Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Patch Programs

Thank you, Wendy, for allowing me to share your awesome patch program idea. :)

My troops do not meet over the summer break from school. It's difficult to coordinate schedules and I need a break!

Last Summer, I found a patch program for the girls and thought it would give them something to do and earn over the break from troop meetings. We did the Not Bummer Summer 2014 challenge. It was a patch program I found on a Facebook group. It was a hit with the girls and a few of them even remembered to track their stuff and bring it in to turn in for their patch. I held them to it, too. If they didn't turn anything in, they didn't get the patch. 

So, this summer I'm going to do it again. Since the Cadettes have already done Not Bummer Summer, they are doing Diary of  Summer Girl. The Daisy's are doing Not Bummer Summer. 

The troop that is putting these together are using the proceeds to help pay for some troop trips they are doing. They put together PDFs of what activities qualify and a points system on how to earn the patch. It's all for fun and easily customizable. I swapped out a few items that were sort of location specific or not something for the age range I was targeting. 

Giving the girls something to do over the summer months is a great idea, in my opinion. It's easy for me. It's hopefully fun for them. It keeps them thinking about scouts, too. I plan to send a card halfway through the summer to each of them asking how they are doing and asking they write me a letter back. Another way to stay in touch and support a lost art form... letter writing!

Here are the groups:
Girl Scout Badge Swap:
and Fun Patches to Buy and Sell:

You can find both of these patch programs on one or both of the groups, if you are interested. Just join the group and search for Bummer Summer  or Summer girl and they should come up (unless you wait until next summer to look and then you may be out of luck! Pay attention to the date of this post, please) :) If they don't come up, ask the group or reach out to me and I'll be happy to get you in touch. I didn't want to just share her email and information here for the whole world to bombard her with blindly. 

Have a great summer!! I'm moving, unpacking, organizing, and hoping to catch up on some badges that we have done for your reading pleasure. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Be a sister to every Girl Scout (and destash!)

We are moving. There are a lot of emotions and craziness with that statement. We aren't moving towns, but we are moving. Which means I'm packing. Packing. Packing. Packing. 

Why do I share this, you ask? Well... I have found that I have  a LOT of stuff that is related to Girl Scouts. I have Girl Guides for every level, even though I've only had 4 of the 7. I have journey books for each level. I have leftover yarn, foam, cups, markers, crayons, etc. from 5 years of having a troop. 

So, what do you do with all the leftover "stuff"? We all have crossed this bridge. You need a supply for a craft and you are ordering from Oriental Trading and it comes in sets of 12, but you have 8 girls.... or worse... sets of 12 and you have 13 girls! The remainder is packed away. At least, it is at my house. 

I don't want to toss it, because we might use it. Those days are done. My 7th graders aren't interested in foam shapes any longer. I have no use for things that are just collecting in the totes... yes... totes... and I don't mean little 5 gallon totes.. I mean hold a Christmas tree tote... 2 of them... plus more... It's time to destash. I have come up with a plan. After I move and settle and get organized (insert laugh here, because that is an ongoing process every single day of my life), I plan to go through the "stuff" and put together starter kits of stuff and then gift them to new troops in our Service Unit. 

I have tote bags galore! Seriously... I have more tote bags than any human being should have. I can easily say I have 30 tote bags from Girl Scout events. I don't know why I have so many. I don't NEED that many. If I ever filled that many, I would be so sad... those are going to be passed on full of supplies in the above mentioned "start up" kits. 

And then there are the tools and non-consumables. We have done a few projects over the years that have required lino cutters, hammers, pliers, etc. I searched and got good deals. No one scold me for being frivolous with troop money and let's be honest...a lot of times I paid for it, even though it was for the troop. That stuff, I plan to put together in kits and tell the Service Unit about it for a check out program. I may regret that decision, but that's what we are going to do. 

I hope this will help my fellow Girl Scout sisters and give me a way to destash the ever growing stash of things that is taking up WAY too much space... even though the new house does have more storage, I'd like to be storing family stuff and not just troop stuff... Ha!

The reason for the post? If your girls have outgrown the stash you are keeping, please evaluate and be a sister to a troop. Pass it along. Help someone out. Remember back when you first started a troop and what a blessing a bag of supplies would have been. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

String Art Teaches a Great Lesson

Have you ever had one of those moments when you hear yourself talking and before you know it you realize it's an amazing teachable moment? Have you ever missed that moment and had someone else point it out to you later? That's what happened to me during our last Cadette troop meeting of the school year. 

I had planned to do String Art for a fun little project for the girls. They still love crafts and I like to find things that will at least challenge them a little. They are all on different levels with their crafty skills, so at times it's difficult. 

I explained to the girls how to do their string art project. We talked about safety, because they were using hammers and nails. We talked about following instructions and remembering to do the steps in order to make sure the result was a good one. 

I asked the girls if they had hammered a nail before, because a few are new to our group this year. They all responded they had. So, I showed them how I held the nails and hammer and told them if they weren't comfortable holding the nails with their fingers, then they could use the pliers I had brought. I began to hammer the first nail as a demonstration and one of the girls says "How did you get so good at that?" I shared the story with them and then later when talking to my husband he says "Just like any skill in life... practice!" But, this is the story I shared with them: 

"I have always been a Daddy’s girl. When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I wanted to help my Dad build a fence. I kept asking if there was anything I could do and thankfully my Dad is a patient and  caring man who loves his little girl. He gave me a hammer and a coffee can of nails and told me he needed all those nails hammered into a fencepost he was going to use. I’m sure I thought it was a very important task. I remember sitting there and hammering away. They were crooked, bent over, half in, and not a very good tradesman quality of work. But, with time, I got better at it. At the end of the day, he helped me get the ones that weren’t flat to the post hammered in and then he did use it as a gate post. 

Now, if you ask my Dad about this day he will smile and tell you he couldn’t believe I hammered over 100 nails into that post. He really thought I would get bored with it. He knows how many were in there because many years later, he took down that fence and pulled all the nails from the post before burning it. It took him a whole day to get all those nails out from so long ago."

Just like hammering in those nails, it takes time and practice to learn a new skill. Dad showed me how he held the hammer and how to line up the nail with your fingers for the first hit. While it’s important to watch and learn from others, there is a point where you have to just devote yourself to practice and keep going until you know how to do it. Dad understood the importance of just letting me find my own way. He was always good at showing me and then walking away to allow me to practice and figure it out. I don’t swing the hammer just like my Dad and I typically need 2 hits, instead of his 1, before I remove my fingers. But, we can both drive a nail.

Don't forget as a Troop Leader there will be many teachable moments and sometimes you are teaching them life skills that you don't even realize. They hear and absorb more than you know.