Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day Camp!

I'm still a little bummed that we missed out on our Service Unit's day camp, but we did have fun at a day camp from a Service Unit just North of us.  I got to help teach the outdoor skills class, and I ended up learning a few useful things along the way.

Lesson number one, before doing any sort of camp cooking, you need to teach your scouts basic cooking skills!  Seriously!  I cannot begin to count how many scouts did not know the difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon, a liquid and dry measure (and how to use them properly), and how to use a knife.  Those were the first things I taught my scouts before their cooking lesson, and the first things that you should be teaching anyone in a kitchen.

Lesson number two, learn your knots!  Thankfully, of the knots we were asked to teach, I did know them all (though I still despise the bowline).  During our knot tying day, we asked the leaders and program aides to join in, as they would be helping out their scouts in their unit time (down time).  A lot of the knots even have cute stories to help teach them (my personal favorite being the scout who goes around the world and through the North Pole, to form the 8 knot), so it made it easier to teach the knots.  It was still a bit of a challenge, even on our last day, but was something to think about for the future.

Lesson number three, fire safety!  As a whole, most of the scouts knew the generalities of fire safety, but there were many who needed that push and reminder.  Many of them had to be told to put their hair up (thankfully, we had extra hair ties, but still).

Lesson number four, be VERY clear with directions!  With the younger girls, this is easy to remember, but this is something we often forget with the older girls.  There were times I felt like I was repeating myself more with the older girls than I was the younger girls.  Any sort of directions you give them need to be very clear.  I can relate this back to when I learned in college how to write recipes.  I was taught that your recipe needs to be written so that an idiot could pick it up and follow it- you need to have specific amounts, types, equipment necessary, and more (you get the point).  This goes with our scouts- be specific.  Remember, they are here to learn, so we have to give them the tools to learn that they need.

Lesson five, hydrate!  We covered this on our first day at camp, but, I still found myself reminding girls to drink water or wet their bandannas.  The woman I was helping out explained it as water was our body's way of turning on its A/C.  If you think about it, it makes sense, and it was something that was easy enough for the girls to understand.

Lesson six, always have a backup.  This goes without saying, but I just wanted to stick this in just to remind you all.  Thankfully, it did not rain the whole week, but having a backup was necessary since we were out in the open.

Lesson seven, label EVERYTHING!  I mean it!  You need to get OCD and label everything that will be used, since there are girls who will look right at it and not realize what it is they are looking at.  We put all our food in coolers that were labeled, but we still had girls asking us where things were (but that's fairly normal).

Lesson eight, be patient.  We're scout leaders, so we should already have patience, but for things like day camp, we need an exceptional amount of patience.  I was reminded of this quickly on our first day when we were menu planning.  Some of the girls had some really out there ideas on what they wanted to cook, so we had to carefully bring them back to the here and now in what was truly feasible.  I was reminded yet again on day two when I helped out with crafts.  They were making SWAPS and a few scouts did not know what a SWAP was, but they got it once we told them.  Again I was reminded on day three when we tied knots, and BIG time on day four when we cooked.  There were several special needs girls that I had the opportunity to work with, and they truly reminded me how important patience is, which brings me to my last lesson learned....

Lesson nine, compassion.  Being a volunteer is truly a blessing no matter what it is you are volunteering for.  Scout leaders aren't paid!  We do it out of the goodness of our hearts, to pass on our knowledge to the next generation of women.  We also do it to ensure that our future leaders are capable of tackling any obstacle in life.  I was fortunate enough to have two amazing women who were my leaders as a Girl Scout.  Those women helped turn me into the woman I am today.  I'm sure that after cooking on Thursday, some girls think I'm awful because I harped on them about their cutting skills (honestly, it was because I did not want anyone to cut themselves!), and others probably think I'm nuts for being so in love with a knot (really, I love that 8 knot!).  I know from experience that if you're really enthusiastic about something, you can get anyone pumped for it as well.

Most of all, I want to thank everyone I worked with this past week.  I've always loved scouting, and this was one of the best weeks in Girl Scouting I've had in a while!  Even being a teacher, I learned a few things.  My cute kiddo had a blast as well, but she usually does when it comes to scouting.  As for me, I am glad I have some down time before I ship out to Girl's World Forum next month!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer fun, take one!

We may live in a small town, but thankfully, we have things to do in the surrounding areas.  There's a lot of cool things in Jacksonville, we have the amazing Jeykll Island, beautiful St. Simons, Savannah is just North of us, plus there are some active troops within our area as well.  Just last week, our Service Unit did there day camp. Unfortunately, my daughter and I could not make it, but I heard from others in our troop that they had a blast.  Next week, we'll be participating in a day camp for a Service Unit just North of us (me helping, the kiddo having all the fun or course).

MOCA Jacksonville is an amazing little museum.  For starters, it's taking part in the Blue Star Museums this summer (which means its free for the military this summer).  MOCA is also free for families on Sundays, AND, they have entire kids floor.  Score 1 for a family field trip!

Going back to our small town.... thankfully, the military base here has a few things to offer, including a bowling alley!  Another great thing for us.  We just found out that they do a cool little thing for this kids, but we can't afford it this summer (maybe next?).  It's basically a behind the scenes tour with some fun stuff.  This summer, we're just going to go bowling one afternoon (since it's under $2!).  Score 2 for a family field trip!

Up next, the beach.  Might as well, I mean we live less than 20 minutes away from some amazing beaches in Fernandina and Amelia!  Score 3 for a family field trip!

So that's several fun things we've got on the agenda so far, plus one exciting thing.... the Games Go Global badge.  With the Olympics just around the corner, what better to do at the end of July?!  We're trying to get some of our friends to come do it with us (the more the merrier, right?).  The plan right now is to have several activities for the girls to do within each category of the patch.  The requirements are on the lax side, so it does gives us some wiggle room.  The basic mechanics have us organizing a small activity in 3 areas- stadium, temple and theater.  The stadium events are physical challenges, the temple events are thinking challenges and the theater events are arts based.  There is one big thing though- there are no winners and losers.  The concept is to bring every one together to emphasize team spirit and pride.  As soon as I finish the details of this one, I'll make a whole post for you all.  Oh, so that brings our score up to 4!

To close out our summer, our service unit is sponsoring an evening at the local splash park.  It's taking place shortly before school starts, so it seems like the perfect way to end everyone's summer.  Plus, we can bring our family and our admission is much cheaper than their normal price.  Score 5... I think we have a summer win for us!