Posts tagged ‘girl scouts’

Help Shape the Female Leaders of Tomorrow

October 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm 1 comment

Girl Scout Rededication From the Heart

I wanted to pass this Girl Scout Rededication along to all you Leaders out there who might be looking for something  a little more meaningful to do with your girls. My co-leader and I did this with our Third Grade Brownies and they seemed to really like it. In fact, it inspired a huge group hug and praise such as “You’re the best leaders EVER!” (Each time you see an asterisk, light a candle to represent the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise.)

Leader: Today we come together in silence as we rededicate ourselves to Scouting. We light three candles signifying the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise as we renew it.

Leader: Repeat after me (*) “On my honor, I will try to serve my country.”

Co-leader: On my honor, I will TRY. We cannot succeed if we do not try. So, we will try, and although we may not always succeed, we will grow with each new experience as we put into practice the Promise and Law.

Leader: Our goal is to help you be good citizens today and active citizens tomorrow, as the Scout loves her country and has knowledge of its relationship to the world.

Leader: Repeat after me (*) “To help people at all times.”

Co-leader: All women are sisters. Never forget that. We learn that there are many likenesses in all people, but where there are differences we gain exciting opportunities for understanding and growth.

Leader: Others need you and it is good to know that you are learning skills and have knowledge which can make someone else happier and that you can be useful and of service.

Leader: Repeat after me (*)“And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

Co-leader: Each Scout is an individual, and by keeping yourself forever fit, (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) you are better ready to serve others and enjoy everyday living to its fullest potential.

Leader: It is your privilege to keep yourself physically fit, to live with kind thought and unselfish deeds, and to keep yourself morally strong.

Co-leader: As the candle light grows brighter it does indeed fill this room, but it is your internal light that makes this room glow, knowing what a contribution you are to the world.

Leader: Think about all you have done already as Scouts. You are girls of courage, confidence and character with hearts aflame with accomplishment. We look forward to an exciting year of fun and opportunities, as we grow together as Girl Scouts.

Pin new stars and have each repeat the Promise, if desired.

October 16, 2012 at 2:42 am Leave a comment

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.

Start-up

  • 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.

Opening

  • Promise
  • Law
  • Brownie Smile Song
  • Attendance

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.

Business

  • 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!”

Activity

  • 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.

Tile Mural

Clean-up

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.

Closing

  • 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.

Display Table

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.

Table Display II

Table Display II

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.

Conclusion

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.

December 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm 11 comments

Earning a Brownie Girl Scout Snack Badge Using the Power of a Theme

Halloween is a big deal in my house. Before I had children it was hands down my favorite holiday and now that I have children, it’s simply the justification for all the decorating, costume-wearing, pumpkin carving and pie baking shenanigans that begin on October 1st!

Therefore, my October Brownie Meeting was not exempt from a few Halloween festivities. For this special meeting, I paired together two talented moms; one who volunteered to lead a nutrition segment, another who committed to provide snacks. I had them work together to create something unique and memorable for the girls as they earned their Brownie Snack Badge.

The following is my “party plan” for Brownie Meeting #2, as outlined in the Girl Scouts of America’s meeting structure.

Start-up

  • Snack
  • Girl Scout Handshake
  • Decorate Water Glasses

To satisfy their hunger and to kick off this distinctive meeting as we traveled from school to our meeting place, the girls enjoyed munching on festive Mummy Pizzas, foreshadowing what was to come.

To reinforce the learning from our last meeting, upon arriving at our destination, my co-leader and I met the girls at the door and asked each to give us a Girl Scout Handshake. This was their ticket into the party.

Inside the girls were given the opportunity to decorate their own reusable water glasses. After we explained that these glasses were better for Mother Earth and theirs to use at every Brownie meeting, the girls got so excited that many hurried through the decoration process so they could use them faster.

Opening

  • Promise
  • Law
  • Brownie Smile Song
  • Attendance

Our meeting opened by asking for three volunteer Brownies to lead us in the Girl Scout Promise, the Girl Scout Law, and the Brownie Smile Song. The opening concluded as one of the girls took attendance with our fancy feather pen and each Brownie called out “here” as her most expressive self.

Business

  • Intro Game
  • Talking Stick
  • Share
  • Handbooks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Homework

With flower pens and a “Getting to Know You Board” (Intro Game) in hand, the girls went outside for a friendly introduction game. The object was to find friends who like the same things they do. Brownie Ring of Sit-UponsAs promised at our previous meeting, my co-leader and I put out the sit-upons and before long we asked the girls to find theirs on the grass and join us in the Brownie Ring.

