Gifts for Graduating Girl Scout Ambassadors

Time certainly flies. Once upon a time you were a brand new leader with a young group of Daisy or Brownie Girl Scouts, and now in front of you are a group of young adults who are Ambassador Scouts. From pigtails to prom, these girls have stuck with scouting. Your time together is quickly coming to an end. What should you give your girls as a parting gift that is meaningful to both leader and scout?

You have several options.

What can you get for a young woman in your troop who is graduating high school and is now an adult? There are some great ideas for leaders to use.
By Ed Uthman from Houston, TX, USA (TEL_3088) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo created in Pixabay by Hannah Gold

Lifetime Memberships

A gift that is the most expensive, but is the most meaningful, is to give your graduating Ambassadors a Lifetime Membership to the Girl Scouts of the USA. It is much cheaper to do this while the young woman is still in high school, costing $195 versus $375 after she graduates. If you do not have enough money to cover each girl, perhaps her parents can pay the difference and the gift can be from both of you.

Honor Cords

To signify that they were lifelong Girl Scouts and/or earned the Gold Award, girls can wear a special Honor Cord at their high school graduation ceremony. Green is for scouting and green and gold is if they earned the Gold Award. Before purchasing these for your girls, they should first check with their school principal and get it in writing that they are okay to wear.

Once you see that it has been approved, you can purchase the cords at Honors Graduation.

Scrapbook or Photo Collage

While this generation is used to storing photos on phones and computers, there is nothing like a photo album or photo collage placed in a gorgeous frame that will provide a lifetime of memories.

If you have been keeping a scrapbook all these years, then you have plenty of photos. Hopefully they are stored on your computer or uploaded to a site so you can create a scrapbook from them. Perhaps you can borrow the child’s Girl Scout scrapbook from her parents so you can scan the photos or take pictures of them to create your personal masterpiece.

If neither of those options are available to you, have your graduating Ambassadors dress in uniform and take individual shots of each girl and then a group photo. Create a photo collage from these pictures for each girl and place it in a frame.

There is always some kind of photo sale at Walgreens. Click on the banner to check out this week’s deals.



Pearl Jewelry

It should be well known by your Ambassadors that the founder of the Girl Scout, Juliette Gordon Low, sold her precious pearl necklace in 1915 to get money to keep the movement going during its early years. While real pearls are more than likely not a part of your budget, you can get some beautiful simulated pearl jewelry to give your graduates. Here are some options that are budget friendly.


Scout Necklace

Here is another inexpensive jewelry option for you.

Here is a gift for a graduating Ambassador Girl Scout.

Available on Amazon

Customize for your troop number.

                                               Available on Amazon

This bracelet is customizable. You get one word charm with your choice of expression and one charm with the girl’s name and her birthstone. The bracelet is adjustable stainless steel.

What do you plan on giving your graduating Ambassadors?


Girl Scout Bridging Resources for Cadettes to Seniors

Could it be that your troop of Cadette Girl Scouts is not only graduating middle school, but is also ready to bridge to Seniors? High School and a new level of scouts is around the corner, both big milestones for these young teenage girls. Hopefully your troop will be staying together for more adventures and learning in the fall.

Girl Scout Bridging Resources for Cadettes to Seniors

Photo from Pixabay

If they are, the girls should be planning their Cadette to Senior Girl Scout ceremony. While you hope that they will do work at home, in reality, with the busy-ness of their lives, you might be better off scheduling a special meeting devoted to planning this event.

Steps to Planning Your Cadette to Senior Bridging Ceremony

At this stage of the scouting game, I am going to assume that you already picked out a date and contacted the parents about it, and that you have planned where it will take place. In addition, menu planning for your party should be second nature as you have done this a few times before. The girls can actually do some of the planning and prep work for this.

You know the personality of your troop…that should guide you to how long it should be. Are most of your girls shy or do they love to be the center of attention? Once you help them figure out how long they want the ceremony to be, then they can use these resources for their planning.

*NOTE-You will also want to have a special part of your bridging ceremony dedicated to those who have earned the Silver Award.

Girl Scout Bridging  This is from the GSUSA and has all the steps the girls need to follow before the actual ceremony.

