Welcome!


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!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Daisies & Brownies: Combined Troops and Badge Work


I've had a request for suggestions regarding mixed level troops (Daisy/Brownie), and how to meet the needs of each level's badge work with combined activities.

Sp, below is a list of Daisy Petals and which Brownie badge might correspond with it, or have similar activities. Also, don't forget about Brownies earning their Bridging to Juniors badge. Many of the typical activities for Daisy petals can be an opportunity for Brownies to help out, too. Look at doing some Try-Its as well, if you don't have a large troop and have access to the badges. The suggestions for Brownie badges here are in no particular order. There are also fun patches that can correspond to petals.

Some of the suggested badges may not seem to work at first glance, but basically there is an opportunity for Daisies to earn their petals while participating in some of the same activities Brownies can do while earning those badges. For instance, yellow petal can go with the art-focused badges, if the works of art are for gifts, to be donated, etc. Red petal can go with Senses if you have them taste new things or reach into something squishy. And so on. 

I would sit down and go through my calendar, see how many times your troop will meet this year, and how long you have with each level (is this first year Daisies? Then you can spread the petals out over two years, etc.). Have goals for the year and the levels (second year Brownies to complete X steps towards Bridge badge, etc.), and then start matching up what looks like it will work.

Also, Daisies might do 3 steps of something while Brownies do 5, with 3 of the 5 steps being tailored towards Daisies, and so on.



Center Blue (Promise) –
Girl Scout Way
Making Friends
Light Blue (honest & fair) –
Making Games
Making Friends
Fair Play
Yellow (friendly & helpful) –
My Great Day
Making Friends
Pets
Potter/Painter
Fair Play
Light Green (considerate & caring) –
Household Elf
Pets,
Making Friends
GSW
Red (courageous & strong) –
My Best Self
Dancer/Hiker
Snacks
Senses
First Aid
Bugs
Safety Award
Orange (responsible for what I say & do) –
Safety Award
Home Scientist
Household Elf
Hiker
(general Kapers too)
Purple (respect myself & others) –
Making Friends
My Best Self
My Great Day
First Aid
Family Story
Fair Play
Letterboxer
Pets
Making Games
Celebrating Community
Snacks
Magenta (respect authority) –
First Aid
Celebrating Community
My Best Self
My Family Story
Making Games
Fair Play
(cookie badges too)
Green (use resources wisely) –
Household Elf
Home Scientist
Inventor
Computer Expert
Hiker
Letterboxer
Making Games
Painting
GS Way
Rose (make the world a better place) –
Household Elf
Inventor
My Great Day
Potter/Painting
Hiker
Pets
GS Way
Violet (be a sister to every GS) –
Making Friends
My Family Story
Making Games
Fair Play
Celebrating Community
GS Way

All the money/business badges can go easily with the Daisy leaves, I think. Safety Awards as well. I would recommend having separate Journey-in-a-Day events, if your girls want to tackle Journeys.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

SU: Branding Guidelines and Helpful Links (Terms, Colors, Copyright, etc.)

Over the past few years, I've learned many things about GSUSA guidelines and branding. I recently took over our service unit communications, and built a website for our service unit (this is not the same as the Shutterfly sites I use for my troops; the website is public, with private areas for parents and leaders). So I had to do quite a bit of research about branding and what was okay to use, and what required permission.

For those of you who use a private site for your troops, this information may be helpful, but not necessary. I think the focus should always be on the girls, and having fun, but if you're talking about a public website, or printed materials, take a look at some of the information below. It's from a lot of different resources, and as always, if you see something that looks outdated or inaccurate, please leave me a comment!

Here is a great online resource for current branding information.

You can download the official GSUSA style guide here.

When I first started writing this blog, I didn't know there were specific guidelines for brand-related images and so on (so if you see things that aren't according to the guidelines below, chalk it up to well-intentioned ignorance on my part). And even now, if I like the look of one font over another (makes it more fun for my girls), I always vote for being creative and engaging! So a lot of what I'm talking about in this post is more about "official" stuff -- if you're representing Girl Scouts, as opposed to creating things for/with your troops. Mostly. Well, you'll see. ;)

Some Quick/Random Info:

It used to be that "Daisy Girl Scout" was the preferred title. This has changed. It is now "Girl Scout Daisy" (etc.). Here's a great resource on the timeline of various other changes.

The brand colors are not always web-friendly (and individual monitors/screens can display colors differently as well), so rather than using the green color for your font, for instance, think about just sticking with black. You might want to use the brand colors (green, blue, etc.) for static files like .jpg, .pdf, etc.

Always check with your council before making any printed merchandise using "Girl Scouts" branding (name[s], title[s], the faces logo, etc.). It is fine to use the word "troop" and your troop numbers without your council's permission, though. So if you want to make troop shirts with just "TROOP 12345" on it, for instance, go for it! Just don't use the words "Girl Scouts" on it. If you do that, you have to get your council's approval and use their manufacturer.

Make sure any products you're creating for fundraising are in keeping with your council's rules. When in doubt, ask your service unit manager (SUM) and/or council rep.

