Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Safety Center Field Trip

Second week in March

A Safety Center (in case you don't have one in your area) is simply a building that houses both the local sheriff's deputies and the fire station.  Ours actually shared a conference room and since they are in the middle of an enormous residential area with a ton of kids were very used to giving kids talks there.  We did a 45 minute tour/talk with the police and about 30 minutes with the fire department.  It was pretty awesome!

Safety Center

The plan was to go to a local park after and have the girls play while we did our "safety test" individually.  But all good plans... it snowed earlier that week and we moved that part to my house.  Less fun, but it worked.

Goal and Badges:

This field trip was designed to tie into the Magenta "Respect Authority" Petal.  We also used it as an opportunity to get the Safety Pin.  The Police taught the girls about "911" and what to do if an adult is chocking or in trouble and the Fireman went over "Stop, Drop, and Roll."
Daisy Safety Pin

Sheriff's Department

We met with the Sheriff's deputies first.  They brought us into the conference room and talked to the girls about the role of deputies in our community, when and how to get their help of the girls needed it, and all about "911."  The deputies also talked for a while about when it was appropriate to call 911 and when it wasn't.  Apparently, they get quite a few calls when a sibling is being "mean" to them.

Then they showed them around the station, including dispatch, a holding cell (their favorite part), their break room and the garage with the police cars.  They let the girls look inside the car and set off the different sirens.  They even let the girls see some of their gadgets like the radar gun.  At the end, they got magnets and sheriff's badge stickers to take home.

Fire department

Next, one of the firemen came to show the girls around (wow, those firemen were young.  Made me feel old.)  First they brought the girls into their big garage and showed them their equipment and the fire truck.  (They didn't get to go on.  I'm not sure why.  My daughter was acting up at this point and I was dealing with her.)  The fireman (kid) taught the girls a little bit about fire safety and "stop, drop, and roll."  

Then he showed us around their kitchen (um... a million times nicer then the sheriff's department's which had a refrigerator, a microwave, and a soda machine), their enormous rec room with reclining chairs and beautiful murals, and their impressive work-out room.

By this time the girls' patience was wearing thin and they were taking turns being a pain in the rear.  It was time to give them a snack pack and head back to my house.

Safety Pin/ Safety Test

Some of you my have read the word "test" as I've been mentioning this and thought "Whoa now, this is Daisy Scouts not school!  Isn't a test a little much?"  I do agree that Girl Scouts should not be a pressure thing.  These kids have enough of that put on them already, but we thought the Safety Pin was important enough to do a little differently.

In general, even though we have homework sheets, for the previous badges and patches if the girl showed up they got the petal or patch.  For the Safety Pin the girls actually had to prove that they knew the material.  We tried to make it as low stress as possible and to set the girls up for success.  We sent the mothers the test weeks before to go over with their daughters.   And we made the test optional.  In other words, if you wanted the pin you could take the test.  If you didn't want to take the test, you didn't get the pin, but that was perfectly fine and no one would put pressure on them to go for the pin.  If they didn't pass the test they could retake it until they did.

This is the test we gave the girls:

Question and answer key

Safety Test 

First, we asked the girls for volunteers, then I took them upstairs in pairs (yes, there was another adult in the room per gs regulations) and asked the following the questions.  I would prompt them for the first two questions if they weren't able to answer immediately, but they needed to know their phone number (the mom's told me ahead of time which number they were memorizing) and their street address all by themselves. 

1. Q: Girls will be asked “What do you do if your clothes catch on fire?”
     A: They need to say, “Stop, Drop, and Roll” and demonstrate this.

This was something the girls had just done with the fire department, so not that hard.  We did have them actually do the "stop, drop and roll."  Some girls were faster to jump to it then others but overall I didn't have any problems with this question.

2. Q:  Girls will be asked “What do you do if you think someone is choking?”
     A:   They need to say “Ask are you ok?”  If the person choking can’t answer then the girl has to say, “Get a grown up.”
         Q:   What do you do if it is the only grown up there
         A:    Girls say "Dial 911”

So to be honest, we had trouble deciding what to do here.  'Cause really I'm not teaching a five year-old the Heimlich Maneuver.  That's just ridiculous.  This is what we came up with and I think it's pretty reasonable.  It also applies to other situations when an adult is just not OK.

This was probably the most fun for the girls because they got to take turns pretending to be the person choking and allowing their partner to try to figure out if she could talk.  Then we would go through the sequence of things they should do.  This loosened them up a bit for the hard part.

