Once everyone arrived at the lodge, we did our Opening Circle and talked about the plans for the afternoon. We divided the girls into two groups, with two parents per group. They were tasked to go on a scavenger hunt (Sight) to find 10 things to use for their fairy houses. It had to be 10 different things, not 10 leaves or sticks or rocks. They also had to pay attention to the sounds in the woods (Hearing) because I was going to ask them what they heard. The groups had a time limit of 30 minutes.
While they were on their walk, the remaining parents set up tables and set out the fairy house supplies. My initial plan was to have the girls lay out what they found on a table so we could talk about and compare the textures (Touch) of the various items. That didn’t happen since the girls all bee-lined for the tables as soon as they entered the lodge. Instead, they spend the next hour working on their houses.
When it became apparent that the girls were losing interest in the houses, I rounded them up so they could help clean the lodge – picking up loose materials, sweeping the floor, etc…Then we headed out to our fire pit for a brief lesson on fire safety and how to start a fire. Fire safety consisted of 1) don’t set foot inside that circle. If you are unsafe, you will be asked to leave the fire area and will not get to participate in what we’re doing, 2) make sure your hair is not loose and that you have no loose articles of clothing that could catch on fire. The girls stop-drop-and-roll down pat, but I don’t think they were entirely getting that if they have to do that, then they’ve failed to follow the rules (and I’ve failed as a leader).
On a side, it was hard to keep them from crossing into the safety circle because beyond the fact that thing was huge, and the fire pit small, the rocks were overgrown with grass making them hard to see, and the logs for sitting were pretty much pushed up against those rocks, leaving barely enough room for little feet.
While the fire was building up, the girls did a relay race with bean bags on their heads (no touching!). The winners got stamps on their hands. We did a few other races, but then I let them just run around and play.
Dinner was spider dogs, baked beans, and watermelon. The parents ended up cooking the spider dogs since the fire safety circle was huge. Unless the girls held 6 ft long sticks, there was no way they were going to be able to cook the dogs themselves. For grace, I taught the girls the Johnny Appleseed grace I remember from my time at Girl Scout camp as a girl.
The girls had helped bring out the food, plates, etc… and they helped take them back to the kitchen. Some of the girls helped wash/dry the dishes. Once everything was cleaned up, we had dessert. I didn’t necessarily trust some of the girls not to be silly while holding sticks with flaming marshmallows at the ends, so we s’more cones instead. The idea came from a blog that was linked in a thread on a Girl Scout leader forum. It is definitely a winner. Place mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips inside a sugar cone, wrap it in foil and put it on the cooking grate above the fire. Because we did not have a cooking grate, we laid the cones in the embers. The chips and marshmallows didn’t melt all of the way in most of the cones (using a grate would have prevented this).
After dessert and clean up, we taught the girls the Brownie Smile Song – traditional and frog versions. By that point, the Boy Scouts were marching over, so we prepared to watch their Flag Retirement Ceremony. There were some whispers amongst the girls, but they were legitimate questions asking what was happening and why.
Once the ceremony was completed, and the boys had marched away, I taught the girls Taps. Then the girls who had to go home left and the rest got ready for bed. I read them a story – Stuck by Oliver Jeffers – before lights out.