Category Archives: Girl Scouts

Yellow Petal – Friendly & Helpful

yellow petal

I’ve found the Yellow Petal an easy Petal for the girls to earn, and a way to incorporate the GS “do a good turn” into this level given there is no right side up for the Daisy Pin.

As with pretty much every other Petal, I do not use the flower story included in the Girl Guide. I generally find those stories stilted and ham-fisted. Instead, I read a picture book. A quick internet search will pull up many more books than the ones I’ve listed below, but these are ones I’ve read and enjoyed.

After reading a picture book, the girls make their “friendly & helpful daisies” to take home and give away to the person they did “a good turn” for. At the following one or two meetings, the girls share what they did to help another.

With both troops, the girls earned their Yellow Petal before we did our Investiture Ceremony.

Books
Princess Hyacinth by Florence Parry Heide
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
Help!: A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller
Otis and the Tornado by Loren LongThe Mouse and the Lion (I like this version)

Crafts
Both crafts are different versions of the same thing. Each girl gets three “friendly & helpful daisies” to give to someone after the girl has helped them.  The yellow centers are printed on card stock and punched with a 2″ circle punch.

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Agent of Change Journey – Power of One

AoC

Two sites were instrumental in my being able to plan this part of the Journey. Both have great ideas and kept me from having to fumble through the leader and girl guides to figure out a way to make it interesting for my girls:

Girl Scout Leader 101
Girl Scouts River Valleys (GSRV)

I broke Power of One (PO) into five activities. The first four focused on PO, and the fifth was a transition into the Power of Team (PT). We were able to complete 4/5 of the activities at our camp out. The final one (herstories), was done at a meeting.

  1. Rope Ceremony
  2. Power (strengths and skills)
  3. Self-Collage
  4. Herstories
  5. Leaders/Trust Me!

Rope Ceremony
We tied an equal number of knots in the rope for participating girls and leaders. Everyone chose a knot and held it. We went around two times, first sharing our talents, and then sharing our weakness (as related to the GS Law). The girls were given an index card to write their talent on one side, and their weakness on the other. We pinned their responses to their knots. One parent wrote down everyone’s answers in case any of the girls needed help remembering what she said. 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.

Power (strengths and skills)
The girls used page 11 of the girl journey guide as a basis for this section. There were question prompts to help get them started: What do you think about your powers and strengths? Why are they important? How do your powers or strengths reflect the values of the GS Law? Which value of the GS aw means the most to you? We talked about power and what the girls thought it was.

Self-Collage
Each girl traced her hand, then decorated the inside of the hand with words and pictures that make them who they are. Their focus ended up being talents and likes more than “powers”. Once everyone was finished, the girls briefly shared the highlights of their hands. Most of them talked to me afterwards, giving me a much more in-depth account of what they chose and why.

hands

Herstories
I ran this section as homework. I emailed parents a template (based on page 50 of the leader’s guide) for the girls to follow in order to write up a brief statement about a woman they admired. The woman could be alive or a historical figure. Over several meetings, the girls shared their herstories.

Here is the example I made for the girls:

This is a story of Juliette Gordon Low.

Not too many people know about her because she lived one hundred years ago.

Her ability to start a scouting organization for girls interests me because it was an opportunity for girls to gain skills and learn new things that were not traditionally seen as things girls should do.

Here are a few facts about her life: She was started Girl Scouts in 1912. She got the funds to start it by selling a pearl necklace her husband bought her. She was born on Halloween. Two of her hobbies were woodworking and metalworking.

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 teams in order to build obstacle courses. Each team went through another team’s course when they were finished. Teamwork was imperative because the person going through it was blindfolded.

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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

 

Juniors 11/5/15 – Detective

This meeting went much better than the previous one.  We did not start with the flag ceremony because AL and I wanted to make sure we had enough time for the girls to complete their pig pen scavenger hunt.

During Opening Circle, I addressed the girls’ behavior and we talked about what we can do as a troop to make this less of an issue. The girls used the  fist to five method to vote/share their feelings about the ideas. They all agreed that we should come up with some basic troop rules (we’ll start discussing what those rules will be at our next meeting). They also agreed that the consequences I came up with were fair: 1) is a warning, 2) sit out the remainder of whatever activity we’re working on, and 3) call your parents. My AL said she would be the enforcer so I can focus on the meeting. I also asked the girls if they liked the idea of a sticker chart and prize basket. At our next meeting they’ll give me ideas of how they will earn stickers (showing up on time, wearing your uniform, etc…).

