Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Girl Scout Juliettes

In the fall, I posted our plans for the school year.  At that time, many of the girls in our troop planned to participate in other extracurricular activities which placed greater demands on their time.  Some changes needed to be made to retain our membership.  We were so happy we were able to accommodate schedules, and we did not lose any girls this year.  As our older girls prepare to start Junior High this fall, I imagine they will be faced with some tough decisions. 

Speaking of tough decisions...after serving for six years, I decided to step down as troop leader.   I am focusing my time and energy on a special project I hope to have completed by the end of the summer.  Please stay tuned for an announcement about this project. 
While my daughters will not be involved in troop activities next year, they will be registered as Juliettes.  I will mentor their badge work, and continue to share our experiences here.  I have truly enjoyed connecting with other leaders through this blog.  I hope you consider checking back with us as we start on this new adventure in Girl Scouting.  Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Girl Scout Bridging Event

This spring, our combined troop of Brownies and Juniors were ready to bridge to the next level of Girl Scouts.  When talking with the girls about the occasion, they made it clear they did not want to have a ceremony, nor did they wish to invite family members to attend our event.  But they did love the idea of doing something special.  We agreed to schedule an evening trip downtown (Cincinnati).  The girls wanted to cross the Ohio River on the Suspension Bridge before celebrating the occasion with a sweet treat from Coldstone Creamery in Newport, Kentucky.

Since we had already scheduled an evening service project at the Fisher House in April, we agreed we could extend the evening and head downtown after cleaning up the planting project. 

After reviewing the budget, we leaders knew we had enough money in the troop account to allow the girls to order a small ice cream with the one complimentary topping of their choice ($4.54)Troop funds also covered the cost to park in the garage adjacent to Newport on the Levee ($2/car on this specific evening).
When we reviewed our expenses for the year, we realized we had some money remaining from our Bake Sale in the fall.  That money had had been promised to the men and women who have served our country.  Our girls voted with their families, and we decided all remaining troop funds be donated to the Bake Me Back Home project with Bake Me HomeOur donation will deliver a jar of cookie mix and 48 baked cookies to the Fisher House every week for one month.  

Seems like it was yesterday when they were Daisies.  Please check back soon.  I will share our plans for the future in my next post.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Service Project: Planting Flowers for Veterans at Fisher House

For the final service project of the year, our troop served our Veterans and their families.  When we finished our badge work during meetings this winter, we pulled out cardstock and markers and let the girls decorate.  The cards were delivered to guests staying at the Fisher House when we planted flowers there  this spring.

At our school's Open House this fall, our girls hosted a Bake Sale.  All proceeds were to benefit Veterans and their families staying at the Fisher House.  Note:  For our Cincinnati-area friends, contact the House Manager directly when trying to schedule a service project.  We were originally working through her, but somehow one of our messages was routed through Volunteer Services.  I placed multiple calls and left many messages for them, but we couldn't get answers.  I was eventually able to get back in touch with the House Manager, and she promptly scheduled a date for our visit.

Prior to this event, our co-leader and I visited the House and assessed the needs.  There were two corner boxes and two round planters on the front porch.  We decided on the number of red, white, and blue flowers to purchase and made a note to pick up plastic gloves and top soil.

One April evening, we carpooled to the Fisher House and got to work.  The girls removed the dead mums that remained in the planters from the fall.  They added topsoil to the planters and arranged the new annuals as desired.  After cleaning up, the Fisher House had a fresh look for spring.

The girls raised the money on their own and made these improvements themselves.  They were quite proud of this accomplishment, knowing the beautiful flowers may brighten the day for others in need.  After cleaning up, we headed downtown for a Bridging Event.  I invite you to check back soon as I'll be sharing those details in my next post.  Thank you for reading.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Exploring Beneath the Surface: Hidden River Cave and Mammoth Cave Tours

A friend of mine was heading to Kentucky over Spring Break on a research trip, and she invited my mom, my girls, and me to join her.  Knowing my husband would be working those days, we jumped at the chance to explore with her.

We headed toward Horse Cave, Kentucky, on Good Friday morning.  We were hoping to visit Detweiler's Country Store, but they were closed for the holiday.  We altered our plans and visited R&S Salvage Groceries.  We ordered our sandwiches and purchased our favorite Amish baked goods.  Later in the day we arrived at Hidden River Cave in time to take a tour.  

We chose the Public Guided Cave Tour.  Reservations are not necessary.  Upon our arrival, we paid admission ($15 Adults, $10 Children ages 6-14, Free for kids under age 5).  The admission fee includes access to the American Cave Museum.  We did not check it out the exhibits because we only had to wait about 10 minutes for the next tour to begin.  Our party joined another family and we were escorted to an elevator that took us to a short walkway that led to the mouth of the cave.  Another tour group was zip lining across and rappelling into this sinkhole.

We began our hour-long tour by descending the 230 stairs into what was once the most polluted cave in the country.  Great efforts have been made to restore the cave, and the American Cave Conservation Association continues to improve the experience for guests.  At the bottom of the steps, we were led along a bridge that crossed a river.  Just over the dam, we entered a cavernous room where we saw a variety of formations and were introduced to an albino cave crayfish.  This tour was really cool!

The next morning we headed over to Mammoth Cave for the Frozen Niagra Tour.  We planned to join the 10am (CST) tour.  Thankfully we purchased our tickets in advance!  Upon our arrival around 9:30am, ALL tours for the day were SOLD OUT with the exception of the self-guided tour for which $5 tickets were being sold.  As we waited at the Visitor Center to load the bus to take us to the entrance of the cave, we picked up the Junior Ranger guide books for my girls.  At ages 9 and 10, they completed the activities in the books to earn the 12 points required for a Junior Ranger badge.  A couple years ago, the girls earned their Junior Ranger badges at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore along with a badge and a patch that we sewed on the back of their Girl Scout vests.  When they turned in their books at the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center , they received the Junior Ranger pin and a certificate.  Unfortunately, the park did not provide the patch for free, but we were able to purchase one from the gift shop for $5.95.  There were several patches from which to choose.  While the patches were a little more expensive than I was hoping to spend, I wanted the girls to have something to remember our time together.  These are the two patches my girls selected:

The Frozen Niagra tour was breathtaking.  I'm 5'7" tall.  Even though there were a couple areas when I had to duck or swivel sideways for a step or two, I never felt claustrophobic.  The cave is well-lit.  At one point, our amazing guide turned off the light so that we could experience being in complete darkness.  Though it was pitch black for only a minute, this could be frightening for someone who is afraid of the dark.  For perspective, there were several families in our group who had toddlers and preschoolers, and these children were fine during the blackout.  What a fun road trip for families, friends, and Scout groups!  This could be a great way to spend some of the money earned through the Girl Scout Cookie Sale.  I hope to return to Mammoth Cave as a family in the near future so we can go on the Domes and Dripstones tour.  

The girls in our troop recently finished their last service project for the year before attending a Bridging event.  I will share all the fun details in my next post.  As always, thank you for reading.