Friday, April 25, 2014

Prep and Planning: Bridging to Juniors

Since I was a little kid, I have loved to watch Christmas specials on television.  When I became a parent, I introduced our girls to my beloved Rudolph and Frosty.  About five years ago, Disney's Prep and Landing aired. This show features "a high-tech team of elves from an elite unit known as Prep and Landing (who) ensures homes around the world are prepared for Santa's visit."  It immediately became my favorite Christmas special.  I was most impressed with their attention to every detail.  This was my kind of team!  I enjoy taking time to plan celebrations for family and friends, vacations, and Girl Scout meetings and events.  

This spring, our Brownie troop is bridging to Juniors.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the girls satisfied Step 5 for the Celebrating Community badge by planning their own Bridging Ceremony.  We held a planning meeting in April, presenting ideas, discussing the possibilities, and casting votes.  We had another meeting to prepare for the event.  In this post, I will describe their process.

We began the planning meeting by reviewing our troop budget.  I shared our account balance with the girls, and then we added the profits from our cookie sale.  We talked about the outstanding expenses we have for the rest of the year.  We considered how to spend the balance, and budgeting for the Bridging Ceremony was part of this quick discussion.  Once we knew how much money we wanted to allot for this celebration, we worked through the 5 W's together: 

What/Why are we celebrating?  We want to recognize their accomplishments as Brownies and celebrate their graduation to the next level of Girl Scouts.
Who did they want to invite to the Bridging Ceremony?  They decided we needed to know how much space was available.
Where should we hold the celebration?  Options to consider included my house, a nearby park, and our Civic Center.
When?  We had previously determined the date and time.  This information helped answer the other questions.
How?  I presented some possibilities to the group such as:  reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, singing a song, reading a poem, performing a skit, sharing a meal or dessert together.  They also shared their ideas.  Prior to the meeting, I created a Rainbow Party Pinterest Board to provide visuals for various decorations for the girls.

By the end of the planning meeting, we knew our ceremony would be held at our Civic Center Ampitheater.  There would be enough space to invite parents, siblings, and other special family members.  The girls had amazing ideas for invitations.  Due to time constraints, I made invitations for them.  I was inspired by this invitation on Pinterest.  I was able to use supplies I already had on hand, so I avoided spending any money.  The event details are printed on the back of the card.

The girls unanimously agreed Kona Ice would provide snow cones for our troop and their siblings.  (Please note that our Township will not permit sales to occur on the Civic Center premises.  Our troop will pay for the snow cones in advance.  Kona Ice will arrive at our event to serve the predetermined number of snow cones).  

The girls decided they would use balloons to create a bridge.  They would make tissue paper flower decorations.  For the prep meeting, I purchased tissue paper at Dollar Tree (25 sheets for $1.  Each package included 5 sheets each of red, yellow, green, blue, and pink).  Four packages of tissue paper made 10 beautiful flowers.  

The girls would include the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and the Pledge of Allegiance in the Ceremony.  The other leader and I were surprised when the girls exclaimed they would write and perform their own skit.  We devoted a great deal of time during our prep meeting for them to write and practice their skit.

In this previous post, I described how I decorated gift boxes that we will present to the girls in our troop at the Bridging Ceremony.  We have invited three of the younger sisters to join us during the ceremony.  They are Daisies bridging to Brownies, but they will not be bridging with another troop.  I have prepared these boxes for them.  They will receive a packet of Daisy seeds, a homemade brownie, and their Bridge to Brownie Arc in this box.

The Bridging Ceremony is scheduled in late May.  I will be sure to post our ceremony agenda along with details of the skit and some pictures, so please check back.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Brownie Badge: Celebrating Community

"The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting features seven Legacy badges that build on 100+ years of Girl Scout history. Each of these badges (Artist, Athlete, Citizen, Cook, First Aid, Girl Scout Way, and Naturalist), is available at five levels of Girl Scouting, from Brownie to Ambassador. In addition, the Girl's Guides include lots of details on Girl Scout traditions and history."  The Celebrating Community badge is the Citizen Legacy badge for Brownies.  In this post, I will describe what our troop did to fulfill each of the five steps to earn this badge.

