Artist Meeting, mostly

My multi-level Troop met yesterday, and it was my first time being able to see the new leaders in action. They did wonderfully! And it was really nice to be able to sit with my new Fall Product Manager and make sure she was sure about things for her new role, and bring up the idea of being our Troop Cookie Manager (she said yes! Woooohooooo!). And I was able to talk to three new parents whose girls had just joined the Troop, explain how the Troop works, have them fill out paperwork, and see if they had any questions. 


Our new Daisy Leader had things easy, as her daughter was the only Daisy who showed up for the meeting. They did some jewelry making, and then I brought over one of my “back pocket” activities – the Barbie “I Can Be. . .” patch booklet. This proved to be pretty popular with the Brownies, too. Good thing I have several of those ready to pull out when they are needed. . .


Speaking of Brownies, they started working on their Artist Badge: Painting. I’m so excited, because my Brownie Leader came up with idea all on her own (with help from Pinterest, of course), and even collected the bottles for it.

 Rather than just making pink cherry blossoms, as shown in the original Pin, she said she wanted more color options for the girls so that they could be more creative – HIGH FIVE! The girls even made their own colors (I did not bring any green paint, but there are green leaves on the fabulous volcano-tree). 

Supplies recommendation: paper plates for putting paint on, paint brushes (for painting the tree), several colors of paint, an empty 22oz. soda bottle for each paint color, watercolor paper (which is nice and thick and sturdy). Supplies we should have brought? A plastic tablecloth to catch spills! No worries, though, the girls cleaned up after themselves. 


Our Juniors started their Artist Badge at this meeting, as well – Drawing. Unfortunately, because I had to figure out where I had cleverly hidden the mandalas I printed out, I had to pull out another activity – DYO pencil cases. Which they loved. Because it involved Sharpies. In 24 colors. So, they spent pretty much the whole meeting coloring and designing their pencil case – which still counts for the Drawing Badge! ūüôā


We had an astounding 8 Cadettes show up for this meeting! Since the Cadettes opted not to vote for the Comic Artist badge as one of the ones they wanted to earn, they started working on their Babysitter Badge. My Cadette Leader is using the River Valleys Activity Plans for this badge – because I don’t like reinventing the wheel, just changing the tires. ūüėČ

The Cadettes were also in charge of making Snack for this meeting: hummus and veggies. They got to talk about preparing healthy snacks for the kids they are babysitting, AND finish one step of the New Cuisines badge! I love finding legitimate ways of tying in multiple badges tigether. 

All in all, I think it was a successful meeting, and the girls all seemed to enjoy it. Have your girls started working on one of the Artist Badges?

Junior Drawing Badge – Mandalas

Want to try something new for the Junior Drawing Badge? ¬†How about teaching your girls how to draw mandalas? ¬†These have become very popular lately with the advent of those “adult coloring books” that are in every craft and book store.

In fact, you can even download a Girl Scout version from the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania Council!  I also like this butterfly one from Dover publications, since the butterfly is one of the symbols of Juniors.

As far as badge work goes, creating a mandala would fulfill Step 4, “Use your imagination like a graphic artist”, because it talks about creating logos and symbols, IMHO. ¬†And of ¬†course, if you choose to color pre-made mandalas (or other “adult coloring book” style images), have the girls play with different coloring mediums – colored pencils, crayons, markers. ¬†You could even try watercolor pencils, and then wash the images with water to see the colors blend into each other. ¬†This would satisfy Step 1, “Experiment with different materials”. To really bring Step 1 home, talk with them about how it is different to color with one material versus another.

And once your troop has created their mandalas? Before they color them, make copies.  Bind, or staple, or hole punch and make into a Troop coloring book!  Then they have not just their own mandala to color, but also one from each of their friends, as well.

Not sure about how to create a mandala, or how to teach 4th and 5th graders how to do it? ¬†Here’s a few great tutorials I found, from most complex to least complex:

What cool idea did YOU use for the Drawing Badge?

I’ve signed up to be a Troop Leader. Now what???

Congratulations! ¬†You did it! ¬†You volunteered to be a super important part of not just your own daughter’s life, but also the lives of a dozen or so other little girls.

You volunteered to be a Troop Leader.


First thing I want you to do is get a binder.  A big one, with good rings that click together nicely.  This is going to be the start of your Girl Scout Leader Binder, one of the most important tools you will have, so choose wisely Рor know that you will be getting a new one every year.  And if that works for you, great!

Then, print this out.  Using the worksheet, write down a few things you really want to do with your new Troop:

  • share Girl Scout traditions from your childhood
  • go camping
  • sell cookies
  • go on field trips
  • learn something cool
  • make new friends
  • keep the old
  • have an adventure
  • see things through another girl’s eyes
  • the list goes on and on and on!

Then, think hard about why you signed up.  The positives.

