STEAM and Snacks (No experience required!)

Have you ever thought, “How do I talk to my girls about STEAM when I have no experience?” Do you want to encourage them to learn more about science, technology, engineering, art, and math, but worry because you aren’t an expert? 

STEAM is important in our world today. As you look around you will notice so much of our world is STEAM-focused, including jobs, programming, architecture, engineering, biology, app building, construction, and much more.  STEAM also teaches creativity, problem solving, logic, and teamwork.  When keeping this in mind it can be hard to know where to start and how to best design activities for your girls when looking at Girl Scout Badges and Journeys.

GSHPA is here to help! We will be posting a monthly activity and snack that will be focused on a principle of STEAM that you can do at home with your family or with your troop.  You don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to include STEAM into your troop meetings! It is important to try to incorporate STEAM into your troops meetings to the girls’ learn through skill-building opportunities in robotics, programming, and citizen science. And most importantly these activities will boost their confidence in STEAM-related fields.  We have 4 easy tips to help you feel more confident to lead the girls and present them with STEAM ideas.

  1. Learn alongside them (you don’t have to know everything)

Do not worry about not having all the answers or knowing everything about the field you are talking about.  STEAM emphasizes skills like critical thinking and creative problem solving.  Ask the girls to observe, ask questions, and experiment.  Show them that it is ok to not know the answers and model how to look up questions and find the answers from reliable websites or books.  Seeing an adult enthusiastic about asking, investigating and learning with them is the best way to teach the girls about STEAM. 

2. Present them with strong female STEAM role models for inspiration

There are so many amazing women leading in the diverse STEAM fields and they are excited to share their knowledge and experience with your girls.  Knowing a STEAM role model likes to do the same things as they do, hike, play sports, knit, cook, or binge watch shows helps girls see the STEAM experts as people just like them. 

These role models could be friends or family of a troop member, volunteers from a local non-profit, business, or school.  If you need help finding a mentor reach out to your Girl Scout council, they should be able to help. 

GSHPA is hosting quarterly Career Chats with professionals in various fields. Our next chat is Monday, Dec 14, 2020 you can register here to talk with an American Airlines Pilot and the first female commander of F-16 pilots in Israel.

3. Let the girls’ interests guide the meeting

Sometimes when a topic is new or intimidating we tend to over plan and worry about if we are presenting all the facts.  We encourage you to take a step back and focus your plans toward asking questions rather than providing a list of facts. Questions allow the girls to take the meeting in any direction they like to discover the new ideas!  All this can mean the meeting might go in directions you didn’t plan, that is okay, just go along with it! When the girls lead the discussion it increases their learning and inspires them to follow their curiosity.  Also, let the girls do the hands-on work themselves.  I know it is tempting to step in and “fix” something for the girls, but it is important in building STEAM confidence for the girls to work through it and discover that she can do it herself.

4. Do hands-on projects with everyday materials

When planning keep in mind these two points: hands on and on hand! You don’t need the expensive, technical equipment to do amazing activities.  Taking chances, making mistakes and getting messy is the best way to explore STEAM! STEAM learning can happen anywhere with easy-to-find materials to design, build, and experiment. 

Hands on projects keeps their interest and gets them engaged.  It also allows the girls to work at their own pace while testing and adjusting their own ideas.  Think of your role as a Troop Leader to be a guide while asking questions like, “What can you do to solve the problem?”, “What inspired that idea?” or “Is there another way?”, rather than giving the girls the answers.

Ready to get started? First project.

STEAM is fun and encourages girls to be creative like with this cereal box turned organizer!

Cereal Box Invention

Materials Needed: cereal box, scissors, tape, glue, markers/crayons, string, anything you find at home you want to use to build.

Introduction:

Inventors tend to look at the world differently than most people.  The average person might look at a coat hanger and only see its intended use, to hand clothes. An inventor might look at that hanger and see all the other uses for the hanger, such as an antenna, a hot dog cooker, a hair curler, etc. In this activity the girls will look at the world like an inventory, through a lens of creativity!

The Engineering Design Process:

Step One – Define and Brainstorm: You have 3 minutes to come up with as many uses for a cereal box as possible.  You want to generate as many unique uses as you can. Wild ideas are encouraged! Ready, set, GO!!!

