Category Archives: Camping/Field Trips/Visitors

Juniors Camping Weekend

We spent a weekend in October at an area Girl Scout lodge. Unlike previous years where we stayed only one night, this year, we stayed both Friday and Saturday nights. I wanted the girls to earn the first award associated with Agent of Change, and with doing both archery and first aid, there was no way we could have done all of that in one evening/morning.

first aidFirst Aid Badge
One of the girls’ fathers is a firefighter, and he stayed with us to be both our first aider and to work with the girls on the First Aid Badge. They completed two of the steps (Steps 1 and 2). First they did Step 2 by talking to the firefighter about his job. He went over what he did and opened it up for the girls questions. For Step 1, he talked about Call, Check, and Care, having a discussion with the girls about what each one means. Then I broke the girls down into their teams to make either a poster or create/perform a skit. Two teams chose skits, and one team made a poster.

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AoCAgent of Change
After much research online, I came up with a rough outline of how I want to handle the AoC Journey. My goal for this weekend was to complete the first badge, the Power of One (PO). The girls were able to complete four of the five tasks I set up for PO. We’ll do the final one at a future meeting. Once we’ve done that, I’ll get a post up detailing what we did. In the meantime, I pulled a lot of my ideas and activity organization from Girl Scout Leader 101.

Rope Ceremony – this is in the Journey guide, but I liked how GSL101 modified it to include looking not only at the girls’ talents, but also their weaknesses. The girls, as well as every adult present, shared which line of the GS Law they felt they needed to improve upon. The two most common answers were Respect Authority and Use Resources Wisely, but Courageous and Strong (to stand up for oneself) and X also made appearances. It was enlightening to see how some of the girls answered this. Their talents were diverse, ranging from cooking to fishing to playing a musical instrument. At the end of the ceremony, I explained to the girls that as individuals we all have strengths and weaknesses. When we become a team, we bring both of those with us. Our strengths help our team succeed, and our team helps us strengthen our weaknesses. Even a weakness can be an asset.

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What is Power? – The girls used page 11 of the girl journey guide as a basis for this section. We talked about power and what the girls thought it was.

Self-Collage – Last year one of my moms lead an activity where the girls had their bodies traced onto butcher paper. They then spent the better part of an hour decorating the bodies with illustrations, words, and magazine clippings that represented who they were and what they liked. I didn’t want to repeat that activity (with 15 girls it would have been very time consuming), so instead the girls traced their hands and drew/illustrated “power words” that represented who they are.

hands

Leaders / Trust Me! – This section is a transitional activity from the Power of One to the Power of Team. We talked about what makes someone a good or bad leader. We also talked about what makes someone a good or bad follower, something I think is often overlooked.  After talking about leaders/followers, the girls broke down into their teams in order to build an obstacle course. The kickers being the person going through it would be blindfolded, and they would not get to go through their own course.

They had 10 minutes to design and set it up before two team members would narrate/demonstrate what to do. Each team had to make some kind of modification to their course to compensate for the the fact that blindfolds were mandatory – as in, you probably shouldn’t have the person spin around ten times, step over a bench, and then hula hoop.

When it was time for the girls to run each course, their teammates were there to give them directions in order to make it through unscathed. The other girls were supposed to cheer her on (this worked to varying degrees of success). Overall it was a hit. The girls enjoyed it, and it helped reinforce team work and coming to a consensus.

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Archery
The highlight of the weekend was archery. Two Council instructors came and taught the girls safety and the basics of archery. Because there were only three targets, I divided the girls into pairs. I pulled their names out of a hat because I wanted to use this as an extension of AoC – you can’t always choose who your teammates are, but you still have to work together. The girls who weren’t on the archery range played gaga ball or hula-hooped. All but a two of the girls were excited (the two who stayed up way too late on Friday night). They grumbled about being outside (it was on the chilly side), but between myself and one of the instructors (who is a GS goddess), they participated. One girl was visibly happy by the end, the other still grumbly, but it was the kind of grumbly used to cover up the fact that she actually had fun.

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Camp Kapers
This was the first time I’ve formalized camp kapers. We’ve done them before in the sense that the girls teamed up and took turns cooking and cleaning, but never as named teams and a chart to show everyone what they were doing. The girls divided into 3 teams of 5 girls each. One parent was assigned to each team as a kind of overseer. The girls chose team names: Camp Rock, Blue 15, and Glowstone Ocean. They rotated through Cook, Hostess, and Clean Up for meals, and each team took a turn cleaning the bathrooms (Saturday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday morning).

Meals
Friday Dinner: cookie sheet pizza / baked apples
Saturday Breakfast: pancakes / sausage / fruit
Saturday Lunch: sandwiches / chips / carrots / grapes
Saturday Dinner: crescent roll dogs / salad / fruit / s’mores
Sunday Breakfast: ziplock omelets / toast / fruit

 

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2015 Camping Trip

This year was the third  year we have gone tent camping as a troop. The previous two years we went in July, but this year we went in June. I changed the dates because in July I had an out of town wedding to attend and there was an air show on base. I also needed a mental break from Girl Scouts. Because of the date change, only six girls were able to go, which worked out perfectly.

