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!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Official Badges and Binders

Recently someone asked me why I don't list all the steps we've taken for every official badge. While I have detailed all the steps we took for our Daisy petals, and many we did for Brownies, there are some I didn't even post about. (And some where I've left out the key steps we took, and only posted about the extras.)

The reason for this is you can find suggested activities in the binder books for each level. So most of what I'm blogging about are times we chose to do different activities than those suggested.

For second year Brownies and up, I give the girls a list of ALL the official badges we can work on, and they choose which ones they want to do. You can start this with first year Brownies, if your troop is up for it. Mine wasn't, so I chose the itinerary for 2nd grade, and they chose it for 3rd and up.

Anything the girls do not choose as a group, they are welcome to do independently. More info on independent patch work here.

Recently I posted some things to consider for camping with Juniors (those steps can be adapted for other levels as well, and as always, check with your council for guidelines/requirements, and do what works best for your troop!). We worked on our Camper and Simple Meals badges while at camp. I didn't list the specific steps we took, because the suggested steps in the binder worked well for us (for the most part).

Note: I do not require my parents to purchase the binder for their daughters. I purchase one for the troop, and use it as reference. Your girls might enjoy their own binder -- and I tell mine they're welcome to buy one if they like. But we try very hard to keep the cost for parents to a minimum.

And there are some badges where the suggested activities simply aren't a good fit for my troop. Those are the ones I typically post about here.

As always, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to post. Thanks! :)

Binders can be purchased online or at your local council shop.

Cabin Camping Part Two (Packing)

This is based upon a two-night, three-day, cabin camp out with Juniors. You absolutely do NOT need to bring everything listed below; it's a lot. So as always, just adjust as needed for your situation and troop. This post is basically for things to consider when it's time to pack!

Recap of Key Things to Do Ahead of Time:

- Contact your service unit/council if your troop is camping as part of a group, to ensure you know what the camping and cooking (and showering) facilities are for your troop.
- Check the weather forecast for that specific area.
- Get a list of emergency contact numbers for you, your fellow Camp Volunteers to give your troop parents who are not attending.
- Complete any First Aid, CPR, and camping/outdoor training required by your council.
- Make sure any adults attending are registered volunteers, in accordance with your council guidelines.
- Make sure you have the minimum adult/girl ratio for the event.
- Ensure your leader daypack includes updated health forms for ALL attending with your troop (including adults), and a current and complete first aid kit.
- Communicate clearly with parents regarding the facilities, weather, and meals/snacks.
- Double check about girl/adult dietary restrictions (as these can change from  year to year).


This is obviously dependent upon what type of camping you'll be doing, and how long you'll be there. Our trip was three days and two nights in a cabin with a shared kitchen, and a 3+ hours car ride from home. And I'm an overpacker, for sure! But I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Plus, we were staying in a really really nice cabin with a great kitchen. 


Sometimes generic is fine. Sometimes it's not. So splurge on the important things like pasta sauce, and go generic on others that don't matter -- like jelly. It's hard to screw up jelly. When in doubt, go with the plain option (smooth peanut butter over chunky). I've seen leader lists that included all kinds of fancy "adult" foods. My girls are pretty picky still, even in fourth grade. So we went with the basics. Your mileage may vary. Go with what your troop will enjoy!

