Monday, April 29, 2013

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 21

Confession time- I am jealous of everyone who gets to spend Thinking Day at any of the World Centers.  After seeing this year's celebration photos online, I felt a little bummed that I wasn't around. BUT, in a few years, I figure I can get sneaky and convince the girls to save for a trip during Thinking Day (I know, I'm terrible!).

Sticking with the theme, and having little party shakers, I downloaded a bunch of music from this year's focus countries for the girls to listen too.  We basically had a listening party before we prepared for our Thinking Day feast.  Everyone brought in foods from a country they had relatives/ancestors from.  But before we could eat, we had to sing a song we had been working on for literally the past 6 months:

It's a hard song, but hey guess what, MY DAISIES SANG IT!!!!!  We sang this song during our opening at Girl's World Forum with the fabulous Melinda Caroll.  I knew it would be a challenge, but I brought it back for the girls and they learned it.  They knew it so well that instead of having us call out the first line, they called it out and had their families repeat it!

Before we ate, our new girls received their WAGGGS pins.  It took everything in me not to cry! I'm so proud of them all though.  It was something they will remember for a long time, and because I promised I wouldn't make them sing Babala Gumbala again until next year (they have made sure I remembered every week before we sang a song).  As for that food, we tasted foods from Egypt, Turkey, Poland, Sweeden and a few others I have already forgotten (sorry!).  No surprise, they all came back for seconds.

Though the focus countries for next year's Thinking Day have not yet been announced, I can tell you that the focus MDG is number 2, achieve universal primary education for all.  After that, it leaves one more MDG for us to cover in 2015!

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 20

Even though this week's meeting involved zero glitter, it still haunted us.  Glitter on my GS bags, glitter still on the floors, glitter everywhere.  I am never working with glitter again, and this time I mean it!

Today was a bit low key.  We read chapter 2 of Between the Earth and Sky and tied it into a field trip we were about to take.  With cookie season in full swing, and the girls working so hard, they deserved a break. Our schools had a 5 day weekend during President's Day.  We used that Tuesday off for a fun day out with the animals.  But, we had to establish ground rules because we most certainly were not going to act like animals in front of the animals.  And what a perfect opportunity to sneak in another money lesson!  We talked more about our goals and what we want to do with our cookie profits.  Disney is a very real goal for next year, but this year's tangible goal can have many fun things to do around it.  When we went to zoo, the girls were given an option- have a snow cone or ride on the train.  We couldn't afford to do both (they were the same cost).  So they all had to vote, BUT, the hitch was that they all had to agree.  No surprise, they choose snow cones.

It was a good lesson though.  Cookie booths had only just begun, but showing them that if they don't meet all of their set goals, they will have to pick and choose which activities they want to do.  I can let you on this much (because I am writing this after cookie season ended)- the girls knew that just for their basic goals, everyone needed to sell 150 boxes of cookies.  I can proudly say that my Daisies averaged 267 boxes per girl!  And our top earners sold over 600 a piece!  So yes, they earned enough to visit the birthplace, have lunch at Paula Deen's and more!

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 19

As I write this post, cookie season is long over (thank GOODNESS!).  Cookie season this year was exceptionally stressful, but it was well worth it.

Last year we used a lot of cookie based recipes on our booth posters.  The girls loved that, so I made sure to print those out before today's meeting.  Being a little more than a week away from cookie booths, and just days before cookie delivery, we used today's meeting to prep all of our booth posters.  I'm that crazy leader who lets the girls dictate what they want to use for their materials.  Long story short, so much glitter everywhere!  And that glitter followed us around for all of cookie season.   Anyway, the girls made 2 tri-fold poster and 4 hand held signs. We ran out of time to do our cookies from home donation jars, but they told me what they wanted I did that once I got home (again, all the glitter, oh my goodness!).  Everything looked cute, but if I can, next year, I fully intend on discouraging the glitter (though knowing these girls, they will insist on more glitter).

SU Thinking Day Event

So, if Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, then Founder's Day (Juliette Gordon Low's birthday) is like Girl Scout Christmas.  With that being said, Thinking Day is to Girl Scouts what Purim is to the Jews (well, not really, but it was the closest analogy I could think of).  Thinking Day is a special Girl Scout holiday where all of us Girl Scouts and Girl Guides pause to remember and celebrate our Scouting/Guiding sisters world wide.

This year our focus countries were Venezuela (that we helped represent), Ireland, Jordan, Pakistan and Malawi.  Seeing as how we are in the middle of the Millennium Challenge, we have also added in the aspect for a focus MDG the past few years.  This year was the twin theme of MDG 4 and 5, reduce infant mortality and improve maternal health.  To make it easier on the troops, we split up the responsibilities   Take for example us and Venezuela.  My troop created the board/presentation.  Another troop made SWAPS and a third troop made food from Venezuela.  A few of the larger troops did all of it for one country or MDG, but most of us teamed up.  It went over fairly well.  We also had a station where the girls could make friendship bracelets to donate to the Sangam's store where they sell them to make money for programs.  We had so many activities, but the best part was in the end, we fulfilled the requirements to earn the WAGGGS Thinking Day patch which the girls can put on the front of their uniform!

