Girl Scout Bridging Gift Ideas for Older Girls

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It’s that time of year when we look at our troop of girls and wonder where the time has gone. Recently, four of my girls attended an older girl led Rope Runner Derby, and watching the little Daisy Scouts running around with their toothless smiles and pigtails made the other leaders and I smile and remember when our girls were that young.

Now they are tall young women (some taller than us) who were the oldest girls to attend a Council event.

If you are a Junior troop bridging to Cadettes or a Cadette troop bridging to Seniors or a Senior troop bridging to Ambassadors, then you may be considering giving your girls a gift from your co-leader and you to commemorate this occasion.

Girl Scout Bridging Gift Ideas for Older Scouts. These are inexpensive items that you do not have to spend time creating.

Unlike Daisy or Brownie Scouts, who will be happy with a cute little something that you found on Pinterest, your older girls will probably prefer a little something more substantial.

But substantial does not mean expensive.

As your girls have gotten older, you have also gotten busier. While there are so many adorable things you can craft and create, be honest…do you have time to make them? Stop the guilt! You already have devoted hours and hours of your time and you continue to do so if you are moving up with your girls.

Here are some adorable gift ideas for only a few dollars each. Depending on how many girls are in your troop and how many leaders are splitting the cost, the out of pocket cost to you will be minimal. And as an added bonus, you are saving time-a most precious commodity!

Here are some adorable bridging gift ideas. You can tuck something meaningful inside like a personal note to each girl.

Girl Scout bridging gift for older girls-change purse comes in 11 different colors and patterns.

This adorable change purse comes in 11 different colors and patterns. Available on Amazon and the shipping is free!

Coin purses with sequins make a cute bridging gift for older girls. Available in all the colors shown here.

Here is another version of the coin purse, but it this on has sequins. This has free shipping and is available here.

Pencil or makeup case for older girls comes in four different patterns.

This is a pencil case that can also be used as a makeup bad for a purse as well. There are four different patterns that you can order. Available here on Amazon with free shipping.

Pretty makeup pouches/pencil cases are perfect bridging gifts for girls.Here is a similar kind of pouch that makes a great little gift for girls who are bridging. You can find them here.

Are you planning on giving your girls a bridging gift?

How to Earn Brownie Badges Meeting Plans

For the past month, I have been busy at work creating a brand new website for Brownie leaders. Updating this blog earlier in the year had me thinking about the new Brownie program and how different it was from when I was leading my girls at this level of scouting.  Many leaders such as myself still loved the plethora of Try It options that were available with the old program. Try It badges were from this older version of Brownie Scouts was readily available at Council stores a few years ago, so it was easier for us to buy these badges in bulk.

(Some of these Try It are still available. Check out the Girl Scouts of Indiana Council  Store if you are still in need of them.)

How to Earn Brownie Badges website with meeting plans and resources for every badge in the new program.

I have spent a great deal of time reading about and researching every single badge-Legacy and Journey-in the current Brownie program. As of today, I still have four more pages to write, but I could not contain my excitement about sharing it with you.

Each badge has it’s own page with a lesson plan that you can easily do in one meeting. There is no need for all of the experts that are a requirement and there is no need for girls to do work at home (we all know that this part of badge work rarely gets done).

Lists of resources are given with links to sites that can give you more information and choices.

You can find How to Earn Brownie Badges right here!

 

Starting Work on the Cadette Amaze Journey

Last week was our monthly Girl Scout meeting and nine of our ten girls were present. Attendance  has been fairly consistent, with only one child missing the past two meetings. That may be because we have lucked out and the next day we have had off from school so there have been no worries about not being able to complete homework or having to study for a test after getting home late from the meeting.

It also may be related to the fact that we only meet once a month, and if you miss the meeting, you are missing a lot.

As a sponge activity, the girls were given paper, pens and markers and told to write a short note telling a friend (she did not have to be in the troop) why you are glad to be friends with her. This was also a way for the girls to socialize while they crafted. When most of the girls had arrived, the leader began.

