Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Amazing Race

Amazing Race

Last Spring I arranged an Amazing Race for my Cadette Cookie Reward.  After sleeping over at the museum, going to Build a Bear, camping, zip-lining and spending the night at Great Wolf Lodge, I ran out of fun and AMAZING things to do for our End of the Year, Cookie Reward Bash.  Last year was particularly challenging as the girls have aged and all enjoy different things. The weeks were slipping by and I felt the pressure to find an activity.  While browsing different TV channels I came across an old episode of The Amazing Race.  Quickly I worked hard to create a really fun and unique event for my girls.  This proved to be fairly easy, inexpensive and the girls really love it!

I held this event in our neighborhood Town Square which is a large outdoor mall.  I felt this was a safe place with plenty of people, room to roam and lots of businesses to use for the tasks.  Creating the objectives was probably the most difficult part of this activity. I scoured the Internet for ideas and pulled some of the best ones.  Plus, it my internet search was great fuel to inspire my own ideas.  Once I arranged the tasks, I then created tickets, envelopes and obtained all the items needed to play the game.

On the day of the event we met for pizza at the mall and I explained all the rules.  The girls were divided into 2 and 3 man teams (based on numbers).  Next, each girl was given an Amazing Race T-Shirt.

These were easily made using iron on transfers, a simple black and white "Amazing Race" logo and my printer.  I purchased the t-shirts from Michaels in bold neon colors for $3 each, on sale. The t-shirts indentified the teams, kept the girls together and helped us keep track them from a distance.  Plus, it was a nice momento for the girls.  My daughter wears her shirt as a sleep shirt.

After dinner we walked them to the square, near the fountain, which was the designated meeting area.  The girls had 11 clues and they were passed out in different orders, so no teams were doing the same activity at the same time (to the best of our ability).  The goal was to complete all the tasks first. Everything must be done as a team, teams could not split up to complete in an attempt to complete the tasks faster, or the team would be disqualified.  

Every team was given their 1st clue, inside the envelope the girls had eveything they needed to complete the task.  The Post Office donated a few cardboard Priority Mail envelopes that sealed tightly.  The girls had to pull a tab to open.  this felt really official and kept all the clues hidden and organized.  The girls scattered once they received their clues and it was fun to watch them get really excited about winning.  They could not wait to move on to the next task.

I purchased gift cards from different stores at the mall as the prizes.  I hid the gift cards in their stores' bags and I attached some small visible item from the store like a headband, fingernail polish etc.  The 1st team got to choose from the bags and so on.  Girls at this age love gift cards!  After the game was over, I allowed the girls to spend their cards with their group if they wanted too.

Following our 2 1/2 hour race we went to a movie and then we had a backyard camp out, complete with a midnight swim. My daughter still talks about the event.  The race would make  a great Birthday Party as well.

I am happy to share any and all my resources for this event including my rules, clues, and t-shirt logos.  If you have any questions concerning the race, please e-mail me:  GirlScoutLeaderx2@gmail.com

Iron-on Logo:  (Printed on 8.5x11" iron transfer paper, then cut in half and applied to t-shirt, remember to reverse print unless your printer does it for you)






****Tip: Provide a map of the mall to each participant or one per a team.

E-mail me and I will provide you with any of the materials above in a pdf format for easy transfer to your computer or to print.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cadettes: Special Agent Badge

The Special Agent badge is a truly fun and unique badge which any age can enjoy.  As we know gaining the attention of a Cadette or 13 year old teenager is difficult at best, so I cranked it up a gear to make this badge exciting.  I invited a Dallas Private Investigator to our meeting and asked him to bring some high tech toys.  He was a fabulous guest speaker and once he opened the discussion for questions the girls could not wait to talk with him.  

He hit on the topics of forensic science and talked about blood splatter and luminol.  
Did you know luminol only allows blood to glow for 30 seconds and every second the blood is exposed to the UV light it degrades, destroying some of the properties of the blood and DNA?  
Did you know that teeth are just as reliable at identifying a person as the human fingerprint?  
Did you know that you can determine how often, how recent and what drugs have been used by a person from one strand of hair? 
Our PI was filled with great and fascinating facts.  Did you know every glitter placed in cosmetics, on clothes or crafts are different?  Every company that manufactures glitter has to enter their exact dimensions, shape and refractory into a database.  Any glitter at a crime scene can be identified.

