World Thinking Day 2016: Connect!

February 22 is World Thinking Day, a day to celebrate61014p the world-wide sisterhood of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.  Girl Scouts of all ages and levels have the opportunity to earn a special World Thinking Day badge by participating in World Thinking Day activities on their own, or as a troop.

Each year, there is a different theme and this year’s theme is Connect.

Suggested activities related to this theme for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors include:

  1. Keep a “happiness diary” for a week. Before you go to bed each night, write down three things that made you happy during your day—or draw pictures of them! At the end of the week, look back at what you’ve written. What kinds of things did you write down? Did any of them surprise you? Did it make you feel happier to think about the good things at the end of each day? (Connect with me)
  2. Draw a picture of a place that feels safe and calm to you. It might be a real place, like a room in your home, or it could be a place from your imagination. Include lots of details that you can see, and imagine the ones you can’t—like how the place smells or what kinds of things you might hear. The next time you feel nervous or upset, think of your safe place and imagine being there. Does it help you feel calmer? (Connect with me)
  3. There’s always room for new friends! Hold a “Bring a Friend” event with the girls in your troop or group. Plan an outing—like a trip to the park—and have each girl bring someone new to join in the fun. What kinds of games could you play to help everyone get to know each other? (Connect with friends)
  4. Girl Scouts of the USA is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS for short), which includes 10 million girls in 146 countries. Celebrate World Thinking Day by learning about another country that is home to Girl Guides. Then, with your troop or group, celebrate its culture. You might dress up in costumes, sing songs, or make traditional foods from the country. (Connect with friends)
  5. Buddy up and take a walk around your community. (Your community might be your neighborhood, your school, or your town.) What are your favorite parts of your community? How could it be improved? Write down your thoughts and ideas—or draw a map that shows them. Girl Scout Juniors: You can learn more about community mapping in the Agent of Change Leadership Journey. (Connect with the world)
  6. Make the world a better place by taking a Girl Scout Leadership Journey. With the girls in your troop or group, put together a Take Action project that helps a place in your community. (Connect with the world)

Suggested activities for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors, as well as more info about World Thinking Day in general, are on this site:

www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/global/world-thinking-day.html

Other World Thinking Day ideas including partnering with a Girl Scout or Girl Guide troop in another country to trade crafts, SWAPS, letters, or collaborate on an activity.

Let us know how your troop is celebrating World Thinking Day.  You can comment below or or post on our Facebook page at:  www.facebook.com/MedfordGirlScouts

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Get Ready for Cookie Season by Earning Leaves and Badges

Daisy LeavesTo prepare for cookie season, Girl Scouts has specific badges for all ages that lead the girls through age-appropriate activities to help them prepare to sell cookies.  Daisies can earn leaves, older girls earn badges, and all of these activities help the girls learn how to interact with customers, set goals, learn about money, as well as to think about how they want to use the money they earn to pay for troop activities and to support charities that make the world a better place.

Here’s more information about the badges and leaves related to the cookie sale for each level.  Complete requirements can be found in each level’s Girl Scout Handbook.  Click here for an overview of the cookie badges from Daisies to Ambassadors.

In addition to these badges, the cookie sale is an ideal opportunity for Juniors to earn their Junior Aide Award.  This award is for Girl Scout Juniors who help lead activities for younger Girl Scouts.  By the time they are in 4th and 5th grade, Girl Scouts are cookie sale masters and they would be experts in helping younger girls learn about the different types of cookies, how to ask people if they want to buy cookies, and how to make change, for example.  To earn the Junior Aide Award, Juniors must help lead activities at three different meetings.  Click here for the complete requirements.

junior-aide

If you know of a Junior who would like to earn this award, or if you are a leader of a Daisy or Brownie Troop and you would like to invite Juniors to come and help your girls learn about the cookie sale, contact Medford Girl Scouts through this page and we will try to help you make the connection.  https://medfordgirlscouts.org/contact-us/

Geocaching and Letterboxing: Earn Girl Scout Badges and Find Hidden Treasurers in Medford

geocachingBoth Letterboxing and Geocaching are free, worldwide hobbies that are open to anyone. For Girl Scouts who want to get in on the action, Brownies can earn the Letterboxer badge and Juniors can earn the Geocacher badge.  Both badges give girls the opportunity to find boxes (and other types of containers) hidden all over the place.  Its a great way to get outdoors and explore a forest or the city streets.  Girls can earn these badges on their own but it is also fun to earn them as a troop.