Step Two – Select: Now that you have a list, review it, is there an idea on that list that really excites you? Or you are curious about? Circle it!

Step Three – Design: Draw it out and make a plan! I have found that telling someone about your plan helps flesh it out.  Find someone to tell about your design.

Step Four – Prototype and Test: Start by building your prototype. A prototype is a physical representation of one or more of your ideas to show others. Just remember a prototype is a rough draft, you can make adjustments later!

Step Five – Evaluate and Improve: Evaluate your design: what is working, what isn’t? Make changes and test them out. Repeat this process until you are happy with your design.

Wrap Up

Ask questions about the ideas and process. What was difficult in the Engineering Design Process? What surprised you about your design? How can you use this process moving forward?

Badge Requirements

By completing the activity above your girls will fulfill the requirements for the badges listed below.  We recommend taking a look at the badge requirements for your level on Badge Explorer to see if you can adjust your prototype to fulfill another step or badge as well!

  • Daisies: Think Like an Engineer Journey – Step 1
  • Brownies: Inventor – Steps 1 & 2, Think Like an Engineer Journey – Step 1
  • Juniors: Think like an Engineer Journey – Step 1
  • Cadettes: Think like an Engineer Journey – Step 1
  • Seniors: Think like an Engineer Journey – Step 1
  • Ambassadors: Think like an Engineer Journey – Step 1

Post by Liz Bleacher

GSHPA Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Holidays from Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA! We know this is a busy time of year with school, work, family, and of course Girl Scouts.  We want to help take something off your to-do list this season and have made you the ultimate gift giving guide for your Girl Scouts and adults!   

The four pillars of Girl Scouts, STEM, Outdoor, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship are always on our minds when planning our activities and programs so why not our gifts as well.  We have found items for each of the pillars that will inspire and encourage everyone to try something new or stay comfy with what they love.  

All of these items on our Girl Scout gift guide can be found in the Girl Scout Shop you will find something for everyone on your shopping list.  Click on over and see what you can find! 

Gold Award- Myth vs Fact

Written by Brynne Hall

The Girl Scout Gold Award is something that most Girl Scouts have heard at least once in their time as members, but only a small group end up achieving. It is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve has a girl member. One piece of the Gold Award is to address a root issue in the area of a girl’s choice. The root issue they will tackle could be anything from food insecurity to intergenerational relations to social injustice and everything in-between. The ultimate goal of a Gold Award project is to not only address a root issue, but to also allow girls to build and demonstrate their leadership skills in a positive way so they can continue to be leaders into adulthood.

Sounds pretty amazing right? On top of the benefits already mentioned, Gold Award Girl Scouts can receive special scholarships when pursuing secondary education. And Gold Award Girl Scouts interested in join the military are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade. Additionally, this distinction impresses many potential employers who are looking for individuals with initiative, creative problem solving skills and established leadership abilities.

While there are so many great things about earning your Gold Award as a Girl Scout, there are also many myths and misconceptions about the Gold Award and how to earn it.

So let’s break down a few of those to help our girls and volunteers better understand the world of Gold Award…

Myth: Girls can only earn their Gold Award if they have been a member of Girl Scouts since Daisies (K-1st grade).

Fact: Girls can join Girl Scouts at any time and still earn their Gold Award! We recommend starting your Gold Award in 9th or 10th grade (as a Senior Girl Scout) so you have plenty of time to complete the prerequisites (see next Myth) and your Gold Award project. We are happy to help girls who start later in their Girl Scout journey complete their Gold Award as well.

Myth: Girls have to earn their Bronze and Silver Awards before starting the Gold Award.

Fact: We have two prerequisite paths and girls must choose one of these paths before starting their Gold Award project:

            1. Two Senior or Ambassador-level journeys

            1. One Senior or Ambassador-level journey and Silver Award

Girls are given these options to ensure every Girl Scout can pursue their Gold Award if they way even if they have not received any previous higher awards. The goal of both journeys and the Silver Award is to teach girls the difference between community service and a Take Action project, which is the foundation of a Gold Award project. Girls need to understand how to identify and address a root issue and how to build that into a project, and through completing journeys and/or the Silver Award, they will progress much more easily into the Gold Award project expectations.