We camped locally again (which I highly recommend if you have a state park near by and you are either not used to camping or have young girls), but instead of getting sites on the out-of-the-way loop, we got lakefront sites. Everyone agreed that the lakefront sites were much better. We were closer to the bathrooms, playground, and of course – the lake.

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I took a much more laid back approach to activities this year. The girls worked on several steps for the Camper Badge, and they also will get a Bubble Fun fun patch. Mostly though, the girls played at the playground or in the field behind our sites.

camperCamper Badge – The girls completed two steps (Steps 3 and 4). For Step 3, they made hobo pies and foil packet blueberry breakfast bake.  For Step 4, they went down to the lake, collected materials that washed ashore, and made boats. When they were done, they put their boats in the water to see if they would float.

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Bubble Fun – This was the final organized activity we did. I made bubble solution (water, dish soap, corn syrup), set out different kinds of bubble blowers, and let the girls go to town.

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Girl Scouts – Art Museum

PaintingFresh back from our trip to Virginia, my troop had a field trip to the Castellani Art Museum. We signed up for their weekly Art Express program ahead of time, the instructor knowing we had Brownies wanting to earn their Painting Badge. Van Gogh was the theme, so all activities were centered around his Sunflowers painting.

The instructor started off the program by giving the girls a tour of the art museum, then read a picture book to set the theme – Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt.

The girls spent the rest of the program painting their own version of Sunflowers using several different techniques and mediums. Paint for the flowers, white crayons to create a resist for the vase, and markers to add stems/leaves and the background.

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Girl Scouts – Planetarium Visit

sky searchspace explorerThe final step needed for the girls to earn their Astronomy Badge was a visit to the planetarium at Buffalo State University. The actual planetarium is under renovation, so the school has an inflatable planetarium set up in a gymnasium.

planetarium 1

The gentleman in charge showed two programs – one on constellations, and one on telescopes. Both programs held the girls’ attention (especially the first one), and all of them were actively engaged in what was going on, which is somewhat unusual for my group as there is generally at least one girl who is off in her own little world at any given time.

We were the only group there (and that was the only option because of how small the inflatable planetarium was), so when the girls asked questions the gentleman had the time to answer each one. He changed the view of the sky multiple times – only the stars, stars with lines connecting them to show the constellations, stars with mythological beings superimposed , a view of the northern hemisphere, a view of the southern hemisphere, etc…

This was one of the most successful trips we have taken in the fours years we’ve been a troop. It was a topic my girls are interested in, and it didn’t hurt that we were the only people there. They wouldn’t have had the same experience if we had been in the permanent planetarium.

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Girl Scout Field Trip – Radio Station Tour

The culmination of the girls earning their Musician badges was a field trip to a radio station – specifically KISS 98.5 in Buffalo. We went on a Friday afternoon on a day the girls had an early dismissal from school. Our tour guide was Jud, the DJ who does the afternoon show. He was very professional and took his time with the girls, telling them how he does his job and showing them the various equipment/computer programs he uses.

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The girls weren’t able to go live on the air, but were so excited to be at the radio station, that they didn’t care. They recorded a shout out that was played about a half an hour after out tour was over. Bean was thrilled to hear us on the radio, and I texts from several people we knew telling me they heard the shout out. Jud emailed me a copy of the recording, which I forwarded to all of girls’ parents.

I was impressed with the entire tour. Everyone the girls interacted with were friendly and seemed to enjoy talking to them. This is a visit that we will most likely do again when the girls are a bit older. I will also do it with my younger daughter’s troop when they’re old enough to earn the Musician Badge.

kiss

Girl Scouts 3/5/15: Ceramics

junior ceramics retiredWith the madness of cookie booths underway, my Juniors went back to the ceramic studio to finish up both their pieces and the Ceramics & Clay Badge (Retired).  This session focused on glazes and kilns – how you need different kinds of glazes and firing temperatures depending on the type of clay used, etc… The girls also had the opportunity to use a potter’s wheel. That was their favorite part of the evening.

glazed

wheel

Girl Scouts 2/26/15: Recording Studio Field Trip

junior music sounds of musicOur second February meeting was also a field trip. This time, the whole troop went to our local community college to tour their audio recording studio. The professor took them into a computer lab to show them the tools used to produce music. The girls asked good questions, such as why the keys on the keyboards were color-coded, and what all the symbols meant.

The big event of the evening was going into the recording room. The professor talked to the girls about what kind of equipment is used, and why. He broke the girls into two groups, each going into the sound booth to learn more about the actual recording process (the professor had several student helpers, who were wonderful).

Once everyone had a chance to tour the sound booth, the girls were ready to record their song, “Walking in a Marshmallow Forest”. They got into their verse groups, did sound checks to make sure microphones were in the right place, did a practice run (or two because we hadn’t had the chance to practice the song for a few weeks), and finally recorded their song (took two takes).

At this point ALL of the girls crowded into the sound booth to watch the student edit the recording – cleaning up background noises, making them sound like chipmunks or very old men, etc… He did a very good job explaining what he was doing and why.

At the end of the evening, he gave us a CD with two versions of the songs – regular and chipmunk (this one is hard to listen to). My AL uploaded the songs and emailed them to all of the parents.

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