10 Activities Your Girl Scout Troop Can Do This Holiday Season

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Now that we are knee deep in the holiday season, there are going to be arguments on the various Girl Scout Facebook pages that I read. They discussions do not change and nor do the opinions of the various posters.

The December Dilemma is something I wrote about at length two years ago. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. If you have a troop where there are girls of various beliefs (and non-beliefs), it becomes a landmine of sensitivity. As a public school teacher for many years, I avoided this in my multicultural classroom by not celebrating any holiday. Sure, the kids would talk about them, but doing crafts or lessons on them is not something I, nor my colleagues, did.

Here are 10 Activities Your Girl ScoutTroop Can Do This December that are inclusive to girls of all faiths

Photo from Pixabay

My Girl Scout troop has always had girls of various faiths in it. As a leader who is Jewish, I was not comfortable doing Christmas activities. However, each December for the past six years, my troop has participated in a community service project that is multi-faith. I have written about it in the past (here is a post about it).  Last week I was asked by the women in charge of this project if my girls would bake again, like they have the past few years. Of course they will! It has become our personal Girl Scout tradition!

Girls have the opportunity to celebrate their family holiday at home and at synagogue or church. Not having a “Christmas party” will not cause any personal damage. In fact, Girl Scouts may be the one place where your girls get a chance to do something for others during this time of year. Giving to others, helping others, and thinking about others in need may be a refreshing change to the commercialism that has now overtaken an important holiday.

So what can your troop do instead of celebrating any December holiday?

1. Bake for the Military 

See if you have a local organization that sends packages overseas or to those living on local military bases to our mlitary who will not be home for Christmas.

2. Visit a Nursing Home

Residents enjoy having visitors. Your girls can sing songs for them-not just holiday, but some Girl Scout favorites as well! When my Nana was in a geriatric home, she enjoyed the children who came to sing for the Jewish holidays (it was a Jewish home). Play Bingo with the residents or prepare a simple craft that you can do together.

3. Build a Marshmallow Igloo

How to Make a Marshmallow Igloo

Photo by Hannah Gold

I did this with my son’s class many years ago. You can find the directions here.

4. Play Minute to Win It Games

Pinterest is full of great ideas for quick games for the girls to play that will make your meeting time rock. You can award a prize to each participant at the end if you wish.

5. Make Thank You Gifts in a Jar

Have the girls make gifts in a jar for someone in their community. If you meet in a school, make one for the principal, school nurse, secretary, custodians…anyone who deserves a thank you! Or you can make them to deliver to your local police station or fire house.

Decide if you want to make a soup recipe, a cookie recipe or a hot chocolate recipe. Make an assembly line and have the girls add a card for a personal touch.

6. Make a Sock Snowman

Here is a fun activity that requires no sewing! You’ll find the complete directions here.

7. Make a Winter Craft

There are many winter crafts that are non-denominational that you can do. They come in ready to use craft kits so planning is easy for you.

Make a Winter Charm Bracelet-Comes With 12 Available on Amazon

Snowman Foam Frames-Comes WIth 12-Available on Amazon

 

Penguin Bean Bag Sewing Kits for Children-Comes WIth 3

Available on Amazon

8. Go on a Field Trip

Do something fun with the girls, like go to a trampoline park, go on a Panera tour, or take a free class. Use that cookie money from last year as an incentive to have the girls sell this season so they can go on more fun trips all year long.

9. Visit a Sister Troop

Most areas have more than one troop. Why not meet up with another troop and get to know each other? You can make Swaps together, play games, and get to know other girls in your area.

10. Have a Tea Party

Why not have a tea party and get dressed up in your finest? It is a fun and a way for girls to earn their Manners Try It if you are Brownie Girl Scouts

Being a Sensitive Girl Scout Leader During the Month of December

Over the years, I have written several blog posts about why leaders need to be sensitive to others during the month of December (you can read about it here). It seems kind of silly to me to write about this topic every year, since we as leaders are supposed to be teaching the girls to be Friendly and Helpful, Considerate and Caring, Responsible for What I Say and Do, and Be a Sister to Every Girl Scout). However, during each holiday season, the topic of inclusion is inevitably discussed and how it is not “fair” that one or two Scouts who do not observe Christmas are “spoiling” it for those who do.

Girl Scouts-Handling the Month of December with Sensitivity

Photo from Pixabay

During recent discussions on one of the Facebook pages I read, leaders said they would ask those parents of girls who do not celebrate Christmas if the “minded” doing certain Christmas activities, like making ornaments or going caroling. Many assumed that the parents will not mind, especially if they asked in person or via email, and the parents said it was fine.

But was it really?

