Monday, November 2, 2015

Junior Flower Badge by Ginger Forst

Networking is extremely important as a leader.  You can get some great ideas talking with other leaders.  For this reason I have several ladies I like to brainstorm with over lunch.  My go-to-gal is Ginger Forst, she has lots of great ideas to share.   She recently completed the Flower Badge with her Junior Troop and I can't wait to use her ideas so I thought I would share them with you too!  She was kind enough to submit a Guest Blog Post.  ENJOY!

Before the meeting:

In preparation for this badge, I had my girls press flowers at home.  We were going to be making bookmarks with pressed flowers.  I did find a video on YouTube that showed how to press flowers in the microwave, which was very helpful.  This way they can be done in a matter of minutes versus days.  I did not have access to a microwave at our meeting location, so having them prepare them at home ahead of time was perfect…plus it got the parents involved too!

I also took time prior to the meeting to shop for flowers.  The girls were going to make a bouquet for one of the steps.  Shop around for the best prices.  I was able to get three bunches for $10 at Central Market.  Trader Joe’s has great prices too.  Select flowers in a variety of shades (for example, I had many different shades of yellow flowers for the girls to choose from) as well as two different colors that would go well together.  I chose purple since it was the complimentary color of yellow.  Remember to purchase some filler (green leaves).  I have a small troop and I still spent a good amount of money on flowers.  If you are working on a tight budget, you could suggest that parents donate flowers.  Sometimes local nurseries or grocery store flower shops will donate some flowers when you purchase flowers from their store.

You’ll also need:
Vases – I chose to purchase mason jars, but Dollar Tree has a large selection of vases
Ribbon- to tie around vases if desired (Dollar Tree again)
Sachets- Dollar Tree, in the Baby Shower Party favor section- 6 for $1!  (see photo)
Dried Flowers- I bought some potpourri at Hobby Lobby and some Lavender from Amazon
Bulbs- I bought a box of hyacinth from Sam’s Club
White Carnations- at least one for each girl
Cardstock- cut into bookmark size, any color you like
A laminator- hopefully you have access to one or packing tape to laminate!
Flower snips/scissors for cutting stems for the arrangements

For the steps:
  1. Uncover the Science of one Flower- I chose to let the girls take home five bulbs to plant for the “Grow your Flower” choice.  They were able to choose the bulbs and put them in a baggie, along with photocopied instructions on how to plant them.  You could actually have little pots and soil and they could plant them at your meeting.  
  2. Look Under the Petals- Dye A Flower using food coloring- Again, this task was to be sent home.  I had planned to dye the carnations with the girls at the meeting, but as I researched it, I found out that it can take hours for the carnation to start to change colors!  So, they each took a carnation home.  I asked them each to send me a photo of their dyed carnation.  I also suggested they have an adult split the carnation up the stem with scissors (carefully) and place each half of the stem in different colored water.  I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s pretty cool!
  3. Find Out How Flowers Help People- Flowers are Healers- For this, I brought my own essential oil diffuser which I had on for the meeting.  I brought about 10 different essential oils for them to smell, along with a print out of common oils from flowers and their uses for them to learn about. Also the girls created potpourri sachets with lavender to place in a drawer at home. 
  4. Have Fun with Flowers- Dried Flower Art- The girls glued their dried flowers to bookmarks and laminated them.  I also had a hole punch handy along with some scrap ribbon that they could add to the top of their bookmark if they desired.  They turned out really cool!
  5. Send a Message in Flower Code- Make an Arrangement- I printed out some “meanings of flowers” to look at with the girls.  You can find a lot of them on Pinterest.  However, the florist that I spoke to said that not to get too caught up in the “message” of the color and that is really an old fashioned idea.  She suggested that if the person that you are giving the flowers to likes it, then that’s all that matters!   
I had the girls watch a video about arranging flowers and then they created their own flower arrangement.  They turned out beautiful and most importantly the girls loved the hands-on activities.

This badge did take quite a bit of prep work, but it was a blast!  The girls loved it and so did I!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Girl scout  leaders…your  calendar is full of  awesome, empowering activities  for your troop, but to ensure that these activities are a success, you need VOLUNTEERS! You might have already noticed that the same few parents do all of the  volunteering; and while you  do appreciate the continued help of these die-hards, you know that there is  plenty of work to go around;  and it’s nice to include other parents in scout  life as well. So, whether  you still need a Troop First Aider, Cookie Manager, or just some extra chaperones, we’ve put together 5 simple tips to help you get more parent volunteers:

1) Don’t forget to ask.