3. Q:  Know their address. 
       A:  They need to know street address, and “Home Town, Virginia.”  They don’t need to know the zip code.  

We didn't require their zip code, because, really, if they were lost no one was going to ask their zip code.  Also our street numbers are long.  With five numbers for their street address and nine for the phone numbers that's a lot to memorize.   

Many of the girls had trouble with their town, funny enough, though since they did the test in pairs, usually at least one girl would know it. Some times they needed prompts like "what do we call our pool, or what does mommy say when she says we live in ____."  I did have the explain which was the state and which was the town quite often, but, hey, they're little.  We let that slide.

4. Q:  Know their Phone number
                 A: They need to know one phone number (let me know which one it will be).  They should be able to enter it into a phone and know the number without prompting.

This was the one I was strictest about.  I wanted all the girls to be able to call their mom or dad at any time, for safety sake.  I was going to let them actually call home on my cell, but we ran out of time. 

I regretted teaching them a little when my daughter started calling me at work just to say she missed me or to ask if she could have this or that.  Oh well, at least I know she knows it and I got a few cute voicemails out of it.

In the end, all the girls got their pin.  Only one didn't get it that first day.  She froze and couldn't answer the last two questions.  She didn't seem too upset though and got her pin during the next meeting after practicing at home a little more.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Daisy Scout Meeting Ten

First week in  March 2013

This particular meeting was a little crazy.  I had a very clear plan to finish up the Purple Petal and start the the Magenta Petal, "Respect Authority."  We also had a guest coming from a local program Plant A Row that works with people from our county to grow fresh produce for charity.  This would set up the next meeting to return to the Garden Journey.

Plant A Row Brochure

I can't remember if I blogged about it, but we gave the girls a choice of two "Amazing Daisy Projects": Plant a flower garden at the local Safety Center or grow a vegetable garden in the backyard and give the produce to a local food bank.  They chose the vegetable garden (which was probably obvious from the previous paragraph.)

Anyway, when I was inquiring as to which food banks took fresh produce I ran upon this lovely woman who not only told us where to bring our stuff but offered to give us seeds and talk to the girls.  My Co-lead and I thought this would be awesome so I asked her to come to the meeting directly before the meeting where we planned to start indoor planting so we would have the seeds ahead of time.  What I didn't realize until the day of was that our guest intended to plant with my girls.  Luckily, I had planned that next meeting too and a few hours ahead I rearranged our schedule so we flip-flopped about two-thirds of the meeting with the next.  

I felt frazzled the entire meeting from the last minute switch, but looking back it was a really great meeting and the girls didn't notice a thing was amiss.  They handled the mix of topics really well.

Goal and Badges:        

Finish working on Purple Petal, "Respect Myself and Others," and reintroduce the Garden Journey.  Do some work on Cookie Activity Pin and set up plan for earning Safety Pin.  Have a guest and earn the Watering Can Award.

A Note on Pins:  While leafing through the Daisy Handbook I ran into the Safety Pin and Cookie Activity Pin.  I won't lie, the thing that attracted to me at first was that they got pinned on the front of the vest and moved up with the girls from rank to rank (so it looked cool and satisfied my obsessive need to get every award.). 

After a little research we discovered that we only had 2 steps left to get the Cookie Activity pin. Cookie Activity Pin Requirements.  We had to practice our "Elevator Speech", i.e... if a potential customer says they already bought Girl Scout cookies or that they're on a diet the girls were to say "then would you like to donate a box to the troops."  We worked on this step  individually at booth sales.  (And it really sold more cookies when we did.)  The last requirement we hadn't fulfilled was to "Discuss how living by the Girl Scout Promise and Law applies to what you should do in the Girl Scout Cookie Program as a  Business Women." This step we did in this meeting.  

And the Safety Pin, well, that was stuff we really wanted the girls to learn.  I'll explain exactly what we did with this at the end and in the next blog.

* * * * * * *

Daisy Scout Meeting March 1

Arrival:                Gathering- 1.  Sign Thank You
                                            2.  Pour water on pellets
                                                         3.  Cut out pictures of ways you respect yourself and put in bag

4:10                      Daisy Circle- Daisy Promise  NEW SONGS
                           Go through law and booth/guest
Present bag 
Water team garden

4:20                      Learn Gardening Song

4:30                     Talk about Seeds
                            Read story and eat snack

5:00                     If time Garden Craft and/or garden scamper
5:10                     Ceremony and Songs

5:25                     Closing Circle, learn address and phone number

* * * * * * *

Gathering Activities

Sign Thank You Note
Our original lesson plan on "Respect" had a section or the girls making Thank You Cards for all of our past Field Trips.  That was postponed, but I really wanted the girls to have one for the lady who was visiting that day.  In the interest of time, I let my daughter decorate the front of the card while she was waiting for the other girls to arrive.  Then the girls had to sign the card before they could do their other activities.  Some of them drew a little flower or heart as well.

