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!