Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meeting 8: December

Pre-Meeting: As the girls came in, we had them collaboratively draw a Bald Eagle for our animal mural, which we'll continue to add to throughout our 3 Cheers for Animals Journey (we had a photo of an eagle for reference). It looked so awesome! We also had them do the "What People Need" activity from the Making Choices financial literacy leaf. Finally, they drew a picture of themselves helping someone else, also part of the Making Choices leaf. 

Opening: Pledge, Promise, Law

Song: We had two options this meeting, "Pink Pajamas" or "Boy and a Girl and a Canoe"--both some of my favorites! Our song chooser picked "Pink Pajamas." I think they were rather shocked! :)

Circle: The girls had made a goal of selling 120 boxes as a troop. During our circle, we talked about how many boxes each girl has sold so far, and what incentives they have earned. Some girls hadn't sold any, and a couple had sold a lot already. We counted up the total number and colored in goal chart. Each girl got to color in about the same amount, to reflect that our goal is a group effort and everybody is helping to sell. So far, we've sold 61 boxes--more than half our goal! We reflect on our event shopping for Birthday Wishes, and the girls got to talk about how helping someone else made them feel. 

We took a quick break to play Daisy to Daisy, and then the girls stood back to back, locked elbows, and tried to sit down in pairs, then stand back up. So funny! We talked about our next Service Project (OperationPaperback), where we'll be collecting children's books for military parents to read to their children via webcam or DVD. We looked at a map to see where military people live, and how far away that is from their families. Then, we brainstormed about how the girls can help get books. They seemed a bit underwhelmed with the project, unfortunately, but hopefully as they see how many books they get, they'll get more excited. We'll be collecting for a few weeks.

Snack: We had gingerbread cookies and pretzels for snack. Yum!

Activity: We looked at pictures of bird nests, and talked about what we have that is like a nest. Then, we made our own nests out of paper bags and tissue paper. We put our pictures of helping other people inside. This is another activity from the 3 Cheers for Animals book.

Game: We played two rounds of Barnyard Bash. The girls each got a secret animal to act out, and had to find the girl who was also that same animal. It was pretty fun, but since we only had 6 girls at the meeting, the rounds went pretty quickly. We played Tiger, Cowgirl, Princess to finish the meeting.

Closing: Fists of Five showed that the girls all had fun at the meeting. They liked drawing the eagle on the mural, and making the nests. The girls got their Making Choices leaf, and girls who had signed up got their Early Bird patch. We did the Friendship Squeeze. 

We sent home the final activity for the Making Choices leaf, the Setting Goals Chart, for the girls to do with their parents and "officially" earn the leaf.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December Event: Birthday Wishes

Making birthday cards
For our December event, we focused on a service project. There's a great program in Massachusetts called Birthday Wishes, which provides birthday parties for homeless children. Since kids have to be at least nine to volunteer at a party, we decided to create a birthday in a box--purchasing all the items needed for a party. The child we were helping was a four-year-old girl hoping for a Disney Princess party--perfect!

We split the girls into two teams; each team had a list of items to find at Target. The lists included items like cake mix, frosting, plates, napkins, juice boxes, decorations, a tablecloth, and two gifts each. My team had a blast picking out a princess tablecloth and plates and napkins, plus a birthday banner, wands for party guests, and bracelets. Purchasing the gifts took some major direction. To encourage the girls to meet our budget (about $10/gift), I kept directing them to look at the price to stay on budget. In the end, we got a Disney princess Polly Pocket toy and a cute ABC book.
Our finished box! So pretty!

After both teams were finished shopping, we checked out, then went to a space to wrap the box. The girls (with some help from the adults) wrapped up the box and each made Happy Birthday cards that we included in the box.

All in all, the girls seemed to really enjoy this activity. Fists of Five showed that they all had fun, and they all liked helping other people. Hooray!

Have you planned a service project for your Daisys? Leave a message below!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meeting 7: December

I had a holiday party, so my lovely co-leader filled in for me. Here's what was on our agenda, though! Update: My coleader wrote about the actual meeting. Her thoughts in italics.

Premeeting: We made "Thank You" notes for customers from the Fall Sale. The girls enjoyed making Thank You cards, but most of them didn't really remember the fall sale. So, they made general TY cards for parents, or cards to give out to people who might buy cookies.

