Thursday, February 26, 2015

Are You Stressing About Girl Scout Cookie Sales? Don't!

In almost every part of the country, it is Girl Scout cookie selling season. It is a time when cookie sales dominate our time and our meetings. It reminds me of the days when I was a public school teacher and we had to set aside our curriculum to review and study for the standardized tests we had to administer.

Quite honestly, it was boring for me as a teacher, and the kids moaned and groaned whenever we had to stop learning to teach for the test.

You may be feeling cookie stress right now. 

As I have stated before, I do not believe that Daisy Scouts should be selling cookies during their first year together. It is a time to get to know about the world of scouting for them, and for brand new leaders, it is a time to learn how manage a troop effectively, not learn how to manage booth sales and cookie drop offs and pick ups. 

In fact, there is a new thread on the Girl Scout Moms forum about a first year leader feeling overwhelmed. Leading a troop is a big task the first year out...adding cookies and actually being the Cookie Mom is an additional, unneeded stress.

Until recently, Daisy Scouts were not permitted to sell cookies. This rule only changed a few years ago, and the collective memory is fading fast as leaders of older troops age out or leave and new leaders have no idea that Daisy troops selling cookies is a relatively new thing.

My Cadette troop, for which I am now a co-leader, is doing their first cookie sales and they did an amazing job. Our Cookie Mom did not go overboard and cause herself, the leader or myself any additional stress. Limited booth sales and permitting girls to do as much or as little as they want in terms of sales made this a great experience for everyone.


Girl Scout cookie ideas


Here are some tips to keep yourself sane during this very busy time.
(for more tips you can also check out this blog post).

1. Go easy on your girls. You are not supposed to set quotas for the girls, but you can help your troop set realistic goals about the number of boxes they want to sell and what to do with the cookie profits. Remember, little girls really have no concept of money-it is not age appropriate for them to understand. But they can comprehend that selling "X" numbers of boxes as a troop equals a trip to wherever they want to go.

2. Repeat after me...Troop money is troop money. You cannot tell a child she has to pay the full amount for a trip or that you will not pay for her uniform because she did not sell "X" number of cookies. Juliette Gordon Low did not establish the GSA so that girls could be excluded from activities. It is my opinion that far too many leaders get stuck in this mindset and aggravate themselves needlessly.

Kindergarten and first grade girls have no control over what they can and cannot sell. Taking your annoyance out on them is wrong on many levels. Unless you have a spy cam on the wall of her house, you have no idea why her family is not participating in cookie sales. Just accept that this is how it is and move on. 

3. Take a break from cookies. Have a troop meeting just for fun. With Saint Patrick's Day around the corner, why not read a story and do a fun craft? Or earn a petal that you have yet to do and just drop the cookie talk for a week. If you can, why not do some easy no-bake desserts and teach the girls good hygiene and manners?

Another thing to do is talk about the upcoming Girl Scout Week holiday. Can you discuss doing a service project to celebrate this anniversary?

My closing thoughts...

During this hectic selling season, it is easy to lose site of the overall goal of being a Girl Scout. If you remember the vision Juliette had for all girls, you will be able to remember that selling cookies, while part of Girl Scouting, is not the end all and be all of what we do and why we do it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Earn the Green Daisy Petal Use Resources Wisely

Earning the green Daisy Scout petal, use resources wisely-is perfect for not only saving the Earth, but for saving your troop’s treasury money. By recycling common household products, you are teaching the girls a valuable lesson on how to make something from nothing.
There are several crafts that you can do to earn the green Daisy girl scout petal. All of them cost very little to make. The only thing you will have to do is contact the parents of the girls in your troop ahead of time so they can help you collect and prepare the items you need.
All of the activities would also be great for celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd.
how to earn the green Daisy petal use resurrect wisely

Plastic Planters
Before the meeting, ask the girls parents to cut a two liter soda bottle or plastic milk or ice tea container in half. Make sure it is washed out and clean. You may also want one or two additional volunteers.
Materials

Potting soil (a five pound bag should be enough)
One package of daisy seeds
Small gardening shovel
Water
Pencils
Water can or cup for watering
Sharpie marker
stickers to decorate
You will also need the book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney.
Miss Rumphius from Amazon
Read the book before the planting activity and discuss how Miss Rumphius made the world a better place.
For early finishers, be sure to have some coloring pages or some puzzle pages handy.

