Saturday, September 15, 2012

Merry, merry king of the bush is he...Cookie Sales Part 2

In my last post, I described how the girls in our troop prepare for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale.  This post will be devoted to sharing how the girls in our troop decide who should receive any donated boxes of cookies and how to use the money they earn during the Cookie Sale.  I will also discuss how I think families should handle selling cookies in the office.  Lastly, I will share how my daughter chose to thank her customers.  Writing a thank you note only takes a minute, and the cost to make copies is minimal.  Many of my daughter's customers were so impressed with this simple gesture that they asked her to remember to visit them the following year.

Girls involved in Girl Scouts have the opportunity to become future leaders as they discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place.  As leaders, we are encouraged to allow the girls to make decisions about troop activities.  We are to provide them guidance and support and serve as a resource for them.  In my experience, most Daisy Girl Scouts don't know what opportunities are available to them.  Knowing this, we chose three possible fun activities and three service organizations for the girls.  We allowed them to vote for their favorites.

The first year, we chose horseback riding (a rope-led pony ride), a dance class, and ice skating as possible fun activities that would be funded by the money earned by selling cookies.  The second year, we chose horseback riding, visiting a pottery studio to paint a piece of pottery, and Coco Key Water Resort.  To vote, each girl was given three game chips.  I borrowed these chips from the Sequence for Kids game, but any small item would do.  I labeled three styrofoam cups with the choices.  As the troop worked on a craft, I pulled each girl into a separate room to allow them to vote independently.  

The girls were told they had three options:
1. to place all three of their chips into one of the cups 
2. to place one chip in each of the three cups
3. to place two chips in one cup and one chip in another cup.
I explained that the cup holding the most chips after every girl had a chance to vote would be the fun activity for the troop.  The first year, I quickly sketched a graph to illustrate how the girls had voted.

We explained to the girls that while they were not officially working to earn any petals from the Daisy Petals Set during our visit to the stables, they were learning to:  be courageous and strong (red), be responsible for what they say and do (orange), be considerate and caring (spring green), respect myself and others (dark purple), and respect authority (magenta).  

We had the girls vote for the organization that would receive any donated boxes of cookies.  In addition, they donated a portion of the money they earned during the Cookie Sale to a local animal shelter.  The girls are being friendly and helpful (yellow petal) and making the world a better place (rose petal) by encouraging their customers to donate boxes of cookies and by donating a portion of their profits to help others.  

The first year they could send any donated boxes of cookies to one of the following organizations:
YWCA House of Peace Shelter--I explained that sometimes mothers and their children have to find a safe place to live.  This shelter provides a safe home and warm meals for them.  
Whiz Kids--This is a tutoring program for at-risk youth.  The kids have a chance to eat dinner with their tutors and to develop a lasting relationship with their mentor.
Ronald McDonald House--I told the troop that when a child is sick and in the hospital for a long time, this organization provides the family a place to stay so they are close to their child.  
Here is the graph I sketched to show the troop how they voted:


The second year we allowed the girls to vote to donate the cookies to the troops, to the YWCA House of Peace Shelter, or to the Ronald McDonald House.  They chose the Ronald McDonald House.   When a girl donates twelve boxes of cookies to an organization, they earn a Gift of Caring patch.

As a leader and a parent, we certainly want to see the girls succeed.  However, we must all remember this is a project for the GIRLS.  I encourage the families in our troop to support the girls without doing the work for them.  My husband told our daughter that he would leave a poster in the breakroom at work if she made the poster and answered any questions his coworkers may have.  He stuck to his word by hanging the poster and politely directing his coworkers to the phone number listed on the poster when they had questions.  This worked extremely well for our family, and I would encourage others to give it a try.  Through this experience, our daughter improved her math, communication, and business skills.  Here is the poster our daughter made:

Whether your daughter is selling to family and close friends, door-to-door, or to your coworkers, she should thank each and every customer in some manner.  When she was in Kindergarten, I printed out a coloring sheet from Color A Smile.  She colored the Thank You that ran across the top of the page.  Then she drew each cookie and wrote the name beneath each one.  I made copies of the note, and she distributed the notes when she delivered the cookies.  She and I were bumping around Pinterest one day recently when we came across this idea.  So cute!  We may try something similar this year. 