Opening: Pledge, Promise, and Law

Song: Our two choices for the kaper girl were Boom Chicka Boom or I'm a Girl Scout. Nora chose "Boom Chicka Boom" as the song. It was a big hit!! The girls especially loved "loud style" and "slow style."

Circle: We read the girls the Daisy Cookie Story, featuring the flowers from the Journeys. Then, the girls learned how much each box of cookies cost to earn their financial literacy leaf. They also made a group sales goal poster together and set their own sales goals. The girls LOVED the Daisy Cookie story. Lisa and I both read it. The girls really reacted positively -- they remembered the characters throughout the meeting and were able to answer questions about the story afterwards. Making the goal chart was ... interesting. It was a good chance to practice estimation and numbers, but it was hard for them to grasp how many boxes they might sell. Lisa was really nervous about the goal being unreachable and the girls being disappointed, so she encouraged them to aim low. We all agreed that we could re-evaluate and make a new goal if we thought we should later.

Snack Snack was AWESOME. Victoria's mom brought cheese and crackers, gingerbread cookies, tangerines, and cider. Also, there was a class going on in the kitchen, and the teacher of that class was a Girl Scout, so she came and talked to the girls about how much she loved selling cookies. It was so sweet! We also went over how to answer cookie questions.

Activity: The girls practiced answering questions about cookies to earn their financial literacy leaf. Then, they made their own obstacle course together. We did not get a chance to make an obstacle course, so that could be something to do for another meeting.

Game: The girls played Daisy Cookie Bingo. The girls REALLY liked the Bingo game!! Nell was a very good caller, and we had two different winners. They stayed really focused, despite the fact that it had been a pretty low-energy-style meeting. We played two long rounds, and then it was time to wrap up.

Closing: We did the Friendship Squeeze. Fists of Five revealed that the girls liked most of the activities for the day. They also had fun trying to make me fake-sad by rating everything badly, and then yelling about how they were kidding. It was very cute! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Event: Movie Night

For our November event, we had a make-your-own pizza party and a movie night! The girls came to my apartment (you could also have it at your meeting place--have the girls bring sleeping bags and pillows) dressed in their PJs. Each girl got a sticky note when she arrived to stick on the move she voted for. We ended up watching The Princess Diaries.

After the girls voted, we said our Promise and Law, then had pizza stations. The girls each could make two halves of an English muffin into a pizza. I had sauce, cheese, and pepperoni for toppings. This is a great activity for young scouts because they get to customize their dinner (girl led and learning by doing). We put the pizzas in the oven, and then it was movie time!

We had an intermission where we played "Tiger, Cowgirl, Princess". And at the end of the meeting, we played "Daisy to Daisy" and did our friendship squeeze.

Overall, this field trip only cost us $40 in supplies/food, so it could be a great option for your troop for those cold winter months!

Have you gone on a field trip this month? What did you do?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meeting 6: November

Pre-Meeting: I had our own version of "Will It Float?" set up. I had 10 small bowls filled with water, and each had an object. The girls had to write down a guess about whether or not it would float. The 10 objects I used were a box of floss, a screw, a cork, a magnetic dart, a measuring spoon, a toothpick, a small screwdriver, a contact lens case, a plastic bracket, and an earring.

Opening: We said our promise, pledge and law. The girls were excited to check out what their jobs were on the kaper chart!

Song: I offered the Song chooser either Father Abraham or the Jo and the Button Factory song.

Circle: In our circle, the girls shared what their good deed was since the Investiture and Rededication ceremony. The girls mentioned everything from helping up her brother after he fell, to bringing in supplies for her teacher, to changing the channel for her sister. Then, we did an energizer. Finally, I explained the three Journeys to the girls and had them do a secret vote. Surprisingly, they were pretty equally split between the Between Earth and Sky (science) and Three Cheers for Animals (animals). The tiebreaker went to Three Cheers for Animals--I can't wait to get started next time!

Energizer: For an energizer, we played the "Zoom" game. They had a pretty good time screeching to "put on the breaks" of the car. They weren't so good at being quick though, since they were goofing around :).

