Sunday, July 8, 2012

Girls World Forum, my SWAPS

What is a SWAPS?  A very old, very awesome Girl Scouting tradition!  A SWAPS is a Special Whatchamacallit Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.  It's a small something that scouts and leaders have made to exchange with other scouts and leaders as a way to commemorate an event or scouting in general, and something to remember each other by.  The history of SWAPS dates back to the 1950s and 60s when they were traded at many of the Girl Scout Senior Roundups.

Typically speaking, there is no norm for a SWAPS.  It can range from a small pin, to a bookmark, or even a small keepsake.  Going through an old bucket of SWAPS I have received over the years, I can attest to this.  I once received a SWAPS that was faux thin mints made from Ritz Crackers that had a bag with the finished product in it as well as the recipe attached.  I especially love many of the cute SWAPS I have that were made from clothespins, and a lot of the scout themed SWAPS.  For day camp a few weeks ago, I got to help out in the crafts hut on SWAPS making day.  They made soda tab bracelets, mini friendship bracelets (attached to a pin), mini soda pop glasses and more!  The possibilities are limitless.

SWAPS also serve a greater purpose- making new friends!  Or as we adults like to call it, networking.  GSUSA SWAPS page has some really good pointers about this.  For example, don't break the bank when making your SWAPS, and you should always try and exchange SWAPS face-to-face (unless you're mailing SWAPS to a troop who live far away).  Another good thing to remember is to keep in mind how many you'll need to make.  For large events (like GWF), it's just not practical to make enough for every single person. Plus, what are the odds that you will come in contact with every single person at an event of this magnitude?  It's ok to only make a handful of SWAPS!  You do what you can afford and have time to do.

For GWF, it was suggested that if we chose to bring SWAPS, that we should consider doing something related to the state or country we would be representing.  Historic Georgia encompasses a large portion of Georgia, as well as two counties in South Carolina and one county in Alabama.  Historic Georgia does not include the Atlanta area and northwest Georgia.  Therefore, I felt that doing something relating to that area of Georgia was not for me.  Lucky for me, Historic Georgia includes THE BIRTHPLACE!  For those of you who are not familiar with The Birthplace, this is in reference to our illustrious founder, Juliette Gordon Low's home in Savannah (which is about one and a half hours north of where I live).

For my SWAPS, I printed out homemade business cards with my information on them, and a small photo of Juliette Gordon Low.  I also purchased 2"x2" plastic bags (can be found online, or at Walmart in the beading/arts and crafts section), gold glitter, small safety pins, navy blue ribbon and some small viles of bubbles (the kind you see often at weddings or in birthday party goodie bags).  I cut out the JGL photo, put it in the bag with some glitter (less than a 1/2 teaspoon to be exact), and put the bag on the safety pin with the business card (that had a hole punched in it).  I tied the ribbon to the top of the bubbles, and then onto the pin, and tada!

Guess what blondie over here did?  Not purchase enough of the navy ribbon.  Lucky for me, my crafts room has a whole bin full of ribbon, including some super special ribbon I found that is blue and has daisies on it.  Some of these special ones have already been promised to friends who are attending GWF, however, 10 of them have not!  I don't want to promise these to any of you chaperons (since really, this isn't for us so much as it is the girls), BUT, if you tell your scouts/guides (or if you the scout/guide reads this), and tell me you read my blog post, I will give you one of those special daisy ribbon'ed SWAPS!  However, I know those 10 will go fast, so once they are gone, I will have a top secret something else!  Ok, it's not really top secret so much as I have to go pick it up tomorrow from the base's gift shop, and I am not sure what it will be.  It will be something Navy related and fun, and that's all I can say!

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