To reinforce this, we did a Girl Scout Promise game. I got the rough idea from my step-mom, who does something similar when she does workshops at elementary schools. The girls were broken down into teams of 4 and given a copy of the GS Promise. They had to create actions to demonstrate each line of the GS Promise and act them out in front of the troop. I tried not to give them any ideas or pointers, wanting to see what they would come up with. All of the skits/actions were great, and the girls had fun. I will have to make sure to incorporate more opportunities for making skits.

detectiveThe rest of our meeting was taken up by the Detective Badge, Steps 2 and 5 (though it might be stretching it for Step 5). My AL put together a clue hunt written in pig pen code. Clues would take them to different parts of the church, and at each location, they would find the clue to the next location. Wrapped inside the clue paper, was a line of the GS Law. We broke the girls down into four teams – dark pink, light pink, dark purple, and light purple (clues were color coded). Each team had to find five clues, or half of the GS Law. Once everyone was finished, the purples paired up and the pinks paired up to make a complete GS Law. The read off the GS Law (one team taking turns reading it, and reading the last line together, the other team chose one girl to read it). Both teams put the lines in order the first time. I was very proud given it hasn’t been something we’ve focused on yet this school year.

pig pen

Daisies 11/2/15 – Light Blue Petal

Last week we finished up the Friendly & Helpful Petal, and started the Honest & Fair Petal. I would like the girls to have earned both of them before we do our Investiture Ceremony (probably on 11/30).

During our Opening Circle, I explained what helper sticks are. In lieu of making a kaper chart, each girl has a craft stick with her name on it. I’ve never had much luck with formalized kaper charts. When I need help, I’ll pull a stick from the jar. When the jar is empty (after all the girls have helped, which will probably be over several meetings), everyone’s name stick goes back in and we start over.

yellow petalFriendly & Helpful Petal
At our last meeting, the girls made helper daisies to take home and give to people they’ve helped. At this meeting, we went around and each girl shared one or two things she did to “earn” the helper daisies. Most girls helped around the house, but some helped friends or teachers. We also played Daisy Islands to reinforce the Petal – the girls had to help each other squeeze onto the mats.

blue petalHonest & Fair Petal
The rest of our meeting was dedicated to starting the Honest & Fair Petal. I gave the girls two picture books to vote on, Being Frank and The Little Red Hen. They chose Being Frank, which is about honesty, but from the angle that honesty is good, but that doesn’t mean you should be hurtful. After we finished the book, I divided the girls up into two groups to rotate through two activities. I have 16 girls in the troop, and it is much easier to divide them up.

being frank

Being Frank by Donna W. Earnhardt

Activity #1: The Versus Game (original idea from GSRV’s yellow petal guide) – I put a piece of masking tape across the floor in our meeting room and had the girls stand on it. I gave them different scenarios, and depending on what they thought the right answer was, they either jumped to the left (truth/fair) or the right (lie/unfair). Once I gave them several prompts, each girl had the opportunity to share a prompt as well.

Activity #2: Remember the Lie (from Tracie Bruno/HubPages) – two of my parent volunteers were in charge of this. They took the girls to our craft room and sat them around a table. One parent then held up a pink rose and made up a lie about it. The girls had to repeat her lie and add their own. The second parent kept track of what everyone said in case anyone needed help. The purpose of this game was to show how hard it is to keep lies straight.

Juniors 10/22/15 – AoC, Detective, & Flag Ceremony

My troop is now up to 16 girls, and as evidenced by our weekend camping/lodge trip, the increased size has adversely affected behavior. Things that were annoying, but not deal breakers, have now become large enough to be disruptive. Our next meeting will be focused on the GS Promise, the GS Law, and appropriate behavior. Some of the behavior is due to the girls’ ages, and some of it is due to the fact that I kept the focus on “fun things” instead of GS values as a whole. This is not a mistake I will make with Bug’s troop.

