Reaching a Summit

Summit pin

Brownie Journey Summit Award

It’s a good thing that Anna is bridging to Juniors in August, because her Brownie vest is almost full! Together with the other brownies in her troop, Anna completed the World of Girls Journey in April. And in doing so, she also earned the Journey Summit Award for completing all three journeys.

world of girls badges

World of Girls Badges

We organized a condensed version of the World of Girls Journey, completing a badge each week, and finishing the whole journey in a month.

Week One: Hear a Story. We assigned a single story in the World of Girls book to each girl the week before, and they told the stories to their fellow Brownies during our first World of Girls Journey meeting. Then we “flew” around the room, traveling to where each story took place (Jordan, Thailand, and Nunavut, Canada) and talked about the ways people in each country shared stories. We created a story of our own using “Tell Me a Story” cards, and we finished with an “All About Me Limbo,” where each girl said something unique about herself while walking under a foam pool noodle.

Week Two: Change a Story (Part One). We talked about the stories from Week One, this time focusing on how each story could be changed. We then talked about stories in our own community and ways in which we could change them. Together, we decided to take some of the money we raised through cookie sales, and give it back to the community by going to a nearby St. Vincent de Paul and buying children’s books for kids staying at a local domestic abuse shelter.

Week Three: Change a Story (Part Two) and Tell a Story (Part One). We met at St. Vincent’s and spent about a half hour shopping for books. Each girl picked out five picture books and five chapter books at $0.50 each ($5 per girl charged to the troop account). Then each girl selected one of the books she chose, and agreed to write a short paragraph about why she selected it.

Week Four: Tell a Story (Part Two) and World of Girls. The girls each completed the “Tell a Story” step by recording their paragraph on their favorite book on video. Then we got out white poster sheets and colored pencils, and each girl made a bright and happy picture to cheer up the families living at the shelter. This last activity brought the journey to a close.

Two weeks later, we held our Cookie Celebration and handed out all the awards that the girls earned during Cookie Season. First, we called up all the Brownies and awarded them the two Cookie Business badges and the two Financial Literacy badges. As you can see, she went from two full rows of badges to almost three in one night!

Brownie badges

Four new cookie badges!

Then after the Juniors received their badges, each girl came up individually and received her patches and prizes based on the number of cookies sold. Everyone who sold cookies earned at least one patch, a certificate, and a prize. Anna, as top seller, got the most awards, the most prizes (tied with the top selling Junior), and a special certificate.

Cookie fun patches

Check out all the patches!

Ten fun patches total, just from cookie season, and as I said before her vest is almost full.

We're running out of room!

Just a little space left in the corner.

For being in Brownies only a year, and talking half that time to find a stable troop, she’s done a fantastic job. We’re so proud of her.

Reaching Her Goal

Anna in our van with all the cookies

Photo: Julia Ozab

Anna’s first cookie season with Girl Scouts is drawing to a close. We had no idea how well she would do or how tiring it would be for all of us, but it is almost over.

At the start of pre-orders in January, she set a goal of 400 boxes. We weren’t sure if she would make it, but we were determined to help her in any way we could. Anna made cookie pre-order posters for Julia to take into her office, and I reached out to friends, family, and colleagues online. She sold more than 100 boxes before the end of the first pre-order period, and then hit 200 the day booth sales were set to begin.

She was already half-way there. Then came the first weekend. This is the hot time for Girl Scout cookies. People are seeing booths outside stores for the first time in a year, and the sales are huge.

By Sunday afternoon, she broke the 300 mark. But it was wearing on her, and us, and the rest of the troop.

Still we were so close, and we had four booths the following weekend. We knew her goal was within reach.

She sold her 400th box at her second booth on Saturday afternoon and after Sunday she’s closing on on 450. We have two more booth scheduled–one tonight and the other on Saturday. She has a great shot of hitting 500 and being the top seller in her troop.

For her first sale, it’s a great accomplishment. And a reminder to me and to all of us. You never know what you can do until you try, but if you don’t try you’ll never find out.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,” and through him “all things are possible.