Prepare Soil/Amazing Daisy Project
The overall plan for our Amazing Daisy Project was for the girls to plant the vegetable seeds indoors, in March for the slow growing seeds and April for the quick growing seeds.  Then we transplanted them  into the garden at the beginning of May and the girls took turns harvesting and delivering the vegetables to the Food Bank over the summer (now).

I've started many seeds indoors, flower and vegetable, and the best way is a seed starter pack like this:

The soil disks are low mess and the container is great for quick germination.  I also have a germination warming mat and  a growl light which do produce more and larger plants but you can be completely successful by placing the kit over the refrigerator until the seeds germinate and moving them to a bright, draft free window once seedlings appear.  
Heat Mat I use
Grow light I use.  From Amazon.

For the gathering, after signing the card, each girl got 8 soil disks and a tubberwear container.  We had them place the disks in the container then pour a cup of water on top and put it aside.  In 5-10 minutes (after their last gathering activity) they could come back and see how they expanded to 5x their size into a fluffy seed starter mix.

This isn't my photo but a good image of the dry and wet disks.

Make Respect Yourself Bags
After their two quick assignments the girls went to the craft room where they each took a paper lunch bag (I think I had blue in the house).  Then there were a pile of family friendly magazines, scissors, glue sticks, construction paper, and colored pencils. 

The girls were asked to cut out or draw things they do to show they respect themselves and put them in the bag.  We shared what they came up with at circle.

Supplies for Respect Myself Bag

Daisy Circle:

Music for "Amazing Daisy" 
We also decided to start teaching the girls more songs. (Wow, we did a lot of new things this meeting. No wonder I was frazzled.)  We started by just playing this song while the girls came to circle.  I don't think we ever "taught" the words, but every single one of them knows it by heart now.  Some of them even taught it to their friends at Girl Scout Camp.

This song is from "Girl Scouts Greatest Hits Vol. 11". The album is $9.99 on iTunes and but the song is free from this site.  I thoroughly Recommend the album.  

Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden

Welcome to the Daisy Flower garden!
Here you'll find all you need to grow the flower of possibilities,
The sun and the rain and the honey bees,
make the world a better place, Amazing Daisies!

Welcome to the Daisy Flower garden!
Here you'll find all you need to grow the flower of possibilities,
The sun and the rain and the honey bees,
make the world a better place, Amazing Daisies!

The Promise Leader led the Promise and then we went around the circle saying presenting their respect bag.  Each girl showed 1-2 things they had inside and how that showed self-respect.

We talked a little bit about the guest who was coming and how we should show respect to our guest (sitting quietly, raising hand to ask questions, listening etc..). Then I pulled out our Girl Scout Law poster and we went through the laws one by one and I asked the girls to think of something that applied each when with either meeting a guest or hosting a cookie booth (cookie booths started the next day).  

This activity went surprisingly well and we checked off another "to do" for our Cookie Activity Pin.

Learn "Planting Time"
After talking a little bit about how we were going back to our Garden Journey today and starting our garden we got the girls to their feet to learn this little hand motion song.  This is another song they love and know by heart.

Planting Time
(Sung to tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")

Dig, dig, dig the earth
(Make Digging motion)
Then you plant your seeds
(Pretend to drop in seeds)

A gentle rain
(Flutter Fingers Down)

And bright sunshine
(Circle Arms over head)

Will help your flowers Grow
(Hold One Arm parallel to the ground and 
move the other arm up behind it with fingers 
extended to represent a flower growing)

Snack and Story Time

After handing out snack, we used this story time as a review, since they hadn't heard the Garden Girls story since the beginning of the year.   My co-leader started reading at the beginning of the book and read until our guest arrived (she got a bit lost and was a tiny bit late).  My co-lead got through about two chapters.  We asked the parents to retread chapter 3 at home before the next time we worked on the journey (April) so we could pick up with chapter 4.