At the next few meetings, ask the girls about their plant’s progress!
Piggy Bank Cans
Teaching the girls to save their money to invest, to save for a big purchase, or to give to others is important. You can earn the green Daisy petal and help others by making this Pringles can craft. This will require and additional volunteer or two.
Before the meeting, email the parents and ask them to save an empty Pringles can for their daughter. Tell them to clean it out by using a lightly soaped paper towel. Let it air dry. Also ask them to cut a small rectangle out of the lid so the money has a slot to go through.
Materials
A light colored construction paper fitted to the Pringles can
Tape or glue
Markers
Stickers-money ones would be great!
Money Stickers-80 per pack-from Amazon

Talk to the girls about saving money and why it is important. Tell them they are going to make their own piggy banks using an empty Pringles can. The girls will decorate the construction paper with markers, and with help tape the paper to the Pringles can. Add stickers after taping is done.
You might want to get a few rolls of pennies so each girl has some money in her “bank” when she goes home.
Personal Recycling Bins
To earn the green Daisy petal with this craft, you will need one empty carton for each girl. You can save empty Girl Scout cookie cartons, one for each girl.
Materials
Contact paper (choose a light pastel color)
Sharpie markers
Before the meeting, you will need to cut the contact paper to size for each side and for each girl (four pieces for each). It is also a good idea to ask for additional volunteers for this craft.
At the meeting, ask the girls about where paper comes from. Talk about recycling and why we need to save paper and the trees. Let them know that they will all be making their own recycle boxes for paper. This is for their rooms, basement, or play room.
Great book for launching the meeting! Available on Amazon.

With the help of the volunteers, have the girl remove the contact paper and place on the carton. Let the girls decorate the boxes with the Sharpie markers, making sure their names appear on it. Or they can write the saying “______’s Paper Recycling Bin”
Using these three activities to earn the green Daisy petal, use resources wisely, are a lot of fun and permit the girls to use their imaginations.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Daisy Cake Pan for a Party!

Are you going ot be celebrating World Thinking Day 2015? How about the end of cookie sales and the girls meeting their goals? Are you planning an end of year party because you are not bridging?


If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then I have found an adorable cake pan for you!

   

Imagine serving a celebratory cake in the shape of a Daisy! This is a 12 inch by 12 inch pan and is non-stick and easy to clean up.  If you want, bake two cakes and have the girls take turns decorating a petal in one of the Girl Scout Promise colors (you can make this up ahead of time or do it at the meeting). 

Then take a picture of the girls with their creation and then serve on Daisy themed plates!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saint Patrick's Day Craft Kits and All Other items Have Free Shipping Until February 19th at Oriental Trading!

Attention Daisy leaders on a budget! Until 11:59 PM on February 19th, Oriental Trading is have FREE SHIPPING ON ANY ORDER!


Girl Scout Saint Patrick's Day ideas


If you are short on money because you are a new troop, saving money in any way you can is important. Why pay five dollars to ship an item that costs only six or seven dollars?

Now you can stock up or just buy one craft kit for your troop's needs.

The code is FSANYFEB15.

Click here for fun Saint Patrick's Day craft kits!

Click here if you want some colorful spring craft kits!

Click here for beautiful Mother's Day craft kits!

Click here for some awesome Father's Day craft kits!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Another Activity to Earn the Orange Daisy Petal Responsible for What I Say and Do

Being responsible is a part of growing up. We are not doing our children a favor by doing everything for them. When I taught public school, year after year I was constantly amazed at how many children were not responsible for any chores around the house, not even making their own beds. While in my classroom, they enjoyed organizing, prepping and cleaning up. They thought it was fun!
Taking care of pets, setting the table for dinner, and making her own bed are chores that kindergarten and first grade Daisy Girl Scouts can easily do. Children love to be helpful, as it makes them feel more grown up. It also gives them a feeling of pride and accomplishment to say, "I did it myself!". Here is a lesson plan for helping your girls earn the orange Daisy petal "Responsible for What I Say and Do".

Get Volunteers!

Because you will be using permanent marker, you will need some help when the girls are using them for this activity. Find an adult volunteer or two or ask an older Girl Scout troop to assist you.

Materials You Will Need to Earn the Orange Daisy Petal

how to earn the orange Daisy petal with a chore chart
Photo from pixabay.com


Sharpie markers
Large craft sticks
Washi tape
Empty baby food jar for each girl
Extra volunteers
*If you think the girls will be too messy with permanent markers, have them bring smocks to the meeting. Bring extras for those who forget.
Optional: Book about being responsible, ribbon to tie around the jar if you feel like glamming it up a bit
Helpful Hint-Always do the craft ahead of time at home to iron any potential glitches that may occur that you did not think would happen.
 

