Brownies Connect and Take Action

All right, so I didn’t get around to blogging our second meeting for the Brownie Quest. Sorry about that, but here’s what we did on our second and third:

For the connect key, we used the activity from the leader’s guide. I know! Right? I used the leader guide! They are actually extremely useful in acquainting you with the journeys and giving you ideas whether you follow them or not, making them worth it, really, (though I do recommend passing them on to other troops in your service unit or community…)

Anyway, we talked about who we’re connected to and how, and then the girls made circle maps of the connection. I used a Martha Stewart circle cutter, scrapbook paper, and a hole punch to get everything ready for them so all they had to do was write their connections and tie them all together with their choice of ribbon from my stash.

my model project

my model project

my daughter's circle map

my daughter’s circle map

my daughter's map spread out so you can see it. she chose to illustrated each group.

my daughter’s map spread out so you can see it. she chose to illustrated each group.

I let them define each of their circles themselves (with the help of their junior partners who were still helping us out), and one girl had “animals” as her yellow circle. That girl’s gonna make a great veterinarian some day.

For our final meeting on the journey, I had hoped to take the girls to our local mission, but they were only available for educational visits during weekdays, and we aren’t out of school yet, so that wasn’t going to work as I didn’t have time to speak to the man in charge and arrange special treatment. I know, that’s what I get for waiting so long to set things up.

Anyway, I decided that what my girls needed from this journey was to really understand what a take action project is. Most of them weren’t really sure during our WoW journey. They enjoyed the activity, but I think the bigger meaning was kind of lost on them. So, dirty little secret, shhhhhh, but I made a leader’s call for my troop: since the Brownie Quest journey is all about learning what being a girl scout is about (discover, connect, take action), learning what taking action means satisfies the purpose well enough.

I found a great site about teaching girls advocacy.

UntitledI requested the advocacy cards they offer, but again, due to my tardiness, they did not arrive on time.

Anyway, we talked about the differences between the very important things we can do to meet immediate needs, service projects, and the ways that we can research and address the problems that create those needs. We talked about how even little girls can make a big difference, something none of my girls had any trouble believing. They’d already learned that much, yay!

To help them understand the concept of advocacy, one of the easiest ways to make a big difference and address deeper problems, I once again took advantage of my junior aids. Now, this was the fourth week they were with us. Only one of them needed to make up for a missed meeting, but they all showed up anyway. Pretty awesome girls, really. What I did was pass out cookies, two to each of my Brownies, but none to the juniors. Most of my brownies didn’t like this, one didn’t really care. Two of them were about to share their own. We talked about why it wasn’t fair, and what they could do about it. It took a little guidance, but eventually I got them past sharing their own to attempting to change the rules by talking to the rule maker (me.) With a little more guidance, my two most vocal got their two supporters to speak up and convinced one of the two quiet ones to speak up as well. The one that didn’t really care from the beginning declined to say anything, which I personally think was a nice illustration of the outside world. We then gave the juniors cookies.

It was a mostly talk/discussion oriented meeting, but the cookie advocacy activity broke things up nicely and kept them interested. I think it went well and satisfied the spirit of the journey. Next week we have our awards ceremony and end of year party.

Junior Aids and a New Quest

So I’m behind in posting. Not surprising, and I’m sure anyone who actually reads this will understand when I say this is the final week of my final semester for my Master’s degree.

Anyway, I thought having one Cadette around was an unmitigated blessing (it is, by the way), so I was actually a little nervous when I agreed to let a Junior troop earn their Junior Aid badge with us. I had nothing to worry about. It’s been amazing. First, three weeks ago, they led their badge activity and my girls earned their Brownie First Aid badge. Here’s what made it so amazing:

  • Their troop supplied the materials for the first aid kits
  • They have a troop dad who’s a cop
  • They have a troop mom who’s an EMT
  • I didn’t have to prepare a thing or arrange a visit from anyone
  • My girls had a blast (the most important factor, really)

They role-played 911 calls, built first aid kits (learning what everything that went into it was for and how to use it), learned basic first aid treatments, got to interview an EMT, and got to interview a police officer. It was an exciting meeting.

Last week we started our Brownie Quest journey. I’m modifying this journey even more than the last one, but I think it’ll work well. I did start with the Girl Scout Law scavenger hunt suggested in the leader guide. I used large gift tags, wrote a line of the law on each tag, and hid them around our meeting place. Our Junior Aids were back, so I had each Junior partner with a Brownie and, since we were missing two of our seven girls, it worked out for each group to find two tags.

We then read them off in order and talked about values. I went straight to the “Discover Me” star in the girl’s book, and had the Juniors help the girls talk through their answers or, at the very least, keep them on task. It was simply amazing how productive this was.

Look at them! Their on task!