Girl Scout Bridging Packet Scroll down to find the Cadette to Senior Scout ceremony

Use Resources Wisely This blogger has a ceremony for leaders and girls to use.

Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana This link has a short script that can be used.

Tripod There is some good information towards the bottom of the page for your girls to use, including things to say for those who have earned the Silver Award.

Bridge to Seniors Ceremony This is an older site but has a wealth of information on it.

Osh Kosh Girl Scouts Plenty of ceremony basics for girls to follow, as well as downloadable PDF documents.

Scouting Web Gold Key Ceremony

This ceremony is long, but worth it to glean ideas. Make the girls some popcorn and watch it together.

Silver Award Ceremony Ideas

Here are some links for planning the Silver Award component of your Cadette to Senior Girl Scout bridging ceremony.

Girl Scouts of Western Washington Scroll down to page 6 for the information you seek.

Scouting Web Lots of Ceremony Ideas

Do you have anything special planned for your bridging ceremony?

Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony

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After two years of being a Brownie Girl Scout, the time has come to fly up in their very own Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging ceremony.  Only two years earlier, your girls bridged from Daisies to Brownies.  Because they were so little, your co-leader and you had to do most of the work.  Now that your troop is older, and they should have a more active role in planning their moving up ceremony.

Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony Ideas

Photo from Pixabay

The Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony is a Girl Scout milestone.  Because it is so important, as the leader, you need to make sure that parents can attend.  At least six to eight weeks before the ceremony, send an email out to parents knowing the date, time and location.  This needs to be done because many parents work full time, and they need to clear their work calendars.

Another reason for the early notice is give parents time to buy their daughter’s new Girl Scout uniform.  Many troops will be bridging, and the local council stores will have a run on vests and sashes.  Let your girls get first dibs on the merchandise in stock!

If parents do not want to go to the local Girl Scout Council store, they can always  order their daughter’s Girl Scout uniform online.

Fun for Your Scrapbook

Before the uniforms are ordered, talk to the girls about vests versus sashes.  Sashes fit fewer patches, so if you are a big patch earning troop, vests may be the way to go.  If the girls insist on a sash, then have them order the extra large one so more will fit.

A third reason to contact parents in advance is to see if any of the girls are not continuing with scouting.  There is natural attrition in any troop due to waning interest, an impending move, or a conflict with another activity.  You will want to know this in advance, as the last troop meeting or two will be devoted to planning the Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony, and maybe the girl will not want to attend.  You also want to know if a girl is continuing because you need to buy bridging patches and membership pins.  You do not want to buy any unnecessary items.

Bridge for Brownie to Junior Bridging Ceremony Photo by Hannah Gold

If you are planning on having your Brownie to Junior bridging ceremony at a different location than your regular troop meeting, you will need to get a field trip approval number from your Service Unit contact.  You will also have to have parents sign field trip permission slips, even if they are bringing their daughter to the bridging location!  Be sure to give your contact a minimum of two weeks notice before your trip.

Advanced notice is also necessary to get your refreshment list in order.  In an email, advise the parents that they will be getting a list based on suggestions from their daughters from your next meeting.  Keep it simple-plates, utensils, drinks, and finger foods are just enough.

Do you need a bridge for this Girl Scout ceremony?  While it would be fun to actually have your troop walk across a bridge, if there are none nearby or getting to it will be more of a hassle than it is worth, don’t stress over it.  You can make your own “bridge” out of any materials you want.  It can be a walkway like a bride going down the aisle, or an actual wooden bridge you make from palates.

Things to Do Before the Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony

Your Brownie troop should actively participate in creating their ceremony.  At your meeting one month prior to flying up, have the girls make invitations for their parents.  This is an opportune time to give a mini-lesson on the proper parts of an invitation.  If a girl needs to make two because her parents are divorced, give her the time to do so.

Ask them what treats they want to have served as refreshments and include that in an updated email to the parents.

Brownie to Junior Bridging Ceremony

Photo by Hannah Gold

For the next part of the meeting, have the girls write about one special memory they have from their two years as Brownies.  They will share this as part of the bridging ceremony.  Make sure each girl has her name on the paper and she can easily read what she has written.  It should be no more than four or five sentences.  Collect these, as they will be used for part of the flying up ceremony.