Activity: For our activity, we did a math chart. The girls each brought in a paper where they had written down the number of pets they had, the number of siblings, the number of closets in their house, the number of doors in their house leading to the outside, the number of TVs they had, and the number of people who were living in their house. Then, we did some comparisons: Who had the most TVs in the group, who had the most pets, what was the most common number of siblings, who had more TVs than people, and other questions.

Game: The game we played today was a Right/Left game. The girls put their chairs in a circle, and I read a short story. Each time they heard the word "right" or "left," they had to move that direction in their chairs. Then, since we had some extra time, we played The Wind Blows (the girls asked to play it!).

Closing: For our Closing, we sang "Good Night, Daisies" and did the Friendship Squeeze. We also did Fists of Five--everyone really liked all the things we did today! Win!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meeting 5: October

It's time for our Investiture and Rededication Ceremony! We started our ceremony with light refreshments--the girls had voted on having cupcakes, so the two parents who signed up for snack brought cupcakes (red velvent, chocolate, and vanilla--yum!). They also brought cider and lemonade. I made some flavored popcorn to balance out the sweetness factor.

While everyone was eating, I had the girls vote on what song they wanted to sing. They chose "Make New Friends." Our ceremony was pretty short. I said a few words about Girl Scouting. We said our Promise and Law, and sang the song. Then I called each girl over to receive her Daisy pin (for the new girls) and a welcome certificate. The girls who came to apple-picking also got a fun patch

I'd love to make our next ceremony a little longer and a little more interesting. Any suggestions about how to add more oomph to our ceremonies? Leave a message in the comments section!

October Event: Apple-Picking

For our October event, we went apple-picking with our sister Brownie troop! The leader of the Brownie troop planned the event, but she ended up spraining her ankle the day before, so I had to step in last-minute and improvise. We had nine girls and seven parents come along. When we got to the orchard, I divided the girls into three groups and bought them each a peck bag. The plan was to meet up in 45 minutes; one group was done in 10! In future, I think I'd talk with the girls about how to pick good apples (e.g., without worm holes, bright colors, etc.) to better fulfill the "discover" and "learn by doing" parts of the GSLE. I think it would also be a good idea to talk about what we could make with the apples, and which apple varieties would be the best for that recipe.

After picking apples, the girls looked at the animals in the petting zoo while I bought cider donuts, apple cider, and waters (the place was packed!). We ate our foods, and then went on a hayrack ride around the property. So fun! All in all, the field trip took about five hours, including driving back and forth.

Have you ever been apple-picking with your troop? What would you recommend to make it fun and interesting?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Meeting 4: October

Pre-Meeting: I made an indoor obstacle course out of some everyday items I had at home. First, the girls crawled under two chairs set together. Then, they walked a "balance beam" made out of a strip of painters' tape. Next, they had to toss a bouncy ball into a box. After that, they did 10 jumping jacks, then jumped over two rulers laid on the ground. Next, I had two hand weights set up about three feet apart; the girls had to carry one weight over to where the other was, then carry the second weight back to where the first had been. Then, they had to jump back and forth over a line of tape. Finally, they had to stand on one foot for 10 seconds. The obstacle course was pretty popular! I think I will have them create their own obstacle course in the coming meetings ...

Opening: As usual, we said the Promise, the Law, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Song: I had two songs for the kaper girl to choose from; she chose the (adorable!) "I'm a Little Daisy" (to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot"):
I'm a little Daisy (hands together at side of face, head tilted)
Dressed in blue (pick up hem of uniform)
I am a Girl Scout (make Girl Scout sign)
And you are too (point to neighbor)
When I go to meetings (hands out, palms up)
I sing and shout, (hands cupped around mouth)
I love being a (hands on heart)
Daisy Girl Scout! (clap once on each word)

Circle: We talked about how they felt when the completed the obstacle course (mostly "good" and "happy"!). We also talked about what we should do at the Investiture Ceremony next time. The girls voted to have cupcakes for the food, and to hang up the troop mural we made last time on the front door so parents could see it when they came in. I also taught them the Girl Scout handshake. Finally, I checked in with them about how the Fall Sale was going.

Energizer: Since we had a couple new girls joining us, and a new assistant troop leader, we played the Name Train game. I started as the engine, with the girls spread around the room as "stations." When I got to a station, I said "Hi, I'm Jacy" and the girl said "I'm [name]!" I then said "It's [name]!" to the person behind me, who passed it to the "car" behind them, until it got all the way to the person in the back, who said "Hop on, [name]!" That girl then became the caboose of the train until we got to the next station.


