Brownie Hiker badge

Well I have to say, this one is pretty simple – we do a Fall Hike with all Girl Scouts in our area, it’s a family event and really laid back and fun! We arrived early so we could do certain requirements prior to starting our hike…

  1. Decide where to go
  2. Try out a hiking skill
  3. Pick the right gear
  4. Pack an energy snack
  5. Go on an hike & play a game

Step 1: Select a park with trails or Girl Scout camp to take a hike in – we choose a local public park

Step 2: We had maps printed out of the park prior to going, we learned how to look at the key and figure out where we were on the map several times during our hike

Step 3: The right gear – well anytime my troop plans ANYthing outdoors, it rains – so we discussed types of shoes you should and shouldn’t wear, clothes to wear, backpack or small bag to carry water, snack, small first aid kit, and extra gear if necessary. 

Step 4: A snack – so we had every girl sign up to bring an ingredient to make GORP (Good Ol Raisins & Peanuts) so we had all sorts of things like chex, pretzels, peanuts, mini marshmallows, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips/m&ms, and baggies to put it in. Obviously if you have any allergies omit items as needed. We had each girl dump the item she brought in a big bowl, then divided it into baggies to carry on the trail. We also discussed why some things are good to pack, nuts for protein, chocolate or marshmallows for sugar/energy…etc.

Step 5: We played iSpy or nature bingo…not sure what we called it. Basically each girl had a sheet with pictures of different things they may see, and they marked them off as they saw them. And of course if they did see something they were to share it by pointing it out to the rest of the troop so we could all enjoy. 

Now you are all official Hikers, and hopefully it doesn’t rain every time you go outside.

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Brownie Quest Journey

Brownie Quest Journey

This Journey we worked on slowly but surely…start to finish it took us 6 months to complete, mostly because we had to wait to do our service project – the winter here in Michigan was brutal!

The Discover Key: We did this along side the My Best Self badge by adding a few components…so while the girls were presenting their colored picture of themselves they also shared what special qualities or talents they have.

The Connect Key: The girls brought props if necessary to show the group their talent, we had everything from artwork/drawings, gymnastics, soccer ball handling, to violin playing. After the girls shared their talent we took a poll to see who else posses that talent/skill. We learned we have a lot of artists & gymnasts in our group. 

The Take Action Key: This one took a lot of brain storming – and many changes in our plans until we finally nailed the project we could execute and the girls actually agreed upon. We did this after cookie season, we had 72 boxes so 6 full cases of Girl Scout cookies donated. (Momma brag – 60 of the 72 were sold by my Boo!) We had to find who we wanted to donated all these cookies too, and who would take them (yes! this is MUCH harder than you would think).

  • We settled on a Fire Station to which one of our girls father is a fireman at and who had recently lost 2 men in a blaze, we gave them a case – the girls all made a card…happy cards, thanking them for their service – whatever else upbeat thoughts they wanted to express. (**side note- when doing community outreach projects, remind girls to sign ONLY their first names, not their lasts – kids are so use to being in school and writing first and last but for safety we should keep it secure). 
  • The remaining 60 boxes we were going to donate directly to our community social services, but then we learned about an even better way. In the Spring the local food bank, social services, and family aid have a “basket” contest. Basically local groups, organizations, businesses, or individuals create a “basket” for donation and then people voted with money on the “best.” The “baskets” and the money used in voting is all donated to the 3 organizations – which just amplifies the donation. We used our artist skills to create a “basket” which typically aren’t baskets but various other containers, the girls had a blast creating it! We didn’t win in our category…but we donated all our boxes of cookies, had fun, and raised a little extra money for charity. 

Celebration & Reflection Unlocking the Code to Leadership: We didn’t hold a huge celebration but we did talk about what we did, and even though we didn’t win how what we did helped so many people. 

Brownie Badge – My Best Self

We did this as our kick-off to Brownies badge – girls worked on some while we had a parent meeting.

