Welcome to my blog! I started it when I was a new Girl Scout leader and needed some kind of organized "to-do" list. I decided the best way to keep things organized was to start a blog. So here it is! My oldest troop has since bridged up to Juniors, and I've taken on a Daisy troop as well, so I will continue updating with new Juniors information and additional Daisy stuff too. My hope is to continue to update with every level as my troops advance. But we'll see.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope it's helpful!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Daisies: Light Green Petal

Today we worked on being Considerate & Caring. We also worked on a craft that I'm hoping will go along well with a Journey Badge for taking care of animals, from Three Cheers for Animals.

This meeting was our last before holiday break, so it worked out really well to work on being Considerate & Caring.

Here's what I told the girls:

Now, you might think there's not a lot of difference between being considerate & caring, and being friendly & helpful. But there is!

There are many things you can do to be helpful – you can help at home, or help your friends, but when you are being considerate, you are putting someone else's feelings in front of your own. You are considering – thinking of – their feelings. And when you are being caring, you are showing someone that their feelings matter to you, and if they are sad or hurting or in need, you can help.

And it's not just about your family and friends. It's not just showing your mom or dad or grandma or brother or sister that you think their feelings are important. It's also helping to care for others, people you don't even know who may need help, or who may not have anyone to care for them.

A lot of times during the holidays you might see Toys for Tots boxes, or Salvation Army people with their red buckets and ringing bells. You might see people bringing groceries to school to help give to other people who may need help.

And the holidays are a wonderful time for people to be considerate and caring. They are a wonderful time to remind us that we should always try to help others, but Girl Scouts don't stop at the holidays. We do this all the time! We should always be willing to help out someone in need, and to think of other people's feelings.

So if there are ways for you to be considerate, to be caring, you should do it. And it doesn't have to be with just people, even! It can be with the environment, like not littering, and trying to always recycle when we can, and caring for animals, as well. We can help care for the animals in our world like Juliette Low said to do. . . .
My co-leader gave an example of how a woman in line at the store let her go ahead, because she had fewer items to buy. That was being very considerate! We asked the girls to come up with ideas on how they can be and have been considerate of others.

Then we talked some more about being caring, and how Juliette Low said that all Girl Scouts are friends to animals, even (and especially) wild ones. And one way we can be caring is to help make birdfeeders for the birds. This is a great craft (though a bit messy), and works well with the Journey Birdbath patch.


Here is an easy set of directions on how to do it: http://crafts.kaboose.com/pine-cone-bird-feeder.html

What you'll need (this was for our troop of 18; adjust as needed):
1. Decent-sized pinecone per child
2. Two large jars of peanut butter (natural is best!)
3. Paper plates for each child
4. Plastic spoons or dull knives for spreading
5. Paper towels for cleanup
6. Sturdy paper bags or gallon Ziplocs (we had two)
7. Roll of twine
8. Scissors
9. Paper bag each to take home
10. Birdseed (check the ingredients; you'd be surprised to find some birdseeds have artificial ingredients, blech!)

Spread peanut butter on the pinecones, then pour some birdseed in a Ziploc. Drop pinecone in, seal, and shake. Tie twine around pinecone and make a loop to hang. Ta-da! Instant birdfeeder! (Image from the wonderful internet. Our pinecone was eaten up too fast to get a good picture!)


Next up I'd planned to have the girls make holiday cards for us to take caroling with us to a local retirement home. But the weather was just so nice, I opted to take them outdoors for a scavenger hunt instead. Yes, the card-making would've been a better fit for the petal we were working on, but the weather's getting colder and I wanted to take advantage of it while we could! See? Flexible. It's a good thing.

I'd made up the supplies beforehand as a backup just in case. I'm so glad I did!

I got the idea from this site: http://howtonestforless.com/2012/07/24/nature-scavenger-hunt-for-the-kids-free-printable/

The author has free printables! I did alter the check-off list slightly though, to add "keep it or leave it," etc.

Here's the nametag printable:

The girls had a great time! I printed out the check-off sheets and name tags (used Chalkduster font; I am not a fan of Comic Sans, but like this one), glued the names to paper bags, put a marker in each, and off we went to the playground!

There was no reward, and while I'd planned on them working in teams, we ended up just letting them do what they wanted. It was easy and fun. :)


I'd also made holiday goody bags ahead of time. Not all the girls celebrate Christmas (some are Jewish, etc.), so I made the bags very generic. I used snowflake cellophane bags, and filled them with mini-snowflake bubbles, small butterfly rings (Target party favor aisle), snowflake ruler/bookmarks, various candies, Girl Scout recycled pencils, GS holiday pencils, and two patches -- this one:

 . . . and a "Happy Holidays 2012" snowman one (which is no longer available from that site). We had two girls join our troop after I'd already ordered the patches, so I went to the local Council store and bought some fun holiday patches there. Now I know to always order extras, just in case!

Also, while it's nice that patches from online sites like Patch Sales are inexpensive, keep in mind they may not be iron-ons.

Check your local Council store, too, for clearance items! Sometimes ours has fun patches on clearance.

The girls loved goody bags, had a great meeting, and the next week we went caroling at the retirement home.

Next up? Cookies! My, oh my, what a time that will be! More to come. . . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daisies: Yellow Petal

This meeting we worked on our yellow petal for being Friendly & Helpful. First off, we talked about different ways to be friendly. I asked each girl to name one way to be friendly, and we went all the way around until someone said, "Always say 'please' and 'thank you'" and then I paused and said, "Yes! And we'll get back to that in just a minute."

We finished up letting everyone who wanted have a turn with a suggestion, then went back to the "please" and "thank you" one.

As part of earning one of their Brownie badges, another troop had made Happy Birthday cards for our girls, to celebrate Juliette Low's birthday. To work on our own yellow petal badge, we made Thank You cards for each of the girls in the Brownie troop (this would work well for Being a Sister to Every Girl Scout -- violet petal -- as well).

We talked about the importance of always saying "thank you," whether it be in person or in writing. Since the girls from the Brownie troop weren't there in person, we were making them thank you cards. Our girls used foam stickers and markers on construction paper.

During snack, my co-leader read the girls a story about helping your friends, and working together. Afterwards, we passed out more construction paper, pencils, markers, and scissors, and had the girls make "Helping Hands."

After tracing the hands and cutting them out, the girls colored them and wrote "A Daisy Was Here" on each one.