Look at them! Their on task!

We then went around the table and each girl shared her favorite question on the star and how she answered it. They each chose a different question and really seemed to enjoy sharing.

Finally, we came to the really fun part. I came across this amazing project on Pinterest from the Brave Girls Club. The project is making an “I am…” self-portrait. I printed out the figures, faces, and words provided in a pdf and raided my personal stash of “I’ll use this someday” art supplies. I had a selection of 8.5×11 scrapbook paper in pretty designs that they used as a base, and then they had all sorts of ribbons, stickers, embellishments, glitter glue, and rhinestones to decorate their “portraits.” I absolutely LOVED the creativity the girls showed. I had decided against bringing paint, figuring that would complicate things just a bit too much, but then I forgot to bring markers, so they didn’t have any obvious solutions for hair. One of my girls didn’t worry about at all, a couple used ribbon, one used glitter glue. They all chose different words to add and different things to focus on.

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everyone working so nicely!

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my daughter working on her very expressive self-portrait

What’s more, the Juniors were fantastic. They helped guide the creativity without taking over; they helped cut things out, figure out how to glue things down…all in all, I seriously doubt this would have gone near as well without them and certainly would have been a lot more hectic with limited adults trying to help everyone at once. Just look at these beautiful portraits!

IMG_6169 IMG_6167 IMG_6172 IMG_6173 IMG_6174

The girls took their journey books home to look through and complete the family star before next meeting. I’ll send out a reminder later this week, and we’ll talk about their stars and complete the Discover Key at the beginning of the next meeting.

WoW: Brownies SHARE Water on the Wonders of Water Journey

Our final meeting on the WoW journey did not end up being the final meeting on our Snacks or Household Elf badges, but that’s okay, the girls really seemed to enjoy our project.

We made our sweet snack before beginning the project. I had intended to do sweet and savory together, but I decided that was pushing things and I’d loose the girls long before we ever got through. I actually had all seven there, and I barely kept them all involved around a single recipe for one snack. All in all, good call to put off savory.

We made crescent roll cinnamon twists, which I found here, and the girls all seemed to enjoy them. It was simple, quick, but there was enough to do in one recipe that they all got to help.

While they were cooking, we moved on to our projected.

We collected quite a bit of reusable trash to use as materials, and each girl designed a 12″ x 12″ sign (a white scrapbook page) about why water is important. Each girl came up with her own focus and used markers and glue to put the sign together. I sent them all out on a mission to find somewhere willing to display their sign at least until March 22, World Water Day, to share what they’ve learned with the community and get as many people as possible thinking about the importance of water.

2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (2) you need water to take a short shower or bath 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (3) recycle and keep water clean by not polluting water. other people don't have water 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (4) one bucket for...

our cadette

our cadette

2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (7) recycle 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (8) recycle use less water 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (9) keep your animal's water clean

 

The final piece of the Household Elf badge was making a homemade air freshener, which I had the materials for, should have been an easy, five to ten minute activity (depending on how many times I had to get their attention), but we just didn’t have time. We’ll work it in later.

WoW: Brownies SAVE water on the Wonders of Water Journey

Ok, so, not only was I late to this meeting, no particular reason, just forgot we started at 6:15, thought it was 6:30, but I forgot the key ingredients to the snack. I’m blaming pregnancy brain. That’s the only explanation I’m willing to go with, but hey, feel better about yourself, ok?

Anyway, after taking a break for World Thinking day, we got back to the WoW journey. It was a rough night. Two of my girls (including my own daughter) had trouble containing their boundless energy and I do not believe the managed to be still for thirty seconds together for the entire evening or use their inside voices once. For once in my short span as leader, I was actually relieved I only had 3 of my 7 girls present. That sort of behavior is contagious, and I know at least one of those absent would have contributed rather than mitigated the effect. We persevered, though. We had a conversation about respecting others (as per the girl scout law!), and lost helping privileges, but we made it through the material. Again, feel better about your troop, (and your kid, if necessary) ok?

When we got there, I gathered my supplies (for an activity I came across several times on Pinterest, but primarily from this useful blog post):

2015-3-2 brownie troop 10462 - wow journey - water polution (1)

There was much guessing as to what we were going to do. I refused to tell, because I had a plan. I started going through my supplies like I was getting organized, and anything I didn’t need for the snack went into the water, to much exclamation, I can assure you. “Why are you putting it in the water?!” and the like. This included the banana peels (and the bag they were in) from the pre-peeled bananas I had frozen for the snack, an empty vanilla bottle I had added a bit of canola oil to, a coffee cup with with coffee filter and used grounds, along with the rubber band and paper towels I’d used as a make-shift lid, the pudding cup from my pre-meeting snack, and a random candy wrapper. 2015-3-2 brownie troop 10462 - wow journey - water polution (2)

“Ok, girls, we’re ready to make our snack. We have our peanut butter and cocoa, and, oh dear, I seem to have put the trash into our water instead of the trash can. Well, I guess you’ll have to clean it out before we make our snack. We need that water.”

