April Fools, Girl Scout Style

March is a busy month filled with all sorts of activities, but as we say goodbye to March it is time to say hello to spring weather, the end of Cookie Season and APRIL FOOLS DAY.  

Yes, today we will be talking all about April 1st and sharing some of our favorite pranks with you!  

Green Milk & Cookies! 

Bring your friends and family a sweet surprise – delicious Girl Scout Cookies. So where’s the prank in that? We have used food coloring to dye the milk an unusual color to shock them! 

Girl Scout Cookie Swap! 

Since everyone is stocking up on those delicious Girl Scout Cookies it is the perfect time to swap out those cookies with veggies for some April Fools fun! 

Jello Toothbrush! 

Who doesn’t love Jello? Well your friends and family might not after this prank! Start by making your favorite jello (we recommend green jello for an extra Girl Scout twist!) and pour it into a small cup then add their toothbrush. Once it is set, simply place it where they brush their teeth and wait! 

Balloon Bang! 

Take on April Fool’s Day with a BANG! Just take a few balloons, blow them up really full and attach them to the back of a closed door! When your friends open the door it will hit the wall and pop the balloons! 

Juliette Gordon Low Prank! 

As you may know Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of Girl Scouts what better way to remind your friends and family members than by showing them? We printed out a bunch of tiny cartoon Juliette Gordon Lows to stick around the house – you should try the same! 

Unreachable Girl Scout Cookies! 

Instead of opening the package and swapping out the cookies inside, this prank will be on the outside of the box! Just take a box of their favorite Girl Scout Cookies and wrap it in tape, bubble wrap, etc. to ensure it is nearly impossible to reach the delicious cookies inside! 


Post by: Rebekah Stefl

STEAM Snack: March

Welcome back to our monthly series bringing you STEAM activities to do at home or with your troops. 

March can be a tricky month, is it Winter? No, Spring, wait, it’s Winter again!  We have an activity for you to bring some order to the randomness of March through math and art.  

A tessellation is a pattern of flat shapes that fit together so that there are no gaps.  I’m sure you’ve seen them before but maybe didn’t realize it.  Here are a couple examples from nature.  

Take a look at the snake’s skin and you will see a collection of scales that fit together like puzzle pieces.  

The veins on a dragonfly’s wings also outline an irregular puzzle-like collection clear cells.   

The honeycomb cells built by bees also fit together very regularly.  They are all the same size and shape.   

All these natural patterns can be modeled with a mathematic technique known as a Voroni Tessellation. Feel free to research that more.  Here we are just going to talk about the math behind the basic definition of tessellation.  

Why Math?  

Math gets a bad reputation sometimes, but I love it and even if you don’t love it you can have fun with it.  Here are three reasons why… 

  1. A girl who tries to solve a math problem quickly learns that she needs to follow a specific series of steps without making a mistake.  If there is an error, she will learn to trouble shoot, and try it again until she gets it correct.  This is an important lesson for our daily lives, where we do a lot of stuff that can be improved and corrected for efficiency and productivity.  
  1. Math helps produce problem solving skills that will assist in real life situations and arriving at logical solutions.  Think of the dreaded “word problems”, I know we all groaned when our teachers gave us one, but they are the problems that apply most to real live situations.  
  1. Math teaches us important skills that we use every single day, even if we don’t realize it.  An example:  fractions are used while reading road signs that tell us the distance we still have to go to our destination. Being good with numbers makes telling time much easier.  Percentages help us when reading nutrition labels or shopping discounts.  

What if I’m not an expert? 

We have all heard “I’m not a math person.” We are all math people, it is around us everywhere, you don’t have to be an expert/genius to be able to get girls interested, or at least accepting of math.   

First, we don’t want anyone to feel forced into math, we want to show the girls how math is connected to our daily lives. This is not school, they are not being graded! 

Second, focus on the other things we learn through math. Share with your girls that it will create opportunities for cooperation, it will be a change to struggle and succeed, and that it is ok to not get it right the first time, very rarely do we get things correct the first time.   

Also, remind the girls that math is like a language and easier to use once you learn the words.  

How do I get started? 

So the first step in starting is to make sure to do this activity yourself before doing it with the girls.  There are some detailed parts that you will want to have tried before teaching the girls, lining up the sides to tape and such, you will recognize them. If you google “Tesselations for Kids” images you will see many more examples and inspiration. 

Along these lines, if you are working with younger girls it will be handy to have extra adult hands around to help.  

Once you have the girls in front of you, do not tell them they are going to be doing Math, or  you will get eye rolls and groans. Instead, lead with “we are doing Art!!!!” And then mention the math in the art. Patterns, angles, spacing are all art and math terms.  

The Badges: 

Daisy: Outdoor Art Maker – Step 1, See the colors of nature 

Brownie: Outdoor Art Creator – Step 1: Find art ideas outdoors and Step 2: Make something 

Junior: Outdoor Art Explorer – Step 1: Explore outdoor art and Step 2: Make something 

Cadette: Outdoor Art Apprentice – Step 1: Explore outdoor art and Step 2: Make something 

Senior: Outdoor Art Expert – Step 1: Explore outdoor art and Step 2: Make something 

Ambassador: Outdoor Art Master – Step 1: Explore outdoor art and Step 2: Make something 

The Activity! 

