Brownies 11/6/17 – GS Way & Painting

This meeting went really well. It has been a good year so far for Girl Scouts, which is wonderful given how stressful it has been for the past few years.

Opening Circle
*GS Promise
*”Brownie Smile Song”
*”Princess Pat”

Badgework
*Girl Scout Way
*Painting

Closing Circle
*We skipped the closing circle because our painting ran past our ending time.

GIRL SCOUT WAY
We started making our JGL pumpkins at our last meeting, but were not able to finish them as time was tight once the cooking and making of snacks got past the initial start up phase.

Step 2:
We celebrated Juliet Gordon Low’s birthday by finishing the birthday pumpkins we started last week. We read Here Come the Girl Scouts last year, so I didn’t want to repeat reading it. One bit of (obvious) advice is to make sure you have at least one hole puncher. I forgot to bring one, and while an exacto knife gets the job done, it’s kind of a pain. Also, when assembling the pumpkins, you put brads in both ends of the strips. Arching them into a rainbow makes it easier to start spreading the strips out. The pumpkin/ball shape will naturally appear as the strips are pulled apart from one another.

PAINTING
We tackled two more steps of this badge, and it was interesting how the girls interpreted the music played during the “paint a mood” step. They also got a bit crazy with the “paint without brushes”, with of the paintings ultimately look like camouflage.

Step 3:
For “paint a mood”, the girls painted calm/relaxed and angry/upset. For calm/relaxed, we gave them a palette with three shades of blue. On my phone, I played “Thanksgiving” and “Jesu, Jesu, Rest Your Head” from George Winston’s December album. For angry/upset, we gave them a palette with red and two shades of orange. On my phone, I played “Mars, Bringer of War” from Holst’s The Planets, and the first couple of minutes of “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana.

Step 4:
For “paint without brushes”, the girls were given a full palette of colors, and various objects with which to paint – q-tips, bark, leaves, and pieces of sponge. They could paint a picture of whatever they wanted, however most of the paintings ended up looking like a green-blue-brown something. They were happy with it, so I didn’t really care.

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Brownies 10/30/17 – Rededication, Snacks, & GS Way

This post will be much better organized than the actual meeting. We did a decent amount of up/down the stairs between the church’s kitchen and our meeting room.

Opening Circle
*Girl Scout Promise

Rededication / Investiture
*Brownie Pond Ceremony

Badgework
*Snacks
*Girl Scout Way

 BROWNIE POND CEREMONY
I found this ceremony on the GS of San Jacinto resources page and have used it with both of my troops. I modified it a bit from how that council does it because I didn’t like the poems at either the beginning or the ending of the ceremony. For the ceremony, had the girls sit in a circle. In the middle, I placed a circular mirror surrounded by pine branches – this was our pond. Then I read the girls the Brownie elf story from the handbook. I had each girl stand up to do the “twist me, turn me”, and to be pinned. When I pinned my girls, I pinned their badge upside down. The intention is that after they have done three good “turns”, they can flip the badge so that it is right side up.

SNACKS
The girls did the final two steps of the Snacks Badge. It was definitely a bit chaotic having 8 girls in the church’s kitchen, but it all worked out. No one was injured, and there was surprisingly only minimal mess. It also helped that moms who were not in adult helpers to the girls washed dishes as soon as they were dirty.

Step 3: Sweet Snack
We made rice krispie monsters (idea from One Little Project). While you can use ready-made treats, I broke the girls into teams with an adult helper to make the treats from scratch. Once the treats were finished, we placed them in the fridge to cool down faster. We melted the candy melts in the microwave, and the girls dunked their treats in, took them out, and put the eyes on. Each girl had a piece of parchment paper with her name on it for placing the finished monsters.

Step 4: Snack for Energy
This was our final step to complete the Snacks Badge! In keeping with Halloween, the girls made harvest hash (idea from The House of Hendrix). This was the last thing we did, so the girls took their portions home with them.

GIRL SCOUT WAY
We managed to complete two steps for this badge. We’re still working on Steps 1, 3, and 4. Regardless, we should be done with the badge by our second December meeting. I don’t want any badges from 2017 carrying over into 2018.

Step 2: Celebrate Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday
I read a brief history of JGL and then the girls started working on their own JGL pumpkin (idea from here). Each paper strip has a different fact about her life. We didn’t have the time to finish the pumpkins during this meeting because the ceremony and food prep took longer than I expected.

Step 5: Enjoy a Girl Scout Tradition
This step tied into our Brownie Pond Ceremony by reading the story of the brownie elves.

Brownies 10/16/17 – Painting (Field Trip)

Our fourth meeting of the year was also our first field trip. We went to Canvas Crashers, a local social painting studio, so the girls could complete the first two steps of the Painting Badge.

Step 1:
The owner of the studio talked about his art – what he does, why he makes art, and why he likes to teach others how to make art.

Step 2:
The girls painted a tree in autumn for their still life. I’m sure that this was bending the rules a bit as they didn’t painted from a picture of a tree instead of an actual tree, but they had fun with it. I liked seeing how different their paintings were even though they all painted the same thing.

