Monday, January 27, 2014

What to Do With Tagalongs at Meetings?


One of the mistakes a new Daisy Girl Scout leader makes is not establishing a tagalong policy right from the start.  

What is a tagalong?

This is a sibling of a Girl Scout.  

There are two kinds of tagalong situations-one is the leader's child and the other is the sibling of a girl in your troop.  As a leader, I have had to bring my son to meetings because I have had no child care. He has plenty to do and while we both would rather not have him there, it is what it is.  He enjoys unlimited iPad time when he is with us.

Parents bring them to meetings because they cannot or will not find alternative child care.  While some parents have control over their children, others do not.  And it is the latter that will make your meeting a challenge because of the distractions and interruptions these children will provide.

How can you handle the tagalong situation?


Photo from morguefile.com

First of all, if you do not have a policy on this, now is the time to make one. You are a Girl Scout leader, not a babysitter.  Your job is to conduct the meeting, not run a circus.  Parents should read and sign the paper so you know that the message has been received.

I know, you do not want to risk confrontation or have “that mother” bother you.  But you have to, this is a VOLUNTEER position, remember? You are doing this for not only your daughter, but hers.  It is not your job to plan something for the troop to do and something for her other children to do.  


Leaders came up with a bunch of different solutions at the Girl Scot Moms forum.  

You can read their advice right here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting Along With Your Co-Leader

Becoming a Daisy leader is a lot more fun when you sign up with a friend or two to help you along the way. You all have the same goal in mind-giving your daughters the best Girl Scout experience you can.

However, as time passes, your relationship can suffer.  Leadership relationship issues is one of the biggest topics in the Girl Scout forums that I frequent.  While some of the issues cannot be avoided, there are those that can be.

First of all, I strongly urge you to get more than one co-leader.  Do you know the expression “many hands make light work”?

As the leader, you are responsible for the day to day operations of each meeting, but you also need to delegate the things that need to get done. Communication is key, and how you begin your first few meetings will cement how everything goes in the future.  If you want to be in charge of everything, your co-leader will either let you or be resentful because she wants to lead, too.


tips for getting along with your Girl Scout co-leader
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Over time, as life your life gets busier (and the older your children get, the busier you will become), if you ask her for help, she may balk.  After all, she has not had to help before and now you are asking?  Or she likes her role of “just showing up” for meetings.  She has other things to do and cannot help you out.

By figuring out who plays what role in your leadership duties, you can potentially avoid conflict in the future.

After signing up, you need to figure out:

Who goes to leader meetings?  Will you go together or take turns every other month?

How you are going to run each meeting-taking turns or one person being the planner and the other person supporting her?

Who is in charge of coordinating field trips? (finding them, sending out and collecting permission slips and getting field trip approval)

Will you be selling cookies (I am not a fan of selling cookies during your first year-it is complicated enough figuring out the basics!)

How will you handle discipline problems?

How to get a back up person if one of you cannot attend a meeting (a great reason for additional adults to sign up and help). 

How will you handle snack time or if you will have one?

Who will be the treasurer?

Who will be the certified first aider?

Once these decisions have been made, I strongly urge you to send an email with the details you both agreed upon so you both have a time stamped, dated copy.

Why send an email?

Because I have learned that memory is fleeting.  What she agreed to do in year one may not be remembered in year three.  Having proof of your agreement insures that no is "mis-remembering" the goals you both put together.

There is a lot of business to take care of in addition to each meeting.  If one person has to carry the entire load, eventually, her back will break and there will be tension and animosity towards the leader who does nothing.

Of course, this needs to be an open and continuing dialog.  When you first become a Daisy Girl Scout leader, your life is one way.  Perhaps you are home with the kids or maybe you work part-time hours.  You have help from parents with your other children and your spouse is on board with this new volunteer venture.


Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



But as life progresses, it changes.  Your hours at work increase or maybe you have an aging parent who requires more of you time.  Maybe your spouse has lost his job and you need to return to full time work or at least increase your part time hours.  An older child’s schedule of activities increases and it cuts into the time with your younger child.

That is why before you begin the new scouting year, you need to assess where you are in life, meet with your co-leader, and discuss any necessary changes.  Maybe you need more help, maybe she does.  Does your meeting time need to change?  Do you need to recruit another co-leader or at least additional parent volunteers?

No one knows what the future holds, but one thing is for certain. Keeping the lines of communication open with your co-leader will ensure a much smoother scouting experience not only for your daughters, but for all the girls in your troop.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Daisy Girl Scout Songs

Children naturally enjoy music and learn by listening to it.  If you do not believe me, then ask any adult over the age of 40 to sing the Preamble to the Constitution and they will break out into song!  That is because we listened to Schoolhouse Rock in the 1970's between television programs on ABC.


