Archive for the ‘Badges & Insignia’ Category

Things we should do this year:

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Have you tried the new Girl Guides of Canada app? I saw a few things about it on Facebook yesterday and had to try it myself when I got home. All reviews (mine and others) have been resoundingly positive. I have downloaded it on my iPhone and I’m told that there’s an Android version too.

  • For iPhone, go to the App Store – search Girl Guides of Canada.
    2016-08-25 11.29.29
  • From there, you sign in with your iMIS number and password (good security!).
  • You can access your unit rosters.
  • If you go to Badge and Award Tracker and create a meeting, the app cross checks your roster and you can take attendance. (Is there an easier way to get to the meeting spot?)
    2016-08-25 11.27.32
  • I’m wondering if there’s a way to download the info later? Is there a desktop app?
  • And am I the only one that sees this information? Does GGC? I’m good with that, but I wonder?
  • Edited with more thoughts…
    • Parents can get it too and track progress
    • It is showing the old rosters from last year – those should update at the end of August.
    • Love that we’ll have Safe Guide and Code of Conduct at our fingertips.

Great innovation. Love it.

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Have you read Dad Goes Round? The author is also a parent of one of our Brownies and today he wrote a great post called “Girl Guide Badges for Parents.”  Meant as a joke, but #3 does serve as a warning. We’ve sucked in our best leaders that way. Happy Friday.

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There’s a lot to do to be ready for advancement … whether you join a district/neighbourhood event or do your own unit celebration.

Here is my Advancement To Do list:

  • Purchase any Advancement Insignia for your girls who are moving up.  The Girl Guide Store sells the pins and certificates you need.  You’ll know how many girls are advancing all year so buy these things early to keep shipping costs down.  Our order was done in March.
  • Prepare a Welcome Token from your unit to any girls joining you from the unit below.  These should not be expensive (seriously, think token), but should have a card or note attached with your unit info and how to contact you.
    • As part of our advancement prep/Brownie Memories meeting, we make Friendship Bracelets from twisted crochet cotton to be given as welcome gifts to Sparks who are coming up to Brownies.  They’re stapled to a small card that says “We can’t wait to be your friend”.  These cost us nearly nothing because we used supplies we had on hand.  Yarn, crochet cotton or embroidery floss would all work.
    • Guides in our area usually give advancing Brownies a flower (they get grocery store flowers).
    • Hat Crafts or Traders are perfect for this.
    • Pathfinders gave advancing Guides a green squishy toy that I think came from the Dollar Store.  Again, inexpensive is good.
  • Make/buy Goodbye Gifts – it is nice to give your advancing girls a small gift from the unit as they leave. Don’t spend too much money (We make our gift for around $3 per girl and I’ve seen units spend upwards of $10 per girl – make a budget and shop early to save money).
    • Sometimes a letter is the best gift of all.  Spark Guider Claudia was highlighted on the GirlGuidesCANblog because of her lovely letters to departing girls in 2012.
    • The Girl Guide Shop has a Gifts Section.  Our Spark Unit gave their girls a mug.
    • Or do a special crest from The Girl Guide Store or E-patches & Crests.
    • I have (or my Mom has) made hand made ditty bags for our advancing girls every year for eight years.
      Partly because we wanted to send girls up to Guides with a proper ditty bag (some were pretty bad) and also because it solves the problem identified in the next bullet – packaging.  We put any crests or badges we need to give them in the bag.  The Brownie Key Pin is on the outside.  Certificates go inside.
      dittybag2014-05-26 11.15.18
  • No matter what you give as a gift, pay attention to packaging – after you hand the girl their insignia, gift, crests/badges and certificate… they’re going to go on to the next person who will want to shake their hand with the full Brownie sign to boot.  This is difficult to do with your hands full.  And things are less likely to go astray if they’re already in a bag with handles they can slip over their arms.
  • Plan the ceremony – and share the details with the other units (if you’re participating, make sure you get the event plan).  Practice with your girls so they know what to expect (we didn’t and that was a shame).  If the other units need to bring things, let them know.  This year was a success – a first for me as I wasn’t in charge (that was a nice change).  Guider Michelle led us through Building a Campfire from Becky’s Guiding Resource