Thank you so much for reading!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree...Cookie Sales Part 1

I have this memory as a Brownie...I was standing with my troop in a church gymnasium with many other Girl Scouts (presumably our Service Unit), singing the "Kookaburra Song" to kick-off the annual cookie sale.  Kookaburras used to be one of the varieties of cookies offered during the sale, but it was retired many years ago.  I still have the patch I earned for participation in the cookie sale that year.  I loved Thin Mints and Tagalongs (and still do), but who doesn't?  

I was only in Girl Scouts for two years, but as I have written in the past, I knew I wanted to be a Girl Scout Leader before I was a mother with daughters.  Being a troop leader is my way to give back, building into the young girls in our community.  One winter when my older daughter was 4-years-old and in preschool, we were visiting my parents' house.  The doorbell rang, and we were greeted by the cutest pair of little girls all decked out in their Daisy and Brownie uniforms.  Moments after placing our order and shutting the door, my daughter asked when she could be a Girl Scout because she really wanted to sell Girl Scout cookies in our neighborhood.  Selling cookies is still her favorite part of Girl Scouts.  In fact, the Cookie Sale is a fun time for our entire troop.

Each year we make sure the girls in our troop are prepared to sell cookies to potential customers.  As Kindergartners and first graders, these girls used flashcards to learn the cookie names and colors.  Each cookie variety has a specific color that is used on the cookie box as well as on the cookie order form.  For example, the Thin Mints have a green box.  I took half a sheet of construction paper and wrote the names of the cookies on the paper with a black Sharpie.  After running through the flashcards three or four times at two meetings, our young girls could correctly identify the color with the cookie variety.  I also created a worksheet to help them identify the cookie by its picture, box color, and description.  Having this knowledge prepared them to answer customer questions about the cookies and the order form.  

One day I was inspired to write a poem for our girls to get them excited about the upcoming Cookie Sale:  
To the tune of “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee”
I’m selling some Girl Scout cookies.
Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?
I’m selling some Girl Scout cookies.
We’re making money!

I’m bringing home some Girl Scout cookies.
Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?
I’m bringing home some Girl Scout cookies.
Oooh!  There are so many!

I’m delivering some Girl Scout cookies.
Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?
I’m delivering some Girl Scout cookies.
Our customers are happy!

I’m eating all the Girl Scout cookies.
Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?
I’m eating all the Girl Scout cookies.
Oooh!  They’re tasty!

We had fun singing this silly song at the meetings leading up to the Cookie Sale.  While we made an effort to make these meetings fun, we emphasized the Cookie Sale safety rules.  It is incredibly important to reinforce these rules before you send the girls out with their order forms.  Here is an activity we found on the Little Brownie Baker website to help reinforce these rules with our troop:

Give each girl a small paper cup and five beads, buttons or pebbles

Discuss safety rules with girls:
1.  Always sell with an adult

2.  Only call people on the telephone with a grown-up’s permission

3.  Wear your Girl Scout identification

4.  Never tell anyone your full name or where you live

5.  Ask an adult to help with forms and money

         Ask girls why they think each rule is important. After discussing each rule, the girls put a 
         bead or pebble into their cup.  Cover the cup with wax paper and secure it with a rubber 
         band.  The girls played their "instrument" while we marched around the room, reciting the 
         safety rules. 

I found a cell phone template on the Little Brownie Baker website.  We printed a phone for each girl that we allowed them to color.  We then had the girls team up with a buddy and practice calling customers.  We made sure each girl knew the name of the cookies, the price per box, when the cookies would be delivered, how to donate boxes of cookies, and how a customer can pay (cash or check made payable to your Council).  Though your girls may "only" be 5 or 6 years old when they are Daisies, they are completely capable of relaying this information to their customers.