The Lesson Plan

After you have recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the Girl Scout Law and the Girl Scout Promise, it is time to begin your meeting. You can ask the girls what the word responsible means. If you have access to a white board, you can use tally marks or numbers to keep track of the responses to the following questions.
Ask the girls if they have any pets and what chores they are responsible for their pets' care (walking the dog, putting out water for the cat, feeding the fish).
Then ask if they have to make their bed, set the table or clear the table.
Ask what else they are required to do at home.
Once you have all of the responses, talk about personal responsibility. Things like taking a bath or shower, brushing your teeth and hair, and eating right are all part of respecting ourselves and being responsible.
At this point, you can choose to read a book about responsibility or go right to the activity this mommy blogger came up with using washi tape and craft sticks.
Make sure that each girl has chores that she is actually responsible for and at least five to seven of them.

PS-You might enjoy doing this activity with your troop to earn the Orange Daisy petal!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Girl Scout Meeting Ideas for Daisies September to December

Daisy Girl Scout leaders certainly have their hands full if they are starting a new troop.  Here is a meeting outline for the first half of the year.  Remember to be flexible and have fun!


Congratulations on becoming a Daisy Girl Scout leader! You have done what many are unwilling to do...step up to the plate and give a group of young girls an opportunity to be a Girl Scout.. Even if you were a Girl Scout as a child, being a leader is a totally different experience, as well as a big responsibility. Besides being concerned with the pre-troop meeting paperwork, you have to plan what the girls are going to do each and every time you get together.
The following is a guideline for creating your Daisy Girl Scout meetings, based on meeting twice a week from September to December. Feel free to adapt it to your schedule, as you may find some activities are better suited for your troop to do later in the year.


Your first eight Daisy Girl Scout meetings are planned for you with everything you need to have a successful start for your troop.

Photo from Pixabay

First Meeting Prep Work and Supplies

For your craft, you will need to run off this Daisy petal worksheet on cardstock. Have blue tissue paper cut into squares for the promise center and bowls to place them in.  The girls will use crayons to color the petals and crumple and glue the tissue paper to the center.

Your First Daisy Girl Scout Meeting-September

Your first meeting with your Daisy Scouts should involve a "getting to know you" or "ice breaker" activity. It is a good idea to have the parents stay and see how their girls are doing and how a meeting is run. You can also have a short parent meeting while the girls are crafting to discuss the year and to answer any questions.After saying the Pledge of Alligence, the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout law (which the girls will repeat after you), have the girls sit in a circle and introduce yourself and your co-leader.
Pass around an object (a silk flower daisy from the Dollar Store would be a fun idea) and have the girls tell their names, their school, and one special thing about them. Girls at this age will want to tell stories...gently remind them to keep it to one thing and then pass the daisy to the next girl.

Next, it is time for the craft. 


First Meeting Prep Work and Supplies


For your craft, you will need to run off this Daisy petal worksheet on cardstock. Have blue tissue paper cut into squares for the promise center and bowls to place them in. The girls will use crayons to color the petals and crumple and glue the tissue paper to the center.

Make sure you only have crayons that represent the Daisy petals for the girls to use so no mistakes are made. The order they color them in does not matter. Have the girls color first, then glue the blue center so you avoid gluey arms. Take a picture of each girl with her Daisy as a keepsake of her first Daisy meeting.Close with the Girl Scout friendship squeeze and song and take a deep breath! You did it!

The Girl Scout Friendship Song

This is how you end your meetings. The girls stand together in a circle with hands crossed. The leader gives the girl on her right a gentle squeeze. It is passed around the circle and when it comes back to her, you sing this song.These girls sing it beautifully, and even add the final two lines!





Your Second Daisy Girl Scout Meeting-Earn the Blue Promise Center


Daisy Girl Scout meeting ideas September to December blue promise center
Available on Amazon

Before you can earn any of the Daisy Girl Scout petals, you will need to earn the blue promise center first . After all, the petals are centered on the Girl Scout Promise, and they need to be ironed around something.

There are many children's bookslike Robert Munsch's pictured here, that can help you teach this concept.After reading the story, you can make promise chart. At DKTK's website, you can make a customized chore chart for your meeting.. Ask the girls what they can promise to do at home to help out. Tell them that they have to return the chart to the next meeting and see if they kept their promises.

