End of Year Court of Awards

So, I have a really good excuse for this post being so late, as opposed to all those other times I just failed to write up the meeting. I had a baby on June 4, and our end of year meeting was on the 1, so there you go.

It was a simple affair, really, held in our usual meeting place. We had a veggie dip platter to finish up our snacks badge, made baking soda air fresheners to finish up our household elf badge, and then we had our court of awards.

I used a very simple idea I gathered from the Pinterest conglomerate: a ribbon with the badges attached.

2015-6-1 troop 10462 end of year court of awards - kaley's awards -8-

Each girl had a ribbon with all their earned awards. The journey patches are on one side, the skill badges on the other, and the “fun patches” are on the name badge itself. I also printed out little brownie elves to decorate the name badge a bit. (As you can see, my daughter earned a few council’s own badges as well, which are worn on the back with the fun patches, so her name tag is particularly crowded.) This not only prevented the patches from climbing up around the girls’ necks, but was a handy way of letting moms know where they go on the uniform once they get home without requiring a print out.

Now, not every girl made it to every meeting, so some of them were missing requirements for this badge or that, so I made up personalized badge requirement sheets that only have the steps they missed included. That way, they can finish up over the summer if they so desire.

And that’s it for our year. There are a few personal achievements I might take my daughter through over the summer, like the “My Promise My Faith” pin, or the Brownie Safety pin. It depends on what she wants to do. I’m telling you, nothing has helped me conquer my tendency to be a tad over-controlling concerning my daughter’s choices than Girl Scouts.

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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.

Making Games and Money Manager

Hello all, whoever you may be, it’s been a while. Come, read my post and feel better about yourself as a mother and a troop leader! Sorry for the reeeaaaalllly spread out posts. Don’t know if anyone is actually following, but I’ll try to do better all the same. Regular updates would be soooooooooo much better, and a more reliable accountability tool as well.

The girls had a blast on the making games badge.

We actually took a field trip to a Butterfly Festival in October in lieu of one of our meetings. The girls got to learn about Monarch migration, butterfly life-cycles, and good bugs vs bad bugs, and there were face painting, games, arts and crafts, and a lot of fun. They actually completed the scavenger hunt requirement for games at the festival.

At our next meeting, we used random items found in the church storage closet to set up our own obstacle course for the party game, which the girls really enjoyed, but I think they enjoyed watching their leaders run it even more. Then our Cadette friend helped them change the rules to Tag, Mother May I?, and My Precious. It was hard to get them to move on. For a mystery game, we played a Disney character Who Am I? The princess version was a little too easy for the girls to figure out who they were, so the second round we widened the selection to any character, and that took a while a longer. Our brand new sport was a theoretical design as early November, after dark, was a bit too chilly to play outside, not to mention, you know, dark. Still, we recorded the rules and may play it some time this spring now that things are warming up.

We were supposed to start a journey following our first badge, but we didn’t have the materials yet, so we completed the Money Manager badge to pass the time. We did all of the activities using the paper doll in the back of the Girl’s Guide.

Here’s where you really get to start feeling good about yourself:

There are two meetings I cannot account for, in which I cannot recall how we spent our time. I wasted a month of our girls precious troop meetings. Granted, I’m pregnant and life is always hectic, and I know the girls enjoyed themselves regardless of whether we “accomplished” anything or not, but still, it nettles me. Also, I never not CoCo Mobile up and running for my daughter, so family out of state have no access to cookies. The worst, however, is that I never even remembered to bring the order form to work and lay it in the break room for people to write in their own orders. How easy is that to do? And all I can say for myself is “my baby drained my brain” and I just never grabbed it on the way out. Perhaps I’m lucky I remembered to take my daughter to school before heading to work myself, and yeah, she’ll get to sell cookies at the booth, and yeah, CoCo Mobile may still be available until the end of booth sales (don’t know, looking into it), but still, IT NETTLES ME!

So there, a record of my failings as mom and leader so you know, at the very least, you are not alone in your imperfections. YAY! We can be human together!