The girls learned the flag ceremony this past weekend at our camp out. All of them enjoyed participating, though we need to work on what constitutes respectful behavior during the ceremony. Right now we’re borrowing a ceremony kit from Council, but I need to return it soon. I am glad I used the kit first because I found out that the ceiling in our meeting room is too low for the flag poles for 3’x5′ flags. We ended up doing the ceremony in the church’s fellowship hall, but this isn’t really a long-term option because there are many times when the hall is used for other functions during our meeting time. The girls also “filled the space”.  Hopefully, flag poles for 2’x3′ flags will be short enough that we can do the ceremony in our meeting rooms. One big positive of the ceremony – almost every girl showed up in uniform!

AoCWe started working on Power of Team at the meeting (doing Power of One at our camp out). We didn’t do a lot with it other than the “fist to five” exercise. It is a good idea, but I wonder about the requirement that in order for something to be passed, every girl most vote a 3 or higher. With 16 girls, there will always be 1 or 2 girls who vote a lower number than 3.

Putting their voting power to use, the girls voted/re-voted on:

*GS Way, Step 3 – all but 2 girls voted 3 or higher for pen pals. More girls chose 3 or higher for that option as opposed to the last time where more chose looking at activities for older Junior badges. There were still strong sentiments from girl who did not like the options, so we will revisit this again.

*Detective, Step 5 – after looking more into The Giggling Ghost, I found out it is a 100+ page book, not an activity. I gave the girls the option of the cookie mystery or a mystery-themed wide game (which could do double duty for the GS Way). More girls chose the wide game, though there were still some dissenters. We will do the wide game.

*AoC Team Activity – the Journey guide has the girls reading the comic book and then either writing their own comic book, or creating a skit. I didn’t know how that would go over with the girls given their reaction when I brought up writing a chain story for one of the GS Way steps, so I wanted to have another option for them. While researching the Journey, I came across a leader who set up a mock trial about a puppy who stole food from a dumpster to feed his starving family. The girls voted and results were mixed for both choices. We will have to revisit  again.

detectiveThe final part of our meeting was devoted to Step 4 of the Detective Badge. I found a great activity on CyberBee where the girls compared several different powders. They worked with a partner, and each team had to write down their findings. The girls generally like science experiments, so it was a popular activity.

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Daisies 10/19/15 – Yellow Petal

Last night the girls started earning their first Petal – Friendly and Helpful! The meeting was a mix of high energy and quiet(ish) listening. Because the girls are still new to each other, we played a name game (from GSRV – the Promise Center guide) after we did the GS Promise. They absolutely loved it! The rules: say your name and do an action of an activity you like. Everyone copies you. Each girl does this, and each time you say everyone’s name and do their actions. By the time we went around the circle (11 girls), they were giggling non-stop. For some reason, a lot of them liked jumping and swimming. This was a great way to get their wiggles out, which made it a lot easier to talk about the Petal and read a picture book.

yellow petal

I brought out my Petal Board and read the GS Law to the girls. I pulled off the Yellow Petal and asked the girls how they are friendly and helpful. They gave some good examples of both – sharing toys, being nice (friendly) and helping with chores (helpful). I added that sometimes we’re not always friendly and helpful because no one is perfect, but we need to try to do our best.

I do not like the stories included in the Girl Guide. I avoided most of them with Bean’s troop, and plan on avoiding all of them with Bug’s troop. I much prefer picture books. They are more engaging and, if you choose the right one, not so heavy-handed. I brought two books, and the girls voted on which one I would read. They were evenly split between both books, so a little sister who was tagging along broke the tie (she chose the mouse book). I told the girls that we could read the second book at the end of the meeting if we had time.

help kellerHelp!: A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller

After we finished the book, it was time for our craft activity – making “A Friendly & Helpful Daisy Was Here” daisies. Each girl made three daisies. The idea is that they will be friendly or helpful to someone, and leave behind one of these daisies. I asked parents to try to keep track of what the girls do so they can share at our next meeting.

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2″ circle of yellow construction paper glued inside a white cupcake wrapper glued to green construction paper.

Our final activity of the evening was a game called “Friendly/Not Friendly” (from GSRV). I put a strip of masking tape down the middle of the room and had the girls stand on it. I read out a short scenario, and they had to jump to one side of the tape if it was “friendly” or the other side of the tape if it was “not friendly”.

Because we had a little bit of time left over, I read the second book, Princess Hyacinth. Doing it over, I would have skipped it because it was long enough that after a meeting chock full of fun, the girls were ready to be done.

We ended with our Closing Circle, singing “Make New Friends”, doing the friendship squeeze, and turning out.