What About Logos and Other Official Stuff? 

Are you making Welcome certificates for your girls? Or trefoil-shaped name tags? Are your girls making Daisy bookmarks? That sort of thing is fine. Do you have a blog? Are you posting ideas on Pinterest? No problem. Ask yourself these questions: Am I making a profit by doing this? Is this information only available by purchase? If the answer is yes, then ask for permission.


You cannot take currently copyrighted materials that GSUSA currently sells and post them online for others to use for free.

Recently there were some websites out there where authors had scanned current GS publications and posted them online. That wouldn't be bad if it had been free-use material, but in these cases, the publications scanned were items being currently sold by GSUSA. By scanning them and posting online, these individuals violated GSUSA's copyright (no, I was not the person who reported them. I found out about it after the fact). Personally? I think leaders should be allowed to share ALL resources if possible, and in an ideal world no girl should have to pay for any printed resources. But I'm not in charge, and the last thing I'd want to do is risk my position within the organization by infringing upon copyright. And honestly, it's understandable. GSUSA is obviously doing everything it can to fund the organization. I respect that. So when in doubt, ask for permission.

But enough of that. Here's some general, free-use info for you. :)

Handy-Dandy Reference Sheet:




Please note, that the Omnes font is unavailable for leaders to use, typically. It is basically an altered (bolder) version of the Avenir font (and the left side cross of the lowercase "t" has been removed). When in doubt, use Arial. You can download the file directly from its source by clicking here (it's under Branding & Photos). 

The Logo Has Changed?

The logo has gone through quite a few changes over the years. Lots of great info (with pictures) can be found here.



Different fonts, colors, and shape

But My Service Unit Has the Old One on Its Sign/Wall/Whatever!


Leave it. :) Don't stress about it. Our service unit has a room at the local community center, dedicated to GS use. One wall has a giant mural on it that a group of our girls painted a while back. The girls in the picture are all wearing older style vests, with retired badges. The logo is the old-style faces one (on left, above). It's a beautiful mural, and was created with a lot of hard work and love. To alter it would, in my opinion, dishonor those girls who created it. (If it were peeling and in need of repair, that would be a different story -- and a great community service project for an older troop. But luckily it's in great shape. So we admire and appreciate it, and leave it be.)


But, is your service unit planning an event? Are you wanting to send out an email to all parents with info and a graphic about the event? If you're planning on using a GS-related image, use what's current if you can.


EDIT: I know. Technically the faces logo in my blog banner should have white as well. Blogger has a unique way of displaying images, and this was the best I could do. I'm not stressing over it. It's a blog. It's not official GSUSA materials. 


Your council should have specific information regarding branding. When in doubt, call your council. :)


What About Ad Campaigns/Taglines/Slogans? What Is Current?


I'm pretty sure that every year there's a new campaign. And that's okay. Some slogans are very successful, some aren't. You don't have to use the current slogan or campaign focus for your troop or service unit. Most councils do attempt to echo GSUSA's current campaign. As a leader, I try to stick with what appeals most to my troops. For example: the anti-bullying campaign that came out recently ("Ban Bossy") was met with mixed results from what I've read. Personally, I didn't choose to focus on it at all that year. My girls already know the difference between being a leader and being bossy. I think Girl Scouts is most beneficial when focusing on the positive. Since there are already plenty of resources out there for anti-bullying (and promoting GS Law, etc.) I didn't feel it necessary to buy into the campaign. Plus, my girls are still young (Daisy/Brownie age). Dealing appropriately with the topic of bullying depends a great deal upon age, in my experience. 


Other leaders found it very relevant for their troops, and bought into it wholeheartedly. That's great! As always, do what's best for your girls. But don't feel pressured to keep up with it all. My council shop sometimes carries the most up-to-date slogans on merchandise. Sometimes not. I've found searching through other councils' online stores to be a great resource for variety (as well as shopping on eBay), when I'm looking for cute shirts, etc. Just because a slogan is no longer considered current doesn't mean it can't be worn. 


What's the Most Important Thing About It All?


Remember that different councils have different guidelines. Don't stress about using images for private, non-profiting use with your troops in terms of crafts, etc. Definitely ask your council before using any copyrighted material on shirts or other items, especially if using them to raise funds for your troop/SU (some councils don't allow any fundraising outside of product sales; others do. It varies). Ask before photocopying and sharing anything from a for-purchase-only book.


And as far as online sharing, always keep troop sites private. While council sites are largely public (including their council-specific event information), most service units keep troop rosters and event information private (leader and parent access only). When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Always protect your girls' identities. Ensure your parents have filled out a permission form for using photos, etc., in media/online. Do whatever it takes to keep your girls safe online.


Most info about online security can be found in your volunteer resources guide; safety pledge is here. Before creating any public website for your troop or service unit, check with your council (there's typically a form you have to fill out). 


That's it for now. I'm in the process of ramping things up for the new school year. I'll be leading a Kindergarten Daisy troop and a Third Grade Brownie troop, so LOTS of new info to come!