Myth: Girls can earn the Gold Award as a troop or group project.

Fact: The Gold Award is an individual award and therefore each Girl Scout must choose their own Gold Award project. While troop members and troop leaders can be a great support and are more than welcome to join a girl’s “Gold Award Team” it is important to note that the Gold Award is an individual award rather than a group project.

Myth: Girls can just choose their parent or troop leader as their Project Advisor

Fact: A Project Advisor should be a “subject matter expert” on the issue or topic being explored in a Gold Award project. We strongly encourage girls to connect with someone in their community to fill this role so they can find someone who can best support them throughout their project. Additionally it give the girls the opportunity to network outside of her immediate family and Girl Scout circle. 

Myth: Girls can raise money for another existing organization that they care about as their Gold Award project.

Fact: No, due to federal IRS regulations GSHPA has to follow as a non-profit organization, our members cannot raise funds for an outside organization. While they can collect physical items to donate (coats, toiletries, animal food, etc.), they cannot solicit monetary donations for an outside organization. The overall goal of the Gold Award is for girls to find creative and unique solutions for their project and show their leadership skills to address a root issue and this goes beyond collecting resources.

Myth: Girls have until their 18th birthday or high school graduation to complete their Gold Award projects.

Fact: Girls have until September 30th of the year they graduate high school to complete their project. Graduation year of 2021? You have until September 30th 2021 to complete your project.

Myth: You do not need prior approval to start your project and only need to submit a Final Report.

Fact: All Gold Award candidates MUST use GoGold for every step of their project, starting by submitting a Gold Award Project Proposal. Once submitted each proposal is reviewed by GSHPA’s Gold Award Management team. The team will then connect with the Gold Award candidate for a short interview to ensure she is set up for success. During this interview the GSHPA Gold Award Management Team will either approve the proposal or share feedback/suggestions needed to add before approval. Once the Gold Award project is formally approved the Girl Scout can begin! After completing her Gold Award project the girl will submit her Gold Award Final Report in GoGold for final review and approval before she is officially named a Gold Award Girl Scout. 

Myth: Girls and families have to be financially responsible for your project’s expenses.

Fact: No, there are many ways to fund your Gold Award project! The GSHPA Fund Development department can help create a plan for each girl pursuing her Gold Award to help her fundraise and find creative fundraising solutions. Girls can also use money earned through the Fall Fundraiser and Cookie programs as well as approved additional money earning opportunities (the Gold Award Management team can help guide you on this).

Myth: Since the Gold Award is an individual project, the girl has to do everything alone.

Fact: No! It is important to note that there are many people who are there to support each Girl Scout through her Gold Award journey. While developing a Gold Award project girls will create a team of multiple individuals helping them along the way allowing them to further their leadership skills! The Gold Award team can include family, friends, fellow Girl Scouts, community members, etc. Additionally, the Project Advisor is there to help guide girls through obstacles and issues that may arise during their project. And don’t forget about troop leaders, parents, etc. which will be a Gold Award Girl Scout’s biggest cheerleaders along the way! And last, but not least the GSHPA Gold Award Management team is here to help! We can answer any questions you have, we will coach you throughout your project and can help you strategize if you have to change your project along the way. We will also be here to celebrate with you when you cross the finish line of your project!

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of what Gold Award is all about!

Learn more and how to get started here .

And to reach out to the GSHPA Gold Award Management team, please contact mygoldaward@gshpa.org or 800-692-7816.

Fall Traditions: Girl Scout Promise and Law

Girl Scout Traditions provide both girls and adults with a sense of history, connection and belonging. One tradition at the very center of Girl Scouting is following the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law. Both the Girl Scout Promise and Law guide Girl Scouts through the mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  

Reciting the Girl Scout Promise and Law can be easily included in most meetings, ceremonies, special events and virtual gatherings. They serve as great ways to check in with the troop about the true meaning of being a Girl Scout. While it is important to help the girls learn the Girl Scout Promise and Law it can also be a fun way to complete a step towards the Girl Scout Way badge as well!  

The Basics 

When saying the Girl Scout Promise you should start by making the Girl Scout Sign. To begin raise three fingers of the right hand then use your thumb to hold down the pinky finger. The three fingers represent the three parts of the promise.  