What to say when you start the activity: Tessellation is a big word for fitting shapes together so there are no gaps between the shapes and none of the shapes overlap. Think of a jigsaw puzzle, tiles in your bathroom or a brick wall. There is a bit of math involved even if not obvious at first, it is all about the angles.

Tetris is a good example of tessellation, fitting shapes together with no gaps. Other places you will see tessellation is in the work of Dutch artist M.C. Escher and in Islamic art, the Alhambra Palace in Spain.

Tessellation has one important rule: whenever lines meet, the angles have to add up to 360 degrees. Back to the Tetris example, it works because the corners on all the shapes are 90 degrees so when the four corners meet you end up with no spaces, 360 degrees.  This also works with other shapes, equilateral triangles (60-degree corners) and hexagons (120-degree corners.)

Activity: Tessellation 

We will be designing a translation tessellation, this can be thought of as sliding the shape along a plane, creating the repeating pattern. Follow the steps and see what you can imagine.  

Step One:  

Label your 3×3 inch paper with A and B 

Step Two:  

Draw a simple shape on one side A and one side B

Step Three:  

Carefully cut side “A” out and slide it to line up with the other “A”. Secure with tape.

Step Four: Optional  

Optional for a bigger challenge: Repeat Step Three with side “B”.

Now you have a template, you can use it as is or trace it onto a heavier piece of paper like card stock or cereal box.  

Step Five:  

Place your template somewhere on your blank piece of paper and trace it.  Then place the template so that it fits into itself and trace again.  Repeat until your page is covered.  Trace the patter with a black marker or pen.

Step Six:  

Choose Colors for your design and color in with crayons, colored pencils, markers, or paint. 

Wrap up:  

How can changing the colors change your pattern? How did you work through your challenges working with the template?  

Congratulations you did it! You deserve a snack, an edible tessellation! 

5 Ingredient Monkey Bread  

easy monkey bread recipe 2

There are so many more STEAM projects out there and if you have a favorite or a new topic you’d like to see please let us know in the comments. 


Written by: The GSHPA Program Team

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!

On March 12th we will be celebrating the 109th anniversary of when Juliette Gordon Low registered the first 18 Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia.  I’m sure Juliette could have never imagined the impact she would have on Girl Scouts, over a century later. With the organization turning 109 years old this year, has anything changed from Juliette’s original vision? 

During a time when women still could not vote in 1912, Juliette wanted to defy standards of the time, and give girls the chance to gain skills, and become more independent.  Skills including knot tying, harvesting food, and canning goods.  The first Girl Scouts were encouraged to get outdoors, to camp, to hike and to play basketball. Community service projects and Take Action projects became a huge part of Girl Scouts especially when the Great Depression and World War II started.  The cookie program was also started by Juliette, as a way to raise funds for her Girl Scout troops.   

Looking at the Girl Scout values of today, not much has changed.  Girl Scouts continue to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  Girl Scouts can explore interests and learn new skills while working on badges that center around STEM, outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship.   The organization empowers girls to make connections so that they can make a difference in their community.  All these years later, you cannot mention Girl Scouts without someone asking about buying Girl Scout cookies.  We want girls to continue to chase their curiosity and dream big, in a girl only safe space. 

The only changes we have seen in the last 109 years is the number of Girl Scout members, going from the original 18 in 1912 to over 2 million today. We need to celebrate not only because Girl Scouts is turning 109 years old next week, but also because our values and goals have changed very little since Juliette Gordon Low first registered the original 18 members.  During the next week, take the time to celebrate this achievement.  Leading up to March 12th, your troop could celebrate by having a small party at their troop meeting.  What would a party be without eating some cake or cupcakes (maybe try incorporating your favorite Girl Scout cookies like this S’more campfire cupcake recipe from Little Brownie Bakers)? During your party your troop could sing their favorite Girl Scouts songs like “Make New Friends” and “Princess Pat”.  To end this celebration, play a game of pin the petal on a daisy.  No matter how you decide to celebrate this year, take the time to reflect on the Girl Scout first meeting, all those years ago.  

Happy Birthday Girl Scouts! We hope you had the BEST Girl Scout week. We want to see how you celebrated. Tag us on Facebook or on Instagram. You could be featured in an upcoming blog post!


Written by Gina
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SWAPS

Girl Scouts is an organization with a rich history of traditions. One of my personal favorites is the tradition of exchanging, “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere,” also lovingly known as SWAPS. These “Special Whatchamacallits” have been a part of our Girl Scout history since they first appeared in the 1950s and 60s at national Senior Roundup events. These items are small in nature but serve as the perfect reminders of Girl Scout memories and friends. Typically, SWAPS are small enough to pin to a hat or backpack, and have a tag that shares contact information for the troop or girl that is exchanging the SWAPS.  