On large 9 x 12 pieces of white construction paper, write each letter in the word JUNIORS in green bubble letters.  Hand out to each girl to decorate the inside.  If you have more than seven girls in your troop, make designs to go before and after the word, as each girl needs her own paper..  For example, you can make:

  • Wings
  • Exclamation points
  • Hearts
  • Smiley faces

American Girl Doll Sized Uniform

Available on Amazon

Girls this age still play with dolls, so their doll can bridge with your daughter with a uniform of her own.

When they are done coloring them in, tape or glue what they wrote to the letter they colored.  That is the order they will cross over the bridge.  Your co-leader or you should keep these and bring them to the ceremony.  You might want to practice how this will be done at the end of this meeting or at the next meeting.

Make sure that you send an email the week of the ceremony to make sure that all of the girls have their Junior vests or sashes with their name on the label.  If you create a ceremony similar to this one, then you will need them.

The Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging Ceremony

Here is how my co-leader and I did our ceremony.

We held the ceremony at my house after school during our regular meeting time, as the art room where we have our meetings was not big enough.  I had the parents bring their refreshments and paper goods the day before so I could set up ahead of time and be ready when they all arrived the next day.  I also asked the parents to give me their daughter’s Junior sash or vest so I could put them in order of how they were going to be given out.  Names were written in Sharpie on the tag.

Junior Girl Scout Handbook

Junior Girl Scout Guide is a must have for leaders.

On the day of the ceremony, once the parents were settled in, we did the flag ceremony, Girl Scout Law and Girl Scout Promise.  My co-leader and I each gave a short speech welcoming the parents and sharing a few special memories of the past two years.

We then called the girls in order to have them cross the bridge.  Each one crossed over, gave us their Brownie vest and we put on their sash and pinned their wings and membership pin.  They read what was on the back of their letter and then stood in place.

When all the girls were done reading, my co-leader and I read this poem from a Girl Scout website (link no longer available):

Two years have passed since you first stood
By the magic pool and learned you could
Do lots of things in a Girl Scout way
And truly live by the words you say.

Five Girl Scout Worlds have become yours
Well-Being, People, Out-of Doors 
The worlds of Today, Tomorrow, and the Arts
Have broadened your sights and brought new starts.

In commitment to promises and showing your respect 
Satisfaction from working together is what you expect.
So Brownie Girl Scouts fly on and find
That Junior Girl Scouts are true and kind.
Now we give you Brownie wings,
That you may fly to bigger things!
The girls then “flew away” around my backyard and then we had refreshments.

As a small gift to our girls, my co-leader and I gave each a large movie sized box of Junior Mints wrapped in green tissue paper.

Available on Amazon

This is just one example of how to have a Brownie to Junior Girl Scout Bridging ceremony.  Be creative, talk to your girls and get them involved in all of the planning.


Handing Out Girl Scout Cookie Rewards-Are You Considerate and Caring?

For the most part, it was a quiet season for Girl Scout cookie drama in the Facebook groups where I belong. Leaders mostly posted about being tired and stressed and about parents who did not pick up cookies or show up at booths.  There was virtually no mention of girls who were not selling.

Until last week.

In two different groups, leaders asked how girls should be presented their cookies selling awards and if top sellers should be recognized. It is at times like these that I am blown away that some of these women have chosen to be leaders, since their lack of care and consideration (one part of the Girl Scout Promise) for the young charges in their troop is so apparent. One leader called her low selling girls “slackers” and others accused parents of being lazy and wanting their daughter to get a “free ride” in Girl Scouts. These children need to be shamed, blamed and called out for their lack of sales so maybe next year they will work harder. Who cares if a six year old is in tears? They have a lesson that they need to learn!

How some Girl Scout leaders make their girls feel when they hand out cookie rewards and the girl had no parental support.

Photo from Pixabay

OUCH!