The girls put the hands in their folders to take home (each made at least three), with the assignment of doing helpful things around the house, and leaving a handprint where the helpful deed was done. Once all three hands had been used, the yellow petal could be ironed onto her vest!

Before the meeting ended, we scrubbed the tables really, really well and left a big handprint drawing on the board with a note, "Daisies were here!" for the art teacher, whose room we use as our meeting place.

Doing extra things like this helps show the girls to always clean up after themselves (and leave things even cleaner than we found them), to say thank you, and help someone who's been kind enough to do something nice for us.

**A personal note**

Girl Scouts has a wonderfully comprehensive approach for Daisies in the blue book and Journey books, and of course these are designed in accordance with Juliette Low's ideals (see below); the point as we go is not to earn badges as rewards, but to become proficient in these skills and wear the badges to show others they can rely on us to have those skills.

However, when you're dealing with five-, six-, and seven-year-olds, immediate gratification and tangible rewards can be much easier concepts for them to grasp than the notion of skill mastery.

In other words, showing what a "smart" girl you are can be a very good tool and reminder in helping the youngest Girl Scouts along the way towards understanding mastery. It doesn't have to be a "better than" approach (as in "I have X number of patches, thus am 'better than so-and-so'"). It can just simply be an "earned reward" one.

Don't forget, Juliette Low also said this (in reference to another mom asking about Girl Scouts): "Why should my daughter be a Girl Scout? FUN!"

So the point in the end is to prepare the girls, but the manner in which we're doing this is to frame it within FUN! And part of the fun is earning badges. Not just to show the world that she is prepared to help and give aid, but that she has completed steps necessary to earn a reward. At this age, the reward is a key factor, and while it may not be as important for some of the girls as the fun (or there may be an equal importance), it can be quite valuable.

Plus, this age is more about helping them memorize and understand the Girl Scout Law: setting the foundation for being prepared, gaining mastery, and continued work on individual responsibility. So we have petals representing each to help with this, but always in a (hopefully) fun way. This prepares them for Brownies and later stages.

While the stories and activities suggested in the official Girl Scout literature may be a perfect fit 100% of the time for many troops, it may not be for yours every single time, and that's okay. You adapt as needed, to meet the needs of your girls, and the situation and environment your troop is in. You make it as fun as you can, and (in my personal view) it's fine to have the badges be viewed as rewards, as long as it's not a competition, nor pointing out one child's accomplishments over another's in a way that can alienate anyone in the troop.

So don't be afraid to veer off slightly from the Girl Scout curriculum, as long as you are meeting your troop's needs, and at the same time instilling in the girls the lessons associated with each skill and petal represented by it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Daisies: Blue Petal

Since we went out of order and did the red petal before the blue (see this post here on why, and what that meeting entailed), our third meeting focused on the "first" petal: the light blue one, for being Honest and Fair.

Before we started working on the blue petal, though, I wanted a quick review of the red one, which is about being Courageous and Strong.

I told them I'm not a very good singer, and sometimes singing in front of other people makes me nervous or a little scared. But because we all have earned our red petal and we know Girl Scouts are Courageous and Strong, I was going to sing a song for them, but maybe they could help a little?

And I taught them this song (thank you, GS of SD for posting a version online!):

After I'd sung it once, I had them all sing along (we didn't do the Daisy Circle for it; we waited until the end of the meeting for that and sang it again).

Then we moved on to the blue petal.

Most of the online resources I had found beforehand focused on the aspect of being Honest, and while many did give suggestions on addressing the Fairness aspect, I didn't feel they were the best fit for our group.

Most of the girls in our troop are six-years-old (a few have turned seven). If we were dealing with younger Daisies, I might've approached this petal a little differently.

As it is, though, these girls have a pretty good grasp on what it means to be honest, and why it's important to tell the truth. Instead of reading The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which many sites suggest, I just asked the girls why they felt it was important to always be honest. They didn't need that story. They'd heard it before. Since honesty was something they had a good grasp on already, we spent the bulk of the meeting covering Fairness. But not in a way you might suspect. . . .

Many online sites suggest activities like giving the girls an unequal number of treats, then talking about being fair, and then giving a treat to those who were left out.

I wasn't comfortable with this for a number of reasons:

1. It makes some of the girls feel left out (rightfully so) from the get-go. To me, that's not ideal at this age.
2. It ties the concept of Fairness to material objects only. But being fair goes beyond things; I wanted to focus on actions (and perhaps more importantly, reactions) as well.
3. Sometimes things aren't fair, or sometimes they are, but they don't feel fair. I wanted to give the girls a way to respond in that situation.

But the challenge for me was to keep things simple, because they are quite young still, while also focusing on this concept in a manner I was comfortable with.

After we finished talking about honesty, I stood in front of them and asked, "Has anyone here ever felt like something wasn't fair? Has anyone here ever done this?" and I stomped my foot, put my hands on my hips, and whined very loudly, "THAT'S NOT FAIR!" (I over-exaggerated, so it was a little funny, but at the same time, familiar. I'm pretty sure they've all done this. All kids at some point have. At least mine have.)

Then I said again, "Has anyone ever felt this way?" and I raised my hand to show I have.

Immediately the girls' hands shot up in the air.

I lowered my voice, almost to a whisper (this is a great trick -- they will be extra quiet to listen, in most cases) and said, "I'll tell you a secret . . . Girl Scouts don't do that."

They all stared at me.

I said, "Instead of stomping our feet and saying 'THAT'S NOT FAIR!' Girl Scouts stop and think of a way to make it feel fair."

Then I had two girls come up and asked them their favorite colors. One was purple; the other was gold. I gave a pretend example of what if the first one had a gold crayon and the second had a purple, and each wanted to use the other's crayon. Instead of saying "THAT'S NOT FAIR!" what could they do to make it fair?

My Daisies knew the answers immediately: "SHARE!" "TAKE TURNS!"

Yep. I reiterated Girl Scouts look for a solution to the problem. I also tried to let the girls come up with the answers themselves.

So while I wanted to introduce the concept of fairness beyond material things, I still had to use a scenario involving (imaginary) things to get the point across. But, my focus wasn't on everyone gets the same. My focus was on not whining about things feeling unfair, but acting on making them feel fair.