The girls in our troop LOVE to prepare for the Cookie Sale by playing Cookie Bingo. I used black construction paper I had on hand for the game boards.  As I have mentioned in the past, I love to scrapbook.  I used the Creative Memories Square Maker to punch out 1 1/2" construction paper squares.  I wrote the cookie name on the corresponding colored square and adhered them to the black paper.  We used marshmallows as the markers.  The girls LOVED this game.  It was amazing how much information they retained after these cookie meetings.  In addition, the girls should know what the troop plans to do with the money they earn from the Cookie Sale.  More about that later...  Please check back to read Cookie Sales Part 2.  Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Color Me Pretty

When a Daisy Girl Scout earns the dark purple petal in the Daisy Petals Set, she is showing that she has learned what it means to respect herself and others.  Our Daisy troop spent part of a couple different meetings focusing on this component of the Girl Scout Law.  In a previous post, I described in detail our version of the Everybody Counts program.  We provided the girls an opportunity to experience how it may feel to be physically challenged.  While I believe all components of the Girl Scout Law are equally important, we chose to spend extra time on this one because we wanted the girls to recognize that their differences make them unique...that people love them for who they are and because they are special.

We began this meeting in typical fashion, reciting the Girl Scout Promise and saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  After finishing troop business, we asked the girls to play the "Mirror Game."  They passed a handheld mirror around the Daisy Circle.  With the mirror in her hands, each girl had a chance to share something she likes about herself that we could all see.  Then she shared something she likes about herself that we can not see.  It was fun to learn that one girl in our troop loves her feet!  This game is really effective if the girls take turns sharing what they like about each other.  

After this exercise I read a passage that is used with the Girls on the Run program.   I made some changes to meet the needs of our group.  Here is script I read to our troop:

adapted for Daisy Girl Scout dark purple petal

           We are going to do a visualization.  A visualization is where you envision something in
            your imagination. It is almost like you are actually experiencing it just as you are thinking
            about it or “seeing” it in your head. We are going to do a visualization together.

First of all picture a bright white light that rests just on the inside of your body—maybe right where your heart is. That light is so bright and when we are feeling good about ourselves it just shines out of us—through our eyes, our fingertips, in the way we walk and stand up tall and straight. That white light is the very essence of who we are. It is what makes us special, unique and beautiful on the inside.

Now picture a large socket in the top of your head. It is like a socket that is in the
wall where you plug in an electrical appliance. Can you see it in the top of your
head?  Now, imagine a huge cord going into that socket.  This cord is really
yucky—it has gooey, sticky very slow-moving mucky liquid flowing through it.
And also coming in through this cord are some messages we might get
sometimes.  Some of these messages are  “you are not pretty enough”, “you are
not sporty enough”, “you don’t have cool clothes”, “you are not very smart” or
“you shouldn’t ever get angry” or “it is not okay to cry”. When this brown stuff
and these messages go into our brains and oozes down into our body we feel
yuck. The brown stuff begins to put out that bright light, like syrup oozing down
on your pancakes in the morning. When this happens, we do not stand up as tall,
we might feel sad a lot or might not try some exciting activities we are interested
in. We just don’t feel good about ourselves with this brown cord coming into our

Now, here’s the fun part. We each need to take our right hand and gently pull that
cord right out of our heads. Pull it out and throw it right behind you, somewhere
far away. Now I want you to plug in the Daisy Girl Scout cord.  I can see into this
cord and it is bright, multi-colored and sparkly. The liquid in it is bubbly and
moves freely down into your body and makes the light inside of your heart…the
light that is YOU…sparkle, glitter and become brighter and stronger…so strong
that you begin to have light coming out of your fingertips, your mouth, your nose,
your toes and your eyes!  The Daisy Girl Scout cord helps us stand up tall and
believe in ourselves. We express everything we are feeling. We know that we are
wonderful. We can look all people right into their eyes and we feel absolutely NO
shame about who we are!  We know that “we are perfect just the way we are!” 
This is what Girl Scouts is all about!  Helping all of us, including ME, realize how
special we are, each as individuals, but also as a wonderful team together!!!