Guest and Planting

Once our guest arrived things went surprisingly smoothly, which I'm sure is more to our guests credit than mine.  We ushered the girls into the craft room where I had set out each girls tubberwear with their sets of soil pods, now fluffy and moist.

Our guest talked about feeding the hungry and how important it was for them to get healthy vegetables to eat.  She told them for every 13lbs we grew it would feed someone for a week!   Then she asked them questions and they talked about basic plant and garden care.  She even brought us pots made out of newspaper, though we didn't use them.  I kept them to use for transplanting later.

The girls attention did wander a bit while she was talking but came back with lazer focus when she pulled out her seeds. She brought a whole pile of organic seeds for us.  She would explain each type as we'd hand them around.  Each girl was to plant 2-3 seeds per pod, only one pod per type per girl and then we would collect them as they finished, keeping them labeled.  We planted tomatoes (5 different types) green peppers, eggplant, lettuce and spinach.  I gladly accept seed packets for cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, peas, carrots and several types of beans to plant in April (except the carrots which needed to be sowed directly in the soil.) 

The seeds only need to be pressed ino the pod with one finger and lightly squeezed to cover with soil. They do not need to be watered at all until after germination takes place. (About two weeks for most of these.)

New seedlings (though I'm pretty sure these are the April ones).

Tomato and basil plants a month old just before I transplant them to the newspaper pots

Just post transplant in newspaper pots

Our set up

 (If you were wondering if we had time for the Garden Craft or scamper ... we didn't).

Watering Can Ceremony

By this time, all the girls had had a chance to bring home the team mini-garden and take care of it for at least a week.  We had learned the Girl Scout Promise and Law (at least an overview of it), read three chapters of the girls' book and learned the basics of how to grow and care for plants.  We figured it was about time the girls earned their Watercan Award.

Full grown mini-garden

For the ceremony, we had the girls stand in a semicircle facing their parents. We put of the song from the Lorax movie, "Let it Grow."  Ahead of time I had cut out and put badge magic on the back of the Water Can Badges.  I would announce the girls one by one, they would step to the center of the semicircle and I would stick the badge onto their base garden badge on their vest.  Then I would announce that they could bow or dance a little dance while everyone clapped.  We went around until all the girls were done. 

Closing Circle: 

We did the friendship squeeze and reminded the girls about the Safety Center Tour.  We also reminded them (the email had gone out to parents a week or two before) that there would be a test for their Safety Pin after the field trip so they needed to study if they wanted their pin.


The homework for this week was to study for the "Safety Test." Since this blog is already enormous and confusing I'm going to go in details on this in the next blog on our trip to the Safety Center.  In brief, the girls needed to study their address and phone number and know it cold!

The requirements for Safety Award straight from the Daisy Handbook

Sunday, August 11, 2013

SWAPS Interlude Part II

This wasn’t a troop thing, but my daughter and my co-leaders daughter's went to another Girl Scout Day Camp, Camp Gingerbread, and we made some pretty cool SWAPS (if I do say so myself).  I thought I’d share.   My Co-leader and I also volunteered there and I threw together some spicy-sweet smelling last minute SWAPS for us too.

Pony Bead- Lollypop SWAPS

These were a collaborative effort between my co-leader and Myself after we saw the melted pony beads on Pinterest.  We experimented separately and then got our two girls (6&7) together to make a batch of SWAPS.  To be fair there were only two steps girls of that age could even do, so if you want a SWAP for Daisies or Brownies that they can do mostly themselves, I’d save this one until they’re older.

1.  Mini muffin pans (the more muffin cups the better, the smaller the cups the better).  
2.  Pony beads in a variety of colors; clear, pearl and opaque
3.  Lollypop sticks (you can buy them by the hundreds at Michaels)
4.  Heavy duty kitchen scissors or plant clippers
5.  Hot glue gun
6.  Ribbon
7. Safety pins
8. Labels (Kids first name, year, camp name, cute saying, whatever...)
9. Pointy, not great quality scissors

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F

2.  Have your girls combine colors and put pony beads into the bottom of the muffin cups, just enough to cover the bottom.  2-3 colors and different types (clear, opaque, pearl) usually look best, but let the girls be creative.

Beads ready to go in oven

3.  Put the beads in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are completely melted.  (Open the windows as it does emit fumes.  It didn’t bother me but I think it would be a problem in a closed in kitchen).

