Monday, February 9, 2015

Sample Meeting for Blended Troop of Brownies and Juniors

If you have read this blog in the past, you may recall that this is our first year as a blended troop with Brownies and Juniors.  In the five years I've served as a Girl Scout troop leader, I have often wondered how leaders of blended troops juggle girls of different ages within the same troop?  How did they plan meetings to help satisfy steps for various badges at different levels?  I will admit the planning process can be overwhelming at times even for a troop that is not blended.  It is frustrating and disappointing for both leaders and girls when the plans do not go as anticipated.  In this post, I will outline the agenda for a recent meeting during which our plans did go as anticipated.

Last Wednesday, we decided to make dog toys to donate to a local animal shelter.  We were going to visit the shelter during the second half of our meeting.  The day before our meeting, I discovered we weren't able to visit the shelter because the lobby and bathrooms were being remodeled.  The volunteers at the shelter were unable to accommodate groups and offered to reschedule our visit.  I scrambled to prepare short projects and activities that would fill the 90 minutes we would spend together.  

Once the girls had left the meeting that evening, I decided it actually ended up being, in my opinion, the "perfect meeting."  I thought I would share the agenda here.  

4:15pm   Girls arrive.  
              Kapers assigned.  
              Recite Girl Scout Promise.  
              Sing Girl Scout Law song.
              Share:  Review Troop Rules.  We had a new girl join our troop in 
                         January.  The other leaders and I decided we should review our 
                         troop rules for everyone's benefit.  The girls each had an 
                         opportunity to share one rule for our troop, and we
                         leaders chimed in as well.
               Troop Business:  With Cookie Booth sales coming up in March, our 
                                        Cookie Mom asked the girls to vote on a few 
                                        important details.

4:45pm   Service Project:  T-shirt Dog Toys

5:00pm   Craft:  Metal Washer Necklaces

The Juniors are working on their Jeweler badge.  Step 2 of this badge is "Make Jewelry with Metal."  The Brownies and Juniors made metal washer necklaces during the meeting.  After considering several different ways to decorate the 1.25" diameter washers, I decided we would use scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. There are a million tutorials and blog posts available online, describing how to make washer necklaces. Here's how our girls made their necklaces:
  • Prior to the meeting, I grabbed a scrap piece of paper.  I could have easily traced the washer with a pencil on the reverse side of the paper before cutting it out with scissors, but I decided to use my Cricut.  I chose the Simply Sweet cartridge to cut out a 1.25" circle.  I saved the negative part of the paper square for the girls to use as a template during the meeting.  I flipped the circle over, placed the washer on top and lined up the edges, and traced the inside circle onto the paper.  I used a standard hole punch to cut the hole in the middle of the circle.
  • During the meeting, the girls chose a patterned piece of paper.  I helped them use the paper template to decide which part of the pattern they would like for their necklaces.  We cut the circles, and the girls cut out the middle hole as described above.
  • They used paint brushes to apply Mod Podge to one side of the metal washer.  They covered the washer with the paper circle, making sure to align the edges of the paper with the edges of the washer.  They applied another coat of Mod Podge.  
  • I came across some very small letter beads that had been given to me by a family member years ago.  I invited the girls to use these letters on their necklaces.  Some of the girls chose to write "love," "bff," or their names.  We dabbed a little more Mod Podge around each of the letters, hoping they would dry securely.  A hairdryer was used to help with the drying process.  We let the necklaces dry completely as we continued with the meeting.  Before the girls left, we finished their necklaces.  They chose to use a ribbon, yarn, or parachute cord we had remaining from past projects.  We tied a cow hitch (knot) by making a loop in the middle of the ribbon and threading the loop through the middle hole of the washer.  We took the two ends of the ribbon and passed them through the loop, pulling the ends to tighten the hitch on the washer.  The girls were familiar with this knot because they used them when they made macrame bracelets last month. 

5:20pm   Morse Code.
Step 2 for the Junior Detective badge is "Communicate in Code."  My husband and I recently started watching Downton Abbey.  In the first minute of the first episode of the first season, I saw characters using Morse Code to relay the shocking message about the sinking of the Titanic.  Before the meeting, I cued up the clip so the girls could see Morse Code in action.   

One of our co-leaders shared this worksheet she had come across when preparing a homeschool lesson for her daughters: 

I printed copies of the worksheets.  Our girls used the Morse Code key on the worksheet to decipher the message to the captain of the Titanic.


During this portion of the meeting, we had some time to work on a handwriting activity.  Step 4 of the Junior Detective badge is "Try Out Detective Science."  I remembered using a book called Love Your Handwriting by Heidi Swapp when I was into writing titles for my scrapbook pages.  I modified one of Heidi's activities for our girls to work on during this meeting.  The girls played with their handwriting by writing the word trefoil in various ways.  Once they had completed the worksheet, they exchanged papers and examined the similarities and differences in their handwriting.

5:45pm   Braille.  
In this post, I described how our Brownies and Juniors learned about Braille.  During this meeting, they were able to complete some steps for the Brownie Senses badge and the Junior Detectives badge.

6:00pm   Closing.  Our girls love to end the meeting by singing "Make New Friends" and doing the friendship squeeze.

Please note that we don't always incorporate each of these components into every meeting.  It happened to work out this time, so I thought it was worth sharing on this blog.  Thank you for reading!

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