Our first craft was this coloring page, because it tied into the larger craft we were going to do after snack:

While they were coloring, I asked them to describe what they saw in the picture. It's tough to interact with the kids while they're doing crafts, so keeping it down to simple questions, or walking around and asking a few at a time, seems to help.

They described what they saw, and I repeated the answer loudly enough for all to hear, "Oh, they're making friendship bracelets? They're sharing their beads?"

They all responded, "Yes!"

I said, "Is that something YOU would like to do?"

"YES!" they cried.

I smiled and said, "Great! Because after snack, that's what we're going to do!"

And we did. Beforehand, I'd gathered enough small, colorful, wooden beads for each girl to have 18 (which were more than they'd need for bracelets, but I wanted extras just in case). I had a variety of colored strings, and had already tied one end and attached a small bead, to keep the beads from sliding off, when they started making their own. I'd separated the beads and strings so they were in groups of three and four (we have 16 girls total in our troop, but three were out that day). I used Chinese take-out plastic containers to hold them, so the beads could live in the bowl part or the lid. (Good way to show reusing in action, too!)

Because we'd already talked about sharing, and not fussing when things don't feel fair, there were minimal incidences of girls wanting something another girl had. In each (slight) case, we reminded them about Girl Scouts being fair, and to find a way to work it out so everyone was happy. I'm very proud to say they did. :)

The bracelets turned out great, and the moms helped tie the bracelets for the girls.

After craft cleanup, I read them the Lupe story from the blue Daisy book. (Note: Lupe is pronounced "LOO-pay," and Lupine is pronounced "LOO-pin," because it's the flower/noun, not the adjective.)

It's hard sometimes, to read a story aloud to kids. But the more animated you can be, the more into it you are, the more into it they will be. Don't be afraid to really throw yourself into whatever it is you're doing with your girls. They will LOVE it.

Anyway, this is a cute little story and touches on both being fair, and being honest. Afterward we talked about what if Lupe had made different choices, and what that would mean, etc.

The girls got it. And because this meeting fell on a week where so much was going on at school, there were no take-home activities required to earn this petal. At the end, I had them all stand and say they promised to try very hard to always be Honest and Fair, as a Girl Scout should be. They did. And with that, they'd earned their petal. :)

I included this coloring page (from this site) in their take-home folders, because we didn't have time to do it in the meeting (if we'd had time, it would've been after the story). I attached a note that they were not required to do it, but were welcome to, if they wanted.

And that's it for meeting number three!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brownies & Daisies: Some Helpful Links and Online Resources

Here are some helpful links I've found thus far online (in very random order). I'll be editing this as I go, so check back often!  (You can also view some of my prior posts for more.)

Special thanks to other online troop leaders who've shared their experiences, ideas, and resources. :)

In addition to the main Girl Scout site and your own local Council site, check out Pinterest (just search for Girl Scouts or Daisies among Boards section) for ideas.


Printable Daisy Petal Stickers - for use with color printer and Avery round labels.
Black and White Coloring Pages for Daisy Characters - this is a nice resource for troops using the blue Daisy notebooks and stories within.
Making Friends - this site has lots of craft ideas, kits, and fun patches.
Making Friends Coloring Pages - free printables.
Purchasable Crafts/Gifts - depending on your financial resources, you might find something here!
Coloring Page - good to have on hand in case you need a backup craft.
Icebreaker Games - adapt as needed for your girls' ages.
Make New Friends Video - I am not the most musical person (ha!) so having a video with the tune helped.
Friendship Circle/Squeeze Video - for those very new to GS, even the simplest videos can help!
List of Songs - I like this list because it includes "to the tune of" for songs.
Flag Ceremony Video - another good one for those of us new to GS. While your troop may choose to begin each meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, it's nice to have a resource for when they're ready to begin a full ceremony.
Girl Scout Law Song with Hand Movements - this is a great video made by a troop, to help others learn the Law.
Good General Resource Guide with Many Links - here you'll find several helpful links to getting started on Daisies!
How to Memorize the GS Law - you might find some of these ideas helpful.
Kaper Charts - with lots of suggestions added on.
Patches/Badges - this site is laid out great, and based on the official Guide books you can purchase (the hardback ones for girls, with the illustrated stories inside)
Vintage Girl Scouts - this site has loads of info on the list of pins, etc.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daisies: Red Petal

When it came to our troop earning Daisy petals, I'd planned on going in order (so we'd follow the petals' meanings as they're connected to the GS Law). Then a great opportunity arose, and even though it rearranged my plans, I jumped on it!

Always take advantage of any offers for help. It takes some burden off you, the Troop Leader, and also gives the girls a different experience.

I hadn't given the red petal much thought, honestly, because I assumed it wasn't on the agenda for a good while. But one of our wonderful Volunteer moms is a nursing student, and had a recent assignment to instruct a group on health and nutrition. The red petal is for being Courageous and Strong. Great! Yes, please! Come and instruct! (And let me sit and relax a few minutes with the girls, and learn something new, as well.)

This was a great example of using whatever resources we have access to, including people (don't rely on your local Council or Service Unit. Be willing to network, talk to your moms about what experience they have, or people they may know, and talk to other troop leaders who may have suggestions as well). So I asked her when she'd be available, and we set it up tout suite. Thus, blue petal got bumped from this meeting, and we'll start up on it the next time.

We did our regular troop activities (see this post), including some Journey coloring pages, and then I introduced her to the girls. I reminded the girls to be polite and quiet and listen very carefully. I did have to stand behind her at one point and raise my hand, to quiet the girls. They raised their hands and shushed. I sat back down; the speaker continued. (Note: Next time remind any guest speakers about the raise-hand-for-quiet trick.)

After involving the girls in questions about what healthy foods are, she talked to us about types of foods for meals, and portions too. (Did you know you shouldn't eat a piece of meat that is bigger than your fist? I did not know that!)

She brought in plastic play food (from her own kids' stash, I'm sure), and some handouts for the girls, as well as coloring pages from this site.

She passed out plastic plates for the girls to use, and had them select different foods to put on the plates, to represent portions of healthy foods. (She snuck in some play desserts as well, so the girls had to think. Sneaky! I loved it.) They had a great time working together in groups (that they formed themselves, just several at two tables), and were very proud of their plates.

Afterward, I told them what their main take-home activity for earning their red petal would be: They had to take THREE BIG BITES of a new, healthy food. It could be something they've never had, or something they haven't had in a long time, because your tastes can change. It could be one big bite of three different foods, etc.