As a Jewish parent, I would mind. In fact, one year my older daughter made an ornament with her Brownie troop and brought it home. I was not asked if this was okay, because if I had been asked, I would have said something beforehand. However, there are many parents who will not say anything for fear of rocking the boat and making their child seem like the one who “ruined” or “spoiled” an activity for the majority of girls in the troop.

While we can agree to disagree, I believe that it is unnecessary to make December all about Christmas. The girls get enough of that at home. Girl Scouts is meant to be inclusive, and that means activities and events for everyone in your troop, regardless of how they worship (or how they don’t). We cannot escape the music and decorations and the pressure to give gifts-it is all around us in every store, every magazine and on all kinds of media. However, we can turn this into a season of giving to others and making the world a better place for everyone.

 

3 Fun Ideas for Informal Summer Girl Scout Meetings

Now that the end of the year is fast approaching, Girl Scout leaders need to decide whether or not they are going to meet over the summer. Personally, when I was the head leader, I cherished June through September because it was my time off from doing everything for my troop. It also gave me ample time to plan ahead for the next year since I am a teacher, and the start of the school year was always a hectic time between getting my children and my classes ready.

In addition, with camp and vacation schedules being so different for each family, planning a meeting would have been challenging.

Here are 3 fun and easy to implement summer meeting ideas for leaders to do with their troop.

Photo from Pixabay

Other leaders like to keep the scouting momentum going, having meetings over the summer break. The warm months are a perfect time to do outdoor meetings, trips, and informal gatherings so your girls stay in touch with each other.

If you do wish to meet with your troop over the summer, I would strongly encourage doing badge work only if all of your girls are present. Missing meetings because of a family vacation or out of town friends and family are visiting is not slighting you or the troop-summer is a more flexible time than the school year. Do fun activities are just get together for some games and fun!

Here are some ideas for informal Girl Scout meetings.

Plan an Ice Cream Sundae Party

Need a fun and easy to plan summer meeting for your Girl Scout troop? Host an ice cream sundae party!

Photo from Pixabay

Who doesn’t love ice cream? You can have a fun outdoor meeting with no drips inside your home. Play some games:

Pin the Sprinkles on the Ice Cream Cone

Make a big ice cream cone on a piece of oaktag and sprinkles from pieces of construction paper.  A variation would be to make an ice cream sundae on oaktag and cut out cherries for the girls to pin on it.

Relay Race

Use a real ice cream cone and a styrofoam ball (for the ice cream) from the craft store for each team. Have the girls race from one side of the yard to the other without dropping the ice cream. A variation of this is to have the girls do different things while holding the cone like hop, jump, or skip.

Taste Test

If your girls want to be Courageous and Strong, then blindfold them and have a taste test with unusual flavors. You can buy some at an ice cream store in your town.

If you wish to do an ice cream craft, the website Play Ideas has 25 ideas for you to try.

Of course, top off the meeting with a make your own sundae bar!

The No-Sleepover Sleepover Party

The age of your scouts will determine what you will be doing. Plan a movie night or day (for younger girls). There are a lot of older family films from Disney that your girls may not have seen that are rated G. For older girls, run a list of potential movies by the parents that are PG and see if there are any objections.

Need ideas for movies? Here is a complete list of every Disney film released. This site has a list of every Disney Channel Original film from the network (my family’s favorite is Wendy Woo).

Once the movie has been selected, tell the girls that they will come in their pajamas and with a sleeping bag. No one will be sleeping over, as this is a no sleepover sleepover party! Park shoes by the front door so none go missing.

For a fun summer Girl Scout meeting, have a no sleepover slumber party for your troop.

Photo from Pixabay

The food you serve will depend on the length of your meeting time-will it be an easy meal like pizza or just snacks for during the film?  Have a buffet of snacks on the table or you can go to your local movie theater and ask to buy the the cartons that have the snack packs that they sell at the movies. Then you can fill it at home with a pony water and treats or the girls can select their treats from a buffet that you have purchased.

Have the girls spread out their sleeping bags on the floor and start the movie!

If you wish to extend the meeting, play a movie trivia game with the girls.

Beach Party

You do not have to go to the beach to have a beach party! If you have a backyard, you can plan a fun outdoor event that the girls will remember for a long time.

Have each girl come to your home in her bathing suit and have her bring a change of clothes, sunscreen and a beach towel. A hat, visor and sunglasses are optional items you can ask them to pack.

Have a backyard beach party for a fun and informal summer Girl Scout meeting.

Photo from Pixabay

You can make your backyard into a water wonderland with a Slip and Slide, small inflatable pools and sprinklers. Girls can have water balloon fights as well. Serve ice pops, ice cream, cookies and have plenty of water on hand to keep the girls hydrated.

