsa dancers came to give us a lesson, and they had giant summo suits out for us to play in!  I got some great photos of Heather and Jannelle going at it.  

And, what's a good party without some dancing?!

The next morning, we headed out bright and early.

Even the Irish were sad to go!  We were all sad to leave, but we made it home, safe and sound.


Yup, those are my smelly feet again (and yeah, my $1 nail polish survived the week!).  My feet took me all over Chicago, and they took me on great adventure.  I admit, it's nice to be home, but what I came back with is literally invaluable.