I'm not saying break the rules or anything. I'm just saying listen to your girls, and to me, that's part of the evolution of "girl-led" as the troop matures. I can't stress this enough: Put your troop's needs first.
Anyway, all that said, I wasn't comfortable with presenting 16 options to my girls as first-year Brownies, for a couple of reasons (listed below in no particular order):
- They were still very young (most were seven) and it can be tough at this age to distinguish between "what represents us" versus "what represents me," and "oh, this one's pretty!" or "that sounds like what I should pick" and so on.
- 16 options? That's great! But it's also a LOT. While second graders can definitely handle more choices than Kindergarteners (for instance), I wanted to wait until I felt like they wouldn't be overwhelmed by the number of choices.
- They need to be able to not only pick what best represents the troop, but also keep in mind the troop goal -- the direction they want to move as a troop both now and in the future.
- The older they get, the better they are at handling disappointment when their choice isn't the one picked by the troop as a whole.
Now, does that mean my way is the right way? Nope. Does it mean the girls wouldn't have been able to handle it and make the perfect choice as a troop? No clue. But it felt like we needed to wait, so I waited. Technically, troops can choose a crest as soon as they bridge to Brownies if they're ready. As always, do what is the best fit for your girls.
Anyway, my girls are older now, and I believe they are mature enough to think it through and handle the disappointment if their individual choice is overruled by the majority.
However, I don't want them to be distracted by how the crests look. Otherwise I'm pretty sure we'd end up with mostly unicorns, despite meaning. So I typed up the meanings of the crests, without images, worded it as best I could based upon my research about the crests, and this is what I'm giving the girls:
Troop Crest Handout
This year we are choosing our Troop Crest patch (it goes between the Council ID hamburger-shaped patch, and our troop numbers). The Troop Crest represents our troop and its purpose as a Girl Scout Troop, and is worn by our troop for many years, not just now. So think carefully about your choice. Don't just pick what you like, or what fits you. Think about the troop as a whole, if you can.
Please pick the one that you think best represents our troop by putting a checkmark by it. If you cannot choose just one, because there are two that you think are equally good fits for us, you may check two.
Once you choose one that's a good representation of our troop (and put a check by it), look again to see if you think there's another choice that would be better for us to choose to have as a troop goal. If you think there is one, then circle that box. If you aren't sure, don't circle anything. Just put a check by the one or two you think fit us the best.
The difference between representation and goal is one this: Representation means what we already are. Goal is what we want to be, and what we should strive toward.
_____ We take action and are always moving forward. We are optimistic and want to change the world.
_____ We work hard and are industrious. We aren't afraid of working to accomplish something. We want to inspire others.
_____ We are full of happiness and good fortune. We are optimistic and want to spread good cheer
wherever we go.
_____ We are healthy and energetic. We want to make the world a better place.
_____ We are graceful and strong. We are true to ourselves, our friends, and our values. Our highest goals are honor and loyalty.
_____ We pay attention to details. We want to bring focus, and work hard, in everything we do.
_____ We are focused on love, friendship, and peace. We want to spread peace and goodwill in the world.
_____ We are full of inspiration and creative power. We seek inspiration in our own lives and want to
inspire others as well.
_____ We are always growing and changing, on the inside and outside. We are always trying new things and not afraid of change.
_____ We have loving thoughts and special friendships. We are proud to be sisters to every Girl Scout,
all over the world.
_____ We are rare, unexpected, and beautiful individuals. We want to light up the world.
_____ We are full of warmth and light. We want to spread good cheer, and help others grow, as we grow too.
_____ We are always ready to march into action. We are courageous and want to work to make the world a better place.
_____ We are beautiful and courageous. We want to spread beauty in the world with our words and actions.
_____ We are steadfast, strong, and proud of who we are, and will remain true to ourselves, no matter how much things change around us.
_____ We embrace new things, and new beginnings. We want to always be looking ahead.
Once the girls have chosen their top picks, both for current representation and goal, I'll take the top three (combined), and we will have an open discussion about them, followed by a silent ballot vote.
Feel free to adjust the wording in the above handout, if you feel like I didn't describe the crests accurately. And post in comments, too, please! I looked at quite a few resources and tried to condense meaning and include potential goals for them all, but might've overlooked something.
After we narrow it down to three, and they vote, the top pick will be our troop crest! (If I had to pick right now which one I think best represents our troop, I think it's a tossup between the Lei and Shooting Star. We'll see how well I know my girls. ;) I'll update with their choice once they've decided.)
Here's a picture of what they look like:
Here's a link to the images with meanings included. Here is another blogger's take on the History of Troop Crests. It's an interesting read.
Next up? I HAVE NO IDEA! Ha! It's summer. I'm working on all this in bursts as my kids allow. I think tomorrow we might just go to the pool and relax. Unless our face paint and fabric markers have arrived, in which case they might talk me into working on another Try-It. . . . I'm playing it by ear. :)