Activity: The girls made invitations for their ceremony next time.

Game: As a fun way to reinforce the Girl Scout handshake, we played the handshake game (the "It" Girl helped me demonstrate). Each time I called out a new handshake, they had to find a new buddy to shake hands with. Besides the Girl Scout handshake, we used:
Farmers' handshake: One person interlaced their fingers, pointing the thumbs down. The other person pulled on the thumbs like they were milking a cow.
Ankle shaker: One person held out her leg; the other person shook it.
Lumberjack handshake: The girls made fists, sticking their thumbs up and grabbing the thumb sticking out (so there were four fists on top of each other). Then, they sawed back and forth like they were cutting down a tree.
Walleye handshake: The girls put their hands on the inside of their partner's forearm, then slapped their hands back and forth like a fish.
Cowgirl handshake: The partners made pretend shooting gestures with both hands.
Milkshake handshake: Groups of three piled up their fists and moved their hands around in a circle, like they were swirling the milk.

Closing: We did fists of five again; most girls had a good time, but I can tell I need to find something besides arts and crafts to keep them interested for the rest of the year! We also did the Friendship Squeeze. Great meeting!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Meeting 3: September

Pre-Meeting: For the pre-meeting, I had a little packet of activities for the girls to do. They all related to the Fall Sale--a nut search, a maze, and some magazine-related activities.

Opening: We said the pledge, the promise, and the law. The girls were really excited to look at the kaper chart to see what their jobs were!

Song: I gave the kaper girl 2 choices: the Daisy Gathering Song and Have You Ever Seen a Daisy. She chose the first one.

Circle: For the first part of our circle, we played a guessing game with the collages the girls had made last time. I showed them the collage, and they had to guess who it belonged to. I had asked the parents of the girls who weren't there last time to have their daughters make a collage so that nobody felt left out. They guessed them pretty quickly. Then we played an Energizer called Boom!--We went around the circle counting up, and each time a girl was supposed to say a number with a 3 in it, she shouted Boom! instead. The second part of the circle we used to talk about the Fall Sale. I tried to keep it pretty simple. I showed the girls the incentives they could earn and asked them which candy/chocolate/nuts they'd like to try. Then we made goals. Our troop goal was to sell 200 items.


Activity: For our activity, we made a tree mural. Everyone participated in drawing the tree trunk, the leaves, and the roots. In the roots, we wrote down things we like to do. We also decorated foam hands to glue to the tree (though some girls wanted to take theirs home instead!). We'll use the tree for decoration during our Investiture Ceremony.

Game: We played The Wind Blows. The girls seemed to have fun, and nobody got too excited or got hurt, so I'm counting this as a win!

Closing: For the Closing, we sang Make New Friends, then did Fists of Five: I asked a question, and the girls rated their answers from 1 to 5. Right now, it looks like I have one girl who doesn't really like arts and crafts, and one girl didn't like the game we played today. And nobody really liked the song today. But overall, everyone seemed to have fun! We did the Friendship Squeeze--one of our kapers is to start that--and that was it!

P.S. The girls' parents are amazing this year. While I try to have the girls clean up after themselves--and there's 2 spots on the kaper chart for clean-up--they of course don't get everything all put away. But the parents have been so helpful at finishing up the cleaning, which saves me soooo much time. So thank you, parents! I really appreciate it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meeting 2: September

Pre-Meeting: I had the "What's in the Bag?" game set up. Girls had to reach inside paper bags to feel the items inside--but they couldn't look! They drew or described what they thought was inside. The bags had a mitten, a spoon, a small cat-shaped ring holder, puzzle pieces, and an umbrella.

Opening: We said the Pledge of Allegiance, the Girl Scout Promise, and I taught the girls the Girl Scout Law.

Song: The kaper girl chose to sing "Make New Friends."

Energizer: We did a quick energizer called "Dum Dum Dah Dah."

Circle: Several new girls joined at this meeting, so we played Lucy Lemon. (My name is Jacy, and I'm bringing Jambalaya to the picnic). I introduced the kaper charts to the girls--the first jobs had already been taken care of. They were really excited about the chart! Then, I revealed what had been in the bags! We went around the circle for each bag, having the girls  guess what was inside. I was surprised at how easily they guessed all the items--next time, I'll have to choose some more difficult things to guess!


