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, May 17, 2015

SWAPS and Bridging to Juniors Badge

Today we're looking at one activity that achieves two different goals for Brownies.

1. SWAPS! Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.

New to Girl Scouts? Here's some info on the tradition of SWAPS.

Last year before camp, we made Fairy SWAPS. They were super cute, and easy to make.

This year we made a few changes.

If you have a small troop, you're fine with just doing one craft for your SWAPS, I think. But if you have a larger troop, you might want to make a few different SWAPS, to not saturate the market, so to speak. ;)

The challenge with making ten identical SWAPS per girl is that if you go to camp (or other event where swapping SWAPS is happening), then the girls will start to encounter other girls who already have that particular version of SWAPS from one of your troop members already. And then you're stuck with members in your troop who cannot trade their SWAPS.

While that did not happen to us last year, it did happen to another troop in our service unit.

So this year we combined our pre-camp prep SWAPS with our Bridging to Juniors badge requirements, and had our Brownies assist the Daisies in making SWAPS for camp.

2. Bridging to Juniors involves two steps:

  • Looking back at what we've learned/experienced and assisting a younger troop by passing on what we've learned (teaching Daisies how to make SWAPS is a great example).
  • Looking forward and finding out from other Juniors what opportunities lie ahead (this was not covered in this meeting; we split the Bridging requirements over a couple of meetings).

Bridging to Juniors badge goes underneath membership stars on vest.

Please note, while the Bridging to Juniors badge has requirements, the "Flying Up" Wings badge does not. It is given to all girls who move from Brownies to Juniors, a tradition dating back to when Brownies were called Brown Owls.

Leave room under the Bridging badge for the Junior Aide badge. The wings go underneath that.

So, we had our Brownies and Daisies together in one special "Sister Troop" meeting. We had three stations (long tables) set up, with one SWAPS craft per table. Because the numbers weren't perfect for every Brownie to be assigned a Daisy, we had them sit D/B/D/B (etc.) at the stations. We spent about 15 minutes at each table, then each group would move to the next table, so everyone had a chance to make several of each design. The Brownies did an outstanding job helping the Daisies make SWAPS for camp. :)

I had enough supplies on hand for each girl to make 13 SWAPS: ten to trade, and one of each design to keep (if she wanted). It's fairly common to have 10 SWAPS per girl, for trading, in my experience. You can always do more if it's a large gathering.

We did not stick with our camporee theme this year, as it was tie-dye and I knew there would be gobs of tie-dye themed SWAPS there. So we went with something a little different.

Dragonfly SWAPS

These were by far the easiest of the three, and took the least amount of time. We had some extras left over (hang on to leftover SWAPS. You can use them in later years!).

Supplies you will need:

- Tiny clothespins (I got mine on Amazon. You can find yours at Michael's or other craft store, if you prefer). The ones I used were 1" long and came in a variety of colors. Teensy and so cute!
- Stick-on bar pins (safety pins can work but not easily; this is what I'm talking about)
- Gauze ribbon -- at least two different shades (be sure it is wire-free. Wired ribbon can scratch)
- Scissors
- One or more samples pre-made ahead of time

If you don't have stick-on pins, you can use glue or a glue gun to apply the bar pins to the clothespins ahead of time.

If you want to get fancy, add your troop number to these! We were running tight on time preparing for camp (and February was a bust for troop meetings, due to snow). So we had some designs that did not have our troop numbers on them. SWAPS typically should have a troop number on them, but eh. You do what you gotta do!

So, each girl gets one clothespin with pin stuck on it, at a time (or, if you are beyond Daisies, let them stick the bar pins on there too. Since we had Kindergarteners, and 13 SWAPS to make per girl total, we did it ahead of time).

Then she chooses two colors of gauze ribbon and cuts ~2" length of each. Place one atop the other, and pinch them together in the middle, then clip the clothespin around it. Ta-da! Instant dragonfly!

These are super cute!

Doc McStuffins/Band-Aid SWAPS

My Daisies love Doc McStuffins. You don't have to call it that, if you have older girls or whatever, though. These required more prep time on my part ahead of time, but it was super easy.

Supplies you will need:

- Felt in skin tone(s) and white (you should only need one white felt sheet, as you can get a lot out of it)
- Heart foam stickers
- Glue dots
- Scissors 
- Safety pins
- One or more samples pre-made ahead of time

Preparation ahead of time, if you like:

Take your skin tone(s) felt sheets and cut strips that are approximately 1" wide and 3.5-4" long. 

Cut 1" squares out of your white felt sheets.

Have the girls glue dot the white felt in the middle of the skin-toned felt. This is the "gauze" part of the bandage.

Flip it over, and stick the foam heart in the middle of the back of it.

Stick a safety pin through one end.

Ta-Da! Instant Band-Aid SWAPS.

It's funny how all the girls immediately knew what these were supposed to be!

My Pet Clouds

I love these SWAPS. They are so stinkin' cute! And a bit more complicated than the others, but well worth it.

Supplies you will need:

- Small cotton balls (do NOT get jumbo ones, otherwise they won't fit in your baggy)
- Jewelers' bags (mini Ziploc-style bags; I bought mine in bulk off Amazon. God bless Amazon. You can find yours at Walmart or Michael's, etc.) I used the 2"x3" size, which is very small, but was perfect for what I wanted. You don't want to go too large for SWAPS, since some girls wear them on hats, etc.
- Googly eyes (small)
- Glue dots
- Stapler (with extra staples)
- Pre-printed paper labels
- Marker/pen to write troop numbers on label (not Sharpie though; it'll bleed through)
- Safety pins
- One or more samples pre-made ahead of time

Preparation ahead of time: Print off your labels and cut them out.

Click on this image to download the template.

The poem says:
In the whole wide world,
with everyone in it,
you're one of a kind,
and the sky's the limit!

Thank you to this awesome blogger for the inspiration!

Have the girls first write their troop number on the paper. It's easier to write on it before stapling, in my experience. But it really doesn't matter.

Then flatten the cotton ball a bit, to give it a nice "cloud" shape (not necessary, but cute). Then apply googly eyes with glue dots. Or you can use googly eyes with adhesive on the back. Those were a lot more expensive when I checked though. I love glue dots. They're super handy!

Gently insert the cloud into the baggy (doesn't matter which direction it goes).

Pinch the bag shut, and fold the label in half, so the poem is on one side, and the heart with My Pet Cloud/troop #s is on the other.

Slide the paper over the top with the poem in the front, and staple once, directly under the poem. 

When you put your safety pin in, do it on the top side, through paper and baggy. Otherwise it might tear your SWAPS.

Awwww, isn't it adorable?

Once we were finished, I collected all the SWAPS and separated them into sandwich-sized Ziplocs, 13 per bag. These went into my camp stuff. 

SWAPS are not about what each individual girls makes, though you're welcome to let them keep one of each when they make them if you like. It is traditionally a troop effort. And since they're going to be traded away, it doesn't matter who made which one. By taking them home with me, I ensured they all made it to camp intact. If you let the girls take them home, I guarantee someone will forget hers. 

So gather them up and split them up, and hand them out when it's time to trade!

Looking for a cute way to display SWAPS? Check it out!

And that is it for this year's SWAPS! More to come as soon as I catch up on end-of-year stuff and laundry. . . .