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!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daisies: Orange Petal, Plus Brownies & Daisies: Cookies Part Two--Sales

For our sixth troop meeting we focused on learning about Being Responsible for What I Say and Do, and this was a nice tie-in to our cookie sale introduction to the girls, as well.

We talked about what it means to be responsible, by doing what we say, cleaning up after ourselves, etc. Then we asked the girls about "helpful" words versus "hurtful" words.

Every child was given two hearts (I printed these out and cut the pages in half to save on paper):

You can choose to do whatever you'd like with this, but since we had a lot to cover in one meeting, we went with simply having them write their names in each heart.

Then I told them to take one page (with one heart) and wad it up as tightly as they could. Then to try to straighten it back out. We compared the two papers: one heart was still smooth with no marks; the other showed marks, no matter how much we tried to straighten it out.

Always remember to use helpful, kind words to each other. Because the hurtful ones leave marks on our hearts. (Simple, but hopefully effective way to illustrate being responsible for what we say.)

During snack, we read the Mari story from our Daisy blue book, and talked about making responsible choices in our actions, and following through with what we say we'll do.

Note: If we not hadn't needed to talk about cookie sales, we would've spent more time with crafts and related activities on other aspects of being responsible. However, we needed to segue into cookie sales, and goal-setting seemed the ideal way to do it.

So, after snack, we talked about cookie sales. We explained a little about how it worked, how our troop receives money for every box sold, which is how we pay for crafts, etc. (Our troop doesn't require dues, so we rely heavily on cookie sales. Hopefully after our end-of-the-year party, this will leave us with enough money left over for next year so we can get by without requiring dues again!)

I showed them their COOKIE CONTRACT:

We stressed that a big part of being responsible is to set a goal and do your very best in following through. While our troop goal may be a set number of boxes per child, we are asking every girl to take this form home to her parent(s) and go over it as a family/partnership. We want them to create a personal goal that is realistic, as opposed to assigning them a goal. And to have the support needed to reach that goal.

The parents are aware of our troop goal, and that the only way we can reach this is by averaging a certain box number per girl, but we have stressed that no one will be looked down upon for not reaching the average goal.

It's a challenge as a troop leaders, to praise those who will go far beyond exceeding goals, while still being as encouraging to those who are/were not able to. But it's doable, with lots of love, and not a little distraction. At least I hope!

One way to handle it is to find small patches (check online resources or your local craft/fabric shop) that can be "fun" patches for the back of their vest. That way, even girls who did not sell any cookies at all, but did attend the meetings during cookie season, will still feel rewarded. (As opposed to the limit of selling X number of boxes to earn an initial patch.)

Keep in mind too, about the monetary leaves/patches that can be earned. More information to come on those! :)

So, while reaching our goal will allow us to have an end of the year party (at a location the girls will vote upon), there will be parents who will not want/be able to participate. We understand that. But the girls should not be penalized for parents who cannot participate. So we are giving these parents the option to pay out of pocket for their child to attend the party if selling cookies is a burden to them (and of course, we will cover any who are financially unable to do so themselves).

However, we will do our best to ensure it all averages out, so the girls who did work very hard to go above and beyond will receive the reward they deserve, in addition to personal GS incentives.

But at this age, I'm okay with allowing those who didn't put forth the effort (due to non-parental involvement) to participate. If we cannot all go, we will all do something different.

Once they are older, and able to take responsibility for selling the cookies with less parental assistance, well, that changes things. ;) But for six-year-olds? Yep, everyone participates in our end of the year party, no matter what it will end up being.

Bottom line: Using a Cookie Contract with parents can introduce the concept of reasonable goal, encourage doing their best to reach that goal (both girls and parents), and reward all for trying. If we cannot meet our overall goal, we have secondary rewards planned (smaller end of the year party), and of course, personal incentives from Girl Scouts itself.

The final craft we did was a door hanger for door-to-door calls (template also in earlier post for those who missed it):

We cut them out and gave each girl several, then cut thin green ribbons to form large loops, and included foam stickers (hearts, flowers, etc. -- available at large box/craft stores) to hold the loop in place on the back.

Daisy Friendship Circle, song, and that was that! :)

We didn't get to this in the meeting, but here's the coloring page we sent home with them for this petal:

I printed it out in black and white, for easier coloring.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brownies & Daisies: Cookies Part One—Intro and Parents

It's that time of year, when the weather's turned cool, the holidays are winding down, and my oh my, the Girl Scout Cookie Sale is about to kick off!

Yum. I'm hungry already! Don't these look divine?

Do you remember Sunshine Bakery? They used to make a cookie called Lemon Coolers. I loved those things. And then they stopped making them. :( So sad. They were so good!

But then last year, I stumbled across the Girl Scouts' Savannah Smiles cookies.

THEY ARE SO GOOD! They taste just like Lemon Coolers. Happy, happy me. :) I'm going to buy a bunch this year. We ran out way too soon last year.

Anyway. So, to cookie training. . . . I admit, I wasn't feeling terribly confident about it, because our troop's "Cookie Mom" had to reneg at the last minute due to other commitments. It just reminded me how vital it is for a troop leader to be as flexible as possible, and not be afraid to ask for help. :) Because I'm going to need it! Thankfully, my co-leader offered to store the cookies at her house and help handle distribution. That left me with paperwork, money, and training, etc.

I can do it.

But just like with learning how to be a Troop Leader, I needed to learn how to be the Cookie Mom.

For those of you lucky enough to have a Cookie Mom, she should attend your Troop Leader meeting with you, and the two of you should work together with your co-leader in delegating duties, etc.