First Meeting Cadette Amaze Journey
Photo from pixabay.com

We discussed our final cookie totals, and the girls netted almost $1,200 dollars-not bad for the first official sale! The Cookie Mom had looked into a few activities the girls had suggested at the last meeting, and after investigating, she narrowed it down to a few choices. Some of the girls were not happy about their previous choice ( a theme park) being eliminated and let us know. They also worried about being busy that day-LOL! I assured them that parents would be notified at least a month in advance so all calendars could be cleared.

The leader let the girls speak and also let the comments roll off her back. She said that if they did not wish to participate in the activities that they had chosen, then they did not have to.

We also shared that one case of cookies was being donated to our troops and the other to a local food bank.

Girl Scout camping
Photo from pixabay.com

Next on the schedule was a discussion about camping. When I was in charge, we did not camp because that was not what I signed up for. I did all the planning, shopping, paperwork, field trip planning, trips to the stores, attended Council meetings, planned service projects, contacted parents…you get the picture.

The other leader was supposed to be in charge of outdoor activities and camping  when we signed up to be leaders together . But, she never got the training, so we did not go.

Our new leader is an avid camper with her family-tents and all! She is going to be getting the necessary training to take the girls out in the fall. However, before we do that, the girls are gong to do a trial “backyard camping” experience to see how they can handle it.

Some of the girls did not want to camp, backyard or in the woods!

She told them fine, they could stay for activities and then their parents could pick them up before they go to sleep.

This trial is necessary because, they were told, if they cannot go to bed and behave in the tents in the backyard, they will not be taken camping at all.

How to Do the Cadette Amaze Journey
Photo from pixabay.com

Then we moved on to the Amaze Journey. This was chosen because of the dynamics of this group, which have been together since kindergarten. Relationships between the girls have certainly changed over the years, and we are trying to keep the group together.

The leader decided that we are not gong to devote entire meetings to the Journey, but doing one activity per meeting. This was suggested to her by a leader who has a multi-level troop and she said it worked out well.

I think this is a great idea, as the girls can still do badge work and those interested in earning the Silver Award can do so, since completing a Journey is mandatory.

The leader led a discussion about social media and the damage it can cause to the feelings of others. They talked about hurting feelings posting pictured where others are not invited, texting, etc. The point was made-be careful with your words because once it is out there on the internet, you cannot take them back.

The meeting concluded with a game, and the new rule of no phones allowed.  Some of the girls could not keep their hands off their phones for the 90 minutes we were together, so they will be put into a basket if they bring them next month.

Have you done the Cadette Amaze Journey? Do you have any helpful hints that you can share?

 


Activities to Celebrate Girl Scout Founder’s Day for All Levels of Scouts

Girl Scout Founder’s day is a very important Girl Scout holiday.  Here are activities for troops of all levels to do so they can participate in the celebration.

For Girl Scouts, there are two reasons to celebrate on October 31st. Besides Halloween, it is Girl Scouts Founder’s Day. On this day in 1860, Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, was born in Savannah, Georgia. Juliette, whose nickname was Daisy, was born into a life of privilege.

By Edward Hughes (1832-1908), painter. (Daderot (I took this photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Edward Hughes (1832-1908), painter. (Daderot (I took this photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Throughout her life, Daisy had several challenges to overcome, among them being almost totally deaf.Daisy was married to William Low and moved to England, where he was from. Unfortunately, their union ended when William died during their divorce proceedings.

Feeling a sense of failure, Daisy wanted to find some purpose in her life. She was very good friends with Lord Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scout movement. He encouraged her to participate in the Girl Guides, the sister organization of the Boy Scouts. Daisy loved helping the Girl Guides, which inspired her to bring the idea to America; she started the Girl Scout movement on March 12, 1912 in Savannah.

Save the Date

Because Girl Scout Founder’s Day is on Halloween, you won’t be meeting on that day, as your girls will be celebrating Halloween. Plan your activities on your meeting date closest to the 31st.