The Daisy Girl Scout Song

At each meeting, make a song part of your agenda. Here is an adorable song sung to the tune "I'm a Little Tea Pot".





Start Your Scrapbook!

When my troop were Daisies, my co-leader started taking pictures at each meeting.  This morphed into our perpetual Girl Scout scrapbook. Now we are Juniors, and the girls love to look back at their Daisy and Brownie years!




Girl Scout scrapbook
My daughter's scrapbook has years of memories in it. Now she is a Cadette and it is
fun to look back and see how all the girls have grown up!

Your Third Daisy Girl Scout Meeting-Earn the Violet Daisy Petal

Fostering friendship among your girls is essential to having a successful troop. As the leader, you are volunteering a lot of personal time, and you want the meetings to be something that both the girls and you look forward to attending. Nipping girl drama and cliques from the beginning and being firm about how the girls treat each other will lead to less drama and more harmonious meetings.Earning the violet daisy petal, be a sister to every Girl Scout, fosters this concept. An activity I created and did with my Daisy Girl Scout troop was to make a "Daisy chain of friendship".
The only materials you need are markers, strips of copy paper, and one stapler per volunteer. It is a very easy and budget friendly petal for your troop to earn.

Handy Links for Leaders


Add a Girl Scout SWAP to Your Meeting!

Girl Scout Swaps are tiny crafts that Girl Scouts exchange with one another. For Daisies, they should be simple and easy to assemble. There are many Girl Scout SWAP kits that you can buy for very little money.
Daisy Scouts cannot have a very complicated craft. If the degree of difficulty is too great, it will frustrate the girls as they try to make it. No need for tears while you are doing a fun Girl Scout tradition!

Your Fourth Daisy Girl Scout Meeting

Celebrate Girl Scout Founder's Day!


Juliette Gordon Low by Edward Hughes - DSC03150

Juliette Gordon Low
By Edward Hughes (1832-1908), painter. (Daderot (I took this photograph)) [Public domain], 
via Wikimedia Commons
On October 31, 1860, Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, was born. Scouts of all levels celebrate her birthday at a meeting during the month of October. "Daisy", her nickname, came from a world of wealth, so she could do anything she wanted. When she began the Girl Scouts, she included everyone, no matter their financial status, color, or religion. In fact, three of the original Girl Scout leaders were Jewish, and this was in the South in the 1912.

In my article Girl Scout Founder's Day-Activities for All Levels of Scouts, I wrote detailed plans on how Daisy Girl Scouts can celebrate.You can also double up and earn the orange Daisy petal and celebrate Girl Scout Founder's Day. You can accomplish two things in one meeting!


Celebrate Girl Scout Founder's Day by making pots and planting Daisy seeds. This set comes with 12 pots to decorate.




This is a simple craft. Buy blue and white paint and a few black Sharpie pens. Girls can write their name in Sharpie on the rim and then paint a picture. While waiting their turn, girls can work on a coloring sheet or another small birthday project you have planned for them, like decorating cupcakes you made for this occasion.

Your Fifth and Sixth Daisy Meetings

Go on a Field Trip and Earn the Magenta Daisy Petal


Girl Scout field trips
Photo from pixabay.com


Going on a field trip is fun. To earn the magenta Daisy petal, Respect Authority, visit a firehouse or a police station. These trips are free and a great way for these community helpers to interact with your girls.
Contact your Service Unit to learn how to fill out the forms and get the needed permission to take a trip. You need to give a minimum of two weeks notice, more is even better. For your sixth meeting, the girls can write thank you cards. This can be tied into "giving thanks" and the Thanksgiving holiday which is right around the corner. Read a book about Yhe holiday and do a fun Thanksgiving craft to finish up the meeting.

Field Trip Tips

Plan your field trip at least four weeks in advance. Get your trip approval number and the required number of volunteers to accompany your troop. All paperwork should be handed in to you one week prior to the trip. As I tell my girls, "No slip, no trip!"

Thanksgiving Crafts

Once November comes around, the holiday season is in full swing. Along with your usual festivities, you have added planning Daisy meetings to your personal agenda. You can make meeting planning easier by doing a craft with a ready made craft kit. These can then be donated to a senior center when they are completed.
This is an easy service project and is just one to incorporate any of the Daisy petals that inspire kindness and making the world better.These easy to make Thanksgiving crafts are perfect for Daisy Girl Scouts and easy for you, their leader!

