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

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Corn Mosaic Thanksgiving Craft

I mentioned in my recent post, Week 4 Meeting Plan, that I would explain the craft in a separate posting. Well, this week we are doing two crafts so I guess that means I am writing two posts! One craft is very small and the other much more time consuming. It also requires more prep work from the adult, so I will post it first.

The more intricate and detailed craft. Definitely a test of patience.

I got this idea from a blog website called Fun A Day to allow the kids to make a corn mosaic that they can show off to their families for Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to get too into traditional crafts that schools and families do this time of year. I was really hoping to find something more unique that children don’t repeat year after year for the holidays. Using corn as a medium to create seems close enough to the origins of the Thanksgiving feast, while still offering something new (I hope!) to the crafting perspective.

Thankfully, corn kernels are super cheap at Walmart and the paper, (liquid) white glue and dye were already in our stores.

Supplies:

mixing bowls or pots

metal spoons

food colouring

protective gloves (optional)

corn kernels

slotted spoon

vinegar

tap water

old towels or paper towels

waxed paper

thick paper (cardstock, etc)

white glue (liquid, not gluesticks)

In order to die the corn, I filled several large mixing bowls with water, 1-2 tablespoons of food colouring and several tablespoons of vinegar (adjust based on the size of your bowl). Stir to mix the colour in. I then added 475 ml (~2 cups) of corn to each. Make sure that the water covers the corn. Allow to sit overnight, or for 24 hours if you can.

*Note: If you use plastic bowls, they will probably stain from the food colouring.

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This was my counter for 24 hours

After the kernels have taken on the proper colour, pour out the excess liquid as best you can and then remove with a slotted spoon. I laid down wax paper to protect the counter and then put down old towels for the corn to dry on. You could use paper towel instead if you really care about your towels, but you will go through a lot of it!

 

I am very happy with how the red and orange ones turned out. The green and blue didn’t dye as well, even though I followed the same recipe, and even added extra dye and vinegar for the last few hours of soaking. I am also going to try making some purple overnight … I just ran out of bowls and counter space yesterday.

Below, there are a couple of gorgeous mosaics from the Fun A Day post. I am purposely not making an example, because I don’t want the girls to copy it. I would much rather they craft with free expression, which is so much harder after they have seen an example.

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Fun A Day owns this picture

Let me know in the comments if you tried this craft, or if you have done something similar. I hope that it goes well for you. If you have an easier time dying than I did, please send me some tips for my next attempt!

xx

Pen Pal Program

Girl Guides of Canada and Girl Scouts of America both offer a badge to members for participating in a Pen Pal program. We decided to partner up this year with two units in the United States that we could exchange letters with.

WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) heavily encourages the use of Pen Pals as a way to participate in World Thinking Day each year. They have a website called GLOW that leaders can make an account on and meet up with other leaders around the world who are also searching for a unit to exchange letters with. This is how I found the two units in USA for my girls to write (they are smaller units and together make up enough numbers to match my 1 unit).

It was much easier to facilitate this exchange than I had expected. Both of the American units agreed to send us the first letter, and then we will write back when we receive them. As a part of this process, we will also do some small gift exchanges throughout the year, and send holiday postcards.

I would highly recommend that you work with the leaders in the other unit to match up specific girls (ex, Kandra in my unit with Andrea in the other unit) and have those same girls always write to one another. Also, we are sending our letters in batches. This way all the girls get letters and write back on the same night. As the facilitating leader, I send and receive all letters in one large envelope using my personal address; the leader at the other end does the same.

Additionally, make sure you read the letters your guides/scouts have written to make sure there is nothing too personal in there and that it is appropriate. You also want to make sure that they are responding to specific questions that were posed to them in the letter and asking some of their own. You will probably have to do a lesson on how to write a letter at the beginning of the program and at the start of each letter-writing session.

We are going to expand upon this program slightly, but introducing limited calligraphy. Learning to write in calligraphy is one of the ways to earn a Super Crafts badge in Brownies. Although the letters themselves will be printed, I want to teach the girls how to write their names and the name of their partner in calligraphy, and perhaps the salutations as well.

The most difficult aspect of everything so far has been purchasing reasonably priced and cute stationary! I didn’t want to use regular lined notebook paper, but I also want the stationary to be lined because second and third graders … need I say more?

Walmart, Dollorama and Amazon Canada have all let me down. Staples does have cute stationary so I guess I will be shopping there. I am going to try using a ruler to draw the lines on one paper, using that as a master, and then photocopying the lines onto the other pages … we’ll see how this goes.

I have also found some websites that allow you to download stationary to PDF and then print them on regular white paper. I’m going to try this first because it seems soooo much easier, but I want it to be quality too. Le sigh.

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Cute, but so much ink!

xx