Activity: The girls made "All About Me" collages, putting their names on the back. We'll use these at the next meeting!

Game: I had planned to play "The Wind Blows," but we ran out of time! Next meeting we'll work it in, though, since the girls seemed excited about it.

Closing: We gave the Friendship Squeeze.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September Event: Teddy Bear Tea Party

As a way to recruit new Scouts and kick off the new year of Scouting, we held a Teddy Bear Tea Party in conjunction with a Brownie troop. The event was based off a GSCNC program, but you can find more ideas here. Our event was 2 hours long, but I'd recommend keeping it shorter, about an hour and a half.

Pre-Meeting: As the girls came in, they sat at the table and colored a picture of their teddy bear (or other stuffed pal) while I checked them in, had parents sign permission slips, etc.

Opening: We said the Girl Scout Promise as a group, teaching the girls who didn't already know it.

Circle: We sat in the Friendship Circle, then went around and introduced ourselves, plus our bears, telling everyone something we liked to do and something the bears liked to do. A lot of girls said their bears liked to sleep! One girl said she and her bear friend liked to snuggle--adorbs!

Song: The girls voted between the Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear song and The Bear Song. After we sang their choice (Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear), the girls sat down for storytime. I read Three Stories You Can Read to Your Teddy Bear, which is a really sweet story about a bear who figures out how to walk when his friend isn't around--though he falls on his nose quite a bit!

Snack: It's tea time! We had lemonade and apple juice to drink, Teddy Grahams, grapes, and chocolate-covered strawberries. I also made cucumber sandwiches and PB&J sandwiches as an alternative (I cut them all into triangles, like tea sandwiches. Surprisingly, I had a few girls who didn't like PB&J or the cucumber sandwiches. Luckily, we had enough other food that they didn't feel left out, but it might be worth sending a menu to parents to avoid any potential problems. (Note: When parents RSVP'd, I asked them to note any potential food allergies. Nobody in my group did, but make sure the menu is safe for everyone to eat!)

Game: Since "Tiger, Cowgirl, Princess" had been such a hit at my last meeting, and because we had quite a bit of extra time, I decided to have the girls play again at the tea party. The girls who didn't know how to play were able to catch on right away, and they seemed to enjoy it as much as everyone else! Then we played Mrs. Bear, Are You Awake? which got a bit too loud, considering we were meeting in the library's meeting room.

Closing: For closing, we did the Friendship Squeeze.

We had some extra time still left over, so thankfully one of the mothers stepped in and taught the girls how to play Human Knot. Yay, moms!

What other ideas would have been fun for a Teddy Bear Tea Party? Did you have a recruiting event? Leave a message in the comments section!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Meeting 1: September

Pre-Meeting: As girls arrived, they made nametags out of construction paper (folded lengthwise). They wrote their names and drew something they like to do.

Opening: I led the girls in the Girl Scout Promise. Some girls were in the troop last year, so they already knew the promise. For the benefit of newer girls, I spoke each line and had them all repeat it after me. Then, we said it all together. (planned time: 5 minutes / actual: 5 minutes)

Song: Instead of a song this meeting, we played a Name Game. The girls stood in a circle. One person said her name and did the action of something she liked to do. It helped to have them draw it on their nametag when they came in so that they had an idea to share! Then, the rest of the girls mimicked the action while saying the girl's name three times. (planned: 10 minutes / actual: 5 minutes)

Circle: I quickly explained the Friendship Circle, and briefly explained our general schedule for meetings. Then, we talked about the meaning of a promise in general, and what that means about the Girl Scout Promise. We created a Troop Agreement of rules to follow while in meetings. (planned: 15 minutes / actual: 10 minutes)

Snack: For the first meeting, I brought trail mix and juice for snack. In future, parents will bring snack. The girls got a chance to socialize with each other, which was great for the newer scouts. All the girls helped to clean up afterward. (planned: 15 minutes / actual: 15 minutes )

Activity: I read the girls a short version of the Juliette Low story. There were several phrases that the girls had to do an action during the story. They loved singing "London Bridge is falling down" and bowing and saying "How do you do" when I said "Lord Baden-Powell." (planned: 15 minutes / actual: 10 minutes)

Game: We played Daisy to Daisy (from the Leaders' Guide). There were 6 girls, so it worked out that everyone had a partner each time they switched. Then, we played Tiger/Princess/Cowgirl. The girls loved making the noises and actions for this game! (planned: 15 minutes / actual: 15 minutes). 
 In pairs, the girls stand back to back. On the count of three, they turn around and strike a pose (and make sounds) to be either a tiger, a cowgirl, or a princess. The object of the game is to try and match your partner--though really, it's just fun to pretend!