Girl Scout Founder’s Day Celebration Ideas for Daisies

Young Daisies are going to need a very hands on approach when celebrating Girl Scout Founder’s Day. You can read parts of Juliette’s biography to the girls as an introduction to who she is. You can also download pictures of Juliette Gordon Low from the internet and share the different parts of her life with the girls. Write a paragraph about her on the back to read to the girls. This would be a good time to discuss the concept of “long ago” and when girls were told that they could not do the same things as boys.

Daisy Bracelet Bead Craft

An easy and fun activity for Daisies is beading. Have them make blue and white bracelets that they can wear to every meeting. Precut and knot the elastic at home to save time. You can always make the elastic shorter if necessary.

Make sure you have bowls for the beads-enough for two girls to share a bowl. Bring a few extra precut elastic strips for those who might need a replacement. You can ask an older Girl Scout troop to help you with the celebration, so they can be a “Sister to Every Girl Scout”.

Girl Scout Founder's Day craft for Daisy Scouts
Beadery Bead Extravaganza Bead Box Kit, 19.75-Ounce, Pearl
White Elastic Cord 100yd - Medium
White Elastic Cord 100yd – Medium

 

Since it is Juliette’s birthday, cake is in order!

For a fun activity for little hands, have them ice and decorate cupcakes. Use flower cupcake liners, Daisy sprinkles and Daisy cake decorations to really tie in the Daisy theme! The icing can be blue and white. As leader, have a cupcake of your own and top with a candle. Sing “Happy Birthday” to Juliette Gordon Low! At the end of the meeting, ask the girls questions about Juliette’s life and see what they remember.

Daisy Cupcake Decorations

There is nothing more delightful than a bunch of little girls devouring cupcakes. Based on my own Girl Scout leaders experience, my troop always loves any badge that involves food or a special meeting when I bake a treat for them. It sets a festive tone. Fortunately for me, none of my girls have any food allergies, so I can bring in whatever I want. Before you bring in a treat, double check with parents and make sure this information is always in your leader binder.These flower power accents will be enjoyed by your Daisies!

Daisy Flowers Sprinkles/Quins
Daisy Flowers Sprinkles/Quins

 

Girl Scout Founder’s Day Celebration Ideas for Brownies

As Brownie Girl Scouts, your troop should be somewhat familiar with Juliette. A brief review of her life can be played as a trivia game. You can divide the girls into teams, and keep score of who gets the questions that you have written correct. Once the questions are finished, go over the answers together.This can lead into the following community service project, which will take up two meetings.

As leader, you will need to find a local organization that is in need of Halloween costumes for children who cannot afford them. Once that is in place, then the fun begins!At the first meeting, talk about how Juliette permitted anyone who wanted to be a Girl Scout to join. Religion, race, or how much money their parents earned could keep any girl out of scouting.

At Halloween time, which is Juliette’s birthday, there will be children who will not have a costume because their parents cannot afford one. Their service project will be to collect gently used costumes. Many people have old Halloween costumes sitting around in closets with no one to give them to. Brainstorm ways to go about doing this. Can they make flyers? Ask neighbors, family and friends? Can they get permission from the school principal to ask the school via announcements or ask their classmates?

Halloween Harvest Laser & Inkjet Printer Paper
Halloween Harvest Laser & Inkjet Printer Paper

Once the ideas are agreed upon, hand out white copy paper or Halloween themed paper for the girls to design a flyer. Talk about what information to include, like date they are due and when they can be picked up. The girls can then have their parents scan it for emails, print it for mailboxes, and to hand out to neighbors.Decide on a date to drop them off at your home.

On the day of the next meeting, have the girls deliver them to the organization. This will require prior field trip approval, so be sure to get that in order prior to this meeting. It makes a large impact on the girls when they see where their donations are going to be received.

Girl Scout Founder’s Day Celebration Ideas for Juniors and Older Scouts

For Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors, Girl Scout Founder’s Day should be service oriented. Whether they are helping a Daisy or Brownie troop with their meeting and service project, or creating one of their own, they can help make the world a better place.

