Family Heritage Badge – Genealogy!

Family Heritage Badge

We are challenging our Brownies to complete the Family Heritage badge at home this holiday season. There is a month off from regular meetings, so we are taking a few minutes at the end of our Christmas PJ party to talk about family heritage and earning this badge.

It would be really difficult for us to teach the girls without knowing their family information… so this badge seemed like the perfect Christmas holiday opportunity!

I teamed up with Emily from Growing Little Leaves to come up with a worksheet printable to send home with each of the girls. Emily created this family tree, which is available to download on her website. I have edited it slightly for use with my Brownies, and you can download this version here.

We broached the subject of ancestry during our Dias de los Meurtos celebration in November. Hopefully there isn’t a lot of discussion required during our Christmas party…

The official Brownie book contains these tips for earning the badge, and we will communicate this to parents:


Interview an older relative about life when she was young.  What games did she play?  What was school like for her?  What chores did she have at home?  If she was a Brownie, what activities did she do?  
Locate the places your parents or grandparents came from on a map.  Why did your family move from that place?  When did they come to where they are living now?
Share a special family treasure, such as a photo, a piece of jewelry, or a quilt.  Why is it special?  Tell its story.

The hope is for each girl to return in January ready to present her badge!

Growing Little Leaves has a bunch of other FREE printables on her website. I am also sending home with the girls this cute maternal/paternal snowman print-out which is perfect for December

Finally, I want to also try and do Emily’s Celebrating Female Ancestors worksheet since Guides is all about the girl.

Click the links above to find the exact documents I am referencing on Emily’s website. 

To help explain this activity and the meaning behind it, I am going to read My Family Tree and Me by Dusan Petricic. 

How do you handle badges that are difficult to complete in-meeting? Do you have a better idea than worksheets?

xx

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Christmas Party!

Our last “real” meeting of 2018 is going to be BUSY.

We haven’t had a normal meeting for a month … we’ve been busy gallivanting all around town. As you do. Brownies have things to do, people to see, places to go! And now we have a lot of catch up to do.

We will start with our opening rituals promptly at 6:45, as we have gotten in the habit of starting late while we wait for stragglers. Then we need to finish our Christmas pen pal letters … so far about 1/3 of the girls have done them at the day camp we did, but I need to work with the others to catch them up. I have a love-hate relationship with these letters. Second and third graders don’t spell the best to begin with, but most of our girls go to school in French and our letters are in English, so it requires a lot more time to write them than I had expected.

We are also going to have a snack, made by Snowy Owl and her two girls, both of whom are in this unit. And Christmas storytime of course. I know there are some badge presentations to do, and I need to introduce a badge activity that we are planning on encouraging the girls and their family’s to do over the break. More to come in another post.

This Christmas theme is also a PJ party! Who doesn’t love a Christmas PJ day?!?!

Finally, Snowy has prepared a personalized craft for the girls to make, and give to their families for Christmas. We took all of their photos at an earlier meeting and developed them for the girls to use. We also took a couple of group shots that we can give to the girls as mementos of their year in Brownies. 

xx

Community Counts

Last week we took a little field trip to the local Food Bank. I think the girls enjoyed learning and they definitely loved helping to sort some of the donations. We had collected donations recently during our Santa Claus Parade, so we brought those items and several of the parents also sent their daughter with money or food.

The biggest takeaways from the night – I hope – are to always check the expiry date before you donate something, and the realization that there are families right here at home who don’t have enough to eat. I firmly believe that charity starts at home. 

We have been doing a lot of these little excursions lately. Part of the reason is to show the girls how many resources are in our small town. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or travel a long ways to help someone, or to have some fun. 

The idea of community was really important to me and to the other leaders and we wanted to make sure that was our focus throughout the guiding year. Thankfully it is off to a great start, the girls are having fun, and parents have been very generous with their feedback 🙂

xx

Police!

One of our most recent and successful meetings lately was at the our local police station. A female officer had been assigned to our unit for the evening so we could learn about the job of a police officer in a rural / small town community. She was AWESOME!

Image result for police officer clipart

Officer L. was super friendly with the girls and did a fantastic job answering many questions – some inappropriate – in a fun, age-appropriate manner. We talked about her experiences as a female and smaller officer and the different types of officers.

She also gave us a tour of the station where we met some others on duty and explained how things worked. Each girl got a chance to climb into a police cruiser and turn on the lights, and also to sit on a police ATV, where we snapped a quick picture of each and sent it to their parents. 

Officer L. had brought in a big ol’ box of Timbits with her for each girl to have a couple, which was super nice and thoughtful of her. She said she didn’t want them to be hungry! 

We had an amazing experience and it was the best “night out” since I started with the unit. I definitely would encourage you to reach out to Fire/EMS/Police in your area for visits as well. We had a good time last year at the fire department and will try to visit EMS soon. 

I am applying this experience towards a couple of different badges. It is one of the jobs in the community lessons we are working towards (Key to My Community), as well as safety badges, which we will build on later.

At the end of the meeting, I brought up some safety rules. I asked if they would ever get into a vehicle with, or take food from, a stranger; had them recite Mum’s/Dad’s first and last names and phone numbers, and their home addresses. About half of the girls didn’t know the phone number or address so I alerted the parents to this. I also used our next regular email to talk about a family safe word, and encouraged parents to build on these discussions to make one.