Closing: I introduced the Friendship Squeeze, then taught the girls the "Good Night, Daisies" song. (planned: 10 minutes / actual: 10 minutes)

"Good Night, Daisies"
Good Night, Daisies,
Good Night, Daisies,
Good Night, Daisies,
We’re sad to see you go.

Since we had some time left, I taught the girls the Button Factory song.
Button Factory
Hello. My name is Jo. And I work in a button factory.
One day, my boss came in and said, "Jo, are you busy?"
I said "no."
Push the button with your right hand.
{Each verse adds an action--right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg, head, tongue. On the final verse, end with '"Jo, are you busy?" I said "yes!"'

What did you do for your first meeting? Leave a message below!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Girl Scout Kaper Chart

It's a great idea to have a kaper chart to give the girls responsibilities at meetings. Last year, my troop use "Be" and "Been" bags: Each girl  decorated a foam hand that was put into the "Be" bag. Whenever we needed someone to be a helper, we pulled a name from the "Be" bag and put it into the "Been" bag. Once all the names were in the "Been" bag, we started all over.

This year, I wanted to use a kaper chart to take less meeting time away from pulling names. My basic materials are in the top picture: a magnetic dry-erase board with a corkboard border ($7 at Target), a $1 roll of wrapping paper, double-stick tape, and push pins.

I started by cutting the wrapping paper to the shape of the dry erase board, then used the double-stick tape to stick it on. I cut some plain scrapbooking paper I had up into rectangles, then taped printed paper on top of that. Each rectangle has one job: Flagholder, Promise Leader, Song, Snack, Clean-Up, It-Girl (to start off games and such), Buddy (bathroom buddy), and Closing (to start the friendship squeeze).  Since Daisy Scouts vary in their reading skills, I wanted to have visual cues for each job. I have a friend with a Cricut who let me use it to cut out the graphics.

Then, I used the Cricut to cut 2 different sizes of circles (printed paper and plain paper). I taped the smaller, plain paper on top of the larger circle. These will hold the girls' names, and I will use the push pins to move them around the corkboard border. 

I'd love to see what you're doing for kaper charts! Leave a message in the comments section below to share your own.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Plan for Girl Scout Celebrations!

Keep in mind that there are several days throughout the year when you can use a meeting to celebrate a national Girl Scout event.

October 31: Founder's Day/Juliette Low's Birthday. You can have the girls plan a birthday party for Juliette Low. Divide them into small groups beforehand plan what kind of food, decorations, and games they want to have at a party for Juliette Low. Ask the girls if they have any ideas about how to celebrate! They might want to have a tea party (to honor Low's love of tea) or make collages showing what they love best about being in Girl Scouts. Or, you can fulfill the Girl Scout Law's decree to make the world a better place by creating a birthday-in-a-box along with their own celebration to help someone in need in the area.

February 22: World Thinking Day. World Thinking Day is a time to appreciate Girl Scouts and Guides around the world. Maybe you'll have a guest speaker from another country come in to teach the girls something about his or her culture. Or, you might want to raise money for the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund. Each year, a different theme is chosen (2012 is "girls worldwide say 'we can save our planet'"), so think about asking girls what kinds of projects they can do within that theme. Or, see what your local council is doing and how you can participate.

March 12: Girl Scout Birthday. Many of the activities appropriate for Juliette Low's birthday would also work here. Maybe the girls had a great idea that you weren't able to put into place in time for Founder's Day, so now's the time to use it! The girls will love that you're listening to them and feel empowered to make more troop decisions in the future.

What Girl Scout celebrations have you done in the past? What kind of activities made your meeting or field trip a success? Leave a message in the comments section below!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Games and Closing

The final two parts of the meeting are the Game and Closing sections.

