Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rolling Pretzels and Cutting Diamonds

Our Junior Girl Scouts decided they would like to earn the Simple Meals badge this year.  When a few of the younger sisters joined our troop this fall as Brownies, we encouraged them to work on their Snacks badge at the same time.  The steps for each badge conveniently complement each other. 

Simple Meals Step 1 is "Step Up Your Skills With a Pro."  The activities suggested for this step include visiting a restaurant, inviting a cook to our meeting, or touring a kitchen.  

Snacks Step 2 is "Make a Savory Snack."  The girls are asked to make their own restaurant snack, make a savory snack from a different country, or make a veggie face.

As I was flipping through the badge activity sets in the Junior and Brownies Girl's Guide to Girl Scouts, I remembered hearing positive feedback from another troop that had visited Auntie Anne's at the mall.  I quickly realized that scheduling an Auntie Anne's field trip would satisfy both of these steps!  While Auntie Anne's kitchen is arguably not the same as a typical restaurant kitchen, our girls did have a Cookie Exchange at Christmas.  They were asked to bake a holiday treat with an adult at home.  The girls became familiar with gadgets and equipment in their home kitchens through that experience.  

We scheduled the field trip during our typical meeting time.  (I would like to mention that I received an email from the company confirming the date of our field trip shortly after scheduling.  I was also contacted by phone the day before our trip to confirm.  A+ for their customer service!)  The program was set up at tables in the Food Court at the mall.  An Auntie Anne's representative began by presenting fun facts about pretzels.  We learned how pretzels were used by different people in different places at different times.  We also learned about Anne Beiler, the founder of Auntie Anne's.  Our girls enjoyed hearing about this successful female entrepreneur.  

After being shown two pretzel-twisting techniques, we were each given a piece of dough and allowed to try our hand at it.  It is much more difficult than it looks!  

When the girls had each successfully formed a pretzel, the practice dough was pitched in the trash.  Hands were washed.  Buttery, salty pretzels and sweet lemonade were passed out to each participant.  

Before we left, we were invited to tour the back room and kitchen area of the store.  That was a treat we were not expecting (probably because we have a relatively small group).  A great value for just $4 per person!

Our Juniors are also working on their Jeweler badge.  Step 1 is to "Get to Know the Tools of the Trade."  Visiting a jewelry store is listed as a suggested activity.  Since we were already going to be at the mall, I contacted Osterman Jewelers to see if one of their associates would be willing to talk with our troop.  They were excited to help.  The girls learned about the 4 C's of diamonds:  color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.  They were permitted to look in a light-directing viewer to see hearts and arrows in a diamond.  They were also shown a tool that allows jewelers to test a diamond's authenticity.  Our girls enjoyed looking at the birthstone jewelry the most. 

Mid-January proved to be the perfect time of year to schedule this field trip.  Mall traffic is low, and we are all suffering from a little cabin fever.  Thank you for reading!

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