Thursday, July 11, 2013

Interlude: SWAPS and Sit-Upons

Alternate Title: Girl Scout Camp prep for the OCD Newbie

I’m taking a short break from my timeline (which is very difficult for my OCD by the way) to share our experiences preparing for Girl Scout camp for the first time while it’s still actually summer.   

Six of my eight girls were going to the same camp this year as well as one of the two girls joining the troop in the fall.  My husband was volunteering and my four year-old son and his friend going as tag-a-longs.  The camp started exactly a week after we got back from vacation and for that week I lived and breathed camp prep.  I went total Obsessed Crazy, with a capital “C”.  I’m still sad I couldn’t volunteer myself except for Friday (couldn’t get off work).

 The Friday before camp started we had a SWAPS/Sit-Upon making party for the girls going.  What follows is the two projects we did that day, then the SWAPs I made for my husband to hand out as the Fishing Instructor (which is funny because he doesn’t fish) and the very quick SWAP I made for my son so he wouldn’t feel left out on Friday.

The Itinerary for the party was:

  Gathering-Prep SWAPs

  Eat Pizza

  Finish prepping SWAPs

  Make Sit-Upons

  Make SWAPS

Note:  In case you’re a real newbie.  A Sit-Upon is something the girls bring with them to sit on so they don’t have to sit on the ground and a SWAP is a small something attached to a pin that the girls trade the last day of camp.
Official meaning of SWAPS


Supplies for 10 Sit-Upons

  1. 2 Vinyl 50x70 Tablecloths
  2. Roll of gimp (plastic lacing)
  3. Packing foam
  4. Elmer’s type glue or fabric  glue
  5. Heavy-duty hole punch
  6. Straight pins
  7. Sewing machine (for straps)

Pre-meeting prep:
(For Daisy Scouts.  Older Girls could do some or all of this on their own).

  1. Cut one tablecloth into twelve 20” squares and one into eight 20” squares. The extra fabric is for the straps.  (You could make 12 sit-ups if you left out the straps)
  2. Match up squares back to back (we used two different tablecloths so 8 had different patterns on each side) and pin in place
  3. Punch holes about every inch.  (You need a good hole-punch for this or the process is torture.)
  4. First step.  Holes should be a little closer together.
  5. Cut out packing foam sheets to fit inside.  Ours were thin and we used three sheets each.  (This is what we found in the house.  If you don’t have these be creative with your own stuffing or use newspaper).
    Packing foam
  6. Glue in the foam, just enough to keep it from bunching up.
  7. Pin back together
    Ready for the girls.
  8. Cut 10 strips out of left over fabric, at least 4”x 24.”  Sew together a long, inside-out tube with sewing machine.
  9. Reverse straps. 


  1. Allow girls to chose their lacing (if you have more then one color) and cut off longest piece they can manage. 
  2. Caution to be careful of pins and help girls triple knot gimp to the vinyl.
  3. Start Lacing.  We sat around a circle and once they had gotten the hang of the sewing, to keep their attention, we started a singing game.  They were so into the game that before we knew it the sewing was done and we were knotting the gimp (triple knot).


We planned to punch more holes and have the girls attach the straps themselves, but were running out of time.  We sent the Sit-Upons home with the straps and told the moms to attach them diagonally.

 I attached my daughters and several of the others myself.  I did this using the sewing machine, inserting the strap in between layers at the corner where the knots were tied and the then sewing over the gimp along the corner with a zigzag stitch to secure the gimp.  Then I repeated this on the opposite (diagonally) side.
Attached Strap.

Finished Sit-Upon, worn over the shoulder

A My Name is Alice Game

The game we played that had the girls so engrossed was “A My Name is Alice,” a game I played as a kid with clapping or ball bouncing.  Goes like this:

 A my name is Alice and my boyfriend’s name in Andy and we come from Alabama and we eat Apples.

Then the next person goes replacing the “A” words with “B” words.  Since my girls are young and would have had trouble being put on the spot we did this collaboratively.  I asked them to call out ideas for say “B” girl names, boy names, places and foods.  Then I picked the funniest ones and said it all together.  We got to K I think. For example a funny one they came up with:

 J my name is Jenny (a girl in our troop) and my boyfriends name is Jake and we come from Jail and we eat Jellybeans.

Had the girls laughing and engaged the whole time.  I’m using this when ever we’re waiting for anything.

“Lets go to the Movies”  SWAPs
Finished SWAPs

 The theme of this camp was “Hollywood,” in case you’re wondering.  


  1. Safety Pins
  2. 2”X2” zip lock bags (can get on Amazon)
  3. Scotch tape
  4. Labels stating “Lets go to the Movies”
  5. Popped popcorn
  6. A roll of yellow or gold tickets
  7. Movie theater candy that won’t melt ‘cause summer camp is HOT.  (We used Sour Patch Kids and Skittles).
  8. Gold Star confetti
  9. Movie shapes from card stock (I used Cricut and the “Movie Night on-line Cartridge”)
***And if you want to make your shapes super fancy…glitter, glue, sharpies, and white out.***

Pre-meeting prep:

  1. Make labels (I got three columns across on word) and cut them out.  Two inches across fits the baggies perfectly.
  2. Cut out shapes (or go buy stickers if you don’t have a Cricut or a thousand hours)

I made:  Gold 3D glasses, gray movie cameras, black movie clipboards (all from Movie Night cartridge) and red and blue slurpies (our favorite movie treat) (from elongating the basic cupcake pattern on Cricut.)