Once everyone was seated, I introduced our troop’s talking stick, explaining that she who has the stick, has the floor. The girls noticed the brightly colored ribbons in all different lengths, widths and textures that decorated the stick and I explained that they represent the diversity of our troop and the colors of the Daisy Petals, which also make up the Girl Scout Law. Then they asked about the big silver key with the open heart attached to the stick. I explained that the key to being a happy Girl Scout is following your heart and being open to new ideas. Our talking stick also has a gold topper with butterflies and some of the girls asked what the symbolism of the butterflies meant. Once again, I explained that like them, butterflies go through an amazing transformation; from caterpillar, to chrysalis, to beautiful butterfly. As Brownies, they are about to embark on their own incredible journey as well. “This talking stick is a representation of all the things we hold sacred,” I told them. Brownie Talking Stick“Now, who would like to share something they learned about a Brownie sister today while playing our game?” A hand went up and then another, and soon our talking stick made its maiden voyage around the circle.

When the game was over, I asked the girls to put their game boards away and to grab their First Aid Kit contribution item and meet back in the Brownie Ring. While they were busy with that, my co-leader and I passed out the new Brownie Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. Once the girls returned to the circle, they were surprised at learning that these amazing three-ring binders were theirs to keep. It was joyful to watch. I went through the three sections briefly along with the inside front cover, then asked everyone to turn to page 10 where I read the Girl Scout Motto blurb about “being prepared,” a lovely segue into creating our first aid kit.

I put our First Aid Box in the center of the circle. “Here is my contribution,” I said, “the box to house our first aid kit.” To the Brownie on my left, I asked, “What is your contribution?”  As I sat down on my sit-upon, the brownie stepped forward, told us what she had brought, and dropped it into the box. This ceremony continued around the circle until our kit was complete. “Congratulations Troop,” I said. “Your first aid kit is now complete and you have earned your Girl Scout Ways Badge. You have earned this badge for learning and remembering your Girl Scout Handshake and Brownie Smile Song, and for making your sit-upons and your Troop’s first aid kit. You have also memorized your Girl Scout Promise and reviewed the Law. This badge will be presented to you at our next meeting.”

Finally, I asked each Brownie to open her Handbook to page 4 and assigned homework. “I encourage you to read pages 4 and 6 at home and fill out pages 8 and 9, giving thought to what you would like to accomplish this year,” I said, and provided a homework reminder slip at the end of the meeting.

Activity

  • Nutrition Presentation
  • Make Snacks

After introducing our nutrition expert and our snack mom who was a certified yoga instructor and restaurateur, the girls settled into learning about the new food pyramid, which is not a pyramid at all anymore. It’s now a plate, a plate that divides your portions of fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins and dairy. (It’s quite lovely actually, and can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov.) Intrigued, the girls participated in a lively discussion about what each food group is and how it helps your body. They colored in their plates and drew pictures of the variety of foods in each group. They then talked about healthy snacks, which was an easy and natural segue into making adorable and healthy Halloween snacks. They made edible eyeballs from cut carrot chunks, cream cheese and a black olive slice. Yum! They made scary cheese fingers out of 3/4 of a stick of string cheese with knuckles notched out using a plastic knife. They used dollops of cream cheese for the nail beds and slices of red pepper for fingernails. Scary! Lastly, pretzel sticks and fringed fruit roll segments made adorable witches brooms. We had hoped the girls would take their goodies home to show their parents, but they were too excited. When some would say, “I don’t like black olives.” or “I don’t eat bell peppers,” I simply responded, “Well, you’re a Brownie now, and Brownies try new things. That’s what we do.” You know, it worked! One still didn’t like it, but the others found something new they liked or at least could eat in combination with something else.

Clean-up

Reminding the girls that Brownies always leave a place cleaner than when they found it was a helpful motivator.

Closing

  • Friendship Circle
  • Assignment Slips

In the Girl Scout tradition, we created a Friendship Circle and joined hands, right over left, to end our meeting. I asked for a volunteer to lead our Make New Friends song. This year we learned a second verse from the cadets that came to our last meeting, so we sang that as well: “A circle is round. It has no end. That’s how long I want to be your friend.” The hand squeeze made its way around the circle and afterwards we tried to untangle our hands without letting go. The squeal of delight not only affirmed that we had accomplished our goal of getting untangled but was also the perfect closing to our meeting.

Later, I realized that I could have gone crazy with this theme and included something “Halloweeny” in every aspect of the meeting. But that’s the beauty of a good theme. You can do as little as you like or as much as you like. You can spend a little money or a lot of money. The lesson here is that having the theme guide the activity portion of the meeting went a long way in creating a fun and festive atmosphere that the girls could connect with, and in doing so provided them with a memorable experience. It’s these experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime. In fact, the girls were talking about making these snacks for their friends and family next Halloween! That’s the power of a good theme.

November 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

From Party Planner to Brownie Leader

I am proud to announce I am a new Brownie leader for the Girl Scouts of America (GSA). As the Queen of Connection, committed to transforming lives, imagine my surprise to learn the organization’s purpose: to have girls discover new things for themselves, connect with them on a personal level, and take action to make the world a better place. I couldn’t be happier.

As I was planning my first meeting, imagine again, if you will, my surprise upon discovering that the GSA’s suggested meeting structure has six segments, just like my easy six-element approach to planning a great party.