Let me tell you that there were some rather dramatic reactions to this. There were “ew!”s and “we can’t do that!”s and “do we really have to use that water?”s.  One of the girls in particular was rather concerned that they would actually have drink it.

2015-3-2 brownie troop 10462 - wow journey - water polution (4)They did a pretty good job, though, I must say. Once they were done, we talked about water pollution and how undoing it is sooooooooooooooo much more difficult (if not impossible) than just keeping it clean. We talked about how in a lot of places, the only water people have access to is yucky water, and they have to figure out ways to filter and clean it themselves or just drink it anyway. This did not go over well at all, and that one girl was still concerned we were really going to use this water. I assured her we weren’t, and we all agreed that it was great to live in a country where we could just dump out the dirty water and get some clean water to use. We also discussed ways to go natural and reduce waste to begin with, (thereby addressing step 2 of the household elf badge.)

It was then time to move on to actually making the snack, which didn’t actually use water at all. We slurped our snacks to move forward with the snacks badge, making a really simple smoothie I found here (the image is a link):

As I mentioned at the beginning, only one of my girls got to help, which was too bad, especially since my daughter loves to help and was really sorry about not paying attention and being too hyper, but, as we’ve learned before, apologizing does not remove consequences. Not sure if the lecture and missing out on participation contributed to the other girl’s sulky mood for the rest of the evening, or if it was just because she didn’t particularly enjoy the smoothie and therefore “didn’t get a snack,” but that happens as well, I suppose. Anyway, the smoothie is really easy to make, (especially if you peel your bananas before freezing them. Have you ever tried to peel a frozen banana? I have, and I’m glad I’d already learned that lesson, let me tell you.) One recipe was enough for all three girls to have a small cup, which was plenty, so that worked out even better than expected.

While they sipped their smoothies (or sulked), we discussed our project for the SHARE Water award. I had made up a set of note-cards with problems related to water pollution, use, and conservation in one color and a set of solutions or good practices in another color. We went through them, placing the solutions over the problems, kind-almost aligning them appropriately. After that we started talking about what we could do and whether it could actually make a difference. Fortunately, none of my girls have a hard believing they can impact the larger world, but their ideas were all still home/self-centric, so I introduced World Water Day (which happens to be March 22! Happy timing, since I didn’t even know World Water Day was a thing until I was planning out this journey). I explained it is a day all about getting the whole world thinking about the importance of water, and yes, even boys, as difficult as you might believe that to be.

One of the ideas I found on the World Water Day website is creating art for the world. You submit your art and they share it.

The girls also really really got excited about the idea of making signs to display in the library, so much so that we didn’t even get around to any other ideas, except maybe hanging signs somewhere else like their schools. I liked the WWD idea so much, though, I pointed out they could do both. I’d just take a picture of them holding their signs/posters and submit those, and they could find somewhere to display them around town. I was particularly happy that, when I told them to collect found objects and reusable trash to use in their projects, one of them got really excited about “getting” to do that. We also discussed how they each get to choose the point about water conservation that they feel most strongly about and make their own sign. One can do reduce, reuse, recycle, while another can focus on how girls collecting water often miss school to do so and that isn’t right, or how it’s easier to keep water clean than it is to clean dirty water. With these thoughts in mind, we dismissed, instructed to return in two weeks with an idea and materials for water-saving art.

There will be reminders (and sharing of instructions with the absent girls).

WoW! Loving water, and loving snacks just a little bit better…

We were introduced to the WoW: Wonders of Water journey last meeting, and this meeting we opened with a water cycle activity led by our Cadette helper. She set up stations of different water forms and the girls were each water drops that then traveled through the cycle. They loved the running around and it led to a good discussion on process. We have one little girl that loves to ask questions about how things work and why and I have to be careful because one answer always leads to another question or six, but I love her curiosity.

After that we talked about water conservation methods and earned our Loving Water badge as well as completing the the “save water” step for the household elf badge. Yay for multi-tasking!

For snack time, we started our snack badge, Jumping In and Making a Snack for Energy.

Snack for Energy! Apple slices with peanut butter and raisins. (Image found on Pinterest w/out link)

The snack was a HUGE hit. The girls had a blast trying to spread the peanut butter, as much entertainment as it was yummy (the trick is to scrape the peanut butter off on the edge of the apple so it sort of lays out on apple rather than spreading it around like you would on bread, it just slides around on the juicy fruit.) They all tried the raisins, though one opted to eat it it primarily without, and I’m pretty sure we found a new favorite for most of them.