Our guest speaker wrapped up her presentation, and by then it was time to clean up and head out! We did our Daisy circle, gentle squeezes, happy words, and headed out.

And so here's what I sent home with them (edited slightly for privacy):

Another meeting accomplished! Another good time. :) Now a bit of rest, then off to prepare for the blue petal for next time. . . .

Brownies & Daisies: Meeting Agendas

I listed the agenda in my First Meeting post, but it was specific to that meeting, so here's a more general one. You may choose to have Kapers associated with every activity, or with whichever ones work best for your troop.

TAKE WITH YOU TO TROOP MEETING (assuming your troop meets in a site that isn't a dedicated Girl Scout room):

- First Aid Kit
- File folders/paperwork
- Meeting plan (in files)
- Attendance sheet (in files)
- Badges to hand out (if applicable; also in files)
- Info sheets to send home to parents, if need be (files)
- Snacks
- Craft supplies
- Cell phone with parents' contact information
- Wipe-down cloths and any other cleaning necessities
- Trash and/or recycling containers/bags
- Flag
- Kaper chart
- Something with the GS Law on it until your troop has memorized it

TO DO AT TROOP MEETING (adjust to your own troop's needs):

- Kaper chart update (as you go)
- Attendance
- Pledge of Allegiance
- GS Promise and Law
- Craft/game
- Snack
- Activity/game/craft/story (any combination -- and you can read the story while the girls are eating their snacks, etc.)
- Clean up
- Daisy/Brownie Circle

Your meetings might not work out with this specific schedule, but so far it's worked well for ours. Because we meet immediately after school, and they have a small snack during school in the afternoon, we can afford to do quite a bit before snacktime. But if your troop meets later in the day, feed them sooner rather than later. ;) Hungry kids don't pay attention, and are harder to wrangle. If you have a sugary snack, you might choose an outdoor activity so they can run off the energy a bit.

Bottom line: Keep it flexible. Always have a backup craft (coloring sheets are great) in case you have extra time, and always have something that can be sent home or saved for another day, if you run short on time.


- Can collect folders/manilla envelopes from the girls and go through and remove any paperwork, forms, or notes for you.
- Can put together any information sheets that need to go home with the girls, and put them in the folders. Any child who forgot her folder gets the info sheets (along with any completed work from the meeting) paperclipped together and put in her backpack.
- Can be working on any craft prep, if necessary.
- Can be opening snack bags or whatever else you might need at some point.
- Can keep an eye on the clock for you, so you can know when it's okay to let the kids have a longer time with snack/crafts, and when you need to be prepared to skip something.

Bottom line: Do not be afraid to delegate!

Your time as leader is intended to being really involved with the girls. Yes, early on you are directing them, basically being their teacher, but you are also prepping them for leadership, so putting effort into it -- making it fun, while getting things done -- focusing on THEM in the moment, as opposed to the five other things that need doing? Well, that's your job. :) It's okay to ask other volunteers on hand to handle other jobs for you while you're doing yours.


Make sure the room is as clean, or cleaner, than when you arrived. Make sure each Scout leaves with her folder (or take-home info in backpack) as she leaves.

Make sure every girl goes where she's supposed to go. If you're meeting at your daughter's school, have an adult walk kids to Aftercare, if some need to go. If parents are picking up anywhere other than the meeting room, you need to be there.

Your parents need to keep you informed on who is picking up their kids, and if there are special circumstances. Make sure they know you need to know ahead of time. Many of my parents have written "AFTERCARE" on their daughters' folders, as a handy reminder for me. Others have called or emailed ahead of time to let me know when someone else will pick up their girls. But I'm responsible for them. I need to know. I've made every effort to ensure my parents know this too.

Please note, when it comes to Girl Scout events, every driver must be is a registered Girl Scout Volunteer. Also, be sure to check with your state's laws and regulations regarding carseats! Many states require boosters until age 8 or so, or a certain height, etc. If you are planning to drive any Daisies in any GS activity, they all must be riding in appropriate carseats in accordance with state law.

Go home and type up a quick synopsis of the meeting and email it out to parents along with a note about the take-home materials, and/or put a note on your Shutterfly page (or whatever site you're using, or include in the email, if you don't have a private site) with the dates from this meeting to the next, and which petal/badge you are now working on, and what needs to be done to earn it.

Doublecheck on schedules and upcoming events.

Post any pictures to your site, or other information.

Doublecheck your craft supplies, etc. File any paperwork, and add any health forms to (or replenish supplies in) your first aid kit.

And then? Relax. You have a while before you have to dive in again. ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Daisies: Some General Things to Help Ahead of Time and As You Go! (UPDATED)

When getting started, there's just so much information to absorb. And it seems to come from a variety of sources, so I've attempted to lay it all out for you here. This is some information that was helpful to me, and some for passing along to the parents of my troop's girls.


1. Talk to the parents about Girl Scouts and how it is "girl-led," so that we want to allow the girls at this age to have a say in what they want, but because they are so young it's good to frame it as a choice between two things (or perhaps three) rather than open-ended. Otherwise I think we'd be baking cookies and coloring every meeting. ;)

Early on, we're providing activities, but as we go, we're branching out to give our girls more and more choices. The goal is to increase their role as leaders substantially throughout the year, and subsequent years to come.

2. Include something of the history of Girl Scouts and how it can relate to Daisies now (see First Meeting prep post, with Juliette Low's story, for example).

3. Be sure to be clear to parents about meetings versus events. If your troop's Service Unit offers separate events (many of which are ways to earn "fun" patches that will go on the back of their vests), those are usually not the same as an actual troop meeting.

For us, we are focusing on earning our Daisy Petals (and Journey badges if time) in our troop meetings (and with take home fun activities as well, from time to time). Our Service Unit events are for fun only. That way no one loses a chance to earn an official badge, if she can't come to an event. And by having take home activities, that allows any girl who misses a troop meeting to still complete the assignments for earning her official badge.

Edit: We had some girls join mid-way through the year, and I created do-at-home projects for them so they could catch up over the winter holiday break. I was very glad I'd kept all my paperwork and craft stuff!


1. Make sure you have all your Volunteer slots filled (see this post for suggestions, and be sure to include Volunteer slots for any Service Unit events), and have contact information (email, phone numbers, addresses) for your parents/volunteers. If you are relying on email but don't hear back from  parents before the first meeting, call them! Some people don't check email often, or prefer texts, etc.

