If my girls had decided to continue with a troop this fall, I'd have one Junior and one Cadette. Since they wished to earn badges on their own, I'm currently serving as a mentor for my two Juliettes. Last year, we had a split troop of Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts, so my younger daughter has already completed many of the Junior badge activities. We agreed it is best for our family for both girls to work on Cadette badges this year.
My older daughter recently completed the Good Sportsmanship badge. She competed with a swim team for the summer, and we talked about the badge steps as the season progressed. As many readers prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, I thought this was the perfect time to share her badge work with readers.
STEP 1: Create your own definition of sportsmanship.
Go to a sports event: Aside from the swim meets, our family attended several professional baseball games this summer. During a live sporting event, there are always great examples of good and bad sportsmanship being demonstrated by athletes, officials, and fans. She followed the suggestion on page 3 of the badge booklet and jotted down 5 ways to be and not to be a good sport.
STEP 2: Be a good competitor
Get a biography of a female athlete who's a great competitor: This was a tough decision for my daughter--Bethany Hamilton or Mo'ne Davis? She chose to borrow a biography from the library about Davis, the former Little League Baseball pitcher. After reading the book, she wrote a poem about the athlete as suggested on page 4 of the badge booklet.
When I needed to occupy my girls one day this summer, I suggested they make Bottle Buddies. My mom is a retired fifth grade teacher. Every year, she asked her students to read a book and create a Bottle Buddy out of a 2-liter bottle and craft supplies. Remembering those projects, I encouraged my daughter to create Mo'ne Davis. She used a plastic bottle, beads, yarn, felt, popsicle sticks, paint, markers, and googly eyes. Here is a picture of her Bottle Buddy. She added beads to Mo'ne's hair, recalling a story about the time when an umpire told her to remove the beads from her hair for a game because the opposing coach said they were a distraction.
Though my younger daughter has not yet chosen her biography for the badge, she also wanted to create a Bottle Buddy. She used a plastic bottle, felt, marker, googly eyes, and brown sugar to make Michael Phelps--love those abs. I'm sorry, she tells me this is Michael Felts. As you can see, this kid's quite a character.
Bottle Buddies make a great craft for Girl Scout troop meetings--for example, Daisies could earn their green petal as they use their resources wisely. (They are using recycled plastic bottles and supplies left over from previous crafts). I also think this could be a fun way to recognize Founder's Day or to celebrate Juliette Gordon Low's birthday. Maybe your girls could find a way to incorporate Bottle Buddies into Thinking Day. With so many Girl Scouts watching this summer's Olympic Games, making a favorite female athlete Bottle Buddy would be a fun way to kickoff the year.
STEP 3: Be a good teammate
Though incredibly long, swim meets are fun to watch. Not only are the swimmers competing against the other athletes in the pool, they are racing against the clock. Additionally, the teams are competing against each other. For the past four years, I've watched the kids on my daughter's swim team continually demonstrate good sportsmanship by encouraging and supporting each other. The girls will exchange high fives before mounting the blocks, and you can hear them say "good job" and "great swim" to each other as they climb out of the pool.
In addition to being a good teammate at the pool, my daughter was able to play "Capture the Flag" with some family friends at a recent gathering. As one of the older kids, she helped the group work as a team and kept the younger kids involved.
STEP 4: Psych yourself up
Mind over matter: Prior to prelims this summer, my daughter was aware of her seed in the tournament and the time she needed to beat to secure a place in Championships. We talked about visualizing her start, the strokes, turns, and a strong finish. I watched her mentally prepare as she waited to mount the starting block. We were ecstatic when she swam a personal best!
STEP 5: Put your definition of good sportsmanship into action
One of my favorite moments this season occurred just after a swimmer from another team touched the wall a fraction of a second before my daughter. When their heads popped out of the water and they saw the results of the race, the two ten-year-olds reached over the lane lines and grabbed hands.
Both girls will play basketball this winter, and my younger daughter will complete the badge requirements at that time.
We have quite a few badges on the list to complete this year. I hope you will check back as I hope to publish again soon. Thank you for reading.