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