I’m sharing my adventures in Girl Scouting this month from the perspective of a volunteer who is delighted to have found an organization with a vision that matches my own in so many ways. I love the possibility of a world where girls can grow to be committed to being honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what they say and do; where they can learn to respect themselves and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, and make the world a better place. This is what we teach in Girl Scouts, and we do it in a fun and playful manner. Each meeting is in essence a party filled with fun activities meant to inspire and fill the heart. I am delighted that my work contributes to the lives of 2nd and 3rd grade girls.

Following is my “party plan” for Brownie Meeting #1, as outlined using the GSA meeting structure.

Start-up

  • Name Tags
  • Tea Lights

Using 3×4 paper inserts, my co-leader and I had each girl make a name tag with brightly colored pens and self-adhesive stars. Once completed, the girls inserted them into plastic sleeves and put them around their necks in preparation for our special guests.

Then we moved onto painting glass tea light candleholders. We explained that the candleholders would be used in a ceremony later in the day and then suggested they paint a simple symbol that represents who they are or what it means to them to be a Brownie.

Opening

  • Snack
  • Leader Introduction
  • Attendance

With name tags on and tea lights drying, the girls ate their snacks. My co-leader and I introduced ourselves and I choose one of the girls to take attendance using a fun feather pen which everyone loved.

Business

  • Cadets
  • First Aid Game

Our special guests arrived during this portion of the meeting—a troop of Girl Scout Cadets. The Cadets recited the Girl Scout Promise and the Law, and reviewed the Make New Friends song. They also taught our girls the handshake and the important Brownie Smile Song. Then we played a little memory game that I’ve played at many a baby shower. We removed the contents of the Cadets’ first aid kit and placed them on a tray. Once each Brownie had a chance to look at the tray and commit the items to memory, the tray was removed. I wrote the numbers one through fifteen on a dry erase board and then asked the girls to tell me what they saw on the tray. These fifteen items would later make up the contents of our troop’s first aid kit. Each girl was assigned one item to bring to the next meeting when our kit would be assembled.

Activity

  • Sit-upon

In preparation for this Girl Scout tradition, my co-leader and I pre-cut oil cloth into 14 x 36 inch pieces for sit upons. Once folded into a 14 x 18 inch piece, we hole-punched the 3 sides about an inch apart. We also pre-cut carpet padding into 12 x 16 inch pieces making enough for two per sit-upon and coordinating yarn.

At the meeting, once each girl chose her materials, they were also given a Butler GUM Threader Dental Flosser to use as a needle. This was our secret tool to making this project easier to accomplish and in less time. 

Then we simply wrote everyone’s name with a Sharpie pen. The girls were so excited about their sit upons that we had to promise to use them at our next meeting!

Clean-up

Clean-up by the girls is an important element to any Girl Scout meeting. Once this was accomplished we moved into our special ceremony.

Closing

  • Ceremony
  • Brownies
  • Assignment Slips

All but three of my girls are returning to Girl Scouts, so for them a “Rededication” Ceremony was in order, my new girls — an “Investiture” Ceremony. Marrying the two was easier than I thought. I asked each girl to pick up her tea light and line up in a predetermined order.

“If you were a Daisy last year you are participating in a Rededication Ceremony today.” I said. “If you are new to Girl Scouts this year, you are participating in an Investiture Ceremony. Traditionally when you “invest” in something, you make a commitment or a promise. As Girl Scouts you have a very important promise that you agree to live by. Each of you has heard that promise spoken by our visiting Cadets and today you are being given the opportunity to invest yourself or rededicate yourself to the Girl Scout Promise and Law in this special ceremony.”

Girl Scout Law PDF  I used a long tapered candle to light each girl’s tea light while she repeated a line I gave her from the Girl Scout Promise and then the Law. For Example: One girl said, “I will do my best to be honest and fair.” Another said, “to be friendly and helpful,” and another said,” to be considerate and caring,” and so on. My co-leader followed behind them adding Membership Stars to their vests and turning their Brownie Pins right-side up. Once all the candles were lit, and with tea lights in their left hands and three fingers still raised on their right, my returning girls gave their promise. Girl Scout Promise PDF  I welcomed them back to the troop. Then calling our new girls forward, I asked them to repeat after me as I led them through the Girl Scout Promise. Once completed, I took their tea lights, shook their hands, and welcomed them to our troop. Congratulating our girls, I announced that they were all officially Brownie Girl Scouts and with that, they received a brownie cupcake as they left the meeting.

That was a very busy meeting. In two weeks, we’ll enjoy (to quote one of the girls) “sitting upon our sit upons” and taking time to get to know each other. I have to say, the best part of the day was having one of my girls throw her arms around me and say, “You’re the best Brownie leader ever!” How awesome was that? Parties filled with heart really do pay off.

October 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm 3 comments


Shelby L. Phillips

As an intuitive transformational messenger of hope, a communicative wife of 25 years, and an open-hearted mother of two, I take pleasure in telling good news stories, connecting people to the seven dimensions of well-being, and inspiring us to love ourselves and each other because life really is worth celebrating! Find out more about me at ShelbyPhillipsConnects.com

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