Girl Scout Promise (Learn and follow along with GSHPA Girl Scouts here)

On my honor, I will try:  
     to serve God* and my country, 
     to help people at all times,  
     and to live by the Girl Scout Law

*members can substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs  

Girl Scout Law (Learn and follow along with GSHPA Girl Scouts here)

   I will do my best to be 
       honest and fair, 
       friendly and helpful, 
       considerate and caring,  
       courageous and strong, and 
      responsible for what I say and do,  
     and to   
      respect myself and others,  
      respect authority, 
     use resources wisely, 
     make the world a better place, and  
     be a sister to every Girl Scout.
  

Here are 3 fun activities you can do to help your girls learn the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law!  

Girl Scout Paper Sign 

Materials: construction paper, GS Promise trefoil cut outs, scissors, tape/glue, pencils, and markers/crayons. 

Directions:  

  1. Each girl will need 1 piece of paper to start. They place their hand flat on the paper then begin tracing their hand with the pencil. Once traced they will want to cut it out.  If easier you can provide your girls with a preprinted/traced hand they can simply cut out instead!  
  1. Then fold/bend the pinky and thumb until they meet in the middle to create the Girl Scout Sign.  
  1. After that have your girls cut out and decorate trefoil cut outs which include the GS Promise.  
  1. Then tape/Glue both the hand and trefoil onto a piece of construction paper. After everything is attached they can also decorate their creation! 
  1. Afterwards have them over the promise individually or together so the girls learn it by heart. 
  1. Try making the hand gesture/symbol with their own hands, now that they see how it’s supposed to look with the paper! 

Girl Scout Law Popsicle Hanger 

Materials: 12 Popsicle Sticks (per girl), ribbon, colored pencils/crayons, a marker, and glue.  

Directions: 

  1. Once each girl has her materials, have her write the Girl Scout Law on the 12 Popsicle sticks with her marker.  
  1. After the writing out the Girl Scout Law, color each stick a different color. 
  1. When the Popsicle sticks are colored you will then glue them onto a piece of ribbon in the order they are said when reciting the Girl Scout Law. If you would like hang up your Girl Scout Law simply make a “U” shape out of the ribbon with the round curve at the top. Then add your Girl Scout Law sticks!  
  1. After the glue has dried encourage your girls to hang/place their creations somewhere at home!   

Girl Scout Law SWAPS  

While this activity will help your girls learn the Girl Scout Law, it also allows them to participate in another longtime Girl Scout Traditions: SWAPS. The term “SWAPS” is short for: a Special Whatchamacallit Affectionately Pinned Somewhere and is an amazing Girl Scout tradition! Each Girl Scout will make their own SWAPS to exchange with other Girl Scouts promoting friendship and connection.  

Materials:  beads, safety pins, string, and a card with the Girl Scout Law (you can make your own or use this). We recommend using the corresponding bead colors included on this print out.  

Directions: 

  1. Each girl will get a copy of the Girl Scout Law, beads, a key ring and string. The girls should begin placing their beads on the string in the order they appear on the card. As they do this, explain each color and its corresponding line of the Girl Scout Law.  
  1. Once all the beads are in place, tie off the string and attach a safety pin to the top of the chain.  
  1. Afterwards encourage girls to hang onto their Girl Scout Law SWAP or try swapping it with other members in the troop!  

Post by Gabby Dietrich

Investiture Ceremony

What is an Investiture Ceremony? 

An investiture is a traditional ceremony designed to welcome new members to the  

Girl Scout family —both girls and adults alike! An investiture ceremony makes for a great way to start the Girl Scout year. The primary focus is honoring the Girl Scout Promise and Law and it can be customized based upon the age and interests of the group. Since Girl Scouting is always girl-led it is important to let the girls influence the planning of this ceremony.  

The ceremony should have an opening or welcome, the main section which includes the investiture itself and a closing where you’ll leave the group with an inspiring takeaway.  

All investitures should include these 3 key elements: 

  • Recite the Girl Scout Promise, either individually or as a group. 
  • Receive the appropriate membership pin—the Girl Scout Daisy pin, Girl Scout Brownie pin, or Traditional Membership pin, depending on the girls in your troop. 
  • Be verbally welcomed into your troop and to Girl Scouting. You may choose to give the welcome to new members yourself, or returning girls might want to collectively give the welcome. 