Yes, it is true that there are parents out there who are unwilling to help their daughters achieve troop or individual cookie goals (in the same way as an educator I have met parents who are too busy to help their kids with schoolwork).  There is no obstacle standing in their way to help out their child, such as an illness or disability, work obligations or other family obligations. But I ask you… how is this the fault of a first grade Daisy or third grade Brownie? More than likely, it is these girls need a loving and caring role model (a.k.a Girl Scout leader) to make them feel safe and have a place where they feel that they belong. If their own parent(s) are unwilling to give them help, it is up to us as leaders to step in and do what we can for them.

Are you a leader who hands out cookie rewards based on your feelings about the girls or their parents?

Photo from Pixabay

Does the total of cookies sold make a child a low achiever if the number is not what the leader wants (and no, you cannot have a cookie quota-selling is optional). Is it the low seller a “slacker” if she goes door to door with her parents and sells a total of 45 boxes because neither parent can sell at work? Or is the child whose has two parents bring cookie sign up sheets to work a slacker, even though she “sells” 200 boxes with no effort?

According to the leaders in the Facebook posts mentioned, who only go by the numbers, the girl who actually sold on her own and learned about the business of cookies is the slacker. In my opinion, this girl is the true winner and the other child is an example of why kids cannot leave the nest when they are older because their parents do everything for them. While there is nothing wrong with helping your child, there is everything wrong about her being rewarded for work that she did not do.

(For more discussion on this topic, you can read my other post about this here.)

Which leads me to the questions that leaders asked…

Do You Give Top Sellers a Special Award?

Overwhelmingly, the leaders said that they did not. A “Top Seller” patch was all they gave, and that was placed in the bag of incentives the child earned from sales. Some leaders did buy special items, but in my opinion, this is wrong.

Should You Hand Out Awards by Numbers Sold or Share How Many Boxes Each Girl Sold?

No and No. Again, I will take you back to the example I mentioned about girls selling door to door versus those who had Mommy and Daddy sell. Children may not remember the prizes you handed out, but they will surely remember how they felt when their efforts were downplayed.

When handing out Girl Scout cookie rewards, remember that you are dealing with little girls who cannot control how much their parents help them. But you can still make them feel like winners, no matter how many boxes they sold.

Image created by Hannah Gold on Picmonkey

Troop goals should be celebrated together at your meeting, not individual goals. The prizes/incentives offered by the bakeries are the girls’ incentives that they choose to earn. At the start of cookie season, you should have helped the girls set a realistic goal to achieve so you will have money for the things they want to do. If the girls met their goals, great! Celebrate!

If the girls did not make their goal, then you can still celebrate what they did achieve! You still have earned money for special activities for your troop.

As for the incentives the girls earned, most leaders hand them out in the same kind of bag without fanfare at the end of the meeting as the girls are being picked up. In the case where there is a girl who did not earn more than a patch, the leader can still put the item in a pretty gift bag and even add a piece of candy or a note that says “Thank you!”.

The bottom line is that how much a girl sells is out of her control if a parent is unwilling to help. That includes older girls whose parents will not volunteer at a booth or offer to take them door to door. A 7th grader is not going to defy her parents in the same way a 1st grader will not. Try to have the girls help in other ways, like making cookie posters or labels to put on the boxes.

As a leader, you need to seriously rethink how you treat your girls and their feelings. Girl Scouts is much more than cookie sales. It is about learning new skills, sisterhood and being considerate and caring of others.

Here Come the Brownies-A Book Series for Brownie Girl Scouts

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Here Come the Brownies is a series written for Brownie Girl Scouts. The author is Jane O’Connor, who is now well known for her Fancy Nancy book series. But back in the early 1990’s, her easy to read chapter books about the adventures of Brownie Girl Scouts made Here Come the Brownies a popular read among girls in grades one through three (ages six through nine).

While Ms. O’Connor wrote the first six books of the series, the second half of the twelve books was written by Marcia Leonard.

Through a fictitious Brownie troop, these stories share Brownie Girl Scout values, such as friendship, kindness to other people, and helping others. They are a useful tool in helping the girls understand the meaning of being a Girl Scout.

For an adult, the plot of each book is predictable, but this is a valuable tool in children’s literature when trying to teach a the reader a lesson. From my own experience as an elementary school teacher, children do not like books with unhappy or unpredictable endings. Thesae books are also written on grade level, so even those who are not the most proficient readers can easily read it on their own.