I always try to have books on a related subject. It helps reinforce the message and also is a great time filler when needed. I used them the next week as we ran out of time on this night, but here are some options:

  • Topsy and Tim meet the police
  • I’m afraid your teddy is in trouble today
  • Daddy, I worry about you
  • Police: hurrying, helping, saving!
  • Let’s meet a police officer
  • Big Mike’s police car
  • A day at the police station
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria
  • Keeping you safe: a book about police officers 
  • Busy people, busy police
  • Officer Dan looks for clues 

The other great thing was that at the beginning of the night, I had asked the girls who wanted to be a police officer when they grew up and only two hands went up. At the end of the night, about three quarters of the girls put up their hands. Success! 

xx

Going to see Aladdin, Jr!

Wow, it has been an eternity since I caught you up on my Brownie Unit! Whoops!

We have been super busy doing a lot of excursions in the community lately (yay!) and I feel like we have almost been on vacation! It is my goal to catch up on blog posts in the next couple of weeks so hopefully I can share some new ideas for after the Christmas break, if you have been struggling with programming lately. If you have some nights your girls were super excited about, post them in the comments!

This week we are going to our local musical company’s production of Aladdin, Jr! We are actually attending their dress rehearsal. We reached out to ask if they would consider letting us attend, partially because their performances didn’t fall on a Tuesday night when we normally meet, and partially because the unit couldn’t cover the cost of the tickets and we didn’t want to ask the parents for money. 

Thankfully, they were thrilled with our request! Our girls might not get to see the entire play tomorrow night, depending on how many times they stop the rehearsal, but hopefully that will entice them to either come back with their families or audition for the next production the company puts on. 

One of the many benefits to watching the dress rehearsal instead of the regular show is that the girls will get to see the behind the scenes, and learn some of the work that goes into a show. This is the Junior show, meaning that it is kids and teens in the community performing, something that I hope will also inspire them. 

By attending, girls will earn their Listen to This Badge, from the old curriculum. 

Normally, when our unit goes somewhere for an evening or has a presenter in, we give them a couple of boxes of girl guide cookies as a thank you present. However, this wasn’t planned out far in advance so we actually don’t have any left. I think I’m going to go to Tim Hortons and buy a bunch of timbits for the company instead, to thank them? Anyone have a better idea?! And of course, we always hand out a thank you card. 

Edit: The girls had so much fun watching the dress rehearsal! They were all disappointed to leave at the end of the night, and to hear we are back in our normal meeting space next week. Most of them left promising to beg their parents to bring them to see the actual show lol.

xx

Oct 16 Meeting Plan ~ Voting Theme

Here is our plan for week 6, October 16th:

Game: Dodgeball

*We always start with an active game to try to run out some of the girls’ energy. It usually leads to better listening later in the evening.

Circles: 

  • Girls do attendance 
  • This week we have new circle bins (our old ones broke), so present those and let them switch out their goodies 
  • Give the girls books about service projects and tell them to pick one they would like to do this year (1 pick per circle) 

*We picked out two books for each circle to look at from the local library and were able to get two copies of most of the books. This is building on what we learned last week during our visit to the Municipal Office.

Book 1: The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects by Barbara A. Lewis

Book 2: Pay it Forward Kids by Nancy Runstedler

Book 3: Our Heroes by Janet Wilson

Book 4: Be the Change in Your Community by Megan Kopp

Opening Ceremony / Big Circle Time 

  • 3 presentations while in big circle (2 girls for girlfriends through the ages and 1 for be a chef)  
  • Ask if anyone else has “badgework” to turn in. Encourage them to bring back their girlfriends through the ages sheet next week (we handed this out before Thanksgiving)
  • Circle Leader from each circle gives presentation on the service project their circle picked 
  • Hand out voter ballots and pens and have each girl vote. Winner to be announced at end of the meeting (we were lucky that the Township Office photocopied real voter ballots for use during this activity, free of charge!)
  • Tell the girls that we sold 20 cases of cookies at our cookie sales on the weekend. Congratulate all the girls for their hard work so far this year 
  • Read these books: Start Little: Think Big, Vote Little; Barbie: I Can Be President
  • Snowy Owl explains the craft and why we are making these invitations  

Craft Time: We are making invitations for friends. Two weeks from now, at our October 30th meeting, we will be having a Halloween Party / Bring a friend to Brownies night. I will post this craft separately after our meeting. Right now, I don’t know what Snowy has dreamed up!

Games: Wheelbarrel race (pair up); Red Light Green Light 

Song: We are learning some songs from different regions as part of the Sing Ontario Sing Challenge of 2019-2020. This week we are going to learn an American Girl Scouts Song, Make New Friends.

Make New Friends 

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold. 

A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend. 

A fire burns bright,
it warms the heart.
We’ve been friends,
from the very start. 

You have one hand,
I have the other.
Put them together,
We have each other. 

Silver is precious,
Gold is too.
I am precious,
and so are you. 

You help me,
and I’ll help you
and together
we will see it through. 

The sky is blue
The Earth is green
I can help
to keep it clean 

Across the land
Across the sea
Friends forever
We will always be 

 xx

Voting, Elections and Girl Empowerment – Week 5 Itinerary

What are we doing at Brownies this week?!

Well, the municipal election is coming up later this month in Ontario so we are going to talk about local governments.

How they get elected … who is elected … what functions it fulfills …

And what better way to do this then by taking a tour of our local municipal office with the clerk’s department!

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I love nights like this, because leaders basically just show up to supervise the girls. The clerks are going to be preparing all of the programming for our Brownies. We will carry this theme into next week to help the night to have more meaning, but basically – I get this week off!

Well timed, since we celebrated Thanksgiving at my house today.

I’m not sure exactly what badge this is going to contribute to yet. I need to sit down and really look at the book, but if you happen to know, comment below!

xx