What is a Rededication Ceremony?  

Rededication is the opportunity for girls and adults to renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. You can choose to do an investiture and rededication ceremony as one or two separate ceremonies. Just like the investiture ceremony, a rededication can also be easily customized your group. An example of this customization could be scheduling the celebration of this ceremony the week of Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday (October 31st) to highlight the legacy of Girl Scouts.  

Ceremony Example: How to Hold a Candle Light Investiture and Rededication 

Materials Needed:  

  • 1 Small Table 
  • 3 Large Candles (with holders) 
  • 10 Small Candles (with holders) 
  • Matches  
  • Girl Scout Pin for Each Girl/Adult Involved  

Room Set Up:   

  • Candles and matches should be placed on the small table (do not light)  
  • Troop/Group should stand in horseshoe formation  

Holding the Ceremony:  

Start by explaining the importance and meaning of investiture/rededication that we mentioned earlier.  

Then someone will begin to light the 3 large candles which represent the 3 parts of the Girl Scout Promise while reciting:  

  • Candle 1: “The first candle I light shall shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts try to serve God and their country.”  
  • Candle 2: May the light of the second candle shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts try to help people at all times. 
  • Candle 3: “May the light of the third candle shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts are true to their ideals as interpreted by the Girl Scout Law.” 

After that you will move on to the remaining 10 unlit candles, which each represent a part of the Girl Scout Law. As you begin you should assign a portion of the law to each candle so it can be recited when the candle is lit.  

You can now call forward girls/adults from the group to light a candle. If you do not have 10 or more participants you can have girls/adults light multiple candles. Just keep in mind the fire safety guidelines when asking girls/adults to take over the lighting of these candles.   

When ready the girls/adults should begin lighting their candle individually from one of the large candles. As the candle is lit the girl/adult should recite the part of the Girl Scout Law assigned to that candle.  

After the candles have been lit those being invested or rededicated should come forward. You should have the girls/adults (individually or as a group) say the Girl Scout Promise. Then the Troop/Ceremony Leader will pin the Trefoil (Membership Pin) on each girl and say: “This pin tells everyone you are a Girl Scout, I know you will wear it proudly.”  

One option is to pin the pin upside down. If so, the leader says: “I have put your pin on upside down. Do at least 3 good turns or deeds this week, one for each part of the Girl Scout Promise, and at our next meeting I will turn your pin upright.” The pin can also be pinned upright at the ceremony to skip this step if desired.  

Once pinned the leader and girl/adult will do the Girl Scout Handshake. If you want to see how to do the Girl Scout Handshake, check out our video here! The Troop/Ceremony Leader will then welcome the girl/adult to the Girl Scout organization and to the troop.  

After all the members have been invested or rededicated the Troop/Ceremony Leader says:  

“Girl Scouts, the three gold leaves of the trefoil hold a message as you start your journey through Girl Scouting. Today you are entering into an organization that will bring you joy as you work together, play together, seek together. The Trefoil Emblem points the way to sisterhood, friendliness and good citizenship.”  

At the end of the ceremony the group should saying the Girl Scout Promise all together.  

Veterans Day Message

“I have found a family here at Girl Scouts and I hope you do too.” That is something I recently told a new staff member when talking about working for this organization. For me, this family I have found has supported me through some rather challenging times. And this Veteran’s Day, I’m even more grateful for my Girl Scout family.

You see, I am part of a military family. My husband has served in the National Guard for the past 22 years with three deployments under his belt. But his position in the military has required so much more travel than just these deployments. I did a little math before I began writing and realized he has been gone, whether somewhere in the United States or overseas, for 32 out of the past 67 months. Why 67 months? That is how long I have been working here at GSHPA, and why this family has become so important to me.

We’re not the typical military family that has to move around a lot. We are a National Guard family. This means my children and I stay put while my husband goes where he is ordered. Sometimes it’s a weekend, sometimes a month, and most recently a year. My children and I are so lucky to have the stability of staying in one place, but that doesn’t make it easy either. One of the things that has helped has been GSHPA. The staff who have become family, the volunteers who have become friends, and the girls who continue to motivate and inspire, have made this military life so special.