- Pots and pans, baking sheet, pot holder, ladles, etc.
- Paper plates, bowls, thick cups, plastic utensils -- I know, it's not environmentally friendly but were sharing our kitchen, so this was the better approach (tent camping: reusable dishes/utensils/cups and dunk bags, along with a small container of bleach for rinsing water; be sure to bring small bins for washing, rinsing, and sterilizing dishes)
- Large snap-lid bins, labeled with troop number and your name
- Coolers
- Paper towels
- Dish towel
- Sponge
- Ziplocs
- Garbage bags
- Aluminum foil (kitchen or campfire cooking -- this is key!)
- Dish liquid
- Cooler with ice & refrigerated food
- Coffee maker (good coffee -- the mamas need it!, filters, travel mugs)
- Salt/pepper/spices (garlic and Italian blend)
- Cooking oil and butter
- Milk, orange juice, apple juice, water (and a couple of ginger ales in case someone's tummy is upset)
- Lunches: Sandwich supplies (bread, peanut butter, honey, jelly, sandwich meats, sliced cheese, mayo and mustard). We had one mom go back and make the sandwiches while we were at our first activity, then meet us with the lunch stuff at a picnic spot afterward, as there wasn't time for all of us to go back to the cabin to eat. See Snack Bags for fruit and other options.
- Small bags of chips -- these transport better than large bags
- Juice boxes (optional)
- Little Debbie type snack cakes (dessert!)
- Popcorn (we had a microwave! Get the brand name kind if you're bringing microwave popcorn. The generic doesn't pop well)
- Paper bags to distribute the popcorn
- Hot chocolate packs (generic fine) -- we ended up with popcorn and hot cocoa for our late night snack. You could skip all that and go with s'mores though.
- S'mores supplies (graham crackers, hershey bars, marshmallows -- don't get the big flat marshmallows that are marketed for s'mores; they don't taste as good as the regular ones. Weird, I know)
- Bananas (or not. We ended up tossing some -- and they have to be stored so as to not go brown fast; see Snack Bags for other fruit)
- Small/quick Breakfast: Yogurt, cereal, pop-tarts
- Big Breakfast: Eggs, frozen pancakes (generic okay), syrup (brand name), sausages, grated cheese (optional -- we used the cheese for this meal and our big supper)
- Big Supper: Spaghetti noodles (generic okay), large marinara sauce (brand name), regular sized alfredo (brand name), ground beef (in ziploc, even if sealed), bread (we used small french bread type rolls -- butter and garlic), salad and dressings.
- Small supper: sandwich stuff (campfire cooking: hobo packs, chili, hot dogs, etc.)

Snack Bags:

Every person (girl and adult) had one snack bag per day, labeled with her name and the day it's for. Friday snack bags were quart-sized and distributed when we picked the girls up from school. They munched on these in the car. Saturday bags were gallon-sized and stayed in the girls' daypacks, Sunday's were quart-sized and for the car ride home. Adjust as needed based upon your length of stay. Short trip with one overnight can have just the gallon size and you'll be fine.

The purpose of the snack bags was not only to ensure each person had something to eat throughout each day, but also provided options for picky eaters, if they didn't care for the meal being served. Each day's bag contents varied, with the exception of the trail mix.

Our snack bags rocked! Ahead of time I dumped all the trail mix supplies into a huge bowl, mixed it up, them used a scoop to fill sandwich baggies. We had three trail mixes per person total. It was a lot, but any leftovers could be dumped into the next day's snack bag. And they were. It worked great!

- Trail mix in sandwich baggy (peanuts and/or cashews, craisins [better than raisins, IMO], dried pineapple/other fruit [freeze-dried fruit will get weird and chewy, so use regular dried fruit for trail mix, and keep freeze-dried fruit separate], pretzels, M&Ms, goldfish crackers)
- Cutie oranges in sandwich baggy with paper towel (messy -- this was a Saturday only snack, to avoid sticky rides in the car)
- Small apples
- Box of raisins
- Peanut butter cracker packs
- Chewy granola bars (assorted)
- Snickers
- Freeze-dried apples (in their own packs)

Leader Daypack:

- Pack of hand wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Bug spray
- Sunscreen
- Kleenex
- Extra hair rubberbands
- First Aid kit (epi-pen, bandages, tweezers, Benadryl cream, fast dissolve Benadryl and Ibuprofen for kids, small electronic thermometer, safety scissors, gauze, wrap, maxi pad, saline eye drops, moleskin, Children's Pepto, Adult Tylenol/Advil, etc., and some candy of some sort for quick sugar boost, or boo-boo distraction)
- Health forms with emergency contact info for all attendees (in ziploc)
- Permission slips, signed (in ziploc)
- Cell phone (in ziploc)
- Camera (optional, but mine works better than my cell phone)
- Camp map
- Small notepad and pen to record medications given

Extra Stuff to Bring:

- Craft/game stuff in case of inclement weather. I brought a roll of butcher paper that had accompanied a box from Amazon. It was a perfectly good (albeit wrinkled) long length of paper. I rolled it up, tossed in a big bag of Sharpies, and it was an instant, fun "Let's draw a mural!" activity for down time. Doubles as great bonfire fodder when you're done!
- Uno cards are a great and easy down time game. We did a lot of GS traditional games though.
- For younger troops, coloring pages and crayons, and other crafts are good. Older girls? Skits, games, etc. But it's NEVER a bad idea to have something on hand to keep them occupied during down time or if it rains.
- Flashlight
- Phone charger (moms)
- Acne cream and whatever toiletries you need. Because I swear nothing like camping makes my face break out! Ugh.
- Tie-dye supplies, waterproof tarps, etc. (we used old vinyl tablecloths) to do it on. Container to pre-soak in soda ash. Twine and clothespins to hang to dry. Extra gloves!
- Foam core cut in half. This gives you 4 kaper lists total. We broke up into two patrols and then assigned each patrol jobs for the length of our stay. You could easily use rolled up butcher paper for this, but I had some foam core handy.
- Camper Badge supplies (maps, cardboard knives, compasses, etc.)
- Any additional badge supplies (we did all of Camper and most of Simple Meals at camp)
- Toilet paper (because even a stocked cabin can run out)
- Pump hand soap (ditto)
- Small battery lantern (to leave in bathroom at night, etc.)
- Ear plugs/eye masks (moms!)
- Extra deodorant, pads, sweatpants, sweatshirt, socks, toothbrush, towel for girls. I always have at least one extra sleeping bag in my car too, just in case, and a spare small duffle with one set of clothes and toiletries in case someone forgets her bag. I also bring a small electric heater just in case. Yep, I'm an overpacker for sure! ;)

So, there's your HUGE packing list! You certainly don't need to bring all that, but hopefully it will give you an idea of things to consider bringing on your trip. Our biggest expense was food. We don't skimp on food, and used the bulk of our cookie money to pay for food. The cost for us to go to camp for three days and two nights (including activities) was $75/girl. The adults who went were paid for with troop funds. And we used $200 in cookie money to pay for the rest of the food. You can ask your adults to pay their own way, which would mean not dipping into your troop funds as much (or at all). It's up to you and your parents.

Just one of the many awesome things we did!

More to Come Soon!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cabin Camping Part One (What the Girls Should Bring)

Fall Camporee! I took my Junior troop to an awesome camp (outside our council) that was a 3 hour drive from home. We had three adults and 8 girls. We were only going to have 2 adults, but ended up with some scheduling issues, and it worked out well, as we had plenty of room for all our gear, food, and girls in three cars.
Packing their own bags was just the first step in earning their Camper badge

Some Random Things:

Never put girls to sleep head-to-head (lice), and always check with your council ahead of time regarding the rules concerning where adults sleep. Our council rules are 2 unrelated registered female volunteers in the room where girls are sleeping, or no adults in that room at all. No male volunteers in the same sleeping area as the girls, period. Your council may have different rules, so check with them first.

Make sure you have at least one registered volunteer who is Camp certified, with CPR, and First Aid, too. It can be one registered adult, or three different ones. Doesn't matter (in our council). 

Make sure you have updated health forms on all girls AND adults attending. Keep these in your leader daypack, along with all medications, and your first aid kit. 

Call the camp ahead of time to find out about weather (it may be in the mountains, thus cooler than the forecast for the area, etc.). Find out about specific restrictions on activities (no jewelry, glasses must be secured, etc.), and if you need permission slips for anything while there. 

Find out ahead of time exactly what the sleeping and cooking arrangements for your troop will be. I had a friend who assumed they were staying in a cabin with a kitchen, so her troop brought food that could not be prepared over a camp fire. They were not happy to discover there was no kitchen in their cabin. So when in doubt, ASK!

Below is the information I sent to my parents. It included a packing list for the girls, as they had to pack their own bags as part of earning their Camper badge. You can adapt much of this for your own troop, regardless of level. We were staying in a cabin for a weekend, so they didn't need to bring dunk bags or dishes, etc. More info on Foodstuff to bring in the next post.

By the way, be sure to include deodorant and pads on your list, for Juniors and up. Our girls are in 4th grade but some already need deodorant, and the last thing any leader wants to deal with is a girl starting her period with no one with pads on hand. This can also encourage parents to have a chat with their daughters ahead of time, regarding periods/hygiene. Also, at one point in the trip I flat out told my girls if they hadn't showered yet, they were to go do so. Stinky! Ha. They were great. :) But stinky, yeah. They all showered. It was good.

Anyway, here's the info I sent out.  Information I've altered for privacy is in italics.


Information for Parents:

PERMISSION SLIPS, CHECKS, and HEALTH FORMS must be turned in at drop-off.