Cheerleaders of Faith

Learning to Lead

courage, confidence, and character

It’s been less than a year since Anna joined Girl Scouts, and yet she is the most experienced Brownie in our troop. This wasn’t the plan. When she joined last April we hoped to find an active Brownie troop with at least some girls who had started as daisies. We figured that their experience would help guide Anna, since she (and we too) were new to Girl Scouts.

For many reasons that I won’t go into, it did not work out that way. Instead, Anna is by far the most experienced Brownie in her troop, and that’s okay.

She has stepped up to the challenge.

It took three tries to find the right troop. But when we joined in October there was one small problem. Anna was the only Brownie. So in November, she help us lead a Brownie information night where she showed off her badges and patches, and taught everyone to make jewelry with multicolored rubber bands and a plastic fork. Four brownie joined after the info night and we now have a good Brownie group.

Girl Scout Law

Since everyone but Anna was new to Brownies, we started the Brownie Quest journey in December. Anna has been a great girl leader through the whole process, helping the other girls learn the Girl Scout Law (above), participating in all the activities, and finishing all her “homework” on time.

In January, we took a field trip to an orthodontists office. Anna was able to overcome her own shyness about her braces and share her own experience with the other girls in the troop (Cadettes, Juniors, and Brownies). She even showed off her “mouth jewelry” to everyone.

Flag of Brazil

And in February, Anna learned the samba as part of our World Thinking Day activity, and made both a Brazilian flag and a poster of Brazil facts for our booth at our service unit’s World Thinking Day event. Anna shared her knowledge of Brazil, danced some, and took a turn playing the maracas.

As I watch her engaged in all these activities, her vest covered in badges and patches, it’s easy to forget that she’s been a Girl Scout for only ten months. She’s taken to it, and she’s already learning to lead.

And that reminds me how quickly we all can go from student to teacher, and from learner to leader. It also reminds me that we are always doing a bit of each in life—leading and following, teaching and learning—and we’ll continue to do so as long as we want to keep growing.

Cheerleaders of Faith

Another Badge Update

Brownies can do anything

Anna’s Brownie badge progress has slowed up a bit since the start of school. We had to switch troops once again in October, but now we’re settled into an excellent troop with a great leader who also happens to be a very good friend. So it’s time to start ironing and sewing again …

Making Games (January 22).

Making Games (1/21/15).

Anna began this badge at a Girl Scout Halloween/Juliette Low Birthday Party last October. She created a party game called Pin the Hat on the Brownie Elf, a mystery touch-box game, and a find-the-differences picture game.

Then at our troop party in December, she taught everyone a variation of Four Corners called “Trefoil.” Instead of separating into four groups, the girls split into three. And instead of the number called being “out,” the other two are. The goal of the girl who’s it (Anna) is to eliminate everyone. The goal of the other girls is to be the last one left.

Finally, at our meeting last night, Anna introduced a brand-new sport she invented called “Cookie Relay.” The nine girls split into three teams and ran a relay. The first girl in each team had to pick out a cookie based on a description, the second girl had to make correct change from a collection of play money, and the third girl had to find an appropriate hello, thank you, or cookie description. The first team to finish (without making a mistake) wins. Everyone enjoyed the game and learned important cookie-selling skills too.

Computer Expert (1/22/15)

Computer Expert (1/22/15)

Anna started this one at the beginning of January and is all set to finish it tonight. The first step in this badge is by far the most important—reading and signing an Internet Safety Pledge. After that, she created a picture in a paint app on her iPad, looked up a bird she saw in our backyard and correctly identified it, and researched Brazil to prepare for World Thinking Day next month.

This evening, she’ll write  “thank you” emails for her birthday presents and assemble a five-song playlist to share at her next Brownie meeting. And that will complete her Computer Expert badge.

 

Brownie Quest badges

Brownie Quest (in progress).

Finally, there’s our current journey, Brownie Quest. The Brownies in Anna’s troop are working on this set of badges together. Last month, we completed the requirements for the first two keys—Discover and Connect—and last night we brainstormed ideas for a community service project to complete the third key. The plan is to pick a project next week and try to complete it before booth sales start.

Brownie Cookie Badges

Wait! I almost forgot about Cookie Badges!