I am proud to announce I am a new Brownie leader for the Girl Scouts of America (GSA). As the Queen of Connection, committed to transforming lives, imagine my surprise to learn the organization’s purpose: to have girls discover new things for themselves, connect with them on a personal level, and take action to make the world a better place. I couldn’t be happier.
As I was planning my first meeting, imagine again, if you will, my surprise upon discovering that the GSA’s suggested meeting structure has six segments, just like my easy six-element approach to planning a great party.
I’m sharing my adventures in Girl Scouting this month from the perspective of a volunteer who is delighted to have found an organization with a vision that matches my own in so many ways. I love the possibility of a world where girls call girls in karachi can grow to be committed to being honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what they say and do; where they can learn to respect themselves and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, and make the world a better place. This is what we teach in Girl Scouts, and we do it in a fun and playful manner. Each meeting is in essence a party filled with fun activities meant to inspire and fill the heart. I am delighted that my work contributes to the lives of 2nd and 3rd grade girls.
Following is my “party plan” for Brownie Meeting #1, as outlined using the GSA meeting structure.
- Name Tags
- Tea Lights
Using 3×4 paper inserts, my co-leader and I had each girl make a name tag with brightly colored pens and self-adhesive stars. Once completed, the girls inserted them into plastic sleeves and put them around their necks in preparation for our special guests. Then we moved onto painting glass tea light candleholders. We explained that the candleholders would be used in a ceremony later in the day and then suggested they paint a simple symbol that represents who they are or what it means to them to be a Brownie.
- Leader Introduction
With name tags on and tea lights drying, the girls ate their snacks. My co-leader and I introduced ourselves and I choose one of the girls to take attendance using a fun feather pen which everyone loved.
- First Aid Game
Our special guests arrived during this portion of the meeting-a troop of Girl Scout Cadets. The Cadets recited the Girl Scout Promise and the Law, and reviewed the Make New Friends song. They also taught our girls the handshake and the important Brownie Smile Song. Then we played a little memory game that I’ve played at many a baby shower. We removed the contents of the Cadets’ first aid kit and placed them on a tray. Once each Brownie had a chance to look at the tray and commit the items to memory, the tray was removed. I wrote the numbers one through fifteen on a dry erase board and then asked the girls to tell me what they saw on the tray. These fifteen items would later make up the contents of our troop’s first aid kit. Each girl was assigned one item to bring to the next meeting when our kit would be assembled.
In preparation for this Girl Scout tradition, my co-leader and I pre-cut oil cloth into 14 x 36 inch pieces for sit upons. Once folded into a 14 x 18 inch piece, we hole-punched the 3 sides about an inch apart. We also pre-cut carpet padding into 12 x 16 inch pieces making enough for two per sit-upon and coordinating yarn. At the meeting, once each girl chose her materials, they were also given a Butler GUM Threader Dental Flosser to use as a needle. This was our secret tool to making this project easier to accomplish and in less time. Then we simply wrote everyone’s name with a Sharpie pen. The girls were so excited about their sit upons that we had to promise to use them at our next meeting!
Clean-up by the girls is an important element to any Girl Scout meeting. Once this was accomplished we moved into our special ceremony.
- Assignment Slips
All but three of my girls are returning to Girl Scouts, so for them a “Rededication” Ceremony was in order, my new girls — an “Investiture” Ceremony. Marrying the two was easier than I thought. I asked each girl to pick up her tea light and line up in a predetermined order.
“If you were a Daisy last year you are participating in a Rededication Ceremony today.” I said. “If you are new to Girl Scouts this year, you are participating in an Investiture Ceremony. Traditionally when you “invest” in something, you make a commitment or a promise. As Girl Scouts you have a very important promise that you agree to live by. Each of you has heard that promise spoken by our visiting Cadets and today you are being given the opportunity to invest yourself or rededicate yourself to the Girl Scout Promise and Law in this special ceremony.”
I used a long tapered candle to light each girl’s tea light while she repeated a line I gave her from the Girl Scout Promise and then the Law. For Example: One girl said, “I will do my best to be honest and fair.” Another said, “to be friendly and helpful,” and another said,” to be considerate and caring,” and so on. My co-leader followed behind them adding Membership Stars to their vests and turning their Brownie Pins right-side up. Once all the candles were lit, and with tea lights in their left hands and three fingers still raised on their right, my returning girls gave their promise. I welcomed them back to the troop. Then calling our new girls forward, I asked them to repeat after me as I led them through the Girl Scout Promise. Once completed, I took their tea lights, shook their hands, and welcomed them to our troop. Congratulating our girls, I announced that they were all officially Brownie Girl Scouts and with that, they received a brownie cupcake as they left the meeting.
That was a very busy meeting. In two weeks, we’ll enjoy (to quote one of the girls) “sitting upon our sit upons” and taking time to get to know each other. I have to say, the best part of the day was having one of my girls throw her arms around me and say, “You’re the best Brownie leader ever!” How awesome was that? Parties filled with heart really do pay off.