Game: The games section gives girls a chance to be active for a time during the meeting, plus they're interacting with each other in a positive way. If you can, this is a great way to reinforce what you've learned during the meeting. If you learned the Girl Scout Handshake, for example, you can incorporate that into the Handshake Game.
Make it GSLE: Try using cooperative or noncompetitive games instead of traditional games with winners and losers. Not only will you have fewer tears to dry, you'll be promoting girls working together to solve problems.

Closing: The Closing signals the end of the meeting. The most popular closing ceremony is the Friendship Squeeze (but watch out for girls starting to "squeeze" each other too hard!), though you can make this part of the meeting fit your group however you like. It's also a great idea to praise the girls for doing something well to encourage them.
Make it GSLE: Try asking the girls for feedback at the end of each meeting. Questions like "did you have fun?" "did you learn anything?" "should we do this type of thing again?" and "what was your favorite part of the meeting?" ensure that the girls' voices are being heard, allowing them to direct the troop activities. A simple way to ask for feedback is to use the Fists of Five: After you ask a question, each girl shows on her hand how much she agrees. For example, if you ask, "Did you have fun today?" and most girls put up one finger, you might want to adjust the type of activities you're planning. If most girls put up four or five fingers, though, it's been a successful meeting!

Bonus Section! Energizers: Energizers are something I plan to incorporate into most meetings this year. After all, girls ages 5 to 6 have a lot of energy and short attention spans. Try having a few energizers that require no equipment ready to break out whenever you see the girls getting restless. These should be quick activities (no more than 5 minutes) that get the wiggles out and refocus their attention on the task at hand.

What type of Closing ceremony do you use? Do you have any great Energizers that work wonders? Leave a message in the comments section below!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Circle, Snack, and Activity

The next three parts of the meeting are the Friendship Circle, Snack, and Activity.

Friendship Circle: The Friendship Circle is the time to have the girls share experiences and decide on business. It should be pretty simple to make this a GSLE experience, as the girls will be leading the discussion and learning together. Tune in in the coming weeks for examples of things to do during the circle time.

Snack: Snack time is a great time for girls to connect to one another. We asked parents to sign up at the beginning of the year to bring snack to meetings throughout the year.
Make it GSLE: Be sure to have the girls work together to pass out and clean up the snacks and drinks. You might even make this part of your kapers so that they share the responsibilities from meeting to meeting.

Activity: Use your activity time to work toward badges or other active interests. While the Friendship Circle should be a time for calm talking, the activity time can (and should!) be an opportunity to get the girls up and moving around--the Learning by Doing of the GSLE processes.
Make it GSLE: Let the girls' interests guide you in your decisions for what to do during the activity. Perhaps they can vote on which petal to earn or choose between a variety of activities to try.

Next week, I'll talk about the Game and Closing portions of the meetings. (Plus, I'll have a special bonus section!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pre-Meeting, Opening, and Song

The first three sections of a meeting are designed to bring the girls together and focus their energy on the meeting. The girls in my troop had a lot of energy, so it was really important to get them together to focus that on Scouts, rather than running around and playing games (which isn't, in and of itself, a bad thing, but you want them to get more from Scouting that just Fishy, Fishy, Cross My Ocean!). I'll go over these parts of the meetings, with some tactics and ideas for making them meet the GSLE.

Pre-Meeting: Last year, I planned most meetings with a Pre-Meeting activity of coloring pages. You can find all sorts of free options on the web, like at Making Friends, or this really cool Girl Scout Law coloring book. However, since the girls usually came in wanting to play games and run around the building, this didn't work as well as I had hoped. It was usually tough to corral them into sitting down at the table. This year, I plan to have more active ideas, such as an alphabet hike or playing the What's in the Bag? game, to help expend some of their energy before the meeting begins and to keep them all in one area.
Make it GSLE: For the first few meetings, you may want to plan these activities yourself. Make them cooperative games (like lining up by height without talking), or use activities that promote learning by doing (like the What's in the Bag? game). After the first few meetings, consider asking the girls what they would like to do, and try incorporating some of these ideas into your Pre-Meeting Activity.

Opening: Our opening ceremony was generally quite short. We said the Pledge of Allegiance, the Promise, and the Law. You may want to add in your own rituals to suit your troop.
Make it GSLE: To make this ceremony girl led, try using your kaper chart to have one (or more) girl(s) lead the pledge, promise and law. One girl could also hold the flag at each meeting. By changing the responsibility from girl to girl each meeting, their confidence in leading will grow!

