Crafting a Home for Small Fairy Visitors

By Colleen Sypien, GSHPA

As children we save our lost teeth to give to the tooth fairy, and they leave us something in return. When Tinkerbell needs us to believe, we clap and say “I do believe in fairies!”

I think a lot of us dreamed about having a fairy godmother like Cinderella! Or maybe you know that the best time to see fairies is during a Midsummer’s Eve, thanks to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” 

For thousands of years there have been stories and folklore of fairies, or fey, as they are also known. Those stories can bring about superstition, and a desire to try to see fairies for oneself.

Maybe these stories resonate with us because they allow our imagination to explore the magical lands and fairy mystique.

For several decades now the craft of creating fairy gardens has become increasingly popular.

A fairy garden is meant to be a place for a fairy to live or visit. They can simply be a little house, or they can be as elaborate as having little furniture, small wishing wells, or even ponds.

Fairy gardens are meant to be little fairy worlds created in any inside or outside space. A flower bed corner, at the base of a tree, anywhere!

The steps below share how to create your very own fairy garden! There are so many supplies you could use for your fairy garden, so I recommend seeing what you have in your house that you can use. Remember to think about what will hold up in different weather if you will be putting yours outside. I love crafting, so all of my materials were recycled from past projects. Get creative and find ways you can recycle items!

I used moss, tiny rocks, puffy paint, terra cotta paints, a tray and craft sticks from the dollar store, old spools, string and a tiny felt flower I made for my supplies. There are so many options!

My supply list.

Once I gathered all of my supplies, I started creating the fairy house first. I built my fairy home and garden on top of the dollar store tray, so that I could easily move it around to find the best spot for it. My materials are best kept out of weather elements, so it will either sit on my front porch by my door under cover of the roof, or inside! After adding some moss and tiny rocks to my fairy home, I started to lay out the tray. If you are only making a fairy house, you might want to spend more time on it and make it more elaborate. If you are planting an actual garden outside for your fairy, your steps will look a little different than mine!

Have fun creating your design!

Once I planned out and covered my tray with moss and a little walkway for my fairies, it was time to add a few extra touches to this garden. I used old spools to create a little outdoor seat or table. I also used a little felt flower that I made a long time ago to add some florals to this garden. I also had a tiny little frog friend that I added to my fairy garden, but I did not glue him down, so that he can hop around to different spots of the garden! Can you spot him in my finished garden?

A walking-path has taken shape.

Fairy Gardens are wonderful ways to connect nature and the imagination together. Your garden could take up just a corner of the flower beds in your backyard, or as much space as the entire backyard! These are meant to be resting places for our fairy friends, and if you’re lucky you might just spot one. If you make your own fairy garden, be sure to share pictures with us!

It’s fun to see it come together.

If you loved our fairy garden craft, you might also love checking out the upcoming Enchanted Fairy Festival happening right in our council footprint in York! On Sept. 19, you can come in everyday attire or dress up as your favorite mythical creature and become part of the enchantment. There will be live music, strolling minstrels, magic, face painting, a unicorn, giants and so much more. You can do crafts, learn to belly dance, be a part of a drum circle, or visit some of the unique craft vendors.

Tickets can be purchased here, or if you would like to volunteer as a Girl Scout to help with decorations or to be day of help, please reach out to Claire at cgilbert@gshpa.org. We cannot wait to see all of the magical fun that day!

Making Memories: Dad Style

Four GSHPA Dads Share their Stories

As Girl Scouts we learn all about how awesome Girl Power can be, and we learn from our amazing leaders and other women in our lives. But sometimes it can be easy to forget that our Girl Scout dads play a huge role in helping us to grow into our Girl Power too. This Father’s Day we celebrate all of our amazing Girl Scout dads out there, and thank you for all you do! We checked in with a few of our volunteers to see why they love being Girl Scout dads:

David Jensen, Lancaster County Girl Scout Dad

              “I was familiar with Girl Scouting from a young age. In vague memories I remember bits and pieces of Girl Scout meetings, parades, outings, etc. My sisters were Girl Scouts and my mother was their leader. The two activities that stand out are the monthly Leader meetings in our dining room and that my sisters and mother and their troop went to Puerto Rico. Yes, Puerto Rico…for a week!

            Fast forward a bit and now I have a daughter that wants to be a Girl Scout and a wife that wants to be a leader. So my wife Anne decided to start a Brownie Troop. There were enough girls but not enough adult leaders, so I decided to be her assistant.

            We did many activities such as fishing, knots, archery, whittling, rocketry, cooking (chicken soup – which the girls’ parents somehow didn’t want to try!), Daddy/Daughter dances and even sewing.

            Slow forward (because now the knees hurt, the back is stiff and I don’t move as fast anymore). I now have a granddaughter Arianna that is a Juliette. Well here I go again… Coding badge, making Swaps and Swap holders, helping build their cookie booth and even camping.