Once you have your activities scheduled, don’t forget to ask for help. Since most parents have a busy schedule, ask early and get it on their calendars well in advance.

2) Accept help, no matter how small.

While not every parent can commit to a rigorous volunteer schedule, many of them can commit to helping out every once in awhile. Even if your volunteer spots are filled, create a place for them - this will only encourage more volunteering. :)

3) Make it easy to sign up.

Use technology to your advantage and avoid the dreaded “reply all” emails with tools like SimplyCircle. We make signing up for a volunteer commitment as easy as a click of a button. And you know exactly who volunteered for which event!

Thank you to SimplyCircle who generously contributed to this blog post.  Streamline your communication with parents visit
A GS Leader's Best Friend.

Friday, October 2, 2015

TWITTER!  Follow me on Twitter!  Do you want to know when my next post is published?  Here is a simple way to be notified!

Speaking of Twitter, what is it?  
I have been resistant to Twitter.  As techno-savvy as I am, I had formulated a bad opinion of the service initially.  The first time I signed up for a personal account several years ago, I was asked to follow people and it appeared that I had no alternative, but to check Twitter's suggestions.  Then I was attacked with twitter messages that I could care less about.  Also Twitter constantly suggested people and groups they thought I would like to follow.  I was getting less posts from people I cared about and more posts on who I should follow.  Finally, I expected tweets to be delivered directly to me via texts, but this did not happen so I figured I had done something wrong when I signed up.

Recently I gave Twitter another chance because I missed an important real-time announcement my public school tweeted.  How can so many people like Twitter and I am so resistant to the service?  How can other people find it intuitive and easy and I don't?  I can build complicated websites, collect online payments and data and yet I can't seem to understand Twitter.  What is wrong with me?  Running 3 school websites, blogging and socially marketing events, activities and programs, I decided it was time to let go of my bias.  So I did some research.  Ughh why is it so complicated to me?  

First and foremost Twitter is not a texting service!  You will not be updated when you receive a tweet.  You must physically enter the Twitter app to view current tweets, respond to tweets and submit tweets.  Twitter is not Remind 101, a great texting service that reminds your troops about meetings or keeps your troop(s) aware of local activities.  These 2 apps are very different and serve their own purpose.  Twitter followers MUST choose to follow you, but you can follow anyone for the most part.  There are private messages and closed groups, but for the most part Twitter is designed to share.... EVERYTHING.  Some people are narcissist tweeters.  They tweet everything... "Just washed my car, cute guy took my money."  "Finished packing lunch for girls, homemade sushi."  "Just took a shower after 5 days and used new shampoo, it smells great."  Say what?  You get my point.

So here is my personal synopsis of Twitter... either you like it or you don't.  You are either a Twitter Fan or You are Not!  Personally I like Facebook if I am going to spend a few minutes browsing, it seems more user friendly.  However, I know everyone is different and I know all social media connects.  You can connect with people and move them to different forms of media like websites, facebook, twitter, Remind 101, email, Constant Contact and you don't know what other people prefer.  In order to reach as many people as possible it is important to use ALL forms of social media to promote the news, your business, your blog, your organization or yourself. 

Why use Twitter?

Great uses for businesses:
  •     Advertising
  •     Staying in touch with Customers
  •     Pointing them to other forms of social media
  •     Contests
  •     New releases

  • keep members connected, aware of changes, announce events and awards etc

Personal Use - Microblogging
  •     Similar to Instagram (Adult version) with or without the photos
  •     Facebook for Texting to keep in contact with long distance friends or family
        less commitment to text details since you are limited by the number of characters you can text

Job Opportunities
  •     Announce to the world you are seeking a job and many companies post openings

Keep up with News
  •     From school to community to local to national news stay on top of current conditions in             real time
  •     Small bits of information, but allows you to research further if it interests you

  •     Be alerted to bad weather or travel conditions
Tell me about your experience with Twitter.  Share with other readers why you like it or don't like it.