The Art of Earning a Brownie Girl Scout Painting Badge
There comes a time in every Brownie leader’s life when she must prepare for her first field trip with the girls, and so was my task for my third meeting. In fact, I prepared for two field trips at once.
The troop had a fantastic opportunity to work with an artist in an art gallery and to create pieces using non-traditional materials. This was a very exciting venue for our girls to earn their Painting Badges. Moreover, the girls were given the chance to sell their art at an Art Walk and give back to their community. It was a beautiful lesson that was going to come full circle.
In preparation, several things had to be done to make this trip seamless. First, our Transportation Coordinator filled out the Parent Permission forms and emailed them to the parents for their signatures. Next, he arranged for three drivers, besides me, to transport the troop to the Art Gallery. (Here’s a tip to make transportation easier: consider making multiple transportation binders. In each binder, includes a complete set of Health Histories for the girls in the troop, blank Accident/Incident Forms, and blank Adult Health Histories for each driver to fill out as needed. I also suggest keeping a set with your first aid kit. For more organizational tips, please feel free to email me at AskShelby@YouCanPlanAParty.com.)
The next task was to collect donations of 4×4 ceramic tiles and new or used nail polish and acrylic paints. The final task was to purchase materials to transform the girl’s painted ceramic tiles into coasters to sell. This included adhesive cork backing and small stickers printed with “Made with Love” and our Troop Number.
Once our preparations were complete, and snacks primarily eaten in the car on the way to the art gallery, we arrived at our destination where we began our third Brownie meeting, as outlined here, using the Girl Scouts of America’s meeting structure.
- Walk through
As we waited for everyone to arrive, the girls finished their snacks. Then they had the opportunity to walk through the gallery and enjoy the art.
- Brownie Smile Song
Convening in a Brownie Circle outside the gallery on our sit-upons, the girls opened our meeting with the Girl Scout Promise, Law, Brownie Smile Song, and attendance, each led by a new volunteer.
- GIve Back Badge
- Internal Ceremony
“The first order of business is to introduce you to a new badge we will be working on, called the Give Back Badge. Who can tell me what it means to give back?” I asked. After some discussion, I went through the Give Back Badge pamphlet from the Brownie Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting binder. Moving through each of the five steps, I outlined for the girls that (1) we would be researching businesses that give back between now and our next meeting; (2) we would be selling our art at an “Art Walk” in a couple of weeks with a goal of selling all 60 pieces that we make today; (3) our plan is to donate 50% of the proceeds to a business or charity that gives back selected by the girls; (4) during the Art Walk we will be asking our customers what they would like to see improved in their community, as this may help us with our decision or for future project ideas; and (5) that we will collect contact information from our customers during the Art Walk who would like to know who we end up donating our money to.
The next order of business was to move into our first Internal Badge Ceremony, a ritual I created to earmark the giving of a badge and to make it special. While my co-leader passed out the badges and their corresponding introduction/memory slips, I began:
“Earning a badge means that you’ve learned something new and that you’ve learned it so well that you can use your new skill to help others. I’m so excited I can’t hide how happy I am inside, to present this to you with pride. Congratulations troop, on receiving your Girl Scout Ways badge! You have earned this badge today because you have learned four new Girl Scout ways. You have learned the Girl Scout Handshake and the Brownie Smile Song. You have assembled an important first aid kit for the Troop and made your first Sit Upon. Plus, you have reviewed the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
Ladies, always remember, Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, the 3 C’s that make the world a better place! As a Girl Scout, you are a leader in your daily life, a leader in the world, and YOU can do extraordinary things!”
- Painting Badge
Our host at the art gallery, Vanessa, graciously led the girls through an hour and a half lesson. As they walked around the gallery, she showed them various art styles (modern, abstract, impressionist), using the works on the gallery walls as illustration. She then introduced the lesson plan and had the girls paint tiles covering each with nail polish. She offered a variety of tools for the girls to use next. Using sticks, sponges, Q-tips, and brushes, she invited the girls to paint what moved them with acrylic paint over the polish. The two mediums together created a lovely texture and depth. Once the tiles were finished, they were laid together to create a beautiful mural.
Reminding the girls that Brownies always leave a place cleaner than when they found it was a helpful motivator, as there was much to clean-up this day.
- Friendship Circle
The girls formed a Friendship Circle outdoors and sang the Friendship Song and then ended the meeting with a fun and giggly hand squeeze. It was with much enthusiasm that everyone went home, excited to gather again for the Art Walk coming up in a few Saturdays.
The Art Walk
Even though the Art Walk itself was cancelled, the weather was miserable, and there was very little foot traffic, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you how much fun we all had.
Those girls who couldn’t be with us on Saturday contributed by making signs, post cards for customers who wanted to be contacted, and name tags for the groupings of coasters. Tile groupings got such names as Beach Days, Modern Art, and The Happiness. The spelling on the name tags was even more precious than the names themselves.
We made beautiful displays using buffet plate servers for added height and elevation, table clothes for added class, and balloons on sticks to add just the right pop of color. Of course, the warm brownies proudly displayed on cake platters were a huge draw.
Our girls worked one-hour shifts and they were troopers. They sold coasters and brownies and made over $322 that day! Imagine what they could have done if it wasn’t cold and rainy. Anyway, I can’t wait to find out at our next meeting where they decide to donate their money.
The art of any good meeting is preparation. Having to do lists and some routine systems and procedures in place is extremely helpful for repetitive monthly meetings. For example, here is my Meeting Prep worksheet. I have one of these printed in advance for each meeting, as well as this Meeting Worksheet. These allow me to write ideas and notes as they come up and to keep things organized, especially when planning two meeting at once.