Category Archives: Service Projects

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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Girl Scouts 4/23/15 – Pets

PetsOur first April meeting was spent entirely on finishing up the pet beds for the Pets Badge. The girls finished tying the fleece (leaving a small opening for the stuffing), and then stuffed polyfil into the pillow. I tried to have them overfill the pillows to compensate for the stuffing being compacted once in use by pets.

These last steps also reinforced to me that both layers of fleece need to be cut at the same time. Many girls had different numbers of tabs on any given side of their pillows. Several of my moms ended up taking pillows home to do a quick fix by sewing around the edges next to the knots.

When all of the pet beds were touched up, we took them to our local pet supply store. They put several in their cat room (a living space for cats who do not have homes, but haven’t been taken on by a foster or permanent family yet), and kept the rest to sell at a “yard sale” to raise money for one of the local animal rescue groups.

pet bed 1

The finished product.

pet bed 2

A happy cat?

 

Girl Scouts 3/26/15 – Pets and Senses

At our second March meeting, we continued working on both the Pets Badge and Senses Badge for the Brownies. The Juniors are along for the ride for the remainder of our meetings.

sensesFor the Senses Badge, I brought two children’s books that had been formatted for braille. I explained how the books would be read, and then passed them around so the girls could touch them. Most found it interesting, a few not so much. Looking at the books was more of a continuation of touch and less about sight, so no new requirements were met.

cat hat cat hat 2

PetsThe bulk of our meeting time was taken up by starting to make no-sew pet beds for the Pets Badge. This idea also came from Blue House School. The girls cut the fabric to size, measured and marked the fringe, and started cutting the fringe. To measure the fringe, the girls used 4-inch wide strips of cardboard, with markings every one inch.

Because we had only basic scissors, the girls had to cut each layer of fabric separately instead of at the same time. If I had enough good quality fabric scissors that could cut through two layers of fleece, it would have cut down the amount of time needed to make the beds.

pb 1

Fringe measured and marked.

pb 2

Fringe cut and tied in double knots.

 

 

 

Troop Garden

Tonight the girls planted our garden. We started it last year as our Welcome to the Flower Garden Journey TAP and will most likely continue planting it until we are no longer a troop. Each year it will get a little bit easier since the perennials will get larger (I’ll add a few more as we go along).  All of the perennials we planted came back, so we just had to fill it in with annuals. I did buy one more perennial to fill in one of the corners that was empty.

The girls also weeded other garden beds at the church to help with their Between Earth & Sky Journey TAP. I’m not comfortable with it being the only thing they do, but because we’re getting close to summer vacation, it is going to be hard to wrangle everyone into a field trip. At least I’ll have all summer to think of what to do. We’ll just have to do it before September 30th when my Bridged Daisies officially become Brownies.

We will most likely do a “lake beach garbage pick up day”, though if I can get approval, we might do a deposit can collection and then use the money to tide us over until we sell cookies in January.  And of course, the girls might have their own idea. Or we could do another round of weeding for the church.

piano garden 010 ed

Birthday in a Box & Dog Biscuits

Here are the particulars for two service projects we did this year: Birthday in a Box (SU GS Birthday Party), and dog biscuits for our 3 Cheers! TAP.

Birthday in a Box

*Complete birthday for eight children.
*Decide on a theme for the party (boy or girl, and for what general age)
*Some people include a present, others don’t. We bought a $10 present per box.

  • Invitations
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Napkins
  • Silverware
  • Table cloth
  • Cake mix
  • Frosting
  • Disposable cake pan
  • Candles
  • Cake decorations
  • Party favors
  • Party hats
  • Balloons
  • Wrapping paper/tissue paper for birthday present
  • Anything else you can think of for a birthday party

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Dog Biscuits

Below is the recipe one of my Daisy moms emailed me. I do not know where she got it from. However, it was easy to make, and the dogs at the SPCA couldn’t get enough of them. There is also no raw meat, so no worries for little hands.
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Gourmet Dog Treats
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2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 egg, beaten
5 T vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 jars strained baby food (any flavor as long as it is all natural, no preservatives)
Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients into a thick dough. Knead about 4-5 minutes, until it becomes smooth. Sprinkle additional flour onto counter, roll out to 1/2″ thickness. cut into small pieces or use cookie cutters to make shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets. Cool and store in airtight container.
*If you want softer and chewier, bake for around 30 minutes.
*If you want crunchier, bake for around 45-60 minutes

Baking Daisies

Tonight was our second annual “baking gingerbread men for our village’s Christmas party” evening.  The girls once again had a blast rolling and cutting out the cookies (I made the dough beforehand).

We opened up our meeting with a very simple Investiture/Rededication Ceremony (I learned my lesson from last year). I started with my three new kindergarteners. They came up individually. I gave them a red daisy and had them recite a line of the Girl Scout Promise. After they said their line, they put their flower in the vase, I pinned them, did the GS Sign/Handshake, and they sat back down.