Song: After the opening ceremony, it can be a good idea to have a song planned, especially one with lots of actions! This way, the girls will get some of their energy out before sitting down for the friendship circle. Have fun with the songs you choose! There are many great Girl Scout-specific songs, as well as fun camp songs you might remember from childhood. Teaching songs to Daisys is easiest if you sing one line at a time, and have them sing it back to you. At the end of each verse, have them try to sing the entire verse. Don't be afraid if you don't have a great singing voice--I'll be the first to admit that I'm not usually on key, but as long as you're enthusiastic, the girls will respond positively!
Make it GSLE: Try offering the girls the chance to vote on 2 songs that you've chosen. Or, have Song Choice be a kaper, so that each meeting offers a different girl the chance to pick a song. Daisys may find it a bit overwhelming to choose a song without having any choices, or choosing from more than 2 or 3 options. If your girls seem brave and like to share, you might even consider having them teach a song at each meeting.

Next week, I'll be talking about the Friendship Circle, Snack, and the Activity portions of the meeting.

How do you gather your Scouts for meetings? Leave a message below!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Assignment: Plan Your First Meetings!

It's time to start planning your first few Daisy meetings. While it's easy to get overzealous and want to plan the entire year out, resist! You'll want to leave room for the girls to add their own ideas about what they want to do in Girl Scouts, and it's much easier to do this if you haven't already decided what all the activities are.

I've found that Daisy Scouts need quite a bit of structure and adult guidance in their meetings. By breaking each meeting down into several sections, you'll be able to keep up with their short attention spans--and make planning easier! The sections I plan on using this year are

Pre-Meeting 5 to 15 minutes
Opening 5-10 minutes
Song 5 minutes
Friendship Circle 15 to 20 minutes
Snack 15 to 20 minutes
Activity 20 to 30 minutes
Game 10 to 15 minutes
Closing 5 to 10 minutes

Our group meets every other week for 90 minutes; you can adjust the time spent on each section to fit your needs. I've planned out our first five meetings, which include an Investiture and Rededication Ceremony.

Next week, I'll talk about the Pre-Meeting, Opening, and Song parts of the meetings, with some ideas for making them interesting and exciting for the girls.

How do you organize your Scout meetings? Have you begun planning for the fall yet? What do you have planned? Leave a message in the comments section!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Get Ready For Summer!

With the Girl Scout year now over, it's time for Volunteers to kick back and relax ... right?

Well, sort of. I'd recommend taking the month of June to organize your materials, as does Girl Scout Leader-Creating One Meeting at a Time! By taking a few minutes to do this now, you'll be able to see what supplies you have left over from last year, and what you'll need to purchase to start the new year off.

I used the cheapest system available, shoeboxes. While you may opt to buy more attractive organizers, shoeboxes are easy to label and stack. Below, I've listed the organizational categories I created. What categories would you use? Leave a comment below!

Beads and String
Scissors and Glue
Tissue Paper
Construction Paper
Paint and Paintbrushes
Crayons and Markers
Miscellaneous Craft Supplies
Plates and Cups

Tune in next week, when I'll make recommendations for planning the first few meetings!

Our Final Ceremony

We held our final ceremony in our meeting place on Thursday. We asked parents to each bring a dish to share for a potluck dinner, and they really responded generously! I made no-fire s'mores, which went over well. Well, except for the running-around-with-sticks part. I'd definitely make them again, but would lose the skewers.

After the dinner, we held our ceremony. The Brownies performed their safety play for the Puppets, Dolls, and Plays try-it. In addition to that, they received their Cookies Count and Sports and Games try-its. The Daisy scouts received all of the petals this year--which puts us in a bind for next year. I'm planning on trying out the Journeys program, so tune back in for helpful hints as we go through that process.

No-Fire Smores
Semi-sweet or dark chocolate
Graham crackers

Crush graham crackers into crumbs. Spear marshmallows with skewers nearly all the way through. Melt chocolate in a small bowl. Dip marshmallows into chocolate and swirl, covering the sides and top of each marshmallow. Roll marshmallow in graham cracker crumbs. Set aside to dry.