One idea that spread nationwide in 2011 is Birthday in a Bag . Because many people cannot afford the basics, buying candles and pretty napkins for a birthday are an extravagance. Older Girl Scouts can collect the following items and put them in pretty gift bags or colored lunch bags:

Cake Mix

Ready to Use Frosting

Sprinkles

Foil Cake Pan

Birthday Candles

Pretty Napkins

You can ask local Dollar Stores for donations of gift bags and foil pans. Ask permission from grocery stores to have a donation box for the items you are seeking. The more advance notice you give, the more likely you will get approval for your service project.Older girls who have Facebook and Twitter accounts can ask their friends and family via social media with parental permission. Younger girls can put flyers in their neighborhood and ask friends and family to help.

Gift Wrap Bag Tissue Paper Multi Color 25 Sheets 20 x 20 Inch Made in USA
Gift Wrap Bag Tissue Paper Multi Color 25 Sheets 20 x 20 Inch Made in USA Makes the bags look pretty!

Girl Scout Founder’s Day is a great way for Girl Scouts of any age to celebrate the life of it’s founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

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Camping With Your Girl Scout Troop More Resources for Leaders

In my last post, I shared the history of Girl Scout camping and resources for leaders.  This second post is a continuation of the first and has additional ideas for leaders.


I wonder what this group of Girl Scouts brought with them on this trip?

By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Camping Resources-Websites That Can Help You Get Organized

Camping Games and Songs for Girl Scouts

Being outdoors has so many layers of fun. Water activities, nature hikes, cooking outdoors and learning about the stars are just some of the things girls get to do when they go camping.

Other, non traditional games can also be played just for the fun of it! Glow sticks lend themselves to so many outdoor activities after the sun goes down, and girls just love them!

50 22″ Premium Glow Stick Necklaces Assorted Colors Glowsticks from Amazon

Sitting around the campfire, making s’mores and singing songs is also traditional. Download some of these classic camping songs for your girls to sing as they roast marshmallows and enjoy the memories they are creating together.

Girl Scouts Greatest Hits Vol 5, Camp Songs for Every Girl, Everywhere from Amazon

What resources do you use when you go Girl Scout camping?  What are you must haves?

Camping With Your Girl Scout Troop

Ideas and Resources for Camping With Your Girl Scout Troop

When Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America on March 12, 1912, she was a woman on a mission. Born into a life of wealth and privilege, she had a vast array of interests including art, nature and athletics.


Juliette, who was nicknamed Daisy by an uncle when she was young, did not have the happiest life (money does not make you happy). She moved to England with her husband, William Low, who was a native of that country. Theirs was an unhappy union, and they eventually separated but never divorced. She contested his will after his early death and won a substantial sum of money.

Still looking for a purpose to fulfill her life, she eventually helped out with the Girl Guides in England. Daisy took this movement to the United States, and on March 12, 1912, the first two Girl Guide patrols were started. The name changed to the Girl Scouts of America a year later.

The Girl Scouts were to serve many purposes for young girls, including skills for being a homemaker, having a career and offering opportunities that might not otherwise have. Giving back to the community and becoming a leader were also a linchpins of the early Girl Scout movement.

Another important part of Girl Scouting is developing a love of nature and being outdoors. This was typically a boys domain back in the early 1900s, and Daisy set out to change that with the Girl Scouts.

camping with your troop

The Purpose of Girl Scout Camping

While there is no rule saying that Girl Scout leaders have to camp with their girls, the vast majority do. As mentioned previously, camping and learning about the great outdoors is one of the building blocks of the Girl Scout movement. As humans, it is our job to learn about the earth and protect it. Part of the Girl Scout law is to “make the world a better place”, and one interpretation of that is to take care of not only people, but our planet.

Girl Scout camping offers girls the opportunity to sleep in a tent or a cabin, something that their own family may not want or be able to do. Many troops use the proceeds from the cookie selling to sponsor these outdoor camping adventures, so the additional costs to parents is minimal or even non-existent.

Camping also permits girls to build upon skills that they have learned at troop meetings in preparation for the big camping event. Learning about fire safety, how to tie different knots and other outdoor skills can be taught indoors during meetings. These skills are then taken outdoors and new ones are introduced during the outdoor camping experience.