Service is such an important part of what we teach our Girl Scouts. It is incorporated in almost everything we do, most visibly in the donations to the military through our Fall Fundraiser and Cookie programs. But our girls’ support of our military men, women, and families goes far beyond those two programs.

My daughter’s troop and service unit have participated in several activities in support of our military. Her troop and service unit participate not because she and I are part of a military family, but because they truly care. Two years ago, they volunteered to line a local park with American flags for the arrival of a traveling 9/11 memorial. Walking around the memorial that week, I showed my daughter several soldiers who served alongside her father. As a wife and mother, these Girl Scouts gave me hope.

Her troop also donates cookies every year to a local combat veteran support group. The first time they dropped off cookies, the veteran who runs the support group told my daughter that he served with her father. Girl Scouts has helped her learn and appreciate not only the sacrifices of our service men and women everywhere, but also that of her own father.

I am always amazed and grateful for volunteers. For the time they dedicate to our mission, for the opportunities and lessons they provide for our Girl Scouts, and for the kindness they show to those around them. Every time I have the opportunity to speak with one of my volunteers, they always take the time to ask me how my family is doing. Volunteers ask because they know of our recent deployment and because they simply care. I wish I could explain just how much this means to me, but I cannot. That simple question means the world to me. Our volunteers have so many things on mind right now, but they always take the time to check on us. They truly are sisters to every Girl Scout.

Our Girl Scouts, girls and adults alike, support our military year round, in seen and unseen ways. Much like our military men and women, Girl Scouts do not seek recognition for their service and support. Veteran’s day is a day to recognize the service of military men and women. For me, Veteran’s Day can be a difficult reminder of the sacrifices my family makes for this service. It’s a life we chose and we wouldn’t have it any other way. And my Girl Scout family, my co-workers, volunteers, and girls, help make this life so much better!

This Veterans Day message is from Jess Mislinski, GSHPA’s Regional Director.

News: Volunteer Systems 2.0

Volunteer Systems 2.0 is COMING! 

VS 2.0 is better than ever! We are updating our systems to make them more user friendly for our members.  

Please note: Starting November 18 at 11:59 PM EST, Girl Scouts will begin system-wide updates that will temporarily restrict the ability to complete many volunteer and member related tasks and pause access to:  

  • Volunteer Toolkit (VTK)
  • gsLearn (volunteer online training platform)
  • myGS  
  • New membership registration/s and membership renewals
Virtual Events Calendar | Girl Scouts at Home

Things to consider: 

  • Troop leaders should download all meeting aids and/or resources needed for troop meetings or activities scheduled from November 18 – December 10. 
  • Troop leaders should consider any non-meeting or activity needs they may have during this time. For example, will you need your troop roster? 
  • All members and volunteers should watch for an email from Girl Scouts in early December announcing the debut of our refreshed member account management system, updated login information, and instructions on how to access their refreshed Girl Scout account. 

If you have questions about the new system please reach out to Member Services at 1-800-692-7816 or MemberServices@gshpa.org.  

5 Activities to Center Your Gratitude This Fall!

November is officially here and for many of us this month marks the beginning of the holiday season! Although many of our holiday plans may look different this year than they have in the past. We may not have the opportunities to connect with family and friends in the same ways. So it is important to keep in mind all the things we have to be thankful for and to practice gratitude with those around us!

Gratitude is being thankful for all the goodness in our lives. When we take the time to be grateful we are able to connect to those around us and acknowledge all the goodness in our lives. Research consistently shows that pausing to embrace gratitude allows people to feel positive emotions, appreciate good experiences, improves overall heath and aids in building strong relationships.

Keeping the importance of gratitude we wanted to give you some ideas to practice gratitude this holiday season!