Brownies 10/2/17 – Movers & Snacks

At our third meeting of the year, the girls completed their first badge – Movers! One badge down, and more to go.

Opening Circle
*GS Promise
*Practice “Princess Pat”

Badgework
*Snacks Badge
*Finish Movers Badge

Closing Circle
*Sing “Make New Friends”
*Hand squeeze

SNACKS
I’ve always had a “one bite for the badge” for any food-related badge. The girls don’t have to like it, but they have to try it. Hummus was a hard sell for some of the girls, while others were excited. It was split down the middle as to how many girls liked/disliked it.

Step 2:
We used this recipe, which is the same recipe my husband has been using for years, though he has gotten more creative with it as the years have gone by. The girls were split into three teams, each team making their own batch of hummus. Most of the ingredients were measured out beforehand to simplify the process and make sure the mess was minimal. Once the hummus was finished, the supervising mom spooned samples into small cups. The girls tried their serving with crackers or carrots.

MOVERS
The girls finished up the two final steps for the retired Movers Badge by making bird kites and balloon rockets.

Bird Kite – This was a fairly straight forward craft, though in addition to having a sample prepped, it is worth walking the helper adults through the steps. We had to have several girls start over with new paper because they put a crease in the wings instead of just rolling them over.

Balloon Rocket – I have done this before with my older daughter’s troop, and it was a big hit with them. It was also a hit with this troop as well. I do recommend making sure you have more than 10 minutes left of your meeting if you do this activity. It is not enough time for the girls do have more than one turn. I also recommend having two strings set up for racing, and that you have adults hold either end of the string. This makes it much easier to remove and reload rockets. It is also better to use a larger size of balloon, such as the ones that come in a packet of 12 at Wal-Mart. And finally, depending on the type of string that you use, make sure to have a lighter handy so you can melt the ends to keep the string from fraying. It is hard to get the straws loaded onto frayed string.

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Brownies 9/25/17 – GS Way, Snacks, & Movers

Our second meeting of the year went well, though I now know for sure that I need to add an extra 15 minutes to the meetings. An hour isn’t enough to get everything done.

Opening Circle
*GS Promise

Badgework
*Started Girl Scout Way
*Started Snacks
*Continued with Movers

Closing Circle
*Sing “Make New Friends”
*Hand squeeze

GIRL SCOUT WAY
My plan is to slowly pick away at this badge throughout the school year. We might get it done before Christmas break, but it depends on how easily I can fit some of the requirements into our meetings.

Step 1:
I’m modifying this a bit in that I’m going to teach the girls multiple GS songs, starting with “Princess Pat” (a call and repeat/action song) and “The Brownie Smile Song”, and then moving on to some more camp songs. Tonight was “Princess Pat”, which the girls loved. There are multiple versions, which can make it hard to figure out which one to use. I used the lyrics and movements from the alternate version on Scout Songs (scroll down), and the tune as heard on this video.

SNACKS
This is the third time I’ve done the Snacks Badge, and it is one of my favorites. I make it a requirement that the girls try at least one bite of everything they make. They don’t have to like it, but they have to try it if they want to earn the badge. My plan is to finish this badge during our Halloween Party, rolling two of the steps into the party itself.

Step 1:
I do my own thing for this step, having the girls measure out and see how much sugar is in the sweet snacks that they eat. Each girl is supposed to bring in a sweet snack (chips and crackers won’t work for this – it must be candy or cookies or something else sweet), but that doesn’t always happen, so I make sure to have extras on hand (always a bottle of soda and some flavored yogurt – there’s a lot of sugar in yogurt). Also make sure that the girls bring the actual snack. An empty Twinkies box won’t work because the point is for the girls to see the treat next to the measured out sugar.

First we figure out what a portion size is, then use a kitchen scale to measure out how many grams sugar are in the snack. So two double stuffed Oreos is a serving, and there are 12 grams of sugar in a serving.

L-R: Oreos, strawberry-banana yogurt, McDonald’s chocolate milk, fruit gummies, Kit-Kat minis, single-serving Pepsi.

Step 5:
To make something sweet, I keep it simple and have the girls make smoothies – apple juice, bananas, frozen strawberries. With 10 girls, I broke them down into three groups. Each had their own ingredients, blender, and adult helper.

MOVERS
We continued on with our third badge project – paper copters. I recommend making a few of them first so you know how to fold the paper. This is a very fast project, so either make sure you do it at the end of a meeting or make sure there is a balcony or some other elevated place for the girls to spend 10-15 minutes dropping copters.

Back for a new year…

I gave up on Girl Scout blogging last year because it was an incredibly rough year for me in terms of balancing working full-time, three children, and leading two troops. At the end of the school year, I stepped down from my older daughter’s troop – the new leader will do a wonderful job with the girls. My daughter is not returning, instead opting to do Juliettes – she will be a first year Cadette.

I am still leading my younger daughter’s troop – first year Brownies – and am very excited. Brownies is my favorite level, and my troop is down to a much more manageable 11 girls. I also have all of the 2017 meetings blocked out, which will make filling in the details so much easier.