Your Seventh Daisy Girl Scout Meeting-Do a Community Service Project and Earn the Rose Daisy Petal

As you enter the month of December, people tend to be in a jollier mood, as the winter holidays are arriving. Chanukah and Christmas are a time for celebrating, but not everyone is able to due to difficult financial circumstances.


Girl Scout community service ideas
These are the items the girls placed in a decorated gift bag
along with a card they made.  A washcloth, socks, soap
and candy were what we included. Photo by Hannah Gold.
Before your meeting, find a local charity that needs some help and see what your girls can do to help make the world a better place and earn the rose Daisy petal. My troop made gifts and cards and donated snack foods to a group of homeless men who travel to different churches and synagogues in our area until they are back on their feet. It is a wonderful interfaith project that we participate in almost every year.

Girl Scout Law Song

Children can remember a lot from a song. Many adults can sing the Preamble to the Constitution because of School House Rock!



Your Eighth Daisy Girl Scout Meeting

Make Gifts and Have a Party

For your final Daisy meeting before the winter break, the girls will be super excited. To keep with the holiday theme, have them make gifts for someone in their family. Be sensitive to what holidays the girls in your troop celebrate. Making ornaments is not appropriate for those who do not celebrate Christmas.
What can you make?
Any kind of kid friendly craft will work. Some ideas are:

Picture Frame Kits


Girl Scout craft kits
Scratch Off Frame Kit from Amazon



Beading Craft


Girl Scout craft kits
Bead Kit from Amazon





Heart Frame-Add Heart Foam Shapes 250 per package
Girl Scout craft kits
Glitter Heart Frame from Amazon


These eight ideas for Daisy Girl Scout meetings should get your first few months off to a great start.



One Final Tip-Shop the Sales
The week after Christmas is one of the best times to shop for craft materials for your Girl Scout troop. Holiday items are normally 50% off for a few days after Christmas, then right before New year's they go way down to 75%.  Red items can be for Valentine's Day, green for spring projects.  Snowmen and snowflakes can be used for winter crafts.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Girl Scout Swap Kits

Signing on to be a Girl Scout leader is a big responsibility that requires a lot of planning if you are to be successful. Keeping the girls in your troop actively engaged in activities that are fun and educational is not something you can put together overnight. A resourceful leader will lay our her plans yearly, then monthly, and then break them down into each meeting. Long-range planning is essential so you re not scrambling at the last minute for something to do. Girls can sense this, and the activity you didn't plan well may fall down flat on it's face.
On the other hand, you do not want to spend hours and hours planning what your troop is going to do. After all, you are a volunteer!
There are certain Girl Scout traditions that can be incorporated into your yearly planning. One of them is having your troop make Swaps. There are many Girl Scout Swap kits available for leaders to purchase that will fit any theme or badge you are working on.

What is a Girl Scout Swap?

Making Swaps is a crafty Girl Scout tradition. According to the Girl Scouts of America's website, Swaps stands for:
Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere
Sometime in the 1950's, Girl Scouts began trading little crafts they made when they met at large Girl Scout gatherings. These keepsakes were made to promote being a "sister to every Girl Scout" and were meant to tell something about the giver. One of the rules of trading Swaps is that you cannot refuse one that is offered to you.
Some Swaps are meant to be traded, while others are meant to be kept. All Girl Scout Swaps need to have a pin so they can be placed on a hat, jacket, or Girl Scout bag. These items are not to be placed on the Girl Scout uniform.

Girl Scout Swap kits
Swap Top Kit from Amazon

The Benefits of Buying Ready Made Girl Scout Swap Kits

As a leader, you have enough to do with planning meetings and field trips, getting permission forms, emailing parents, ordering patches and badges and making sure your troop meetings run smoothly. There are a lot of big details to take care of! Making Swaps only takes girls a few minutes of time during your meeting. Do you really want to spend another chunk of time surfing the net for some great little craft idea, going to the store to buy the materials, and then assembling them in bags?
That is a lot of prep work for a craft that will take no more than ten minutes. You also have to prepare enough Swap kits to trade with other troops if that is what you are doing at a camporee or other large Girl Scout event.. Do you want to make two dozen tiny craft kits?
Girl Scout Keychain Kit from Amazon-Makes 10

Br Prepared!

When ordering your Girl Scout Swap Kits, make sure you leave enough time for them to be shipped to your home before your meeting.  Save your receipt so you can be reimbursed by the troop treasurer.