(Information here with camp address, contact names and numbers, etc.)

All girls are expected to abide by the Girl Scout Law as well Troop & Camp Rules. Refusal to abide by the rules and cooperate can result in having to sit out of an activity, doing additional cleanup/kapers, or being sent home. We are there to have fun, and a great troop experience. We expect all the girls to be on their best behavior.

Please print out the next page and give to your daughter. She needs to pack her own bag, but parents double check the bags to ensure everything is there that needs to be. If it is not on the packing list, your child should not bring it. We had some issues at (previous camp) with novelty items that were not appropriate for camp. If there's a question about something, contact me ahead of time. Contraband items will be confiscated. ;)

Please drop off your daughter's gear at (leader's house/date)

Bring a booster if she still uses one OR is under age 9 (check with your state laws for this. All GS must be in appropriate seats/restraints in accordance with your state law, as well as destination state law).

(Information here on specifics for departure.)

All snacks and meals for the trip will be provided (the cost is covered in the fee). If your child has special dietary needs/restrictions, let us know immediately, as we will be purchasing groceries in advance. (More on foodstuff in next post!)

We will send out a group text to parents on our way home, with the time to meet at (return location).

All medications MUST be labeled and in original/prescription bottles, with detailed instructions, and packed by parents, separate from girl's bags. Do not pack medications in with your child's things. While we will have various OTC medications and first aid items on hand, you need to provide any special medications your child may need while at camp. If your child is prone to carsickness please let me know BEFORE we leave, and provide medication for the drive there and back.

(First Aid certified, registered volunteer to dispense all medications, including OTC ones. It's always a good thing to keep a record of what you give a girl, and when.)

No electronic devices of any kind are allowed (we cannot have them at camp, and cannot ensure their safety if left in cars). However, if your child needs to reach you at any time, she is absolutely welcome to use a chaperone's cell phone. If you need to speak with her, please call (leader's) cell.

Have questions or concerns? Please call or email me. :)

We are going to have an ADVENTURE! And it'll be awesome. :) We will take good care of your child.


  • Abide by Girl Scout Law at all times.
  • Stay with the troop at all times.
  • When away from our cabin, or doing an activity ask before leaving the troop to go to the restroom, etc.
  • Work well with your Patrol.
  • Don't be afraid to try something new! :)
  • If you need something, ask an adult. When you're given an answer, accept it kindly and move on.
  • No bickering, arguing, or whining. You are in fourth grade now, and representing our troop, our school, and your family. Be on your BEST behavior. Treat all the adults and the other girls with respect.
  • Follow directions.
  • If you are having a problem with another girl, work it out the Girl Scout Way. If you need adult assistance, ask for it.
  • Issues with behavior can result in having to sit out of a camp activity, doing additional kapers, or a parent being called to come get you.
  • This trip will determine whether or not we can take big trips in the future as a troop. So please help one another, follow the GS Law, and make yourselves proud of how well-behaved you've been! 


(Details about activities here.) For all activities there will be very specific guidelines we MUST follow in order to participate safely. You will learn more about these activities when we get to camp.

We will have snack bags for your daypacks like we did at (previous camp), but this time we will be preparing some of our own meals as a troop. Everyone will have a job to do with preparation and/or cleanup for meals throughout the weekend.

Everyone is to help with cabin cleanup and any camp kapers throughout the weekend. Girl Scouts leave things neater than we found them. So clean up after yourselves please.


  • Comfortable pants/jeans.
  • GS t-shirt
  • Comfortable socks.
  • Old tennis shoes or boots. No Crocs or sandals or flip-flops. Wear closed-toe, comfortable shoes.
  • Rain jacket or hoodie if weather calls for it (otherwise pack it).
  • Do not wear Junior vests to school that day. Do not bring them to camp. (We were heading to fall camporee, before we'd even had our first troop meeting of the year. Some troops bring vests to camp. I've found they aren't necessary, and pins can get lost, etc. So we do camp shirts instead.)

At school on Friday, when you're packing up at the end of day, pull your water bottle out of your backpack so we can fill the water bottles before we leave school. These are the water bottles you are going to use at camp, so bring a good one that won't leak and is durable.

All the stuff you packed ahead of time will already be in the cars when you get out of school. (See next page.)


Everything below, with the exception of your water bottle, should be packed and dropped off at (leader's) house ahead of time. You are in charge of packing your own gear, so follow the directions, please.