All Volunteers should have their official Volunteer forms submitted, so background checks can be run (there is no cost for this at my Council; please check with yours for details).

2. DELEGATE! Instead of having Snack Mom be responsible for bringing a snack to every meeting, have her be in charge of the sign-up sheet for which mom is bringing snacks to which meeting. That helps spread the costs out a bit as well, and can cut down on dues. Same with Craft Mom, etc.

3. Make sure you have the proper ratio of adults/children for both meetings and events. In my experience thus far, you need more than the recommended ratio for events than for meetings, mainly because events tend to be more open, and meetings more contained.

4. Have a one-stop-shop (so to speak) of information for all your parents. We've set up a Shutterfly site, which is private and by invitation only. I sent out invitations to the parents, via email. They have to register with their email addresses, and log in each time with those accounts. No one else can view the site. This way I can have pictures of the girls, and meeting times, etc., without worrying about privacy issues.

Shutterfly is free to use, offers picture uploading/sharing, calendar/events, and sign-up page (great for events and snacks/crafts for meetings), message board, and is easy to navigate.

Disclaimer: Shutterfly doesn't pay me to endorse their site. And honestly I'd not used them much before starting all this, but found it's a GREAT resource for keeping information easily available for parents and for me!

Remember, before setting up any website, especially if you're considering creating a public one, to check with your Council/Service Unit for approval.

Here's an example of a Shutterfly site:

5. Set up a calendar of events for your school year (or calendar year, if your troop plans to meet year-round). Because we meet every other week at our daughters' school, I downloaded a copy of the school's calendar, to ensure all our troop meeting dates were accurate. We do not meet on days when school is not in session.

6. Decide how to you want to approach it, roughly. Do you want to organize your meeting calendar by patches/badges to be earned? Or by activities? Or a combination of the two/something else entirely? Whatever works best for you and your girls!

I decided we would have a tentative schedule based on patches to earn. I laid it out so each meeting covered a petal badge and there were some initially including Journey ones as well, with a handful leftover for finishing up additional badges and an end-of-the-year party (Edit: we didn't end up with time for Journeys this year, but that's okay. We finished up all the petals!). That is just one way to approach it. But it helps me to have a plan in place and know far in advance what we're hoping to do, and when. I know this isn't set in stone, and things come up, but I have a rough idea of how it'll be laid out for the school year.


1. There are 4 books for Daisies: the blue Daisy notebook, and three Journey books. Here's a link to the books. Girl Scouts recommends each child has a copy of the notebook, and whatever Journey book your troop will be using. And even though there's financial aid available, cost may be an issue for some parents. Edit: Unless you know for certain you'll be starting with Journeys, I'd recommend considering waiting on buying the Journey books. This could be a Cookie Money purchase, even, if necessary.

You have several options in handling this: see if your Council/SU has a lending library, photocopy excerpts for your girls (check with your Council for copyright okay first), use dues or prior cookie sale money to fund book purchases, and/or have a set number of copies you bring to each meeting and the girls share.

Blue Daisy notebook:

Journey Books:


I cannot stress this enough. It is vital you bring it with you. If you're going to camp, don't leave it in the cabin. Bring it to the lake, cafeteria, etc. Keep it with you always. Mine is a backpack, for easy transport. Don't leave it in your car at meetings. Bring it inside. Bring it to the playground if you go outside for a few minutes. Make it your third arm. ;)

Here's mine. I drew a red cross and wrote FIRST AID KIT GIRL SCOUTS on a sticky-note and stuck it to the back of a contact/business card for me, then laminated them (with cheap wallet photo laminating sheets I bought on clearance), poked a hole through it and attached to a keyring on the backpack:

UPDATED: In this First Aid bag you should consider having:

- gauze
- bandages/Band-Aids
- instant ice pack
- whistle (attached to keyring on zipper)
- chewable "baby" aspirin (this is for adults, in case of heart attack)
- hydrogen peroxide
- sunscreen/bug repellant (you MUST have parental consent before applying either of these to a child, however, because of allergies)
- any emergency allergy kits/medication for individuals (again, with parental consent -- double check about administering ANYTHING to a child beforehand!) EDIT: You may also need to be First Aid certified to administer it. Check with your council for specifics.
- children's ibuprofen and antihistamine chewables (see above disclaimer)
- bandanas/hair ties (in case someone forgets hers for a campfire event)
- toilet paper
- baby wipes/wet wipes
- extra Ziploc-style bag(s)
- wetbag/plastic shopping bag
- latex-free gloves
- tweezers
- safety scissors
- sports-style wrap
- poisonous plant identification cards (see this post for details)
- Polysporin (better than Neosporin, according to my nurse friend)
- instant glucose
- calamine lotion
- a small notebook to document any time you needed to use first aid on anyone, and/or administer medication
- MOST IMPORTANTLY! Make sure your kit contains completed child and adult volunteer health forms. Keep these in an envelope (follow HIPAA guidelines for confidentiality) and in the first aid bag at all times. Make sure there is health history and contact information for the parents as well as the kids! Put them in alphabetical order. Put parent and child forms together. Keep them in an envelope inside the bag.

You can purchase pre-assembled kits for around $10. They tend to be very basic. But that's only the first step. Put that kit inside a bag/backpack and add your other items. Be sure to label the bag with your name, your contact information, and mark it clearly on the outside that it's a FIRST AID bag.

Here's a quick glance at what's inside mine:

EDIT: It's since changed. I only include bandanas for events. I added quite a few things from when I first posted this list and image. 

At the Troop Meeting I showed the backback to the girls (I didn't open it -- just showed them the backpack), and explained how important it was for me to always have it with me. I told them if they ever saw me at a Girl Scout event without the backpack they were to ask me "WHERE IS OUR FIRST AID KIT?" That gives them a sense of ownership with it as well. And I pretended, "What if Miss Renee fell down and couldn't reach the first aid kit?" and told them one should grab the kit and take it to another mom to use.

They know we have it. They know it's important. They know it's there in case of an emergency. This helps with encouraging their leadership feelings as well!

