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, October 29, 2013

Brownies: Girl Scout Way -- Part Two

This week we finished up working on our Girl Scout Way badge. Please keep in mind that the two approaches I took in terms of activities/crafts are not in any way the only things you can do! There are so many ways to approach this badge, but I felt the best way for our troop was to reaffirm the Promise and Law, and have our five steps be primarily discussion with crafts as back ups for them to keep as daily reminders for the Promise/Law.

So, last time we made bracelets using colors from Daisy petals. This time we made wall hangings for the girls to keep.

This craft was pretty time-consuming, both in terms of preparation (for me, ahead of time), and doing it in the meeting. I'd hoped we would've had time to play on the playground afterwards, but it ended up taking up most of our meeting time. That's okay! Our next meeting is going to be a lot looser, with plenty of free-play time. :)

I found the idea for this week's craft here. But (of course) I altered it a little. ;)

Here's what you will need:

1. Regular printer paper (white)
2. Some card stock paper (any color)
3. 13 popsicle sticks per girl (available at any craft store, or big box store -- or, you can use "craft sticks" which are fatter. The template below is for popsicle sticks, though, because that's what I had on hand. We save our popsicle sticks, wash them in a basket in the top rack of the dishwasher. So I had a lot. My kids love popsicles. Ha!)
4. Ribbon (any color)
5. Scissors (and/or preferably a paper cutter for you at home)
6. Glue sticks (easier for the kids)
7. Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
8. Some kind of pre-printed or written Girl Scout Law for the girls to use as reference
9. Hole puncher

Print out enough of these to have one page per girl. You can print them out on regular printer paper (but note the glue instructions below if so), or on white card stock. They stay glued better on regular paper, in my experience:

Cut out each tiny strip. This takes a while, depending on the size of your troop. It is much easier if you have a paper cutter tool. See?

Count out 13 popsicle sticks (I used a combination of the plain recycled ones, and colored purchased ones -- we have a big troop!), and put 13 sticks and the 13 strips (includes all aspects of the Law, plus the beginning header, etc.) in a small Ziploc, along with a strip of ribbon about a foot long.

Take your card stock paper and turn it sideways (landscape). Cut it into thirds (about 3-3/4ish" wide or so). Punch two holes at the top of each strip (vertical). That's where your ribbon will go, to hang it.

Now, other tutorials I'd found suggested glueing the strips to popsicle sticks, the glueing those to strips of ribbon. I found some issues with this. Regular glue stick glue wasn't strong enough. Liquid Elmer's glue took too long to dry, and when using colored ribbon or colored popsicle sticks, it smeared stain onto the paper. That's why I went with white card stock instead as the backing for this (plus I always have a big box of card stock. I buy that and other supplies whenever they're on clearance, just to have on hand). But just because this is the way I did it, doesn't mean it's the "right" way. You may find a much easier way to do it! Like not having the strips with Law separated by outlines. Try just creating your own template in a Word document and cutting out the strips without surrounding white space. Could save some time! I just wanted to make sure mine would fit popsicle sticks, because the link above didn't.

Once you have all your popsicle sticks, ribbon strips, and pieces of Law in baggies, put your white card stock rectangles with them (they will be too tall to fit into a sandwich Ziploc).

Then you'll need to create your own sample piece for the girls to see.

Here are the steps:

1. Use glue stick on a popsicle stick. NOT on the paper strips, which are too small to be able to do without potentially tearing them (again, my Law template is for popsicle, not craft sticks). Do it one at a time. Glue the stick, then put a Law strip on it. Press hard. Move on to the next. Doesn't matter what order you go in. Here's my four-year-old helping:

2. After you have all your Law pieces glued to popsicle sticks, get out your card stock rectangle. Place your popsicle sticks in order (here is where the pre-printed Law will come in handy for your girls to use as reference. You don't need one per child. Let them all share, or use your poster board Law for reference for the whole troop).

3. Glue the popsicle sticks onto the card stock. Press hard. (Some of mine loosened overnight and I had to re-glue them. No biggie. Just mention to the girls as they're making it that if one piece comes loose, they can re-glue it at home with Elmer's, etc.)

4. Once you have all the pieces in place, loop ribbon through the top two holes, and tie at the tip, for a hanger.

5. Color in the white space. Decorate however you want. This is the last step, because if you use crayons, for instance, it can prevent the glue from adhering well. So you want to save the coloring part for the end. (Plus if you were to run out of time, since this is a long craft, the girls can do the coloring at home.)