Cricut Cartridge

  1. Make samples, one per girl, to send home.

(This is the crazy OCD version that we came up with so the girls could be more creative and excited about the SWAPs.  You could just have the girls write their name and troop number on the back of the labels)

I had set up six stations around a table for my six girls to rotate through.  Once all the girls arrived, they rotated stations every five minutes or so.  We had a paper plate for each girl to carry her creations from station to station.

Station 1: Write name on the top half of the back of as many labels as they could.

Station 2:  Decorate Slushies- Markers to draw on a cup and glue and glitter to make top.

Station 3:  Decorate 3D glasses- option of drawing on black plastic with marker or gluing on black stars.

Station 4:  Write Troop number on bottom half of back of label.

Station 5:  Decorate Camera- with gold stars, confetti, glue and markers.

Station 6:  Decorate Clip board – white-out, gold and silver stars, and glue.

Sample pieces
Later in Meeting
We had laid out on table plastic bags, candy, popcorn, and extra shapes.  The girls were told to put four different items in each bag (mixing and matching made it more interesting) and make at least 30.  They all ended up with between 40 and 50.  Though to be fair, my most competitive kid (she’s a machine, man) did 71 and then gave her extras to some of the girls who had less.

They were each sent home with their stuffed bags, 50 safety pins, 50 yellow tickets, and 50 labels, including the ones they had already written their name on (guess which girl had done 51) and a sample.

After Meeting (for mom and girl to do together)

  1. Have girl finish names and troop number.
  2. Tape label onto top of bag.
  3. Pin ticket onto to each bag.

My daughter did a little of the taping and pinning, but I mostly did that while she was finishing up her writing. (She’s six).  Took maybe 30 minutes while watching a show on the Disney Channel.

More made by my daughter

Starfish SWAPS
These are the SWAPS that I so graciously made for my husband to give out on SWAPs day.  They are modeled after a lot of the fishing SWAPs I’ve seen on Pinterest, but instead of a fish it’s a star they catch cause it’s Hollywood camp, get it?  I know so funny, right?
  1. Safety Pins
  2. “2X2” zip lock bags (can get on Amazon)
  3. Labels stating “Catch a Star {clip-art of fish}”
  4. Paper or foam stars (again I used Cricut)
  5. Twine  (I used old crochet twine)
  6. Thick, but sharp needle (I used two: a small sharp needle and a blunt beading needle)
  7. Fine-point red and blue markers
  8. Toothpicks
  9. Glue
In various stages
  1. Print out labels on plain white paper and cut.
  2. Make your husband write his camp nickname on the back of all the labels until he’s ready to kill you.
  3. Cut out star shapes and punch out if using Cricut.
  4. Draw faces on each star (I would have used googly eyes if I hadn’t needed to make so many).
  5. Using needles, punch a hole on the top of each star.
  6. Cut off sharp edges of tooth picks.  I did 6 at a time with regular scissors.  Surprisingly easy.
  7. Cut 3 inch lengths of twine.
  8. Thread twine through star and tie.  Tie other end to toothpick.
  9. If you’re OCD, glue the twine to the end of the toothpick so it doesn’t slip.
  10. After glue dries, stuff the baggies.
  11. Pin label to top.

Finished SWAPS
“See you in Hollywood” SWAPs
Aka: SWAPs for the little brothers attending camp as tagalongs.
Note:  My 4 year-old son hates crafts with a fiery passion.  I think it’s a direct response to how much my daughter loves them.  All I asked him to do for these is pick out which foam stickers he wanted to use.
  1. Safety Pins
  2. Labels stating “See you in Hollywood!"
  3. Masculine colored ribbon
  4. Foam stickers of various modes of transportation (We had a huge bag left over from birthday parties that we got from Oriental Trading)
  5. Tiny Googly eyes
  6. Glue
  1. Print out labels on plain white paper and cut.
  2. Write name of child and year on back of labels
  3. Cut 1"-2" lengths of ribbon
  4. Peal back sticker backs and place in ribbon end.  Place sticker back back in place.
  5. Pin label to top of ribbon.
  6. Glue on Googly eyes for fun. 

After Notes:   I'm posting this after the last day of camp and my one exhausting day volunteering.  The girls loved it.  SWAPS went fabulously and he girls only complaint was that they ran out.  My husband was miserable about handing his out so I took his fishing hat and took over.  My four year old was surprisingly into SWAPing and his SWAPS were a hit.  The other little boys didnt have SWAPS and were kinda bummed.  The sit-upon s were neglected most of the week, but it rained today and they were lad of the protection from the mud.

Another camp in 3 weeks.  Stay tuned.


  1. This blog has given me so much hope and inspiration Im in the process of starting my own troop with a mix of girls from Daisys up to cadets. Will be an adventure. But I am very OCD my self. Love the blog cant wait to read more.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment. I had really hoped that all the crazy work we do for girl scouts could help others too. Knowing it helps makes it more fun to do.

      Good luck with your new troop. It’s hard, but so much fun too. :)