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, April 5, 2014

Brownies: Bugs Badge

For this meeting, we invited a local entomologist from the area to come and speak with the girls about bugs! Our wonderful visitor oversees a large butterfly habitat and brought some specimens (all of which died of natural causes -- no pins in them), as well as several very interesting (and creepy-looking) bugs!

The girls had a great time learning all about butterflies and other insects. And the best part? I didn't have to search for bugs during winter. ;)

At the end of the meeting the girls thanked our visitor, and we gave her a box of Samoas as well. :)

And one of our moms made these delicious cupcakes for our meeting. The girls LOVED them. They were delicious!

Here's the recipe. (Thank you, insidebrucrewlife for the wonderful recipe!)

EDIT: Yes, there are loads of things you can do for this badge. We just chose to bring in an outside expert, because it was that time of year where frankly, we all needed a bit of a break. Google is your friend. :) Search for more suggestions. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Brownies: Fairy SWAPS and Camp Prep Fun

This year our camp theme is "Fairies and Firelight." So rather than continue on with our legacy badges, we took a break for a few meetings to work on fun camp-related activities.

First up, I found a nice deal on fairy wings at Amazon.

The wings already had very pretty glittery designs (swirls and whatnot) on them, but I brought in some glitter glue and let the girls go nuts decorating their wings. They each came up with their own "fairy" names for camp, too, and I wrote the name on the wings in Sharpie (be sure to put a piece of paper underneath as it will bleed through easily).

It didn't matter if the girls were attending camp or not; each girl got a pair of wings. But it encouraged some of the girls who hadn't expressed an interest in camp, to sign up for the outing. And they came up with some great names for fun at camp!

The wings held up really well. With the exception of a few activities, many of the girls wore the wings all day. None of the wings ripped or fell apart. The glitter glue stayed put as well. It was super cute!

Next up, making SWAPS! Some people go all out for SWAPS and that's great! But keep in mind you typically need at least ten per child, so if you have a large troop, you might end up biting off more than you can chew if you go with a super involved craft. Because our troop is so large, and we made crafts in a troop meeting before knowing for sure how many girls would be attending camp, we went with something simple but cute.

I went to Michael's and found some foam fairy sticker kits and small (roughly business-card-sized) card stock. There wasn't quite enough of the card stock, so I just cut some colored 3"x5" cards in half (or so -- made them the same size).

First up, separating the stickers:

Then putting together some samples:

We wrote the troop number on the back of the cards first, then put stickers on, then added pins.

I separated out 10 into each baggy, and had all the girls work on them, regardless of whether they planned to attend camp or not. Then I brought them home, added the pins, and put them in a big bag with glitter! It coated the sticker bits that stuck off the cards, and added more fairy fun. We ended up with 15 per girl for camp.

EDIT: Next year, we will be doing SWAPS with a Daisy troop to work on our Bridging to Juniors badge.

Daisies & Brownies: Cookies!

Mmmmm. Cookies!

For those of you new to leading a Girl Scout troop, cookie (or fall product) sales can be overwhelming, I know. Thankfully your Service Unit/Council should provide you with training and paperwork that will help walk you through the process.

In the meantime, here are some good things to remember (in no particular order):

- Daisies and Brownies should never take orders, or deliver cookies, without adult supervision.
- They should never enter someone's home or vehicle
- They should be supervised and in uniform not only when selling, but also at booth sales
- All parents must sign a permission slip ahead of time (this protects YOU, the leader)
- Decide whether you will accept personal checks from customers for your troop. Our troop does not. We require parents to pay one lump sum (postdated check to the troop) when they pick up their cookies. If you don't pay, you don't get cookies. ;) This helps cover everyone.
- It's up to parents whether they want to take personal checks or not.
- Keep in mind you have to deliver all these cookies, so while it might seem tempting to take your order sheet to a mall or other large area, it can make delivery a challenge.
- Familiarize yourself with your Council's online cookie order system (we use eBudde). And use it! If you have questions, don't be afraid to contact your Service Unit's Product Salesperson.
- Have parents provide size information from the get-go. That way you aren't scrambling at the end re: incentives.
- NEVER leave cookies in a car or by a sunny window. Doesn't matter how cold it is. If they have chocolate in them, they will melt. (I know. My Thin Mints went all wonky; thankfully they were my own box.)
- NEVER leave cookies where pets/animals are (not only will this destroy your cookie stash, but it can prove fatal to dogs if they eat chocolate).
- Encourage your girls to practice taking orders with each other in your troop meetings. Bring money in and have them make change. Make sure they are using polite words with each other.
- Decide if you're going to work on any secondary Money badges for cookie sales. While you cannot have a booth specifically to raise money for another non-profit organization, you can donate proceeds from your cookie sales to a non-profit after cookie sales ends. In other words, feel free to have a "Help Us Pay for Camp!" booth, but not a "Help the Animal Shelter" booth.
- Take a clipboard with you when you're walking your neighborhood taking orders. It makes it easier for people to fill in their info.
- If you run into another GS on the way, split the neighborhood in half. One takes the left side, one takes the right, etc.
- Make sure you always count your boxes, and your parents re-count them when they pick them up. Be sure you have everything written clearly on a receipt. You never know when you might have some issues later on....
- And lastly, give your parents deadlines that are actually a few days before the "real" ones. That gives you all some breathing room. If your Council starts removing funds from your account on the 15th, have your parents postdate their checks for the 12th, and deposit the funds on the 12th. That way if there are any issues with payments, you have some time to resolve it.

There are many more tips, but those are just a few that can help.

For information on cookie/finance badges, check your Daisy/Brownie books. In each year, they can earn TWO of the money badges (two leaves for Daisies; two triangles for Brownies). There are also specific steps required for earning the cookie pins. Here's a list.

And don't forget, you can freeze the cookies! Especially Thin Mints. Mmmm. Thin Mints.