Another fun activity is to have the girls play with beach balls. You can inflate them ahead of time and write each girls name in Sharpie so she knows which one is hers at the end of the party. Girls can have relay races, play dodge ball and just have a toss with them.

Are you planning a to meet over the summer? What are you doing with your troop?

 

Low Cost Craft Classes at Michael’s Craft Stores This February

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Whether or not you are selling cookies, at this time of year, you may be feeling a little stressed or burnt out. If you cannot get the girls outside, their natural pent up energy just bubbles over. Sometimes a change of scenery is called for.

Just in time, Michael’s Craft Stores have weekend classes that are low cost and fit right in with Daisy Scouts.

If any of these interest you, make sure you get permission slips for the girls asap. Parents should hang around since these are not long in length. Or if you just have want to get together informally, send out an email or post on your troop Shutterfly page or Facebook group page that you will be there and their daughters are welcome to attend.
Inexpensive craft classes make for great Girl Scout meetings, especially during cookie season.                                  Photo from Pixabay 

Saturday February 11-Valentine’s Make Event
Buy blank cards and the rest of the Valentine card making supplies are free.
Sunday February 12-Teen Class
Do you have Juniors working on a Sewing badge? In this class, which costs about $5.00 for materials, kids will learn how to embroider an emoji button.
Saturday February 25-Family Spring Painting Event
 
Purchase a birdhouse or clay pot and the decorating supplies are free. The birdhouse can work for the Daisy Journey!
 
You can find more classes here at Michael’s!
 

 


Building Good Relationships Within Your Girl Scout Troop-Activities to Help You Get There

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One of the most important goals a leader should have for her troop is that they all should get along and be a sister to every Girl Scout-at least during meeting times. If your girls are arguing, forming cliques and generally being unkind to each other, meetings are going to be a drag for everyone involved.

How to Build Positive Realtionships Within Your Troop (and earn petals and badges while doing it). Great for the first or second meeting of the year for all levels of scouts.

Photo from Pixabay

Promoting sisterhood among the troop can be done with activities that demonstrate empathy for each other. When my girls were Juniors I did an activity at our very first meeting to demonstrate the power of words (you can read about it here).

What can Daisy and Brownie leaders do to establish positive relationships from day one? Here is a fun activity that both levels can use. Daisy Scouts can earn the yellow Daisy petal or the spring green Daisy petal at this meeting. Brownies can do this for the Making Friends badge.

Meeting Plan

You will need this book to begin your meeting after the Pledge and Promise are said. You can ask girls how it feels when their feelings get hurt.

First meeting ideas for Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts-read this bok and do the activity to build good relationships in your troop from the start.

Book Available on Amazon

The story centers around Felix, who walks around with an invisible bucket over his head. His grandfather tells him the bucket is full until someone does something unkind to him and some water drips out. Felix is unkind to his sister and he empties her bucket. Throughout his day, his bucket gets emptier and emptier as people do things to him that are unkind or ungenerous. The story ends with Felix filling up his sister’s bucket and him coming to the realization that his actions (being friendly and helpful and considerate and caring), whether intentional or unintentional, make a person feel valued or unvalued. The story come full circle.

Materials

Have the girls decorate these buckets to remind them to be kind and earn the yellow Daisy petal or the spring green Daisy petal.

Set of 12 Metal Buckets Available on Amazon

  • Small buckets with each girls name written on it or “_______’s Kindness Bucket” set on the table
  • Bouncy balls or paper clips-some kind of small object for each girl in front of the bucket.
  • Flower stickers
  • Posterboard prepped for the meeting (see directions below)
  • Paper water drops
  • Glue

During your meeting to earn the yellow or spring green Daisy petal, girls can use these stickers to decorate their buckets. They can also be used for other crafts during the year.

Foam Glitter Stickers from Amazon

Have the girls sit at the table by the bucket. Instruct them to put something in the bucket when you say something kind and take out an object when you say something unkind. (Note: Do not say anything  about a specific child, but in general. For example, “Your hair is a mess.” or “Your handwriting is sloppy.”) After this activity is over, ask the girls how it felt to have an empty bucket. Give them a few minutes to decorate their buckets with flower stickers.

Before the meeting, make a large bucket on posterboard . On top write “Troop _____ are Bucket Fillers”. On slips of paper are cut in the shape of a drop of water, have them write one nice thing they can do to fill it. If the girls are too young to write, then be the scribe and write it for them. Have them shade in the water drop with blue crayon and they can glue it around the bucket.

Send the girls home with their buckets and at the next meeting ask how they were able to fill it.