Camping Books for Girl Scout Leaders

Taking a group of girls camping can be a wonderful experience for all involved…or it can be a complete mess. One thing I encourage every leader to do is read as much as you can and have a game plan for your trip. If your local Girl Scout Council has a committee for planning a camproee event, then your help will not only be appreciated by them, but you will learn a great deal in the planning process.

Below are books that can help you plan your camping activities when you are camping with just your troop and do not have an entire program laid out for you.

 

The 175 Best Camp Games: A Handbook for Leaders from Amazon

 

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature from Amazon

Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide from Amazon

Are You Camping Certified?

A Girl Scout leader cannot take her troop on any kind of camping overnight until she has taken the required courses. There also has to be a certified First Aider on the trip as well. If you think that you want to take your girls camping, be sure to take these classes in the fall so you are prepared for spring and summer camping season.

When Should You Take Your Troop on a Girl Scout Camping Trip?

A question many leaders of younger girls (Daisy Girl Scouts in particular) ask themselves is if their girls are ready for an overnight which is both outdoors and without Mommy and Daddy. Even if the girls are camping in a cabin, it is an unfamiliar place with adults whom they know, but still, it is not their parents. And on the flip side, many helicopter parents may want to go on a trip like this, and there is simply not enough room for all of them and other troops and leaders.

If your Council offers an outdoor camporee for its local troops, you may want to initiate Daisy Scouts with a day of outdoor activities and then go home. You can always take them overnight camping when they are older.

Another option for young girls is to go “backyard camping” for the evening or for an overnight (as long as you have overnight certification). Being able to get together at night, gaze at the stars, listen to the night sounds, learn about fire safety, read traditional campfire stories and make smores or other food in foil can be a gentle introduction to the world of outdoor activities. Overnights can take place during the Brownie years, perhaps with a troop sleepover at the leader’s house to see how it goes and then camping together.

By slowly introducing the outdoor experiences to you girls, you will give them a love of camping that is age appropriate.

In my next post, I will share some more camping resources for leaders.

Make a Perler Bead Birthday Cake-A Fun Girl Scout Week Activity!

Make a perler bead birthday cake to celebrate Girl Scout Week!
Photo by Marie Williams Johnstone and used with her permission.


If you have older girls who love to craft, then this is one that you can make with them for Girl Scout Week! My friend, Marie, has this wonderful tutorial on how to make a pearler bead birthday cake. If you want, you can use green and white beads or use green ribbon for the bow.

You can find the tutorial, which is full of pictures, here.

Girl Scout Uniform Requirements

The Girl Scout uniform has requirements as to where badges and patches, as well as pins, belong on the vest or sash.  With most patches being iron on, it isn’t difficult to get it right.

Girl Scout Uniforms Promote Sisterhood Among Scouts

By Father of JGKlein, used with permission (Father of JGKlein, used with permission) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Father of JGKlein, used with permission (Father of JGKlein, used with permission) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When I was a Brownie Girl Scout back in 1972-1973, I proudly wore my jumper and my beanie to every meeting. My friends and I loved our uniform and were so happy to go to our meetings after school. Back then we walked by ourselves-no parent needed to escort us from one place to the other.When I finished being a Brownie, I passed on jumper to my friend in another apartment building. She lived in the same complex that the girl who gave me the jumper lived in. Back in those days, when you lived in an apartment, you had to get rid of things you no longer used, as there was no storage.


When my older daughter became a Brownie Girl Scout in first grade, back in 2001, she and her friends had the entire ensemble. They all wore to school on meeting day the brown skort, vest and matching official Girl Scout socks.By fifth grade, those who remained kept their vest in their backpacks until it was time for the meeting after school. It was no longer cool to show your scouting pride.

I have been a troop leader since 2008, when my daughter was a kindergarten Daisy Scout. Up until last year, my girls had no problem wearing their vests to school when the occasion warranted it, like on Girl Scout Week. I plan on having them help out our school with various events, and they must wear their vests or sashes if they want to participate. Knowing them I am sure that it will not be a problem!