Letterboxer Brownie Badge – Click here for requirements

Atlas Quest describes letterboxing as combining “artistic ability with ‘treasure-hunts’ in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: an image from a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually a unique, hand-carved creation.”  In order to find the letterboxes near you go to Atlas Quest and register for a free account.

LetterboxingTo earn the Letterboxer badge, Brownies must complete the following steps:

  1. Learn about the letterboxing by learning the special terms letterboxers use and/or practicing hiding objects and coming up with clues to find them.  A list of letterboxing lingo is available on the Glossary on the Atlas Quest website.
  2. Find a rubber stamp to use to identify yourself.  If you don’t already have a stamp, you can either make one or buy one.
  3. Practicing solving clues, such as word scrambles or number codes.  One way to complete this step by solving the puzzle that is a part of The Poppies of Flanders letterbox, in preparation for going out to find it.  After you decode the clue you can find this letterbox near the corner of Playstead Road and Winthrop St. (Note: this is a puzzle that Brownies could decode themselves, once you explain how it works.)
  4. Search for a letterbox.  Happily, Medford is chalk-a-block full of hidden letterboxes just waiting to be discovered.  Here are a few suggested ones to get you started:
    • Remembering Jumbo is located on the campus of Tufts University.  It is an ideal box to look for as a troop because the girls can run all over the campus without crossing roads or getting lost.
    • That Wise Old Owl is located in the Robbins Library in Arlington Center, so it is accessible in all seasons.
    • The Cave of the Unpeppered Leopard is located at the Panther Cave in the Fells.
  5. Make a letterbox.  For this final step, girls can simply make a letterbox for their friends or family to find, or they can plant a public letterbox and add it to Atlas Quest for the general public to find.  Check out the Flying Unicorn Power letterbox for an example of one that a Brownie troop in Wilmington planted.

Many of the letterboxes in the Medford area (including most of the ones referenced above) were carved and planted by “Parhelia,” a local librarian.  If you are looking for an expert, she willing to come and speak with Medford Brownie troops to introduce them to letterboxing.  Click here to link to her profile page and send her a message.

Geocacher Junior Badge – Click here for requirements

What is Geocaching?  It is like letterboxing but, instead of following clues to find the hidden object, you follow the GPS coordinates.  Geocaching is a bit more difficult than letterboxing because some of the caches are tricky to find, so it makes sense that this badge is aimed at Juniors (that said, there are lots of easy geocaches that Brownies, or even Daisies, could find.)  To get started, go to Geocaching.com and set up a free account.  You will also need to download the Geocaching app to your smart phone, or use a separate GSP receiver.  There is a basic geocaching app for free but, if you get into it, you have the option of paying for a premium membership and the premium app.  The premium membership will allow you to see more caches and the premium app allows you to save the GPS instructions so you can use them offline.

Here are the steps required for Juniors to earn the Geocacher badge:

  1. Learn about geocaching.  The easiest way to do this is to watch the cute instructional videos on the Geocaching 101 website.  Another fun way to learn about geocaching is to watch some of the videos by the Geocaching Vlogger on YouTube.
  2. Learn how to use the GPS receiver or Geocaching app.  You can complete this step by figuring out the GPS coordinates for various objects in your neighborhood.  To take it to the next level, find an object in your neighborhood, note the GPS coordinates, and then give the coordinates to a friend or family member and tell them to find the object using the GPS coordinates.
  3. Make a trade item.  When geocaches are large enough, you may find small trinkets in them.  Geocaching etiquette states that you can trade for these items with something of equal or greater value, watch this 2-minute video for more info.  Get ready to trade by making some small items.  Simple crafts such as rainbow loom, friendship bracelets, or fuse beads work perfectly, but you can make anything.  Here’s a video made by little kids about how to make friendship pins on safety pins, for example.
  4. Find a geocache!  Here are some fun ones in the Medford area to get you started:
    • Big Rock on Pine Hill is near Wright’s Tower in the Fells.  It is a great example of a cleverly disguised geocache.  It is large enough for tradables.
    • This one is called Ship Yard Way right in Medford Square.  It’s too small for tradables but it is a good example of an urban cache.  If you get stuck, look at the hint, the previous logs, and the photos for clues.
    • Here’s one called Parked on the east side of Medford, in Logan Park near Washington St.  Once again, this one is too small for tradables but it is another common example of a very small cache.
    • In West Medford, there’s a cache called Guinea Pig that is large enough to hold tradables.
  5. 11178191_675076752598495_5999965966447068243_nCreate a Travel Bug and release it into the world.  Travel bugs are small items that get picked up and dropped off from cache-to-cache.  For a more comprehensive explanation, watch this 3-minute video from Geocaching.com.  The picture to the right is of a Girl Scout themed Travel Bug that was launched by Medford Junior Troop 75198 earlier this year.

5 New Outdoor Badges Just Announced – Download the Requirements Here for Free

ec5a181e54de7f832f4280c82fe0bbc2Summer is the perfect season to get outdoors and summer is also the perfect time for Girl Scouts to release five new, outdoor-themed badges.  To make it even better, the requirements are free!  You can download them through the links in this post.

Girl Scouts across the country voted on which badges they would like added and here’s a summary of the winners:

  • Brownies – Outdoor Adventurer:  This is a great warm-up badge for camping.  Girls can play outdoor group games, go a nature hike (day or night), watch the sky, play Capture the Flag, learn how to tie knots, light a campfire, build a bird feeder, and/or care for the outdoors.  Click here to download the Brownie Outdoor Adventurer Badge requirements.
  • Juniors – Horseback Riding:  If you know a Junior who already knows how to ride a horse, then she will have this badge in the bag.  For girls who are curious and want to try horseback riding, this badge will help them learn how to take care of horses, prepare, and then go, for a ride.  Click here to download the Junior Horseback Riding Requirements.
  • Cadettes – Archery:  This badge helps Girl Scouts learn about archery equipment and safety, as well as teaching them how to practice techniques, shoot the bow, and, finally, create an archery challenge.  As with the Horseback Riding badge, this badge will be a cinch for girls who are already familiar with archery and it will be a good way for girls who are interested, but have never tried it before, to learn.  Click here to download the Cadette Archery Badge Requirements
  • Seniors – Paddling:  My paddle’s keen and bright. Flashing with silver. Follow the wild goose flight. Dip, dip and swing.  This badge will teach girls paddling safety, stroke techniques, as well as giving them a chance to learn about different paddling sports, such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. After mastering the basics, girls must go out for at least two separate paddles to earn the badge.  Click here to download the Senior Paddling Badge Requirements.
  • Ambassadors – Ultimate Recreation Challenge:  This badge encourages girls to take it to the next level and try things they’ve never done before whether it is on the hiking trail, on water, or while camping.  Girls are also required to do something out of the ordinary, such a snowmobiling, zip-lining, or cave diving.  Finally, girls will need to also do an outdoor activity that is specific to where they live.  Click here to download the Ambassador Ultimate Recreation Challenge Badge Requirements.

Going to Canada? Earn Girl Guide patches, eh!

GGCanadaindexGirl Scouts vacationing in Canada this summer can earn Canadian Girl Guide Challenge Crests while they are there.  Each province has different patches and you can click here to learn more about the different crests offered by each provincial council.  Patches can be ordered by mail or you may be able to buy them from the provincial council office.