While I'm sure it varies, for us, there was a Troop Leader meeting where we received a crash course in cookie sale information, and all our paperwork, including copies of the same packets parents receive, and instructional pamphlets on ordering, distribution, setting up booth(s), money organization, and online resources for keeping track of it all.

I was quite impressed with our Council's setup, to be honest. But it was still a bit overwhelming. For first-timers (like me), it's so important to make use of your resources, including your Service Unit and Council contacts, for questions and help. (And take lots of notes at your meeting! You won't regret it.)

A couple of things to keep in mind:

Streamline important information for parents.

Not all parents will read their packet thoroughly. Or they may, but it's nice to have dates streamlined for them. On the inside cover of ours, there are some spaces for important dates, etc., but not all. So I typed up a letter to parents, highlighting ALL the important dates, as well in including information regarding our troop's goal.

I stapled this to the inside cover of each parent's booklet. It is basically a cheat sheet for important dates. Made things easier on all of us. :)

One thing to keep in mind is that it is always better to give parents dates that are earlier than your actual due dates, to anticipate those who might have issues getting their orders and/or funds to you on time.

We have a parents-only meeting scheduled before our next troop meeting, so we can go over all the information, but by typing up all the important dates on one sheet, and including some information regarding our troop goal and cookie booth, this allows parents added convenience, and it also can help reduce confusion down the road.

At the parent meeting I can answer questions they may have as well as collect permission slips (which MUST be turned in before orders can be taken, and you should save your permission slips and all paperwork related to cookie sales for at least six months after the sale ends).

Establish goals:

At the meeting we can talk about our highest goal for troop sales, as well as come up with options for secondary goals to give as choices to the girls, should we not meet our top one.

While there are individual incentives for cookie sales that Girl Scouts already provides, our troop reward will not exclude any child who's unable to meet the overall goal average of 50+ boxes per child. If we have an average of 50+ then we will have our party at Build-A-Bear (no, they aren't paying me to use their name or anything; it's just a cute place for us to take the girls, plus they have Daisy GS outfits for the bears!). If not, then we will have some other kind of party elsewhere (even if it's just a choice between cupcakes or ice cream, at our regular meeting place), and try to give the girls as much input as we can in that.

But we've figured out how much it costs to go to Build-A-Bear and how much we need to retain in our account for future crafts, activities, etc. It doesn't do us much good in terms of earning all the money and blowing it in one fell swoop. We need to teach the girls about saving money too!

But for now, the important thing is getting everyone started, and getting the parents on board.

Edit: Once you get the initial order from everyone, you can provide a list of viable activities/rewards for the girls to vote on. Looks like the bouncy/jumping party place might win out over Build-A-Bear for our troop's end of the year party!

The first step is going over all the paperwork with parents, especially money stuff.

Explain why we do it. That it helps prevent or offset dues, for one. That it helps the girls learn about personal responsibility, money, setting goals, etc. Go over all the safety guidelines and paperwork.

And speaking of paperwork, in your packet there should be some receipt books. USE THESE! Anytime a parent picks up cookies, count and double count the boxes/cases, and have the parent sign a receipt for them. Same with money collection. Keep a paper trail of everything, including any communication you have with parents regarding money. That way if there are any problems with parents turning in their cookie funds, you have it all well-organized should you need to turn the issue over to your Council for resolution.

Decide if you'll accept checks.

In our troop, we have opted not to accept any checks from anyone other than a troop parent. Individual parents may choose to accept checks, but we are asking each troop parent to write a (post-dated, if necessary) check for the total amount of her initial order once she picks up her cookies.

This allows parents the convenience of not having to drop off funds constantly as we go between when cookies arrive and when the initial debit is made to our account.

Booths, blinging, and phone debit scanners:

Decide if you'll have a booth, and what all is involved in "blinging" it up. Attend training (if available and/or necessary) for using a phone credit/debit card scanner. This can be a WONDERFUL tool, especially for booth sales! And it helps balance things out if you're unwilling to accept personal checks.

Booth blinging: Check out Pinterest for ideas! There are some awesome ones out there. Reuse anything you can from prior activities (for instance, we have a nice wooden sign from our scarecrow that we can reuse for our booth!). There are TONS of ideas online for how to attract attention. Just keep in mind that it should be fun, should not leave a mess behind, and should involve the girls.


Online social networks (for parents of Daisies, obviously; see rules regarding ages and online safety at the GS site and in your Cookie Sales paperwork)
Workplace (always check to make sure it's allowed)

Girl Scout Cookies are one of the few solicited items that seem to be met with acceptance across the board, but spam is still spam, so try not to go overboard if you can help it. ;) Regardless, it's very important to maintain your child's safety at all times when taking cookie orders. For instance, I've seen online templates for door hangers that instruct you to leave your child's name and troop number.

Some people may not have an issue with this, but I prefer having the parent's name on there instead, just to be safe.

Here's a template that you can use:

You can print on regular paper, cut out, and instruct parents/girls to tape to doorknobs (never tape onto painted doors), or put in between screen/front door. Or you can print on card stock, get some ribbon and a foam sticker, and make a loop from the ribbon, using the foam sticker to adhere it to the back of the hanger. Then hang it on the doorknob if no one's home.

Does it matter to customers to have a girl's name versus a parent's? I don't see why it would, especially since your child will be the one to leave the hanger, and the one to hand-deliver the cookies when they arrive.

And your child is the one who benefits from the money earned. :)

Stay in uniform!

If weather permits, have your daughter wearing her Daisy vest when you are out together taking orders, working the booth(s), and delivering cookies. See your cookie packet info for details on behavior, but the bottom line is that she should remember the GS law and act according to it. So should you.

That's it for now. More to come!