What Must Girls Wear to Girl Scout Meetings and Events?

While the Girl Scout Council stores offer many accessories to the uniforms girls wear, there is only one actual requirement. Daisy Girl Scouts must have the vest or tunic, Brownie Scouts and above must have the sash or vest.All badges and pins must be placed on the vest in the designated spots.

If you are unsure of patch and pin placement, here is the link to the Girl Scouts of America website that has pictures of where things belong. They even tell you what each pin and patch are.While some badges and patches are iron on, others are not. Do not try to iron on a patch that does not specify that it can be adhered that way-you will melt the patch. Instead, you can use a bondable adhesive like Patch Attach if you do not want to sew them on.

Who Buys Girl Scout Uniforms?

Some troops use their fundraising money to buy each girl’s uniform, while others require parents to pick up the tab.

For my troop, the parents buy the uniform and our dues supply the patches, badges and pins. I did this not only because we are not a fundraising troop, but because if a girl decides to quit scouts, the troop is out the money she fronted for the vest and badges. Then there is the tricky issue of asking parents for money owed to the troop or just eating the cost. If several girls quit, that can add up to a lot of cookie profit.

Girl Scout Shirts – What to Wear Under the Tunic, Vest or Sash

This is the shirt my girls made to earn the Art to Wear Try It.  They wore this for Junior meetings the next year. Photo by Hannah Gold
This is the shirt my girls made to earn the Art to Wear Try It. They wore this for Junior meetings the next year.
Photo by Hannah Gold

I have had very simple uniform requirements in place for my troop. They needed to buy the vest or sash as stated by the Girl Scouts of America. Underneath, they needed to wear a white shirt (some graphics were okay but I really wanted solid white) and jeans. This was very easy for my girls to wear, as they already had these items in their wardrobe!

If you want to add color, why not ask your girls to wear a light blue shirt if they are Daisies, a beige or brown shirt if they are Brownies and a green shirt if they are Juniors. These are inexpensive, machine washable, and can also be worn as everyday attire.

A Brief History of Girl Scout Uniforms

By Photo: User:FA2010 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Photo: User:FA2010 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 1927 uniform
Uniforms have always reflected the fashion trends of the times. Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America, based her original uniform design on the Girl Guides of England, where she got the idea for starting the American movement. Mothers and daughters actually had to sew their own uniforms together! In 1914, the became manufactured in factories, as the there was a substantial increase in girls participating in the movement.Until 1927, uniforms were a very long length, which was reflected in the times. No short flapper outfits for these girls! It was this year that Brownie Girl Scouts got their own distinct uniform, which was different from the older girls.The year 1936 saw a new version of the Brownie ensemble, which gave the girls two choices of hats to wear.Throughout the years, styles for all levels of scouts changed. In fact, the biggest change came in 1973, when the Girl Scouts of America offered pants and shorts were added to the uniform choices. No longer were dresses or skirts required.

Financial Aid

If a girl in your troop cannot afford a uniform, contact your local Girl Scout Council and they can give the girl’s family the paperwork she needs for financial aid.

Who pays for your troop’s uniforms-the troop or the parents?

Free Shipping on Craft Kits at Oriental Trading

While I know that you are all knee deep in cookie season, before you know it, the time will arrive for meetings that do not revolve around Girl Scout cookies!

Don’t eat up the cookie profits on shipping charges!  Until February 19th, Oriental Trading has free shipping with no minimum order. The code is FSANYFEB15.

Click here for rainbow crafts for bridging!

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With only a few more months until summer break for most of us, now is the time to plan out the rest of the year if you have not already done so. Make spring easy on yourself with these inexpensive craft kits for children. As a leader and a former room mother (and teacher) for more years that I can count, I personally have used these kits and so have my fellow Room Moms.

Order yours before the free shipping offer expires!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Activities for Daisy Girl Scouts, Brownie Girl Scouts, Juniors, Cadettes and More!