  • Gratitude Pumpkin: A great activity that can be utilized all month long! All you will need is a pumpkin and a sharpie. You can write/draw something that you are thankful for each day on the pumpkin. At the end of the month you should have a pumpkin full of gratitude that will also serve as a perfect center piece for a holiday meal!
  • Gratitude Stones: Add your very own messages of gratitude to stones of all shapes and sizes! Afterwards these stones can be placed as reminders around the home, used as a holiday centerpiece, or placed outside for others to find. For this activity you will need rocks (large enough to paint on), paint, Modge Podge, and gratitude messages! Once you have the supplies just glue/paint your grateful messages on the rock and seal with a coat of modge podge.
  • Gratitude Tree: A great way to combine nature and gratitude! You will need sticks, pipe cleaners, a jar/vase, paper, string and a writing utensil. Start by creating a tree shape with your sticks, add pipe cleaners to hold it together and place it in your jar. Afterwards cut the paper in to leaf shapes and write messages of gratitude on each; you may also want to punch a hole in each leaf. Simply attach these leaves to your tree with string and your tree is ready! Gratitude trees make great holiday centerpieces!
  • Gratitude Scavenger Hunt: Scavenger hunts are always fun, but a gratitude scavenger hunt is fun with a purpose! This activity can be done all month, during a troop meeting, or at a holiday gathering. Make your own list or use ours.
  • Gratitude Conversation Starters: Talk to your loved ones about gratitude! Use these conversation starters around the table, before bedtime, to start a troop meeting, or wherever you find fit! If talking it out isn’t your thing- they could also be utilized as journal prompts. Make your own or use ours.

Whatever this holiday season brings for you, make sure to take time to acknowledge the goodness! We would love to hear what you are grateful for this holiday season.


Post by Gabby Dietrich

4 Civics Lessons Girls Scouts Should Know

In the United States, every four years, those 18 years of age or older are given the opportunity to go to the polls to vote and elect a president. Pretty exciting, right? Is today, November 3rd, the only date Americans get to participate in our government? I hope you are answering no!

It is our job as US Citizens to spend time learning and researching the issues impacting our communities. Yes, adults are able to vote, but this is so much more to our government than just the presidential elections.

Long before Girl Scouts are old enough to vote they can be engaged in their local and national governments.

Girl Scouts offer a wide variety of citizenship badges to help girls learn how the government works and how they can be involved. We have grouped these lessons into four important topics that will help every one of all ages understand and feel comfortable engaging and voicing their opinions.   

The Rule of Law:

The United States works within the idea that we all follow the rule of the law. When starting to have law oriented conversations with your troop it is important to explain it in a way they will understand. A good way to start is to discuss how the laws have been created and how the law is enforced.  A great way of explaining it to girls in your troop can be through Girl Scout Badges.   

  • Badges to explore: Junior Inside Government

The Three Branches of Government:

It is best to think of the United States Government as a tree that has three branches to keep it balanced. The three branches work together to keep the tree upright and strong. So what are these three branches? First, we have the legislative branch who makes the rules. Second, the judiciary branch, which is comprised of judges who decide individual cases. And third, the executive branch which includes the president and agencies who carry out and enforce these laws. The three branches work together to protect the law. Additionally, it is important to note that these branches can be found at all levels of government including federal, state and local.

  • Badges to Explore: Democracy for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors

Influences on Government:

Today we live in a world where news is available 24 hours a day. It can be found everywhere we look, from television and the radio to the internet, mail, billboards, etc. It is clear that those sharing information in the news are very passionate about their beliefs.  Traditionally these beliefs and influences have the ability to change what issues are up for debate. When discussing this topic with your troops it is important to give them an understanding of how things such as media, money, etc. may affect the information they are seeing. It is important to have a well-rounded view and the badges included below will help you start those conversations with your troop.

  • Badges to Explore: Cadette Finding Common Ground, Cadette Netiquette, Senior Truth Seeker

Everyone Can Be Involved

It is important for Girl Scouts to be familiar and involved with their local, state and federal governments. Voting is not the only way to have an impact. Girls of all ages can learn about the causes they care about to form their own opinions. They can also write letters, visit elected officials and volunteer in the community to make an impact.

It is important to keep in mind how valuable each and every individual can be. In his Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln, said that the government as a whole is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

So it is important for Girl Scouts to have these discussions with their families, friends and troops to learn and practice participating the government. If you would like additional ideas on how to start this process, please check out the badges included below or visit www.gshpa.org.

  • Badges to Explore: Ambassador Public Policy, Brownie Celebrating Community, Daisy Good Neighbor

Post by Liz Bleacher