Requirements:

  1. Get to know your body
  2. Eat & Play in a Healthy Way
  3. Find out how your body works
  4. Know what to do if something bugs you
  5. Meet a health helper

Here’s what we did to meet them…

Step 1: The girls colored pictures of themselves, with hair, skin & eye color, outfit in their favorite color – then the girls shared with everyone

Step 2: Try 3 different kinds of activities – skipping, jumping rope, and dribbling a basketball – we did as stations, and had the girls talk about what they liked and didn’t like, then they committed to doing one new activity 3 times for 20 min in 1 week.

Step 3: We discussed what a healthy body temperature is, and what it means when it is outside the normal range. We took each girls temp. and charted it on a graph

We had a line for 97.6*, 98.6* “average”, & 99.6* which are the upper and lower limits for “normal” then we looked at how close everyone was, and if anyone was outside the “normal” range.

Step 4: Create a “happy bag” with about 5 items that make you smile 🙂 we had brown lunch sacks and decorated them with pictures, the girls names, words…then when the girls got home they filled them with books, squishy squeezing balls, stuffed animals, pictures of happy times, or any other things they wanted.

Step 5: We had a school nurse visit our meeting, she spoke a bit about what nurses at school would do and then the girls got to ask questions. The nurse said her biggest thing she does is monitor head lice (ewww) she worked at elementary level. The girls then all shared their lice stories (eww eww!)

As a side note – isn’t it funny that lice is something pretty much everyone (at least girls) has lice at least once growing up…and if you have kids you dread the day – but the funny part is no one talks about it with other moms. Boo had lice like 4 or 5 times last spring/summer…totally gross but when you have hair to your waist you are high risk. We have learned the tricks of keeping lice at bay…besides all the things we were taught as kids don’t share hats, brushes, or hair accessories. We keep her hair back in braids, ponies, and hair spray – lice don’t like hair product and its hard for them to transfer when hair is tight to the head. 

And with that you have earned My Best Self

Brownies Year 1 Summary

We are just wrapping up our 1st year of Brownies…and boy were we busy!

We earned 2 journeys, 13 badges, and 1 Safety Pin…all in 9 months.

So in addition to my summer project of planning the remaining 1 journey & 14 badges (as our girls have set a goal “to earn them ALLLLL!”) I plan to do quick write ups of what badges we earned this year, and how we did it. Look us leaders have got to stick together, sharing ideas, borrowing and tweaking plans isn’t about stealing another’s plan but “using our resources wisely”

Here’s a quick preview of the badges we did this year, that I will post later details…

  • Brownie Quest Journey
  • Wonders of Water Journey
  • Brownie Safety Award Pin
  • Hiker Badge
  • My Best Self
  • Girl Scout Way
  • Fair Play
  • Money Manager
  • Making Games
  • Home Scientist
  • Snacks
  • Dancer
  • Senses
  • Meet my Customers
  • Household Elf
  • Letterboxer

I included my daughter’s vest…that I am so proud of because I actually sew her badges on just like my mom did for me.  and because it’s tradition & that iron on stuff doesn’t last!

Brownie Vest

photo 2

You’re FIRED…from a volunteer position

WOW, to be denied a volunteer position is pretty rough territory…

So for our local GS area I am the Brownie Troop Organizer in addition to my own Brownie troop. This job is pretty simple except in the Fall, when new girls need to be placed in troops, leaders need training, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!

The next busy time is Spring/end of the school year, remember paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, well times that by about 10x more! Then helping with EOY financials, checking statues of troops continuation for the next year…and lastly if volunteers are continuing their wonderful service. But wait wait wait, what if you don’t want a volunteer to return…awkward!

Well apparently this is the week of awkward conversations for me…because I have to tell a leader she is no longer welcome, well that’s if I can get a hold of her. Why you ask? Let’s go with short and sweet, leader in control of finances writes a check and overdrafts account, is notified immediately, account remains overdrawn for 2 weeks and incurs $xx in NSF fees, all because she hadn’t deposited troop dues yet and wrote a bad check…was told she needed to reimburse the troop because it is the GIRLS money! 5 months and many emails later nothing…

You can’t take money from girl scouts and not be asked to leave…I think that’s worse than taking candy from a baby!