            Recently we have helped plant 50 trees and bushes at Camp Furnace Hills, participated in the camp clean-up (and received a parting gift of poison ivy).

            It has been quite a journey so far and I have enjoyed every minute. And for all the fellas – If you know of someone in Girl Scouting, wife, daughter, granddaughter, niece etc., even though you are not a “Girl” they would be happy to have you.

            Now off to our next adventure – Rock Climbing on Sunday. Wish me luck…”

Rich Ainey, Lackawanna County Girl Scout Dad

“Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working side by side with my wife with Troop 50863 and Troop 50866. Both of these troops were started to ensure that my daughters had a Girl Scout Troop to belong to. It has been great to be able to watch not only my daughters flourish and grow, but also a number of other girls do the same.

I was there when girls operated a power tool for the first time to build a “buddy bench” for a service project. I was there to teach many girls how to shoot a bow and arrow for the first time at a community camp at Camp Archbald.

I was there to help the girls to finish and install their little free library as well as another service project. Many times I have been able to witness girls overcome a fear of something or experience something for the first time. This is just some of the many things I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy about being involved with Girl Scouts.

 One particular story I distinctly remember was our last time at community camp at Camp Archbald in 2019. We were up there for the weekend and having a great time. Some strong storms were supposed to move in on Saturday evening around dinner time. As luck would have it, the power got knocked out and stayed out as we were preparing our typical spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

Rather than backing down and accepting defeat, we managed to finish off dinner by flashlight, serve dinner, and get everyone fed. Not only did we do that, we managed to get the generator up and working so that we could have lights in the dining hall. We also made s’mores in the ovens and made sure everyone was safe and secure.

When we woke up the next morning, power had been restored and we proceeded to finish up our weekend. I don’t think any of the girls that were there that weekend will forget all of the different events. Most certainly, they will all look back and think about the obstacles we overcame while we still managed to have some fun.

For other guys out there saying, “What can a guy do at Girl Scouts?” I would challenge them to come and find out. Become an archery instructor, help out at a cookie rally, experience a rope runner rally, come up for community camp (when COVID restrictions are lifted), help out at a camp cleanup, or do any variety of activities that include being involved in your daughter’s Girl Scout journey. I can promise you that it will be something you won’t regret.”

Matt Reed, Union County Dad

When Matt was growing up he dreamed of being a Boy Scout Leader. His plans took a turn though when he and his wife had two beautiful daughters, instead of sons! Being outdoors is his passion, and he has worked hard to introduce the girls in his troop to as many outdoor activities as possible. Matt’s troop has gone camping and kayaking, and the girls hope to soon cross backpacking off of their list too!

Jamie Stefl, Northumberland County Dad

“Throughout my life I’d heard about Girl Scouting, but it wasn’t until my daughter joined that I started getting involved. My wife had been a longtime Girl Scout so we were excited to get our daughter started in the program and it has been a family journey ever since! It has been an amazing opportunity to connect with my family while making a difference in the community. While my daughter is fully grown, and working for GSHPA, I still enjoy being involved as a volunteer in our Service Unit.

Over the years I have attended a wide variety of Girl Scout events and activities, but I think my favorite has always been going camping. I remember the first time I went on a Girl Scout camping trip as a volunteer and it was an adventure! My daughter was a Brownie at the time and her troop planned an overnight stay at Knoebels in Elysburg. We pitched tents in the parking lot and had a wonderful time, but I don’t think I have ever been that cold! It was well below freezing overnight and we awoke to frost covering all the tents! We all had a good laugh about it once we thawed!

Since then I have continued to stay involved with Girl Scouting as a volunteer. As an engineer I was always involved with creating Girl Scout floats for the local parades. I remember helping out with cookies, well, helping get cookies out of my house that is! And I really enjoyed attending events. In 2012 our group traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Celebration which was quite an experience! I’ve attended all of GSHPA’s Gold Award Ceremonies and even went to GSUSA’s National Convention.

I think my advice to any father considering joining Girl Scouts, would be, just to do it! Yes, as a dad you can experience a wide variety of things with your daughter through Girl Scouting, including camping and selling cookies, but I think it is so much more than that. It is truly an amazing experience to personally see your daughter grow through Girl Scouting.”

Each of these wonderful Girl Scout dads work hard to provide girls the best possible Girl Scout experience, and certainly prove that being “man enough to be a Girl Scout” is a wonderful thing! Girl Power champions come in all shapes and sizes, and out Girl Scout dads are great examples of this. Shout out your Girl Scout dad stories in the comments, we’d love to hear more about our amazing GSHPA Dads!

Post by: Rebekah Stefl
Post by: Colleen Sypien