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 18

So much to do, so little time to do it!  Looking at today's meeting in black and white, you would think it was boring, but it was far from it!

Thinking Day falls in the middle of our cookie season.  So we held our SU Thinking Day event at the beginning of February.  Our troop was tasked with creating a board about Venezuela.  So it gave us the chance to learn about this country. Venezuela is such a beautiful country with a very rich and interesting history.  Like last year, I printed out several maps and a bunch of pictures.  We talked about what everything was and learned about the country.  Once that was done, I handed them over to the girls and let them go nuts with a board, some glue and a few markers.  It turned out really well.  Once they were done, I added the Venezuelan flag and national flower on the side of the board to stick out a little.  They did an amazing job!

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 17

When the journeys were introduced, I was out of the loop of Girl Scouting.  When I finally got back in the loop and learned about them, I was honestly a little jealous that we didn't have them when I was scout!

Today we began our final Daisy journey, Between the Earth and Sky.  This is such a neat journey because it centers around a trip the flower friends take.  We purposely planned to do this journey right now because the girls are in the middle of cookie season.  They did the basic planning work for their cookie reward/end of the year trip, but since we don't have cookies in hand yet, it's a little hard for them to grasp what exactly it is they are working towards.  Listening to this story was exactly the boost they needed to keep them on track for their final goal (which as I write this months later, we are currently days away from our trip!).

The leader's guide and guidebook has several great activities that fit in with what we are doing.  The first one is really neat.  The leader's guide calls it the big blue bucket of words.  The original lesson intrigued me, but we changed it up a little.  But, first things first- our official club house. We were getting ready to talk about feelings and emotions.  This is touchy with any age group.  So we created Daisy's club house.  Daisy's club house has a few rules- this is a safe space, so anything we talk about stays in the club house.  We won't talk about it outside of our meetings because we want to trust each other (something we will build upon over the years).  After we had that established, we asked the girls, what are negative words that you have heard that can be hurtful?  I won't repeat them, but they came up with some very good answers.  We wrote them all down on the chalk board.  We took a good look at them and then erased them from our vocabulary.  We all promised that we would never use these hurtful words again, in and our of meetings.  With those sad words still in our heads, we then began talking about happy words, or as we named our own blue bucket of words, Words of Affirmation.  We all took a slip of paper and secretly wrote a happy word down, but we didn't read them.  We all folded it up and stuck it in the bucket.

I read my word out loud though, and this was the only time I did this.  I had a very good reason too.  We hadn't been out to work in our garden in a while.  Even though we walk past it every week when we walk to our meeting spot, sometimes we forget to look left.  The garden was our responsibility, and had gathered some weeds of the past few weeks.  It had also been trampled in one part.  We were very honest with the girls about it, but did not want it to dampen their spirits.  So my word of the week was perseverance.  Though it may seem like such a small word, when put into the context of our garden and take action project, it was such a big, positive word that lifted everyone's spirits.

We finished out the meeting doing some role playing and learning how to properly deal with play ground bullies.  Everyone was asked to act out some scenarios.  They did a great job and learned how to handle things without getting in trouble, getting peoples feelings hurt and where to go for help.

Daisies, Year 2, Meeting 16

Can I take a moment here to yet again recognize the awesome power of Girl Scouting/Guiding?  Seriously, thanks to my awesome "sisters" literally all over the world, today's meeting was a great success!  AND, today's meeting was extra special because we had two very special guests who came to visit all the way from New Jersey!

We started out the meeting reading our answered questions.  We heard back from ladies in India, Ohio, Australia and more!  The girls loved hearing about everyone from all over.  We did have Heather and her sister there, which was wonderful, but I did desperately wish to have a guest who was from another country. The girls learned about hearing about scouts and guides from all over.

I haven't done one of these in a while, but our next activity was definitely a "lesson learned" activity.  There's a neat little activity that teaches about water sanitation, that we did.  The lesson learned today..... yeah the Daisies weren't really "ready" for it just yet, BUT, with a bit of help, they did well.

So, the water exercise.  To set this up, you'll need a bottle of water with a little bit of dirt mixed in. You'll also need a charcoal filter (which you can get at a pet supplies store), a funnel, a measuring cup, cotton balls, coffee filters, baking soda, salt peter and a plain sponge.  If you Google this, you can find other ways to do this.  The key is figuring out the "easiest" or best way to teaching this to whichever age group you have.  This took up literally the rest of our meeting and we barely finished it.  The girls had fun though!