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.