Ta-da! You have a Girl Scout Law wall hanger! Super cute, too!

Here's my sample:

Next up: Celebrating Juliette Low's Birthday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Brownies: Girl Scout Way -- Part One

As with any Legacy badge, there are supposed to be five steps towards earning it. So we broke the Girl Scout Way one into two meetings, with two separate crafts and a game. This post details the first meeting. I'll post about the second meeting next.

Before the first meeting, I purchased colored plastic beads and some stretchy elastic cord. My youngest helped me separate the beads by color (no small task!).

Then I made a list of the colors (based upon the Daisy petal colors), and experimented some with how many beads were needed to make a bracelet that would fit an average child-sized wrist. What we ended up with were three dark blue (for three aspects of Girl Scout Promise) then two of each Daisy petal color (for aspects of the Law, two of each because "one for how I treat myself; one for how I treat others"), and three white beads in to separate as we went, to reaffirm the three aspect of the Promise again.

You can do it however you like, though. That just ended up being easiest for me.

I made a list of the order for the colors, and then pulled out the correct number of beads, along with a pre-cut length of elastic, and put them into little Ziplocs, one for each child.

At the meeting (after our initial housekeeping tasks like the Pledge, snack, etc.), we taped one end of the elastic to the table (easier than trying to one end up, since the holes on the beads were big):

We provided sheets for them to reference on the table as well, for the right order.

Group Discussion/Five Steps:

But before we did the craft, while the girls were eating their snack, we talked about the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The point of this meeting (our second one -- the first was our Bridging Ceremony) was to review what we learned in Daisies. I made five points for discussion (going back to the five steps required for each badge in Brownies), and we multitasked during snack by talking about these:

1. What does "promise" mean? (Doing what you say you will do.) What are some examples of promising something? What are the consequences of keeping or breaking promises?

2. What does "strive" mean? (To try really, really hard!)

3. How important it is to live by the Law in how you treat yourself.

4. How important it is to try to live by the Law in how you treat others.

5. Pick an aspect of the Law that is challenging for you and strive to work on it between now and our next meeting.

Then we set up for the craft. The girls really enjoyed making their bracelets! The adult volunteers on hand were great and helped the girls with the beads and tying off the bracelets initially (most were able to tie them themselves).

After the girls were finished, we handed out notecards and colored pencils. We had each girl write on a card something she loves -- could be anything at all. But not to put their names on there.

Then we collected the cards, because they will be part of a later meeting (more info to come!).

By then it was time to go, so we packed up and headed out!

(Part two, coming soon!)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Brownies: Intro to Legacy Badges, and Then Some

EDIT: You can find more details on badges and patches here.

This year we are focusing on the Legacy patches.

What Are Legacy Patches?

Legacy patches are related to building specific skills, and form a nice foundation. While the goal, as set by Juliette Low, is not to earn a patch/badge as a "reward" but rather to to indicate mastery over a skill in order to give aid or instruction to others -- when it comes to Daisies and Brownies, there's often a strong "reward" factor. And that's okay. :) At these young ages we want the girls to be building confidence. We want to be encouraging them in their actions, their abilities, and their attitudes. We want them to have fun!

So, here's what the Legacy badges look like (for now, at least -- the designs change sometimes from year to year):

Girl Scout Way:


Celebrating Community:


First Aid:

Fair Play:


I'm thinking of swapping out some plans. Because the Bugs patch can rotate fine. So I turned it upside down. I think it looks fine. As long as it doesn't have writing on it, you can flip it on its head. No big deal:

Anyway . . . What About Try-Its?

Legacy badges basically replaced the old "Try-Its" from years past. While you can technically still work on Try-Its, it is difficult to find the badges (eBay is your best bet, definitely). For a small troop, or individual girls who want to go that route, you might consider it. There are still quite a lot of resources online for Try-Its, including this one. They're official, so as long as the girls complete at least four steps per Try-It, stick 'em on the front of the vest.

EDIT: Try-Its have been a big hit with my girls who like to earn badges independently, especially over summer.

Or Make Your Owns? Make Your Owns Sound COOL! (

EDIT: As of June 2017 the MYOB program will be discontinued by GSUSA. 

And there's always the option to "Make Your Own Badge" for individuals, or troops. There is lots of information here about this. Here are some samples that others have made:

I really, really love the idea of Make Your Own. The only potential issue is each individual is only allowed one MYO badge per year (September-September). Hrmmm.

Or Journeys?

