It's our next-to-last troop meeting, and I wanted to do something fun and easy. I'd read online about the Barbie fun patch (where GSUSA partnered with Mattel), but I have some moms who aren't big Barbie fans (here's an interesting article about it -- it details the online activities which are a bit confusing in terms of leadership, empowerment, and appearance, I think. While my personal opinion is Barbie is too controversial to promote the positive goals of GS, I'm obviously not the one in charge; plus I respect my troop parents' opinions).
But there was some info in the worksheets that definitely had value. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water and all that.
So I did what I nearly always do: I adjusted it to fit our troop. ;)
Here's a link to the GS/Barbie "I Can Be Anything" program. Here's a direct link to the English PDF file (there's a Spanish one available too). Unlike printed GS materials, the PDF is designed for leaders to print out for their girls (yay! No copyright infringement issues).
But when I printed mine out, I literally pulled out any reference to Barbie (just didn't print those pages), and did not include the Daisy steps (this program is for Daisies or Brownies, but I have mostly Brownies). And I only used the Brownie pages that were generic (meaning no reference to a name brand that might cause concern with some parents).
I had no issues with doing this, even though it was Barbie-themed, because had I left it Barbie-focused, some of my girls wouldn't have been able to participate. So I adjusted as needed. If your moms don't mind Barbie, print out the PDF as is, and you can order the patches here. However, that's the individual (girl) order process. I didn't go digging for how troop leaders order the patches, since I wasn't interested in them.
Instead, I found these:
Still pink, and very cute.
We went through the steps on pages 3, 8, 9, 10, and 13. (I skipped the fashion designer one because we spent so much time focusing on the patch pages.)
We began by having the girls sit around two tables scooted together to make one large table. I sat with them as they ate their snack and we went around the table one at a time and talked about what we wanted to be when we grew up (lots of aspiring veterinarians in my troop! And at least one future President!). No interrupting. Everyone had a chance to say what she wanted to be. Everyone received equal attention.
Then we cleaned up from snack and I pulled out the markers and handed out the pages I'd printed out (front and back, to save paper, stapled together as a booklet). This was interesting: several of the girls said they didn't see a Brownie patch listed that went with their goals, so I told them to design their own patches!
When we finished, they were each given the do-at-home/online sheet (page 13), and instructed to do this with an adult (per online safety guidelines for this age). And I handed out the fun patches.*
*I do have a Daisy member (an "Independent" though we still call them "Juliettes" which is cute), so I took two small blue daisy-looking flower patches (generic, from Michaels, not GS patches) and sewed them over the word "Brownies" on the patch. So it looks like "Daisies Can Do Anything." This way she received a fun patch for the activity as well, and it was better suited to her level.
If using the Barbie booklets as inspiration doesn't appeal to you, you can simply make up your own steps for this fun patch. It's a fun patch! You don't have to stress over following strict guidelines for earning it. :) Or, if you prefer to use the Barbie material and do the Barbie patch, go for it! I'd run it past your parents ahead of time just to be safe.
This was a good, super easy meeting. The girls had fun, had some great dialogue spinning off from their choices (things like Suffragette movement and the importance of voting -- doesn't matter whom you vote for, but you should always vote, because of the brave women who fought so hard for us to be able to do it!), and earned a cute patch for the back of vests.
Up next: End-of-Year Goodies and SWAPS Holders!
EDIT: Ah, so since I posted this, the actual GS Barbie dolls have been released. Click that link, or check with your council shop if you're interested in buying one. What is my opinion on it all? I think GSUSA could've found a better toy to partner with, personally. There's simply too much controversy surrounding Barbie. Yes, it's just a doll. But it's also a highly controversial doll.
I've seen many leaders ask, "Why couldn't she at least be wearing the correct uniform?" And "Why a Junior sash? I've never met a fourth grader who was shaped like Barbie." Yep. Valid points. But I've also seen plenty of "It's just a toy. What's the big deal?" type comments out there too.
There are definitely some interesting opinions on both sides.
My daughters opted for the Brownie Elf Plush Doll instead of Barbie. Your mileage may vary, and that's totally fine.
In the end, listen to your girls and respect your troop parents' feelings too. When it comes to hot button topics, err on the side of caution, and don't assume it isn't a big deal to some parents. Good luck!