3. Consider getting a portable file carrier for keeping your paperwork organized. Initially I used a big over-the-shoulder bag, but quickly realized that wasn't going to work for keeping things as organized as I'd like. So now I have one like this:

I have a file folder for every girl (to hold things like patches they've earned/are working on, notes for parents, etc.), and for meeting plans, coloring pages, photocopies, attendance sheet, etc. My Kaper chart even fits inside! I've got one of my business cards taped to the inside. I don't keep health forms in it, however. They stay in the First Aid bag.

EDIT: I went out and bought something like this, because I realized halfway through my first year of Brownies that I needed something that could roll. You can find this at most big box stores and online. Mine has a lid, too. I love it. :)

Except I don't have mine full of files. It's full of all my GS gear, including crafts. 
I leave my craft box in a cabinet in the room where we meet. Ditto with flag

4. Make sure your schedule/calendar includes events, and each badge you'll be working on for the length of time between meetings. We keep ours on the Shutterfly site. As you go, be sure to add any activities that will enable the girls to earn each patch. Keep it updated.

EDIT: This isn't a necessity by any means. It was tough to have the girls/parents remember to send in information or paperwork to meetings, so keep that in mind when making forms like this. It may work great for you, or not at all. As with everything else, adjust as needed.

For example, to earn the blue center of the Daisy patch, the girls must memorize the Promise. So at the first meeting, we made Trefoils/nametags with the Promise on the back. The girls took these home with a checkoff sheet so parents could initial once their Girl Scout had memorized the promise, and go ahead and iron on the blue center patch. (See First Meeting post for details.)

After each meeting, I update our site with details on anything that needs to be accomplished to earn the next petal. This is a duplicate of the information sent home physically in envelopes (see below), but if a girl misses a meeting, she won't have that sheet I sent home, so this is an easy option for parents.

Here is a copy of the petal badge (etc.) sheet I have for each girl:

5. Consider using manilla envelopes for each child, if you're not using blue Daisy notebooks, so you can send home the sheet for parents updating them on what we did at the meeting, and any take-home assignments. Have parents send the envelope in with her child at every meeting. Keep extra copies of forms on hand in your files in case a folder's lost. You can use the blue notebooks otherwise, or folders, or whatever you have on hand. Check your local dollar-type store for discounts!

EDIT: Or have a volunteer put take-home papers in each child's backpack, if you're meeting at school.

If you choose to do take-home activities some, this allows the meetings to be more group-based, and foundations for each badge. It lets you read the blue Daisy notebook stories to the girls, and have crafts (etc.) in the meetings that all the girls participate in, which is learning about the badge. Then once they're home, they earn the badge by completing an easy task.

This, again, allows any child who might have been ill or unable to attend a meeting, to still earn her badge before the next meeting, and not fall behind.

More to come, but that's a good start!

EDIT: Here's a sample of how to keep things organized at home:

EDIT: Check your volunteer manual for how long you are to keep paperwork (permission slips, receipts, etc.). Create a file or box just for those things and put it somewhere safe. Also make sure you read your manual carefully, so you understand your council's regulations regarding transactions, banking, and other paperwork. Be prepared to fill out and turn in a financial report at the end of the year (or whenever your council says). Parents should, in most councils, be allowed to view those reports upon request. This helps with transparency. Keeping permission slips and other paperwork can help protect YOU in case any issues ever arise. When in doubt, call your council and ask, if the info isn't already in your leader book.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Daisies: First Meeting Ideas and Preparation

Preparing for our First Daisy Meeting:

After completing my official training, and doing lots of Googling, here's what I came up with (in no particular order) to prepare for our first meeting. It was a lot of work, but it was fun. The greatest costs to me were printer ink and time. You can always print things in black and white and have the girls color, etc., or see if one of your parent volunteers has access to a color printer. Find your own way to make it work. This is just one way to do it, and you might find some inspiration here (as I did on other sites, which I've shared below).


- Printed out Health forms, Adult Volunteer forms, Attendance sheet, etc., from the Girl Scout CD I was given in my Leader Binder. Basically if a parent didn't fill it out already, I had a copy for her. 

- Purchased brown manilla envelopes for each girl, wrote her name on the outside and put a Girl Scout sticker on it. (See below for info included in it.) I have since gotten a narrow, portable file box and files for each Scout so I can make sure all badges and information stays organized. If your parents purchase the blue Daisy notebook for their girls, you can use it instead of a manilla envelope.

Edit: You don't need a manilla envelope if your girls meet at school, directly after school. You can put take-home sheets in their backpacks (have a parent volunteer handle this while you're leading the meeting).

- Emailed the moms about buying uniform pieces (including all the essential pins/badges, and I had them go ahead and buy the Daisy patch as well, since we started working on it at the very first meeting). We recommended the vest over the apron as they seem more comfortable for the girls, from what I've heard. We did not recommend a Journey book purchase yet. That's one of the things the girls will help choose next meeting. 

I didn't want to overwhelm parents with lots of costs right off the bat, and it depends on your parents' abilities (or your troop's cash on hand) whether you want them each to purchase the blue Daisy book (recommended) and a Journey book. Our service unit has Journey books available to check out from their library. This helps reduce costs to parents. The GS main site also has starter kits available that might help with cost.

Not including the books, it was a little over $40 each (for vest and essential patches, including Daisy petals, and the parents were given a reminder in the email about financial assistance; check with your Council for details on this). I added some info and photocopied this Official GS image, and included it in the envelope. (You can always just send them this link instead.)

- Also included this sheet in each envelope (obviously you'll have your own version -- some details were removed for our troop's privacy):

- And in Photoshop, I made some certificates welcoming the girls to our troop! I used hobo font for the "Welcome" and troop info, ActionIs font for the name, and BoyzRGross for the "we are glad" part (all these fonts are free from fontspace.com and commercial-free-use approved). I printed each on heavy card stock, shrinking to fit and centered for printing:

EDIT: I've updated these as the terminology is no longer "Daisy Girl Scouts" but is "Girl Scout Daisy" or "Girl Scout Daisies":

Here's the template for you. They turned out super cute!


Kapers are just special jobs. Some leaders like to do something super fancy (Google and Pinterest are loaded with great ideas!); I needed something that would fit in my bag and be sturdy, since we don't leave our stuff in our meeting place. So I opted for quasi-simple.

I printed out a list of jobs (yours may vary -- I tried to have the same number of jobs that we have girls in our troop), glued to construction paper, laminated it with sticky pages I had leftover from some craft project way back when, and glued that to cardboard so it would be heavy enough to hold clothespins. I wrote each girl's name on a clothespin. It's not fancy, but it works and it's small enough to fit in my bag but still be visible when propped on the chalkboard during meetings (reminder to self: I have to add another Kaper because we've had another girl join our troop!). 