The Here Come the Brownies series of books is an easy and fun read for Daisy Scouts and Brownie Girl Scouts.

Created by Hannah Gold in Picmonkey

Here are the titles and a brief synopsis of each book in the Here Come the Brownies series.

Book 1 Corrie’s Secret Pal

We are introduced to the Brownie troop I this book. A new girl, Corrie, moves to town and in order to make new friends, decides to become a Brownie Girl Scout and join a troop.

Book 2 Sarah’s Incredible Idea

In this book, Sarah is the central character. She is a shy girl who finds it difficult to speak up at meetings. She has an idea for a community service project-to bring pets to a nursing home for the residents to visit. She eventually speaks her mind and the troop is able to do this project successfully.

Book 3 Make Up Your Mind, Marsha

In the third book of the series, Marsha is the protagonist. Marsha is an indecisive child who faces a dilemma. She needs to choose between doing the right thing or doing something for herself, which would hurt the feelings of another child. With the assistance of her Brownie friends, Marsha makes her decision.

Book 4 Amy’s (Not So) Great Camp Out

It is Amy’s turn to take the spotlight in the fourth Here Comes the Brownies book. Amy is a popular girl in her troop (in a positive sense of the word) with a bright and fun personality. In this adventure, the troop goes camping, and Amy gets sick during the camp out. Will the girls still like her even though she is not partaking in the camping activities?


 

Book 5 Think, Corrie, Think

Corrie takes center stage again when the girl are paired of for a Girl Scout Thinking Day project (a day where Girl Scouts around the world do special projects and “think” of each other). Krissy, who is the smartest girl in the troop, is paired with Corrie. Feeling inferior, Corrie learns that everyone has special strengths and talents to contribute, as well as learning the joys of cooperation.

Book 6 Lauren and the New Baby

Lauren is the featured Brownie Girl Scout in this book. While she is excited about becoming a big sister, her best friend, Marsha, is feeling afraid that the new baby will come between them. From my older daughter’s personal experience at becoming a big sister as a second grade Brownie Scout, Marsha’s feelings do ring true.

Book 7  Take a Bow, Krissy!

Krissy is the protagonist of the seventh book in the Here Come the Brownies series. Money is tight in Krissy’s house. In order to join her Brownie troop on a field trip to see The Secret garden, she will have to earn money. This book tells how she does it.

Book 8 Is That Really You Amy?

Amy gets another turn in the spotlight in this book. Amy’s babysitter is a rock star to Amy-she is a Cadette Girl Scout. She copies everything Hallie, her babysitter, does. Hallie’s Cadette troop act as guides on a field trip with Amy’s Brownie troop. Amy starts to act differently around the older girls, making her Brownie friends upset and causing the older girls to talk about her. Lessons about how to treat others and beings a sister to every Girl Scout are highlighted in this book.

Book 9 Light’s Out, Sarah

Sarah, the protagonist of this story, is afraid of the dark, a common fear among elementary school aged children. Worrying that all of her friends will discover her fear of the dark during an Brownie overnight trip at a lighthouse, Sarah tries to hide her secret until a passing storm shows her that everyone has fears, including grownups.

Book 10 Marsha’s Unbearable Day

In this story, Marsha misplaces the teddy bear that has been sent to her Brownie troop by a sister troop in Australia. She spends the day trying to find it, and of course, she does.

Book 11 Jo Ann and the Surprise Party

Jo Ann, who is Chinese, is the central character of this story. The Brownie troop is throwing a party for their troop leader. The girls are asked to bring their favorite dessert. Jo Ann cannot decide whether or not to bring hers, which is a Chinese dish and much different from the other girls dessert choices. Jo Ann’s grandmother helps her decide what to bring.

Book 12 Krissy and the Big Snow

While going on a day trip to a working farm, a sudden snowstorm strands the Brownie troop overnight. Krissy, who is the focus of this story, is upset because she is in a play and will miss her opening night due to the weather. Krissy’s Brownie friends help comfort her and show compassion to Krissy during this unexpected turn of events.

While this book series is now out of print, it can still be purchased online. For young readers who love being a Girl Scout, these books are a great investment.