Some of the highlights include the Geocaching Challenge from the British Columbia council, the Hiker Distance Award Challenge from Nova Scotia, and the Québec, c’est la fête (Quebec, it’s a celebration) crest, which you can earn by attending any of Quebec’s many festivals, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, or the Just for Laughs Festival, for example.

A number of different provinces offer camping crests/patches:

For your reference, here are the ages for the different groups that make up Girl Guides in Canada.  Most of the challenges have modified requirements for each of the different levels to make them accessible to girls of all ages.

  • Sparks – 5-6 years
  • Brownies – 7-8 years
  • Guides – 9-12 years
  • Pathfinders – 12-14 years
  • Rangers – 15-17 years

Summertime is Lobstah Time: Earn the Maine Lobster Patch

Maine Lobster PatchHeading to the coast this summer?  Planning to spend time by the ocean?  The Maine Girl Scout Council’s lobster patch is a great Girl Scout activity to do over the summer vacation. You can download the information packet with instructions on how to earn the patch here:  Maine Lobster Patch Program. To earn the patch, Girl Scouts must complete the following number of activities, depending on their level.

  • Daisies – 4 activities
  • Brownies – 6 activities
  • Juniors – 8 activities
  • Cadettes and up – 10 activities

The activities are about lobster life, their anatomy, families, and habitat, as well as about the lobster industry in Maine.  Options include learning how to speak like a lobsterwoman, make a pretend buoy trap marker, and writing a story about lobster life.

Once you have completed the required number of activities, you can order the patch from Girl Scouts of Maine by calling them at: 1-888-922-4763. Or stop by one of their stores and pick up the patch in person.  There are two stores: one in Bangor and one in South Portland.  See below for the store locations and hours.

Bangor Service Center

  • 359 Perry Road, Ste B Bangor, ME
  • (207) 989-7474
  • shopbr@gsmaine.org

South Portland Service Center

  • 138 Gannett Drive
  • South Portland, ME 04106
  • (207) 772-1177
  • shopsp@gsmaine.org

Store Hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Heading to Washington, DC for Spring Break or Summer Vacation? Earn a Patch While You Are There.

Nations Capital PatchEach Girl Scout Council in the U.S. has it own special patches and specific steps to earn them.  If you are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital invites you to earn their Discover the Nation’s Capital patch.  This patch encourages girls to explore a variety of different sites in an around, D.C., with a special focus on women’s history.

In order to earn the patch, girls must visit one of the sites in each of the following categories:  monuments and memorials, museums, arts, and government.  The sites that qualify are listed in the program guide. In addition, they must visit two of the sites from the “women” category.  The program guide also contains reflection questions for girls to answer after they visit the sites.  When they return home, the girls must “take action” by sharing what they have learned with their troop, family, or another group.

In addition to the center patch, girls can also earn one, or more, of the three segment patches that surround the patch  The themes for the additional segments are:  gardens, transportation, and statuary.  The program patch guide is attached to this post, or you can read more on the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital website.

Once you have completed the patch program, you can stop by the Girl Scout store in Washington, DC to purchase it in person, or you can order it online.  The store is located at:

Nation’s Capital Main Shop
4301 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
202-274-3312 or 800-523-7898 x212
Mon – Fri:  9:00am – 5:00pm
Thurs:  9:00am – 8:00pm
Open Saturdays (Sept-Jun):  10:00am – 4:00pm

When you are in Washington, D.C., you can line-up for a tour of the U.S. Capitol, or you can contact Medford’s representative, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who represents Massachusetts’ 5th District.  Her website also has information about how to request a tour of the White House, Library of Congress, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the Supreme Court.  Her website lets her constituents know that, “all tickets are provided to my constituents on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the large number of visitors, please request them as early as possible in order to maximize your chances.”

While you are there, why don’t you see if you can make an appointment to meet Congresswoman Clark in person?   She is one of only 84 women who are elected representatives, out of a total of 435.  You could talk to her about aspects of life in Medford which could be improved and you could ask her if she was a Girl Scout, too.

Click here to download the Nation’s Capital patch program instructions.