4.  Once completely melted, pull them out just enough to swirl the beads with a pointy scissor or knife.  (We tried a toothpick … eh no).  By the third, it generally starts to stick, so I had a pile on the semi-sharp kids scissors we use at meetings and changed scissors after two swirls.  By the time you get the the sixth one, the disks have generally started to harden, so we put them back in the oven for 5 minutes and repeated the process until all the cups are swirled.

  The ones on the bottom right have just been swirled.

Pull off any stuck on plastic immediately or your scissors will end up like these.  I had to stick these in the oven for 5 minutes to get it off.

5.  After the last cup is swirled, put back into the oven until all the beads are completely smooth.

6.  The best way to get the melted disks out of the pan is to cool them down fast.  As soon as the pan is able to handle with your bare hands you can either a) pop the entire pan into the freezer for 5 minutes or b) place ice on top of the cups.

The ice method of removing disks

7.  Once cool you should be able to firmly press down on the edge of a disk with a spoon or scissors and it should just pop out.

8.  Cut lollipop sticks into halves or thirds (depending on the size of your muffin tins) with the heavy duty scissors.  I didn’t have kitchens sheers so I used the clippers for my rose bushes.  Worked like a dream.

9.  Hot glue sticks to back of disks(this is the other part that my daughter helped with.  We started with me putting on the glue and her sticking on the the sticks.  Then she wanted to try the gun.  We went over safety and she took over and did great!!

Little hands applying sticks

10. Tie small pieces of ribbon around the lollipops and secure tie with hot glue.  (My 6 year old couldn't tie well enough to do more than a few of these, an older girl could probably do this step on her own.)

11. Pin labels onto back of swap.

Where to pin

12. TADA!! Finished SWAP!

Cinnamon Gingerbread Man SWAP

These are the SWAPs I made for my co-leader and myself as camp volunteers.  Since it was Gingerbread Camp I desperately wanted to try cinnamon ornaments as gingerbread men (I’d never made them before).  Then I had the brilliant idea to bring it up a notch by melting a pony bead button in the center to add some color.

Of course, as my husband later made fun of , I had neglected to take oven temperatures into account.  The cinnamon ornaments bake at 200F and I’ve discovered the beads need s minimum of 325-350F.  I also discovered that the cinnamon ornaments burn at that temperature.  But I was full on obsessed and refused to give up until I achieved my “vision” as my co-lead mockingly calls it, even though it was Thursday night at 8pm and we had to leave for the final day of camp the next morning at 7am.

But never fear, we found the solution. An iron!

Finished SWAPs.  Picture taken at camp.

1.  1 Cup Applesauce
2.  1 1/2 Cup Cinnamon
3. 2 Tbls Ground Cloves
4. 1 1\2-2” Gingerbread Man cookie cutter
5.  Rolling pin
6. Wax paper
7. Parchment paper
8. Cookie Sheets
9.  Pony beads
10. Iron
11. Tooth pick
12.  Red embroidery twine
13.  Safety pins
14. Labels

1. For detailed instructions on how to make cinnamon-applesauce dough see the website I stole it from:
Cinnamon Ornament tutorial    Basically, stir together a cup each of cinnamon and applesauce.  When  mixed well add the ground cloves and additional cinnamon.  Knead with hands until completely mixed and a firm dough.

2. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness.  Use cinnamon instead of flour to prevent sticking.  I prefer to roll out doigh between two sheets of wax paper.   It's easier to peal back the wax paper than to deal with it sticking to the table or rolling pin and it 's less mess.

3.  Preheat oven to 250F if using pony beads, 200 if not.

4. Cut out gingerbread men.  You should be able to get 60-70.

5. Transfer to parchment paper lined cookie sheets and press a pony bead into the belly of each "cookie."  

Unbaked Gingerbread Men with holes in their head

6. Using tooth pick make a hole in the head to add string later.

7.  Bake at 250F for about an hour.  Gingerbread men should be rock hard but not burnt.  Pony beads will only melt enough to attach to base.

Right out of the oven

8.  Once cool move ornaments to ironing board.  Place a small piece of parchment paper on top of gingerbread man and using a iron heated to high melt the bread into a flat button.  At the beginning, I carefully stood and ironed each.  By the end (the next morning), I just laid the iron on top of the ornament for about 2 minutes while I did other things (i.e. I frantically ran around getting ready for camp).  Safety first, so be careful with that method around the kids.

9. Thread twine through hole you created and tie off.

10.  Thread another color bead over knot.

11.  Secure safty pin and label in loop, keeping bead in place.

12.  Cut twine to even and Done!

Finished product