Daisy Girl Scout songs
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


One way to create music in the life of your troop is to sing.  Do not worry if you cannot carry a tune...kids this age do not care!

Here is a list of resources for Daisy Girl Scout songs.

Daisy Girl Scout Songs


Monday, January 13, 2014

10 Tips for Brand New Daisy Girl Scout Leaders

Did you just sign up to be your daughter's leader?  Congratulations on doing this wonderful thing for her and the other girls who will be in your troop.

You may feel a sense of panic and be overwhelmed at all you have to do. There really is no guidebook for new leaders, and it is truly a luck whether or not you have a helpful Service Unit team or not.

I have been a leader since 2008, and I have earned everything as I went along the way.  It has always been my intention to help others who are traveling on this road together.


10 tips for brand new Daisy Girl Scout leaders
Photo from morguefile.com


You can find some practical advice for starting a troop in this article 10 Tips for Starting a Daisy Girl Scout Troop.


Another useful article is organizing your very first meeting.  Here are some tips on how to do just that.

I wish you the best of luck!  Please ask questions in the comment boxes and I will be happy to assist you!






Friday, January 10, 2014

Free Printable Girl Scout Cookie Thank You Tags

Respecting others is part of the Girl Scout Promise. One way to show respect is to thank people for what they do for you, like buying Girl Scout cookies.

Here is a link for a Girl Scout cookie thank you that your girls can place  on the boxes they sell to friends and family.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to Earn the Yellow Daisy Petal

Earning Daisy petals, in my opinion, is one of the most important parts of your first year as a leader.  How else will anything you do later on make sense?  Until the Girl Scouts of America made Daisies a two year program, this is what the first year of scouting was all about.  

The yellow Daisy petal is one that is easy to do.  Here is an activity that your troop will enjoy.  


how to earn the yellow day petal lesson plan
Photo from morguefile.com

Pre-Meeting Prep Work

1.  Get Volunteers-how many depends on the size of your troop

2.  Buy and prep materials

3.  Do a practice activity before you meet!

Materials

Blue, white and yellow embroidery floss

Scotch tape-2 or 3 rolls

Snack sized baggies


Cut the embroidery floss to the same length, tie them together with a knot, and place inside the baggie.





The Meeting

Reading a picture book is a great way to launch a meeting.  One of my absolute favorite books are the George and Martha books by James Marshall. The stories are short and the illustrations are comical-perfect for the attention span!

Select any one or two of the stories and talk about the friendship between the two characters.  Neither one is perfect, and at the end. They are forgiven for the indiscretion and move forward.



Photo from Amazon

After the story is over, now it is time for the activity.

Have the girls gather around the table and give each one a bag of floss. Helpers will tape them to the table and assist the girls in braiding them. When they are done, they can tie a knot and place it on the girl’s wrist to wear.

Is someone finished early?  She can either be friendly and helpful and assist a sister scout or she can color in a Girl Scout coloring page.

That is just one way to earn the yellow Daisy petal, friendly and helpful!



Monday, January 6, 2014

Games for Daisy Scouts


As an early childhood educator, I can tell you from my twenty-six years of experience that children love to play games.  It is a great learning tool and another way for the girls to bond in their first year as a Girl Scout.

Games are a terrific time filler and are a positive way to end a meeting. When I was a classroom teacher, I always ended the day with a fun game that was also meant to teach. Just as managing my classroom was important so that early finishers could be enriched and not bored, it is equally important to manage your Daisy meetings so that no one gets into trouble because they have nothing to do. Because every girl works at her own pace, and younger girls need extra help with what you have planned, you may find yourself with extra time. Use it to your advantage.

How is a game useful?  If there are pokey girls, they may hurry up so they can play.  They also keep active girls on task.  Your co-leader or you can lead an activity while the others are finishing up. My own troop, who are now Juniors, love to play certain games at the end of a meeting.  As they have gotten older, we have been able to do different kinds of games. They can also lead them now, as they know the rules.

Also, it is in your best interest to overplan your meeting, as having too much to do is better than having ten extra minutes with nothing to do. Games help fill in that gap.


games for Daisy Girl Scouts
Image from morguefile.com


Daisy Girl Scout leaders should have a bunch of games ready to go so that meetings end on a positive note.

If the weather is nice, all kinds of relay races could be played. 

Relay Race Resources

Spoonful has 51 ideas

Mamas Like Me has over 20 ideas

PBS Kids has lots of wonderful activities for younger children

Resources for Daisy Girl Scout Games Indoors

The official Girl Scout website has icebreaker games for you to play

Backup Activities for Daisy Scouts 

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto

Scout Mom an entire section for Daisy Games

Girl Scout of Nassau County

Do you have any Daisy Girl Scout games to share?