The girls most enjoyed using all his fun, high tech gadgets like the key fob that was actually a camera. A special photography lens that could take accurate pictures over 50 ft away... in the dark!  A pen with a special voice recording device.  Sunglasses with special lenses so he could see behind him.  A water bottle equipped with a hidden camera.  

The PI gave the girls tips on how he follows a suspect in a car.  He explained how you should try and drive in their blind spot, time stoplights and drive an inconspicuous, plain vehicle.

He talked about difficult insurance fraud cases where he was staked out in front of houses, sometimes days, waiting for suspects to falter.   He talked about interviewing neighbors to get clues about a suspect's reliability or demeanor.

Finally he talked about the importance of fingerprints.  He revieewed the different patterns that can identify suspects.  He even fingerprinted each girl and allowed them to fingerprint their buddy and then we analyzed the prints.

Once our amazing guest left, the girls were ready to become spies themselves so we discussed the Morse Code.  The girls were given a special Morse Code Cheat Sheet which helped them decipher the code in less than a minute.  Using a website designed to teach Morse Code the girls identified each letter of the alphabet.  http://www.learnmorsecode.com/www1.mp3 
Next I created 2 mystery codes using a fun website.  I offered a prize for the girls who could crack the code.  They really enjoyed this exercise and we learned a lot about the art of secret communication.

FYI: I used Quicktime to record the Morse Code alphabet and secret message and then I e-mailed the audio clip to myself so I could play it on my phone for the girls.  You could also burn a CD of the audio clips and play on a computer or CD player.  If you don't have access to Quick Time, you could record the audio clip using your voice recorder on your phone as well.  I use this feature on my phone quite a bit and not just for voice memos.

My notes for this discussion cover topics in Forensic Science, Fingerprinting and the Morse Code with the 1 Minute Morse Code Cheat Sheet.  I am happy to -email them to you: GirlScoutLeaderx2@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Selfies: Cadette MEdia Journey

In our continuing effort to earn the Cadette MEdia Badge, I wanted to learn a little more about this new fad... selfies.  After researching the term and techniques and talking with the girls I have learned quite a bit!

What is a Selfie?
The art of the selfie is one that lots of people have practiced and perfected in recent years. Seriously, lots. As of press time, more than 31 million Instagram photos have been hashtagged #selfie, and according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of teens have posted a photo of themselves online.  Did you know there is also a Belfie?  Say what... it's so unbelievable I will let you Google that term yourself!

First of all there is a proper way to take selfies.  There are so many tips on the internet you could read for hours.  A brief synopsis:  lighting is important, take pictures from different angles, best pictures are usually captured looking down at your face and slightly above the eyes. Many people believe that those girls who take frequent selfies are looking for validation and often have low self esteem or it suggests they have nothing better to do.

Can Selfies be dangerous?  Yes if taken often.  There is such a thing as too many selfies!  Teens are being diagnosed with conditions like Dysmorphic Disorder, where they become obsessed with finding the "perfect" selfie.
Today kids are going to extremes and placing themselves in dangerous situations in an attempt to get a selfie that gains attention.  The internet is filled with the "Top 10 Most Dangerous Selfies" from different sources.  Teenagers have scaled buildings and bridges thousands of feet high, snapped selfies going at excessive speeds in various moving objects, antagonized wildlife, chased dangerous weather and more incredibly dangerous acts.

Selfie Do's & Don'ts:

  • Consider taking photos of a new item like a scarf, shoes, lipstick or food/drink you are enjoying.
  • Watch for photo bombers who can ruin the perfect photo.
  • Capture different emotions in the moment.  i.e. authentic photos of you laughing during a funny movie are more genuine.
  • There are many apps out there to improve your selfies by removing blemishes in a photo and adding filters or changing the lighting.  Aviary was a favorite of most of the girls in my troop. https://www.aviary.com/

  • Do Not take a selfie at a funeral, memorial, car accident or any monumental event without permission.
  • Don take a selfie while driving!
  • Don't bombard friends with Selfies, some people do not like or appreciate them.
  • Be aware selfies can sometimes identify your location.
  • Avoid using mirrors which can sometimes capture inappropriate angles or views.
  • Don't post comments you would like like getting yourself.  Be considerate of others.
  • Avoid Wildlife Photos.  Let them be.

The U.S. Forest Service has issued a statement that people should keep away from wildlife especially bears!

If you would like a copy of my notes for this discussion, email me:  GirlScoutLeaderx2@gmail.com