Step 1:  Explore Community Symbols.  Earlier this fall, we volunteered with an organization called Bake Me Home.  Please check out this link for more information about that project.  Before leaving for the event, we decided to go on a flag hunt.  During our 20 minute drive to the Bake Me Home building, the girls watched for different flags we passed along the way.  The girls in my car spotted 58 flags. The girls in our co-leader's car counted 136 flags!  They saw a cemetery that the girls in my car happened to miss.  It was a fun challenge that fostered some friendly competition while allowing the girls to work together.  

Step 2:  Find three celebration songs.  Our girls and their families went Christmas caroling at a nursing home.  While we walked through the halls spreading holiday cheer, we sang "Frosty," "Rudolph," and We Wish You a Merry Christmas" over and over and over...  We had printed the lyrics for many other songs, but these were the songs the girls knew and enjoyed.  We let them sing those songs repeatedly, and the nursing home residents loved it!  We continued our celebration back at home.  You can read more about our caroling event and Christmas party here.

Step 3:  Follow the parade.  For the past two years, the girls in our troop were invited to march in our high school Homecoming Parade.  Our school district was trying to pass a levy.  The girls made signs supporting the school district and the football team.  This year they marched around the football field. 

Step 4:  Be a landmark detective.  Our troop wanted to earn the Potter badge.  To satisfy one of the steps for this badge, we toured the pottery exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum.  The Art Museum was built in 1886.  We asked our tour guide to share three facts about the building with us.  

Step 5:  Join a ceremony or celebration.  I can't believe these girls are getting ready to bridge to Juniors!  I still remember our first Daisy meeting like it was yesterday.  We are in the process of planning the bridging ceremony that will take place in May.  During our last meeting, we discussed who we would invite to the ceremony, where we we hold the celebration, what the girls would do, what we would serve our guests, and how we would decorate the space. At our next meeting, the girls will finish all the preparations for their Bridging Ceremony.  Please check back in late May to read about this celebration. 

Brownie Badge: Potter

Last year, when our Brownie troop voted for the badges they wanted to earn this year, they unanimously agreed on the Potter Badge.  I spent a little time calling local studios and independent artists to find what options were available to us and what would work best with our available budget and space.  We decided to schedule a session with Funke Fired Arts in Cincinnati.  For $30 a girl, our troop completed 4 of the 5 steps required to earn the badge.  We were able to cover half of the cost with troop funds, and the families paid the remainder.  The girls took home three pieces of pottery, and they will remember the experience for years to come.

Step 1:  Find some pottery. We arranged a time for the troop to tour the extensive pottery collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum on a Saturday afternoon.  We are fortunate to live near one of the oldest arts institutions in the United States.  They have a ceramic beaker in their collection that was created about 6000 years ago.  During our tour, we learned about the museum's history which satisfied a step for the Celebrating Community badge.  (Please check back...that post is coming soon).  We also learned about Rookwood Pottery and the company's history.  If you are ever in town, a visit to the art museum is recommended.  After our hour-long tour, we headed over to Northland Ice Center.  Most of the girls had never been ice skating.  What better way to try something new than with your Girl Scout troop?  The girls had a great time.  No stitches and no broken bones.  That sounds like a successful trip to me!
Step 2:  Get to know clay.  By going to Funke Fired Arts, we completed the step that required the girls to visit a potter's studio.
Step 3:  Make a simple pot.  At Funke Fired Arts, our instructor decided to teach the girls to make a coil pot.  She then taught them to make a pinch pot that they could use as a lid for their coil pot. 

Step 4:  Make an art piece.  The girls turned clay into art.  They had the opportunity to roll out the clay and cut out a Christmas ornament with a cookie cutter of their choice.  They used a tool to poke a hole in the top to allow the ornament to be hung on a Christmas tree.
Step 5:  Paint and glaze.  Once they had cut out their Christmas ornament, the girls painted glaze on all three pieces. 
In a two-hour session, the girls made a coil pot, a pinch pot, rolled clay, cut an ornament, painted all three pieces, toured the pottery studio, and watched a pottery wheel demonstration.  It almost seems like we scored a great deal at $30 per girl!  Thanks to Funke Fired Arts and thank you for reading.