After you have been in Girl Scouts a few years, this badge could easily get a little boring to earn. While I do go over the basics first thing every year for the new girls, I try to find a way to get the more experienced girls to have fun and learn something as well. I think this is a really good badge to start the year as it is a refresher for past members and a welcome for the new ones. Many activities are things we do almost every meeting so even girls who may miss a night will make them up.
The experienced girls teach many of these activities to the younger girls. Since we are a multi-level Troop I have the advantage. If you are not, the girls can make a video to share with new leaders or posters new troops can use.
Girl Scout Handshake: This requires shaking with your LEFT hand while the right hand is raised with the Girl Scout Sign It should be used every time you hand out awards.
Girl Scout Sign: This is holding up your right hand with an open palm facing out. It is used when saying the Promise and the Law as the 3 fingers stand for the 3 parts of the Promise.
Girl Scout Quiet Sign: When you need the room to quiet down you hold it up and as girls see your hand up, they will hold up theirs and be quiet. The proper way is to use the open hand, however many learned to use the Girl Scout Sign. Ultimately whatever gets the girls to quiet down is what you use, but be aware some leaders have very strong opinions on the matter.
We always do some sort of craft to reinforce the Law to the girls. An item they can take home and use to remind them of what Girl Scouts is all about. We have done bookmarks, bracelets, necklaces, water bottles and bandannas.
Color Guard: How the flags are presented to a group.
Plan Investiture – How new girls are welcomed into Girl Scouts.
Sit-Upons: An item intended to…..well…..sit upon. There are 3 basic types. The bucket version, the newspaper version and the pocket version. You can use them at meetings or send them home with the girls. The tradition goes back decades and started with the Brownies.
Levels: As I run a multi-level Troop it is important the girls understand who is in which level and why. For the older girls, I also make sure they understand the opportunities they will have that the younger do not.
Founders Day – Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scout in March of 1912 and her birthday was on Halloween so this is a good time for the girls to learn about her and plan a party. Or they can take part in a Service Unit or Council event that does.
Friendship Circle: A traditional way to close a meeting by holding hands in a circle and singing Make New Friends.
SONGS;There are many songs that were written just for Girl Scouts but there are also many we sing simply because they are fun. We try to do at least 1 a meeting and the girls can take turns leading it. I have a large selection if they want to try something new. Of course, we also sing Make New Friends in the friendship circle.
CLEANUP All girls must help with cleanup at every meeting. This includes things that may have been a mess when we arrived. We do not have to pay for where we meet and this is how we say thank you. When the weather is nice we might even do a litter patrol outside.
The girls also begin voting on activities for the year. This leads into the financial badge, but they need to understand this is THEIR Troop and we do what THEY want to do as long as we can afford it.
Finally, we vote on positions within the Troop.
It can seem to be the same badge year after year, but I believe as long as we change how we learn those subjects and the older girls begin to teach them to the younger ones, they have fulfilled the requirements for this badge. The idea is for them to feel connected with Girls Scouts past and present in a way that if fun.