Monday, June 30, 2014

Bridging to Juniors: The Ceremony

Our Brownie troop bridged to Juniors in late May.  We devoted two meetings just to plan and prepare for this special ceremony, and their participation in this process satisfied the 5th step for the Celebrating Community badge.  In the previous post I provided details about our decorations, but I thought I would include some of the photos here, too.

Welcome:  I began the event by welcoming our guests.  I also gave a brief overview of our year for the extended family members in the audience who may not have been familiar with our troop's activities and accomplishments.
Promise:  One of our girls led the troop in reciting the Girl Scout Promise. 
Pledge:  We had placed a flag in the corner of the ampitheater prior to the start of the event.  Another girl invited our guests to stand and join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Skit:  Two girls introduced our skit, politely requesting our guests not use flash photography (their idea).  This was adorable and got a few laughs.  The skit was written by the girls in the troop.  They brainstormed general ideas, agreed on one, and worked together to write the lines.  We leaders helped ensure the speaking parts were equally distributed.  In the skit, the girls helped a "younger girl" learn about Girl Scouts.  They incorporated the Girl Scout Law, the song "Make New Friends," and the Friendship Squeeze into the skit.  Super cute!

Introduction of Girls:  Prior to the ceremony, we filled mason jars with water and added a couple of drops of food coloring to each jar.  Just before the ceremony, we tied a balloon to each mason jar.  We lined them up in two rows, making the "bridge."  When the skit was finished, we announced the name of each girl and let her walk through the balloon bridge.  Once all the girls were lined up across the front of our stage area, we leaders said something special about each girl.  We chose to hand out the bridging gifts at the end of the ceremony, but we took time at this point in the ceremony to explain what each girl would be receiving in her gift box.

Balloon Ascension:  When they were planning the ceremony, one of the girls asked if they could each have a balloon from the balloon bridge to release at the end of the event to symbolize their graduation to Juniors.  We all thought this was a great idea, and we agreed the girls should end their ceremony this way. 
Kona Ice Snow Cones!The girls decided to have Kona Ice serve snow cones to the troop and their siblings after the ceremony.  This was a great way to end another great year!
The girls are going to work on the Junior aMUSE Journey in September.  This will be our first Journey, so I will be sure to post what worked and what, if anything, we would do differently.  The girls hope to work on their Bronze award next year and have also voted to earn the Camper, Detective, Jeweler, and Simple Meals badges.  We hope you will check back in with us.  Thank you for reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ronald McDonald House Ice Cream Social

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking.  "For the sixth straight year, Cincinnati Children's has been included in the US News Honor Roll of top pediatric hospitals. This year, Cincinnati Children’s ranked top 10 in all 10 specialties on this report."  

With these statistics, it's no wonder why families from all over the world come to Cincinnati, "seeking life-saving treatment for their critically ill children."  Ronald McDonald House has provided a "home away from home" for over 25,000 families of children receiving treatment at CHMC since the House opened in 1982.  To provide for these families, Ronald McDonald House depends greatly on an extensive team of supporters and volunteers.  Volunteers are needed to perform a variety of functions including daily house operations, planning game and craft nights, giving manicures and massages, making and serving meals, and providing snacks.  

Our Girl Scout troop has made several donations to RMH over the past few years.  We have delivered cookies that were donated by cookie sale customers and pull tabs that were collected by students in their school.  We had the opportunity to tour the House when we knew we were going to deliver these items in January of 2013.  Our favorite part of the tour was probably the large map in one of the hallways that shows the hometown of each of the guests staying in the house.  Quite impressive--the map and the tour!  We highly recommend scheduling a visit if you get a chance.
This year, the troop decided to use some of the money they earned from this year's cookie sale to host an Ice Cream Social for the families at RMH.  We scheduled our event on this website.  While RMH provides a list of guidelines for the Ice Cream Social, they also provide a link to the GFS Menu Wizard that helps estimate the amount of food needed for such an event.  

We were asked to bring enough to feed 50 guests in addition to those in our group.  They limit the group to 10 people.  We needed to be prepared to feed 60 people.  We determined that our budget was $100.  I compared prices at several stores to get the best deals.  Here is what was purchased:

ITEM                    SIZE                 QUANTITY               STORE              PRICE          TOTAL
Ice Cream             5qt                   3                  ALDI            $5            $15

Chocolate Syrup    85oz                  1                  GFS             $6.99      $6.99  

Sprinkles, Rainbow  25oz                1                  GFS             $9.29      $9.29

Mini Chocolate Chips  72oz             1              Sam's Club      $10.48      $10.48

Whipped Cream   (3) 15oz cans      1              Sam's Club      $7.66        $7.66

Cherries                 74oz                1              Sam's Club      $6.88       $6.88

Bowls                 (50) 6 oz             1                  GFS              $2             $2

Spoons                    100                1                 Walmart        $2.84       $2.84 

RMH patches        2"x3" patch         7                  RMH            $3             $21*
*Though these patches were expensive, we felt they were worth the money.  The girls will wear this fun patch on the back of their Junior vests for the next two years.
                                                                                        TOTAL:    $82.15
We saved money by taking napkins from home and using a vinyl tablecloth that I had saved from a previous function.  We would have been right on budget had I purchased the ice cream as planned.  However, I learned that week that ALDI had their 5-qt containers of ice cream on sale for $5 each.  I was so excited to save the troop this money that we will certainly put to good use in the near future.
Upon our arrival at RMH, we immediately began to set up for the event.  The girls helped spread out the tablecloth before agreeing on the order the toppings should be set on the table.  We had seven girls at the event.  Knowing that an adult would scoop the ice cream, they each chose a job (chocolate sauce, sprinkles, chocolate chips, whipped cream, cherries, napkin and spoon).  They decided to have one girl greet our guests and clear the place settings as sundaes were finished.  With help from the leaders, they were able to rotate jobs once during the event.   
Though we were prepared to feed 50 people, we only served about 20 guests.  Regardless, this was an incredible experience for all of us.  Two of our girls spent some time playing a board game with a 4-year-old patient.  He  thoroughly enjoyed making his own sundae--one that he wasn't able to eat because he can't swallow.  However, he was able to take a taste of the sweet treat, and he had the opportunity to make his own sundae, a privilege I know many kids take for granted.  

We laughed with some of the families and volunteers who came through our line, but that was not the case wit everyone.  There is one couple I will never forget.  They entered the dining room minutes before we were going to pack up to leave.  Our girls offered them a sundae, and they gladly accepted.  When the girls asked about their topping preferences, the mother said, "Just make us whatever you think will taste good.  We have had to make too many decisions today."  Her husband concurred.  It was a reality check.  I like to think our joyful group of smiling girls were a bright light for some of these families who are facing some really dark times.  I imagine these girls will want to continue to spend time at RMH.  Maybe they will choose to host a snack time during their first year as Juniors?  What a great way to combine a service project while also satisfying a step for the Simple Meals badge!  I will keep you posted on their decision.  Thank you for reading.