A Girl Scout Leaders Tips & Tricks

I have been leading my daughter’s girl scout troop for 2 years now, I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful support team.

The 2 women who began my daughter’s troop in Kindergarten, were a mom who had no idea what she was in for, and a wonderful mother of 4, 3 girls & a boy, who already lead her 2 older daughters’ troops and stepped up to lead her youngest. When the girls started 1st grade, the first mom backed out, and the second stayed on but needed help…that’s where I came in. My co-leader is a wonderful woman, and similar to myself with 4 kids, a job, and many activities. She is a wealth of knowledge and an awesome support system. I have taken over most of the main planning and operations, but she’s there when I need her and to help me remember to have fun!

Over the last 2 years I have learned a lot about how to operate a troop, and manage all the families…

signupgenius.com is GENIUS! this lil site is my savior! Create an account, add your group – enter all emails 1 time! then anytime you need a rsvp for an event, create a signup, with all the times, and details – also set up to send reminder emails (this is by far my favorite part) then it emails an invite…and you get responses as people respond. A-Mazing

the girl scout materials provided by the national GS program are well um…not my first resource. I usually take a look at the official materials to see requirements, but then it’s off to the ol’ brain…and well google. I enjoy “using my resources wisely” and using others leaders ideas and past experience.

at each level of GS they teach us leaders that it is to be “girl-led” well I think a lot of leaders aren’t quite sure how to handle this. we are just finishing 2nd grade, we do a lot of voting – we also do brainstorming where the girls come up with options, some of these are quite amazing. at times our girls have wanted to “feed the world” and “clean hi-ways” gotta love their ambition!

keep your parents close, but don’t wear them out. during our meeting we have parents drop-off for two reasons 1-parents can get other stuff done, and 2- there aren’t distractions for the girls with parents chatting or siblings playing. however our parents like to help on field trips, or one meeting craft projects. 

don’t over do it! GS leader is only a volunteer position…the payment is the experience and memories. when you need help -ask. when you need supplies -ask for donations. when you don’t want to do something -opt out. you are allowed to be human! I once had a mom try to guilt me into making a special trip to pick up her daughter, in the past I probably would have just done it…but I have learned you have to draw the line. I offered to drive girls to and from a field trip, but drop off at my home or our meeting place…not a 30 min drive one-way. Sorry.

if you need assistance, let girls or their family prepare a badge to earn. do you have a family that does dance? let them do plan the dancer badge. how about a doctor/paramedic? let the family prep the Safety Award or First Aid badge. this allows you to have a break from prepping everything and it also gets the families involved. plus the cherry on top is the girl can lead her troop to earning a badge…the ultimate “girl-led”

and always remember to have FUN – and take pictures 🙂

End of GS year

YAH!

We made it!! 12 little Brownies, and 2 ladies trying to keep up we met our goal this year!

This year was our first year as Brownies (2nd grade) and 11 of the 12 have been together since Daisies. Last year the girls were planning what they wanted to do as Brownies, and began looking over the badges offered. To our surprise, well not really, the girls said they wanted to earn every single badge…that makes 39 badges in 2 years. So to divide and conquer we thought we would do 20 & 19 the following year…the girls didn’t care what order we went, just as long as they earned them ALL!

We began in September 2013, and now the first week of May we have earned 20 badges (including 2 of the Journeys) plus a pin! WHOOOHOO. I am truly proud of our girls, there are defiantly some badges that aren’t as exciting but they made it through. I am also thankful for all of our families, without them bringing the girls to all our meetings and events, helping sell cookies, make crafts, drive on field trips, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are. We truly are blessed with such a wonderful program.

I will try and post some of the badges we did and what we did to earn them, because I know as a working mom & troop leader some badges are just not my forte and are harder for me to come up with activities.

With that we as a troop are looking forward – er scratch that, the girls in the troop, are looking forward to going to the local indoor water park this weekend to celebrate such a wonderful year!