  • I had so much fun in Girl Scouts when I was a Brownie.
  • I’m a teacher and love working with kids.
  • I already know all of these girls, and they’re wonderful.
  • I want to be a mentor.
  • I want to help guide someone from Daisy to Ambassador.
  • I want to teach girls how to lead.
  • I want to learn how to lead, myself.
  • I want more self confidence.
  • I’m great at arts and crafts.
  • I think more girls (and kids) need to spend time outdoors.
  • I want a way to meet other adults with interests similar to mine, and maybe create a network for myself.
  • I really really really like s’mores.

These are all great reasons to become a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and I’m sure your reason is just as great! ¬†Write it down. ¬†Because you are going to forget. ¬†This enthusiasm you feel right now. ¬†In about four weeks, when you are actually looking at a dozen smiling cherubic, demonic little girl-faces, you are going to forget why on earth you ever volunteered to do this. ¬†All you are going to remember is the negatives. ¬†Maybe you felt strongarmed into volunteering at Rally Night (it shouldn’t be done, but I know it is). ¬†Maybe you feel unready, incapable.

Put this sheet with all of your reasons and goals into a sheet protector and stick it in your binder to remind yourself why you volunteered.  Take a picture of your Troop, print it out, and put in the same same sheet protector.  This is your WHY.

Next, let’s get to work on the HOW. ūüôā

Oh, and some other goodies for your binder?  Here you go!


You know that meeting?  The one that was all planned and was super easy, and all the girls had to do was DO IT.

Yeah that one.

The one they didn’t do.

No matter how many emails, how many texts, they didn’t do it. ¬†And you can’t make them. ¬† ¬†I mean, there are some days when you can barely get your own daughter to do her homework, right? ¬†To get someone else’s daughter to do homework that doesn’t even count for a grade??? ¬†Impossible, if they don’t want to do it.


Obviously, this happened at our meeting last night.  The girls said they wanted to finish the last two steps on the Cadette GS Way Badge.  We did not finish the last two steps of their Cadette GS Way Badge.  Nobody actually did the work.  And I told them that.  My co-leader pointed out that there would be an empty space on their vest, because of their lack of action.

Let them fail.

Your Older Girls need to realize that you are there cheerleader, their supporter, their friend, their Troop Leader. ¬†But we’re not here to do it for them. ¬†By the time they are in junior high/middle school, your girls are well aware of what responsibility means, and how they can take responsibility for what they say and do. ¬†Now is the time that they learn how to take responsibility for what they DIDN’T do.

Shiver me timbers.

So what does a Troop Leader do in this circumstance?  Well, we could have canceled the meeting, which would have certainly put the message out there, and next time we might just do that.  But it seemed a little passive aggressive right now, and we did need to meet in order to:

  • pass out the bridging badges I forgot to pick up last week for our ceremony.
  • pass out Fall Product Sale materials and explain it to the girls who hadn’t been in Girl Scouts until last year.
  • remind the girls about the garage sale we are hosting this weekend.
  • have my daughter do a run through of her Destinations presentation she will be doing on Saturday.
  • finish constructing and decorating the bucket sit-upons from our first meeting this year.

It turned out to be a good meeting, if not what was on the schedule.

Also, Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys!! ūüėČ

Carlsbad Caverns

We had a wonderful adventure exploring Carlsbad Caverns. We decided we would take a ranger guided tour, to the King’s Palace, then explore the Big Room on our own along the self guided tour (after lunch).

Would I recommend taking your Troop here? It depends on the Troop. here are some things to consider:

  • The entrance to the caverns is on the top of a mountain in the Guadalupe Mountains. So my acrophobia was triggered on the road up and walking in the parking lot – you might have girls who are similarly nervous. 
  • It’s a cave. If you have girls who don’t deal well with dark, or confined areas, this might not be a good trip for them. Although, I will say that the Big Room actually did not have many places where that might be an issue. It’s called the Big Room for a reason. The King’s Palace tour, though, might trigger fear in these types of girls. There were several tight squeezes and once the Ranger turned out all of the lights to let us be in the natural cave. 
  • It’s BIG. Each tour was about 1.5 miles. Some of it steep(ish).
  • Make sure it’s something your girls are interested in. This goes without saying, right? 

We also watched the bat flight. This is when the HUGE colony of Brazilian Free Tailed bats emerges from their roosts in the caverns at dusk. It is an amazing sight to watch thousands upon thousands of bats fly over your heads. No pictures, though. They are not allowed. I highly recommend this if you come for a visit, with the following caveats:

  • It takes a long time for thousands and thousands and thousands of bats to emerge from the cave. We were watching for 45 minutes. 
  • You have to be silent and still as you can be so as not to startle the bats. 

Have YOU been to Carlsbad Caverns? Have you taken your Troop? What was your favorite part?