And hopefully next year we'll get to Journeys. Or we may focus more on the Make Your Owns (seriously, the more I think about MYOs, the more appealing they are to me). Or stick with Legacy/Skill-Building. It will depend on what the girls want to do. For now, I'm not going into Journeys at all. We'll save that for later. If you're looking for info on Brownie Journeys, head on over to Pinterest. :)


These are related to Journey sets, but are independent of the Journeys, meaning you can choose to work on a Skill-Building badge without actually doing the Journey, if you wish.

Cookie Stuff?

There are two different sets of Cookie badges: Financial Literacy (Money Manager & Philanthropist), and Cookie Business (Meet My Customers & Give Back). The way I understand it is you work on the Cookie business in first year Brownies, and Financial Literacy in second year.

There are also accompanying cookie pins (see these steps to complete requirements), and of course, your council-specific incentives.

Here's the full list (inside your Brownie book):

So, just Legacies for now (plus cookies later), because they're a good fit for us. Your mileage may vary:

Overall though, it really depends upon how often your troop meets and what you and your girls want to do, as to what you want to focus on.

Since we meet twice a month (typically), the Legacy badges are a better fit for us for our first year, and I've made a rough agenda outlined here (and already know I'm going to have to alter it some). As with pretty much everything else in this blog, adjust your own plans based upon your troop's needs.

Legacy Guidelines:

For every Legacy badge there are five steps each girl should take (I've seen some variety among those steps though, so I'm going out on a limb and inferring that means it is, at times, up to the leader and her girls), with three choices per step.

That can add up to a lot of options for a leader to come up with ahead of time! Keep in mind that it's very important to try to give the girls options as you go, whenever you can. Let them pick what they want to do if possible. With Daisies, the easiest thing is offering two or three choices and have them pick. With first year Brownies this approach also works well, especially for larger troops. If you have a small troop, or have a really wide variety of supplies, you can be more open-ended with your options. While some girls are mature enough to handle the open-ended options (and definitely go that route whenever you can! Keep it as "girl-led" as possible), some aren't, and they do better when given choices up front. Make Your Own patches can also be a great alternative if your troop is mixed ages. But these may require a bit more effort or guidance from you.

Again, do whatever works best for your girls.

Breaking It Down -- How to Plan Your Meeting for Legacy Badges:

Our troop meetings are twice a month, for an hour and fifteen minutes at a time. Taking into account time spent each meeting on reciting the Pledge, Promise, and Law, taking attendance, having our snack, etc., that leaves us with roughly 45 minutes to work on patches (and play games, or sing songs, and so on) at each meeting. In order to fully complete all the steps for every Legacy badge, it likely would take us longer than the allotted time we have. And given that we have such a large troop, it would require higher dues in order to pay for the supplies for every girl to do every step.

So . . . I'm combining some things. I've seen other online troop resources talk about rotating "Stations" during their meetings. That's a great idea, especially for troops using a designated area (like a Girl Scout room at a community center, etc.). Or you can set up areas within whatever room you meet.

I'm also breaking up some badges into two meetings. If you only meet once a month, then you may need to have some take-home activities for the girls too. I'm not a big fan of having lots of take-home activities. I don't ever want this to feel like "homework." I want it to be fun. I understand that the badges should require effort, but that doesn't mean it has to ever feel like work. There's a fine line. But do-at-home activities are a must in some situations, and that's okay. Whatever works.

Basically my plan is to go ahead and set up five steps -- or points of discussion -- per patch, and if possible, incorporate all of those in our meeting(s) for that badge, and/or when appropriate, allow the girls to choose from those five steps up to three activities that they want to try. Or, have five points of discussion, engage all the girls in the discussion (this is great to do during snack time), then have three activities planned. And let the girls each choose which they'd like to do.

So the meetings will go:

Potty break (buddy system)
Review of what we did up to now
Snack (discussion of what we're doing today)
Craft/Activities for badge

(Don't forget your Kapers!)

And our meeting layout may not work at all for you. And sometimes they don't work for us! If the girls are really restless or really tired, etc., we adjust.

It's okay to stop in the middle of a meeting, even, and do stretches, or run around, or sing a song. Whatever will help. It doesn't have to be rigid.

The meeting plans basically all depend upon the individual badge, your troop size, resources, meeting frequency, and your location. (And whether or not you're wanting to utilize do-at-home activities.) Do your best to stick to the GS guidelines, but don't beat yourself up for keeping it realistic to what works best for the time you have allotted.

As long as the girls are participating, learning, and having fun, that's what counts!