Then I had my returning first graders come up individually. Because there are five of them, they each received to white daisies and had to recite two lines of the GS Law. Then they put their daisies in the vase, I put the centennial disc around their membership star, did the GS Sign/Handshake, and they sat back down.

When we finished the ceremony, I counted the girls off into two groups. One went upstairs to bake cookies, and the other stayed downstairs to finish working on their Respect Myself and Others Petal.

Three moms were in charge of baking, so I spent most of my time downstairs with the other four girls. My Junior was in charge of finishing up the Petal, and she taught the girls a silly song about a hippo (not really related to respect, but it is an action song that got some wiggles out), taught them a game called, “Do You Like Your Neighbor?”, then helped them decorate foam-framed mirrors.

After around 20 minutes, the girls switched. When both groups finished both stations, they decorated gingerbread men that I had baked previously. All in all, it was a good meeting.

Daisies – 11/8/12 – Oh sweet success!

Tonight was insanely hectic, but I finally had fun at a Daisy meeting. I know that dividing them up and rotating them through works well to keep them from getting too out of control. I know this. And yet, I somehow fail to do it more often than not. A lot of the times, the content of the meeting doesn’t lend itself to splitting them up.

We opened with a brief review of Respect Myself and Others. I tied it into behaving appropriately as we had a guest tonight.  I also read the troop rules to the girls.

My husband graciously came to the Daisy meeting as well to talk to the girls about his travels with the military. He knelt on the floor with them and used a globe to show where we live compared to where he’s traveled. I showed them photos and souvenirs.

When he finished, I divided the girls into three groups, counting them off one-two-three (this coincidentally split up my one girl from her two friends, so this probably helped to keep things a bit calmer…though I did have to verbally pry two of them a part with a “don’t make me count to three” warning).

The first station dealt with cookie booths. The mom of one of my kindergarteners is a pro at this since her older daughter is a Senior. She and another mother worked with them on responding to questions and proper etiquette.

At the second station, the girls colored “we appreciate what you have done for us” cards and assembled hygiene kits. I printed out two “thank you for helping us help veterans” cards for the girls to sign. I’ll give these to the two dentists offices who donated items for the kits.

At the third station, the girls made pinwheels. They each had to come up with at least one way for us to use our cookie money to help others. They wrote their idea on the pinwheel.

This is one of the ideas I borrowed from the GSRV Planning Guide for Daisies. I would do this activity again, but I would modify it. Their directions have the girls writing their idea on the line you use as a guide to cut spinners. This made pretty much every idea illegible. It would be better if the girls wrote their idea in the triangular area that is still visible once the spinners are folded down.

To make them, we stuck a straight pin through the corners of the sections to be folded down. Then we placed several small beads behind the pinwheel (to keep it from hitting the pencil when it spun) before sticking the pin through a pencil eraser. We used wire cutters to snip off the part of the pin that stuck out so the girls wouldn’t prick themselves. A few of the erasers were soft so the pins didn’t want to stay put. To remedy that, we just bent down the end of the pin before snipping off the point.

After the girls cycled through each station, we came back together to talk about needs versus wants. I’m actually really excited about the girls earning the Making Choices Leaf. I hadn’t planned on tying it into Hurricane Sandy as I didn’t know it was going to happen when I mapped out my year, but it presents a great opportunity for the girls to step outside of themselves to help others. It’s one thing to collect food for families – its purpose doesn’t necessarily register with the girls.  But when you tell them that there are girls just like you, who are Daisies just like you, and this is what happened to them…well that makes it more personal, and therefore relatable.  You can’t get more nitty-gritty about needs versus wants than the aftermath of a natural disaster.

So. I started out by asking the girls what “needs” were. I got some good answers – food, water, shelter, air (and hearts and brains). Then I tried to go a bit more in depth as to what makes something a need, and what makes something a want.

One of the moms and I stuck pictures on the wall of needs and wants. The girls stood up, and when the buzzer went off, had to race to get one want and one need and sit back down before the the time was up. Definitely something to do again. We went around the circle and each girl had to tell me what category each picture fell into.

I used this to segue into talking about Hurricane Sandy. I really, really hope I didn’t shell shock the girls. One or two of them (including Bean) looked a bit worried. I tried to explain what it would feel like if you came home to find everything gone – toys, clothes, house…You would have to start over from scratch. You would hope that there would be someone out there to help you.

Which is where we come in. I had the girls bring the items they brought to the circle. I had them pull out the “need” and explained that these things they need to have – socks, underwear, school supplies, etc… Then I had them pull out the “want” and explained that even though we don’t technically need these things, that if you’ve lost everything, something small like a stuffed animal or a pretty headband can make you feel better.

This is pretty much were we ended the meeting. I did go on a little bit more about helping others, but we were already running over for time, so we did our closing circle and left.

What the girls brought in.