EDIT: While my plan to have one Kaper per girl seemed like a good idea at the time, we ended up with more girls joining the troop as time went by. So I added a "Help As Needed" Kaper with more clothespins. And you don't have to have the same number of Kapers as girls. I think in the end I had too many Kaper jobs on there. Next year we'll pare it down a bit. Do what works for you. The important thing is to cycle through the jobs fairly. 

We will simply rotate down each meeting, so everyone gets a turn doing each job (names and troop # smudged out for anonymity):


I loaded up my bag with the following (you can use whatever craft stuff you have on hand) . . .

1. Washable markers, with a blue piece of paper taped around each (we meet in our school's art room and I wanted to make sure our craft supplies weren't mixed up with the art room's and vice versa. Having the blue on them was a quick and easy reminder for the girls)
2. Glue sticks (same)
3. A small(ish) American Flag -- it's about 9"x 12" on a hand-held wooden dowel
4. Two crafts + a backup coloring page (see below)
5. Child scissors
6. Hole Puncher and blue yarn
7. Crayons (I just labeled the box itself -- it's the one we had at home with a gob of crayons in it -- we've since purchased some caddy-style crayons and markers on the after-before-school clearance)
8. My meeting plan/syllabus/cheat sheet
9. Kaper Chart (see above)
10. Double-sided poster with Promise and Law (see below)
11. Attendance Sheet (you can make your own, graph-style, or use the one in your GS Leader pack)
12. The manilla folders for each Scout
13. Our own small Trash and Recycle containers, with plastic bags in them so I could easily tie them up and carry them out. I wanted to leave absolutely nothing behind (good way to get them started for camping, too!) I just stacked one inside the other for easy carrying.
14. A list of ALL the parents' cell phone numbers (which was handy, as we had one parent who was confused on what time to pick up her child); I have all the parents' numbers programmed into my phone just in case
15. Health forms if you have them (again, in case of emergency)
16. Snacks (well, I didn't have these; Snack Mom did!)
17. First aid kit (which should be brought to every meeting and event)


Here's the poster I made. I typed it up in Photoshop, then printed it out, glued to construction paper, and glued to a small (half-size) poster board.



Promise Template:

Law Template and Daisy Petals:


We had three crafts on hand for the girls to do. The first was a trefoil name tag (printed on card stock. Careful if you have an inkjet printer, because the green will run if it gets wet!). You can cut out green construction paper and print the Promise on white paper, then glue it to the trefoil instead if you like, or handwrite the Promise if your troop is small (we have 15 girls in ours, so I opted for printing).

I cut some out myself beforehand, and had other moms cut out the rest at the start of the meeting. Older kids will have an easier time with cutting the shape themselves. One side has the GS Promise. The other was for them to write their names. Punch two holes, string some Daisy-colored yarn through, and instant name tag. They wore it during the meeting, and took them home, so they can memorize the Promise and earn the middle of their Daisy.

This was mine:

Here are the templates:

The hands I found online here. I duplicated it and put on the same page to conserve paper, then printed on heavy card stock. You can use construction paper and have them trace them out, but the construction paper isn't as durable. 

I cut/separated the hands and we gave one to each girl. After cutting them out, the girls colored them however they wanted -- rainbows and flowers, etc. (we left ours white instead of worrying about skin tones) -- and they used glue sticks to glue the thumb over the pinky. They also took this home to help them remember how to do the Girl Scout Sign.

Our backup coloring page (from this site), in case we had more time (but we didn't. Our meetings are 1 hour and 15 minutes, and time flew by! I'm saving it for later):


Here was my meeting plan (when you see "Kaper Chart" that's a reminder there is a Scout in charge or helping). I realize the plan sounds awfully stilted. But even so, my main goal is to HAVE FUN. The key is to have a good time while you're doing whatever's in your plan. I used the Raise Hand trick for quiet when needed, but it was fun when I did it, and as each girl noticed, because it was more like a game than an admonishment. It's effective, but fun (I'm totally going to start doing this with both my own kids at home, too). 

We tried to always praise the girls when they help out and point to different aspects of the Law that they're abiding by without even realizing it, etc. It's a lot to remember, and it's okay to just focus on fun. Which aspects of the Law (and the goals of GS, etc.) that are mixed in, will come.

Because, yes, we're teaching them leadership, confidence, and all that great stuff, but the bottom line is we want our kids to be doing something fun in the process. Parents, Volunteers, and Leaders pay for membership, uniforms, and are giving up time to help. We all want our girls to have a good time. :)

(And it's reassuring to parents when it's not chaotic and helps reduce any frustrations for leader[s] if things are well-organized ahead of time. After the first meeting we will be focusing a LOT more on girl-led choices. This was an intro to Girl Scouts for nearly all our girls, so it was more information and fun than specifics.)
  1. Welcome and potty break.
  2. Explain Kaper Chart. 
  3. Sign in/attendance sheet. Kaper Chart.
  4. Explain when I raise my hand it means Quiet, please! And all Daisies raise their hands too.
  5. Flag bearer. Kaper chart.
  6. All stand, please. Pledge of Allegiance. Kaper Chart.
  7. Show them the Girl Scout Promise sign. Kaper Chart.
  8. Recite/Read Girl Scout Promise
  9. Show them the Girl Scout Law – we will go over this in detail starting next meeting. For now, let's just say it. Kaper Chart.
  10. Recite/Read Girl Scout Law
  11. Craft set up. Kaper Chart. Our supplies are labeled so we don't get them mixed up. Give out markers and trefoils; have girls write names on one side. "Trefoil" means three leaves. Each leaf in the Girl Scout trefoil stands for a part of the Girl Scout Promise.
  12. Punch holes and string yarn through; wear so names show. Parents can do this too.
  13. SNACK! Introduce Snack mom. Reminder to parents of notification of allergies/dietary restrictions (we have at least one vegetarian, etc.), and about signup sheet, etc. Kaper Chart for set up and clean up.
  14. Start telling them Juliette Low story as they're eating (paraphrased obviously and this was for 2012; you will want to adjust for later years): This is a true story! Once upon a time there was a woman named Juliette Gordon Low. She was born on Halloween, in the year 1860. That was 152 years ago! When she was a baby, her uncle said she was as cute as a daisy, and from that point on, her nickname was “Daisy.” Little Juliette Daisy loved to climb trees, play with her brothers, sisters, and cousins, write stories, draw pictures, and explore places. She especially loved animals, too! When she grew up, Juliette married a man named Willy Low. They traveled many places – far across the ocean, even. They had a wonderful life together, but also some sad times too. But even though some sad things happened to them, Juliette never let that get her down. She still loved exploring and having fun. Juliette had heard about Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from her friend Robert Baden-Powell in Scotland. When she moved back to America, Juliette decided to start something like that for girls here! So she started Girl Scouts, and they had their very first meeting on March 12, 1912. And 1912 was 100 years ago! So this year is very special, because it's the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts in America. And we are called Daisies because that was Juliette's name, too.                              
  15. Clean up from snack! Kaper Chart. EXPLAIN RECYCLE/TRASH. Kaper Chart.
  16. Craft time! Kaper Chart. Give out hands and glue. (Backup craft if extra time.)
  17. Clean up! Kaper Chart. Girl Scouts always leave a place cleaner than they found it. 
  18. Daisy friendship circle (right hand over left). Kaper chart. Girl in charge of circle starts the friendship squeeze by squeezing the hand of the girl on her left until it gets back to her. Song.
  19. Doucblecheck room is completely clean. Bag up recycling/trash.
  20. On way out, give out envelopes to take home.  