So anytime we are having a brown, murky chord kind of day we need to promise
to each other that we will ask each other to help us unplug from those negative
messages and feelings and let the colorful, sparkly, positive light in each of us
shine.  Can we promise this to each other?

With the lessons finished, we were ready to have fun!  Knowing we were going to have a manicure party, we asked the girls in advance (with a parent's permission, of course) to bring any supplies they would like to share with the troop.  We explained that by using supplies we already have, we are using our resources wisely.  So not only were they working on the dark purple petal, they were earning the green petal as well.  The girls arrived at the meeting with fingernail polish in every color imaginable.  They also brought nail polish remover, cotton balls, lotions, nail clippers, nail files, and electric nail dryers! 

The girls chose their polish colors...I say colors because they couldn't possibly choose just one.  We had requests for polka dot nails, striped nails, and nails each painted a different color.  I was happy I had arranged to have another mother stay to help us apply the polish!  The girls patiently waited their turn, and they were all excited to see a friend's finished fingernails.  

While she was waiting for her turn, or when her nails were dry, the girls were able to work on the Girl Scout Promise Puzzle on their own or with a buddy.  At the end of the meeting, the girls couldn't wait to show their families their fingernails.  They all felt so good about themselves--such a big step toward earning that dark purple petal.  It is only when you can respect yourself that you can truly respect others.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Amazing Daisy

For the past two years, I wanted the girls in our Daisy troop to be familiar with the Girl Scout Law.  We posted the Law for each meeting, but we did not recite the Law because I was not concerned at that time that they memorize the words.  We did remind the girls of the petals to ensure they understood why we did certain activities and service projects. 

Our girls enjoyed earning the Daisy Petals Set, and they loved when they received fun patches for participating in special events.  They proudly displayed these patches on a blue canvas bag we purchased from Hobby Lobby.  I happened to come across this Amazing Daisy fun patch while picking up an order at our Council Shop.  I decided to create a Girl Scout Law Activity  Booklet for the girls in our troop to work on during Christmas Break.  This project was not mandatoryI offered to purchase the Amazing Daisy patch for any girl who chose to complete the packet which was due at the first meeting in January.    

The packet consisted of four pages that were designed to help the girls learn the petal colors and the corresponding Law components.  The girls also had to apply the Law to different troop activities.  All of the answers could easily be found in the packet itself or in the Girls' Guide I put together at the beginning of the year.

Title Page:     

Page 1:  Rainbow Coloring Sheet.  The petal colors are listed on the bottom left of the rainbow while the corresponding component of the law is listed on each ray of the rainbow.

Page 2: 
Page 3:
Page 4:

While this packet may be used to help any Daisy Girl Scout learn the Girl Scout Law, please note that page 4 is specific to our troop.  Since the girls were in first grade at the time, I decided to list the petals on page 4 in smaller groups.  This activity was intended to be fun (as well as educational), and I didn't want it to be too challenging.  

Here is another fun idea...Make a Girl Scout Law puzzle.  To make the puzzle, print the Law on a plain sheet of white cardstock.  I recommend using a larger font (the larger the letters are, the bigger the puzzle pieces will be).  Cut the paper to divide the Law into separate phrases.  For example, "Considerate and Caring" could be one puzzle piece and "Use Resources Wisely" could be another puzzle piece.  Mix up the pieces and have the girls work with a buddy to put the pieces in the correct order.  They may need to look at a copy of the Law to complete the puzzle.  As they practice, it should get easier.  This can also be done with the Girl Scout Promise.  We made each word a puzzle piece.  The girls were challenged, but they had fun working together to place words in the correct order.

Now that the girls in our troop are entering second grade, we will recite the Girl Scout Law at the beginning of each meeting.  I am hoping they memorize the Law by Christmas Break.  This group of girls continually exceeds my expectations, so I know it is possible.  Have fun with your Amazing Daisies!  Thanks for reading.