My troop asked our principal to come speak to us. Since we meet after-school, this was easy for her to do. She read the girls the book “The Principal From the Black Lagoon” and they did an activity with her based on it. She then took the girls on a tour of her office! Being in kindergarten at the time, they were very impressed. It looked big, spacious, and it was a place that they knew they did not want to go to when they were older!
At the end of the tour we took a photo that they put into their Girl Scout scrapbook.
When my older daughter was a Girl Scout, she went on afield trip to the police station. This is a good idea to do instead of a regular meeting. Just be sure to get all of your paperwork done for your field trip well in advance and to get your troop permission number.
Juliette Gordon Lowe founded of the Girl Scouts of America in 1912. Her birthday is on October 31st, and many troops do crafts and activities during the month of October to celebrate her life.
Our troop did not get to celebrate in October, but we did in January.
I took out a children’s biography of Ms. Lowe from the library and read it at home. I put sticky notes on the relevant parts that would be of interest to the girls, like her nickname being “Daisy” and how she became deaf in one ear (a freak accident involving a grain of rice on her wedding day). I also emailed all of the girls’ mothers to have them bring one empty toilet paper tube for the craft. (as leader, be sure to bring a few extra, just in case!)
I started the meeting by asking them if they knew anything about Ms. Lowe. No one did, so I read the portions of the book and showed them all of the pictures. After I was done, I passed out the American Sign Language chartand taught the girls how to sign the name “Daisy”. We did each letter and my volunteers helped the girls form the letters if any girl needed it.
Then I had the girls sign their own name.
For the craft, I was inspired by this idea. I purchased candy and red ribbon at 75% off during the after-Christmas sales. I used tissue paper instead of wrapping paper because it worked better on the paper roll and the girls could decorate it. All tissue paper and ribbon were cut before the meeting.
After each girl got her roll, the moms helped pass out equal amounts of candy to each girl and they placed them in the tube. Then they rolled the tissue paper on and the moms taped the sides down. The girls twisted the ends and tied the ribbon using two knots (bows were too hard).
Typically, each meeting that I have with my troop is planned around earning a Daisy petal. Since our schedule this year has us only meeting once at the end of February, I did not want my Daisies to miss any Valentine’s Day fun! I decided to incorporated the two.
This activity helps the girls earn the green Daisy petal “Use Resources Wisely”. If you give the craft to others, for example, a senior citizen home, then it can also be used to earn the rose petal (Make the World a Better Place) and earn the spring green Daisy petal (Considerate and Caring).
I adapted Class Act Apple for Valentine’s Day. Brownie troops can do more of the work themselves. Juniors can adapt this craft using fabric to earn a sewing patch. Or, just for fun, this can be made no sew with the use of a hot glue gun (adult supervision needed).
Just a note-I always make a sample craft. By doing this, you can avoid mistakes and mishaps. For example, I was planning on using Elmer’s wet glue, but it just did not stick to the paper bag well enough. It kept sliding the hearts around.
I did the prep work at home. I cut enough paper bags into heart shapes, and labeled the hearts on the inside so they would match up properly. I had my seven year old twins use a foam paint brush and some tempera paint to paint one of the hearts red. Two coats was enough. When they were dry, I matched up the two ends and paperclipped them together.
I bought floral wire and cut strands about 16 inches long. I also purchased heart stickers at Staples for this craft.
At the meeting, we talked about the meaning of Valentine’s Day. I then read them the story, Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse.
Inside, I had my co-leader and three other moms (yes, lucky me, I have plenty of volunteers most meetings!) heating up the hot glue guns. (Ask in advance for the girls to bring them in with glue sticks) Once the story was done, we brainstormed ideas to write on the heart. The we passed out the hearts, the stickers, and black Sharpie markers.
The girls put their names on the back and starting writing and decorating. When they were done, they went up to one of the moms who hot glued the sides about 2/3 of the way. Then the girls went back to the table, stuffed the hearts with fiberfill, and then returned to have them hot glued shut.
Once they were glued shut, I punched holes on each side and showed the girls how to twist the wire to make it not stick out.
With the extra time, we made Valentine’s Day cards.
Note-this can also be done for a Mother’s Day craft as well.
One of the things I love about being a Girl Scout Leader is planning. I am a teacher, and it is something that just comes naturally to me.
When you are a teacher, you have to make more with less. When I taught elementary school, I always spent money out-of-pocket for educational tools I wanted and needed. As a preschool teacher, I made crafts out of household things normally thrown away-paper-towel rolls, margarine tubs, newspaper, and other assorted items.
One of the responsibilities of being a troop leader is attending the monthly Leader Meetings. If you have a co-leader, you can take turns attending if getting out is a hassle.
Some months, all I was able to do was pick up the contents of my folder and leave. I felt badly, but my kids are not the kind to sit quietly through an adult meeting (and some of the adults attending are not able to sit quietly, either!)
Last night, our meeting was really informative and hope it is structured that way more often.
After discussing the cookie sale, we broke into “levels” discussion groups-Daisy, Brownie, Junior. Much like the cross-town grade level meetings I attended as an elementary school teacher, I learned so much from our discussion. I was surrounded by women who had the same questions as I did, who needed ideas like I do, who had ideas that worked for them.
If your Leader Meetings are not giving you the information you need, perhaps suggesting levels discussions at every other meeting to your local council would be beneficial. Havng one person in charge of your level, who can coordinate the information shared, will help all of us be more successful leaders.
For more helpful hints on how to get better attendance at leader meetings, you can read this article.