  • Warm, full-sized sleeping bag, packed in a stuff sack.
  • Pillow packed in garbage bag (garbage bag doubles as dirty laundry bag)
  • Large backpack or duffle bag (see list on next page for what to pack in it)
  • Your booster seat if you use one or are under age 9
  • Small daypack with these items inside (put your name on anything of value):
  1. refillable water bottle (you will use the one you are bringing to school that day)
  2. bug spray, sunscreen face stick
  3. kleenex
  4. hand sanitizer or wipes
  5. baseball cap
  6. extra hair rubberbands and/or headbands
  7. flashlight (do NOT bring ones that make noise)
  8. bandana
  9. attach Situpon with carabiner if desired

PACK IN DUFFLE BAG/BACKPACK (no rolling backpacks or suitcases):

  • 2 pair Pajamas (sweatpants/t-shirts are fine. NO nightgowns (we had one issue with a girl bringing a thin nightgown and the temps were near freezing. Recommending clothes that can double as day time layers is good)
  • 2 pair jeans (belt if needed)
  • 1 pair comfy pants (for ride home)
  • 2 short-sleeved shirts
  • 1-2 long-sleeves shirts
  • Rain jacket if weather forecast is wet (wear Friday if needed)
  • Sweatshirt or hoodie
  • 4 pair underwear (bra if necessary)
  • 3-4 pair comfortable/warm socks
  • Gloves if weather forecast is cold
  • Boots or old tennis shoes. Pack one pair. Wear the other. So you have two pair shoes total. We will be walking a LOT and getting dirty. Your shoes should be comfortable and not brand new.
  • Small bag or Ziploc with your toiletries inside:
  1. Toothbrush with travel case or Ziploc (put your name on it)

  2. Toothpaste

  3. Soap

  4. Shampoo (conditioner if needed)

  5. Washcloth AND bath towel for shower

  6. Hairbrush/comb and rubberbands if your hair is long

  7. Deodorant/pads if necessary 

  • Plastic bag to hold wet/dirty clothes (use garbage bag your pillow was stored in)
  • Sleep mask, and/or ear plugs if necessary
  • White pillowcase for tie-dyeing (write name inside it, small, in Sharpie)
  • Any medications you need should be packed by your parent and given to your leader separately, along with all permission slips, health forms, and camp fees.

Do not pack anything else. No electronic devices, whistles, etc.

If you need to bring something that is not on the list, ask me ahead of time. 
We will have crafts and games for indoor activities, in case of inclement weather.


That was the list the girls (and parents) were given. I had them all drop off gear, forms, and checks the night before we left. That way we could pack all three cars with everything (including coolers with food -- just added ice the next morning), so we could scoot out of town quickly the following afternoon. It worked out really well. 

We had some girls ask ahead of time if they could bring a small stuffed animal to sleep with. That was fine. But we also had some try to sneak in other items as contraband. Which wasn't fine. The girls were great though, and left their contraband items in their duffle bags. Mostly. ;) We did have to remind them to check their daypacks each morning, and remove any unnecessary items, because they get heavy when you're hiking ten miles. And sit-upons are fun, but kind of a pain to carry throughout the day. I would recommend them for evening campfire times, primarily. Also, no need to bring a flashlight in daypack in the daytime, etc.

More on what the leader needs to bring, in the next post.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Coming Soon: Getting Started with JUNIORS!

So apparently I'm just going to keep on blogging throughout this Girl Scout journey (ha! See what I did there? Journey. Tee hee).

Stay tuned for how to get started with Girl Scout Juniors! First up will be prepping/planning your first meeting, then some camping preparation tips, and diving right in to earning our first three badges!

I will also be updating some Daisy posts along the way, as I have to different troops, and have tweaked some things the second time around with my younger troop.

And have had some requests for things like communicating with parents, and recruiting parent volunteers. I will do my best to address all the questions and suggestions. Keep 'em coming!

Things have been crazy since my last entry, but I'm back in full swing with both troops.

Check back soon for updates!

And thank you to everyone who's taken the time to read my blog. :) It's now had over 500,000 views since I started it, which is mind boggling and really cool.

So keep on searching, and hopefully I can offer up some more helpful ideas for my fellow leaders, and point you to other online inspirations as well, because it's the leaders who make this happen. And we are all in this together!