In my experience as a young Girl Scout, I most often saw SWAPS exchanges while at summer camp or large events. Nowadays there are ways to send SWAPS nationwide, similar to a pen pal connection. Back in September of 2020, one of our GSHPA volunteers told me of how her troop had spent all summer exchanging SWAPS with troops not only nationwide, but worldwide! After hearing that, she and I agreed that a SWAPS exchange within GSHPA would be a fun way for girls to connect safely during the pandemic, and thus the GSHPA SWAPS Exchange event was born!  

We had 9 Juliettes and 66 troops participate in our first GSHPA SWAPS exchange. Now not only did participants get to connect with troops across our council footprint, they also got to show their creativity in more ways than one! Our girls thought of some very creative SWAPS ideas to fit our winter theme, but they also used their creativity to find a way to make these SWAPS during the pandemic, at a time that in person troop meetings were not allowed. Again and again throughout the pandemic I have been amazed at how well our girls handle the ever-constant change, and adapt to our new virtual way of life. With Zoom meetings happening for school and other extracurricular activities like Girl Scouts, it is so great to see the girls’ creativity continue to shine through! I don’t know about you, but it makes me super proud to be a Girl Scout! 


Post by Colleen Sypien, Volunteer Support Coordinator

National Brownie Day

Did you know December 8th is National Brownie Day? Well, now you know! Every year, the delicious desserts we recognize as brownies are celebrated on December 8th. As Girl Scouts, we know this tasty dessert is not the only “brownie” that deserves to be celebrated! Brownies, the second program level in Girl Scouts, is open to girls in grades 2-3. So why not take National Brownie Day to celebrate both the scrumptious and the scouting?   

Check out these 5 easy ways to celebrate National Brownie Day with your favorite Brownies this year!  

  1. Bake and eat brownies with a Girl Scout twist! Enjoy some warm, chocolatey brownies with your favorite Girl Scout cookie added to the mix!  
  1. Explore the history behind brownies! Have you ever wondered how brownies came to be? National Brownie Day is the perfect day to explore the history of each one! We recommend starting with the chocolatey dessert! You can take this time to research who invented them and how they became such a classic dessert! Can you guess the 5 ingredients that make up the classic brownie recipe?  

Additionally, you can have fun learning about how Girl Scouts became known as “Brownies”. Did you know that Girl Scout Brownies were originally called “Rosebuds,” but the name was later changed? The term “Brownies” was suggested by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a close friend of Juliette Gordon Low. The term was originally used in folktales to describe small individuals who were both helpful and magical, also known as fairies! Various versions of these classic stories have been included in the Brownie handbooks over the years, and they are the basis for the traditional Brownie investiture ceremony. Check out the Brownie Story here.   

  1. Learn a Girl Scout brownie song and make a new one! As Girl Scouts, we love to get together with our friends and sing. Learn the “Brownie Smile” song below and then try creating your very own song! Maybe you can even include lyrics about your favorite brownie desserts! 
  1. Make brownie inspired SWAPS! SWAPS stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere”. Traditionally, these are made by Girl Scouts to exchange with others as tokens of friendship! So to celebrate National Brownie Day try making brownie inspired SWAPS. If you would like to recreate the one pictured you will just need a sponge, construction paper, brown paint, writing tool, and glue!  
  1. Recognize a special brownie in your life! It’s National Brownie Day? What better day to thank a Girl Scout Brownie with a nice treat! Make a card or write a letter for a helper making your life sweeter!  

Post by Gabby Dietrich

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

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

Catch the Colors of Fall with this Fun Craft!

Bring the beauty of fall indoors with these fall leaf sun catchers! This is a fun craft that can be easily made with a few materials that might already be in your kitchen.

All you need is:

  • White round coffee filters
  • Liquid watercolor paint or food coloring
  • Paper to make leaf template (You can draw your own or use ours)
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush or dropper

Steps:

First create your leaf template! It will be used as a guide to cut the coffee filters into leave shapes! Once you have your leaf guide grab your coffee filters and start cutting! Due to the thin nature of the coffee filters you can pile 3-5 filters to cut through at once to speed up the process.

After you have your leaves cut out its time for the color! To have fun without extra mess we recommend using a plate or a tray to put underneath the leaves you are painting! We made our own trays out of aluminum foil. Now, begin painting your masterpieces! Liquid watercolors or food coloring (diluted with a few drops of water) work best for coloring the leaves. We used red, yellow and orange to stick with the fall theme. Once your colors are ready, use an eyedropper or paintbrush to apply to the paint to the leaf.

When the leaves are finished you may want to gently move them to a safe (liquid resistant) surface to dry. A plastic bag or aluminum foil would work well! And be careful when moving your leaves they are a little delicate when wet. After the leaves have been moved to a safe location allow them to dry fully!

Once the leaves have fully dry pick them up and add some tape! You will want to create a tape loop and stick it to your creation. After that simply stick them to a window with a loop of tape sticky side out. My girls got excited about the fall theme and ended up adding a few pumpkins too.  Once the colorful creations are hung up, stand back and enjoy the beautiful color shining through!

We hope that you enjoy this fun colorful craft and would love to see your creations so please send us pictures!