I know a lot of leaders focus on establishing a set of Rules/Guidelines the first meeting, but I want those to be girl-led, and to be able for us to devote some time to them, and tie it into earning a Daisy petal. So we're crossing our fingers on behavior for now, and will do it next time. :)

That's it for now!

Daisy Girl Scouts—Getting Started

When my daughter was in Kindergarten, we decided not to register her for Girl Scouts. We had a lot on our plates at the time, and school was a big, new experience for her already (I'm a former teacher and SAHM, so she didn't attend preschool).

But by the time First Grade rolled around, we were ready to start Daisy Girl Scouts. I know a lot of people start their girls in Kindergarten, and really, it's whatever is the best fit for you and your child. I don't regret waiting, but I now know she missed out on a year's worth of fun.

Anyway, by the time we went to register, I quickly realized my expectations were nothing like reality. I thought we'd fill out a form, write a check, and buy a uniform. And that would be that!

HAHAHAHAHA. Silly me. ;)

Nope. New to Scouting? There is so, so, SO much more. And while it can be a tad overwhelming at first, and not everyone is able to devote a lot of time or money to it initially or as you go, this experience can be absolutely awesome and lots of fun, both for the girls and for parents too! Seriously. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

Anyway, at registration, we unsuspecting moms sat around a table (after watching a video on Girl Scouts and getting to know the Council folks a bit) to fill out several forms and decide amongst ourselves who the leaders and volunteers would be. We quickly realized we wouldn't be able to have a troop for our kids if we didn't step up ourselves. (Maybe that's not how it is elsewhere, but we live in a small town, where parental involvement is a must!) Our troop's leader from last year wasn't able to continue on this year, so we needed a new one.

I said I would be Troop Leader, if only I had a clue. But I had no clue. I'd been a Brownie 35 years ago. That was it. But the Council members assured me that once they were done with me, I'd have more than a clue, I'd be able to lead and lead well . . . and they were right. :)

What exactly is needed? Aside from some money for uniforms, etc.? TIME. Yep, your time. It's okay. You can do it. It's for the kids. If you've got any time at all to devote, you volunteer. If you have only the tiniest bit of time, your leader will find something for you that involves only a tiny bit of time. :)

Here's what our list looked like (EDIT: for next year Brownies, I'm revamping this a bit. Here's the new list!):

Troop Leader
Cookie Mom
Snack Mom
Camping Mom
and various other Official Volunteer Moms for specific occasions our Troop/Council/Service Unit participates in.

We were given a list of uniform and books, filled out our forms, wrote our membership checks, and off we went. The parents went home knowing there was a troop for our girls, and that they would be contacted shortly with details on when the first meeting would take place. I attended a Troop Leader meeting afterwards, and was inundated with information about Girl Scouts, our Council, and upcoming events. I signed us up for Troop meeting times (twice a month, right after school, at the school), etc.

Then I started scouring the Internet. Yes, there's a Daisy book, and Journey books, and other official Girl Scout resources. Yes, there is comprehensive Troop Leader Training (and manual) as well, but I wanted concrete ideas on specific things I needed in addition to what I was given, if that makes sense. I wanted to know what order each meeting should go in, for instance. I wanted to know what my Kaper Chart should have on it. I wanted to know specifics.

I'm a list person, and very detail-oriented, and the Internet was a great companion resource to the wealth of Council information. So here is my big THANK YOU, FELLOW ONLINE TROOP LEADERS! Hopefully I can add to your resources somehow (and I will be diligent to always cite my sources, promise!).

First step: I borrowed a Journey book from our GS library. Then I Googled all sorts of Daisy activities, etc. And then I attended Leader Training (which is different than the Leader Meeting; the Training was long, but informative, and gave me more great ideas, too).

I had our meeting times, dates, and info all set up. I contacted all the parents. I started making lists. I made sure I had phones numbers, email addresses, and the right forms for everyone.

And then I prepared for our first meeting. . . .

EDIT: Most of the girls in our troop were new to GS in first grade, so we had to accomplish two years' worth of petals, etc., in one year. This blog focuses primarily on the petals for Daisies, and not the Journeys. There are lots of great ideas around the Web on Journey badges, but for us, the focus was on learning the Law, and the best way to do that was through earning Petals. 

So if you're looking for Journey help, go to Google; try Pinterest. But hopefully you will find enough to get you started on Petals (and later on, Brownie Legacy patches) here. :) Thanks!

EDIT AGAIN: Please read some of my later posts. I've learned so much over the last few years, and there's a lot of information in them that might help you out. Don't be put off if the subject line is for Brownies, and you're a Daisy leader. If you have time, skim through the other posts. You might find some helpful stuff in there. Like this one, for example, on uniforms and patches.

And please don't hesitate to leave me a comment if you have any questions, or if the information I've posted is inaccurate. Keep in mind that a lot of my information is based upon my council's guidelines. Not all councils have the same rules, though. I didn't realize that when I first started.

Thanks for visiting!