Tonight was the first meeting of the school year, and the hour flew by. I will need to bump up the meeting length from one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes at some point this year.

Opening Circle
*GS Promise
*Girls shared a picture of their favorite thing they did during the summer (pictures were drawn and colored before the meeting started)
*Played hula hoop team challenge game (loop the hoop)

Business
*Set to do a field trip to a local nature preserve to earn the Senses and Hiking Badges (November)
*An overnight at the aquarium is in the planning stages
*Girls voted on Troop Crest

Badgework
*Started Movers Badge (retired)

Closing Circle
*Sing “Make New Friends”
*Hand squeeze

TROOP CREST
I sort of did this with my older daughter’s troop, but it was hard because the girls were split between two grades, and thus two different levels each year. My younger daughter’s troop is all one grade, which makes planning so much easier. I wanted them to have a Troop Crest to act as a theme or what was important to them as Brownies. My co-leader put together a simple poster board with the descriptions of five crests (no images!) for the girls to vote on. We chose: Lightning, Pansy, Shooting Star, Sun, and Unicorn. During round one, the girls could vote on two crests based upon the description. The top two choices made the final voting round – coincidentally, Shooting Star and Unicorn. Shooting Star won, so now the girls are “rare, unexpected, and beautiful.” It definitely fits them, especially the unexpected part. I have a few girls who keep me on my toes. They will get the crests at our Rededication Ceremony in October.

MOVERS BADGE
I have a stash of retired badges, and Movers is one of my favorites. It’s not about the science of air, but more about the fun of making things that fly and spin. The requirements for the retired badges are a bit different than for the new ones, so I mash it up and have the girls complete five or six activities. Tonight we made pinwheels and ring gliders.

Pinwheels – My co-leader prepped the paper by cutting it and marking the lines and dots to save a bit of time, and to keep from having girls make mistakes on how long the lines should be and accidentally cutting their paper in half. This activity definitely requires adult help. Some of the girls had trouble folding and pinning the paper properly. They also needed help pushing the the sewing pin through the pencil eraser. Two bits of advice – 1) we found that placing two beads behind between the pinwheel and eraser made it easier for it to spin, and 2) push the sewing pin through the eraser far enough that only a few millimeters of it pokes through (the pointy end will be covered with a bubble of hot glue). There needs to be enough space for the pinwheel to easily spin when it’s blown upon. If you push the pin through too far, it pushes the paper too close to the pencil, causing the tips to bump the pencil.

Ring Gliders – We did this a little bit differently than the instructions, again to keep it simple. Each girl made two gliders, each one a different shape. They got two straws (the sturdy kind you find in the party supply aisle in Hobby Lobby), two 12″ x 1″ strips of card stock, two 6″ x 1″ strips of card stock, and scotch tape (shared between several girls). The girls taped their strips into circles, then pinched them into the shapes they wanted (circles, tear drops, and triangles being the popular choices). Attach a strip of tape to the end of the straw, then press it into the shape. To test them, the girls stood in the hallway and threw their gliders to see how far they’d fly. We asked questions such as, “which shape do you think will go farther when you throw it?”, etc…

 

Agent of Change Journey – Power of Community

AoC

Last school year, my Juniors completed the Agent of Change Journey in anticipating of earning their Bronze Award this year. We completed the Power of One at our fall lodge/camping trip; and we completed the Power of Team at one of our meetings.

The Power of Community took up a good chunk of the rest of our GS year. Fist to Five was incredibly helpful in figuring out what to do for our Take Action Project (TAP). The girls came up with several areas to focus their efforts in: animals, veterans/military, books/literacy, and food. Using Fist to Five, the girls cast their votes for each area, and at the end I totaled the “number” of votes for each one. Animals won by a landslide.

One of my moms (now my coleader), offered to run the TAP. She did the legwork to find different options of how the girls could help animals, and once the girls chose, she did the legwork to get them going.

The girls’ TAP: helping to raise awareness of a local pet food pantry that focuses on pets owned veterans and homebound individuals. The pet food supply store in our town let the girls use his store as their front (and temporary storage for collected food and supplies). We’ve done other service projects/badgework with this store, and I love them.  They have always been more than gracious and helpful.

  1. The girls created a flyer to advertise the pet food pantry food drive. They each took 5 flyers, to go to area businesses, explain what they were doing, and ask if they could post a flyer. (This was incredibly successful.)
  2. Coleader ran an advertisement in our local paper for several consecutive weeks.
  3. Coleader found a rain barrel. Girls decoupaged drawings of pets on the barrel. Girls also created an advertising poster to hang over the barrel in the store.
  4. On the day of the pet food drive, girls rotated manning a table set up outside the store to collect donations of pet food and pet supplies.
  5. Rain barrel was left at the store for more donations (I believe the barrel is still there, 6 months later).

The pet food drive was insanely successful. Insanely. Successful. Within half an hour, the rain barrel was full. Within two hours, the storage space the store owner set aside was full. By the end of the drive (four hours), the girls had to help him make space for the donations until someone from the pet food pantry could come and pick everything up.

My coleader wrote an article about the drive’s success that was published in our local newspaper as a follow up.

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