Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Get Yourself an Assistant Leader!

I know... that's easier said than done, right? It's SOO hard (or maybe it just has been for me?) to find someone:
  • you can work with and that actually wants to help you with meetings. 
  • that can plan and carry out those plans. 
  • sharing the same values for the troop. 
  • who doesn't just sit there and stare as you run ragged around the room. 
  • providing a great role model and isn't another person to take care of during meetings.
  • willing to be an Assistant Leader and not just an 02 on your troop paperwork (tell me you don't know the difference? If you said you didn't, you lie! Or you have always been blessed!)
I'm going to confess something here... I am VERY Type A and slightly OCD (not in the clinically diagnosed way, but in the "yeah, I have some tendencies" way.) I know that I'm not the easiest person in the world to work with. It isn't like I'm mean or unwilling to hear alternative plans... it's just that I've found most of the time it's easier to do it myself than depend on someone else and those rare times I have turned it over to someone else it never came to fruition, therefore I tend to do a lot of things on my own. But, I'm learning. I'm learning to trust and delegate. Mostly because I am BLESSED this year with an amazing Assistant Leader (former Troop Leader to a troop that graduated High School 2 years ago) and two extremely talented and energetic college girls who have a lot on their plate, but still make time for troop "stuff". 

But, here's the deal... You can't be Batman without Robin. The difference in volunteering with Girl Scouts is that you should consider being in this for the long haul. If the little girl you are starting as a Daisy is over the moon in love with everything Girl Scouts (and how could she not!), this is potentially a 13 year commitment if you want to see her through Ambassadors. You need someone reliable and wonderful to help you, so neither of you burn out and quit leaving girls in the limbo world of what troop will they be able to find... and it's harder the older they get. So, share the work load with the assistant leader. Share leading activities. Share share share. 

Pace yourself (I should listen to myself!)!! Slow down! Breathe! You don't have to do EVERYTHING the first year or two. Give the girls a reason to stay in Scouts and give yourself a break. I love events. I love trips. I love service projects. I tolerate camping. But you don't have to do all of them every year. Leave time for yourself and your family. Here's a secret, too... if you have a great assistant leader, you don't have to go to everything! Let them go with a parent and the girls. It's okay!

Anyway, this year promises to be a lot less work for me and lot more fun for everyone. I'm looking forward to having a helping hand. I'm hoping 

Monday, September 22, 2014

And the winner is.....

I used Random.org to generate a random number based on the number of comments for the book post.

There were 10 eleigible comments. One was from the author and another was a duplicate. So... the winner is.... Nh1st0ryLIB

Please send me your mailing address by September 25, 2014.

Thanks for playing!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Badge Blanket aka Fun Patch Overload!

Sometimes the best and easiest types of posts comes from questions I get from blog stalkers (affectionate name I have for my groupies... ha!).

Brigitte in Tustin, CA emailed me today and asked:
"I had a question, when your girls runs out of room on their vest, it's common for you to use a blanket? Just wondering so I can plan on having a quilt made for my Junior. Her vest is full on the back and she completing her last year as a Junior this year. Do you have any specific references or referrals of websites for this? I have an amazing seamstress that would do it for me, just need to get the materials for her and show her a picture. I wanted to go to the expert first as there is different stuff online."

You know.. that's something I hadn't really even thought about. I mean... of course the girl and I both have blankets, but I didn't think about making it a post! What an awesome idea!!

My troop does a LOT of stuff. Not as much as others, more than some, but we have fun and that's what matters. The "problem" (though I don't consider it one) is that means we get a LOT of fun patches. They aren't earned badges for all these fun events we go to, but they are mementos of memories made and fun had. They need to be kept, but come on! The back on the vest isn't big enough a lot of times... and if you are using sashes for your troop... HA! Good luck with finding room for all those patches!

The solution I came up with isn't a new one. It's a tradition passed down and I latched on to it like there is no tomorrow! A badge blanket! It's a blanket for all those patches that no longer fit on the vest. A place for all that fun to be together in one place. The really fun part is, you can start it at anytime and continue on for however long it take to fill and then start another one if you want. It's all good! There is not right or wrong way.

Our blankets are fleece. I like them because:

1. Our Council name is on them.

2. They came with sweet little carrying strappy things

3. Lightweight and small enough to pack for any camping or overnight event

4. Big enough to cover more than just one year.

I've seen others with vest pillows where they turn their daughter's vest into a pillow for her room when she bridges to the next. I've seen capes. I've seen leaders buy sashes and sew them onto the bottom of the vest like a ruffle or extension. I've seen a lot of different ideas, but I am sold on the blanket.

The blanket is awesome. I take it with me to overnights and I can sit and tell the girls about the different patches and events... what we did... what I remember... and if it happens again and "do they want to go?!" It's a great way to get girls excited about events. All those memories on one handy dandy blanket.

The reason I don't like cutting vests to make into a quilt is because I have this nostalgic hope that one day... maybe my granddaughter will want to pull out her Mommy's vest and wear it in a parade or take it for show n tell to a troop meeting. Sniff sniff... makes me teary thinking about it, actually.

So, yeah... find yourself a blanket! Want a quilt? Get a quilt! Make a quilt! No rules to it. Find something you want and then cover it up with patches.

TIP: My stepdaughter now knows that when she gets a fun patch I'm going to ask "Vest worthy? Blanket patch?" It isn't that the blanket isn't as important, but it allows her to prioritize what is on her uniform that people see at each event we go to and which ones as on the blanket and only seen at overnight events.

And yes... we have some patches that are vest and blanket worthy and we buy extra, so both have them. That's mostly SU events and I have an inside connection there to get more patches.