    Campfire2014-05-27 07.04.27

    Starry Owl – our Fire Master. (With Ditty Bags in the background)

  • Decide about food and consider not having a treat… Food always sounds like a good idea that is just a part of every celebration. But we decided not to serve food at this advancement… (1) if it rained and we needed to go inside, we are not permitted to eat in the gym; (2) sugary snacks before bed aren’t good for kiddos; (3) allergies were a factor; and (4) parents just want to get out of there at the end (hockey playoffs).
  • At the event, go with the flow.  You should have an idea of what is going to happen – but sometimes they sneak one by you.

    Our ACL Pat Kaefer presented me with a Gold Merit Medal.

    Our ACL Pat Kaefer presented me with a Gold Merit Medal.

I hope you’ve all had a great Guiding year.  Enjoy some time off.  You’ve earned it.

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We finally used up the last of our stash of Title Tapes and had to order some more.  When I asked about them two years ago, blog readers (both in Canada and the UK) had lots of recommendations ranging from “we are a small community and we don’t use them” to “I like this vendor”.

I picked Advantage Labels out of Vancouver, BC to do ours (based mostly on price and that they made it easy to find what I needed with a Title Tapes link) and I thought you’d be interested to hear about what we got.

  • We bought the least expensive printed title tape at $36.50 for 50 tapes or $0.73 per tape (includes tax and shipping).
  • The quality is top notch.  Good  fabric ribbon.  Non-fraying ends.  And the ribbon won’t shred (our last batch was made of a more paper-like ribbon that if you pinned them to something and they got pulled, the tape would rip on the grain).
  • Delivery is included and your order will come in 2 – 4 weeks so don’t wait till the last minute.  Our order made it across the country in three weeks.
  • We considered the more expensive Woven Tapes ($75 for 50 and $1.50 each), but the printed ones are more than sufficient for what we needed.

I have no experience with the other vendors and I haven’t been paid for this review.  But if you’re looking, I’m happy to recommend Advantage Labels.

title tapes

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Tuesday’s meeting was our neighbourhood enrollment ceremony.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

  • Where to hold the event… and where do they sit?  As Brownies has the largest space for the longest time in the neighbourhood, it fell to us to host.  The thing is, the fire code in our space allows 100 people if we have chairs but 300 people if we don’t have chairs.  We either had to limit the guest list or advise parents that we weren’t going to provide chairs (there was limited seating on some school benches, but that was it).  We went with the second option.  It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t horrible either (I say that as someone who stood most of the evening).
  • Shopping: Other years we’ve ordered late from Guide shop and most of the time we’ve got our pin order by the skin of our teeth (in 2012 they arrived about 2PM on the day) but this year we ordered weeks ago and had lots of time to go over the stuff we had and to put on the Badge Sash instruction badge sash instructions 2 cards.
  • Food or no Food?  We chose not to serve food/drink this time.  Partly because of time, partly because of food allergies, and mostly because the school has asked us not to serve food in that gym.  There’s also a message about equating celebrations with food (I know some will say that it is a cultural thing) and it is nice to show that you can have an event without food. It is a subtle but important message.
  • Timing… Last year’s advancement was a pretty talky kind of event with 90 minutes of presentations and individual awards.  It is important to recognize our girls, but this was too much (for both girls and parents).
    For enrollment I set a strict limit for each unit of 10 minutes for their ceremony (I actually gave them 15 on the schedule) but each unit worked hard and came through with much shorter (and very creative!) ceremonies.  We ran early on time.  It was awesome!Original Agenda (with actual times in brackets)
    • 6:25 – Guests be seated.
    • 6:35 – Welcome, Guider Introductions, and Unit openings.  Pathfinders led Oh Canada.
    • 6:45 – Sparks Enrollment (actually took 8 minutes).
    • 7:00 – Brownie Enrollment (actually started at 6:53 and took 8 minutes)
    • 7:15 – Guide Enrollment (actually started at 7PM and went for about 5 minutes).  The older girls sang the Guide Promise Song.
    • 7:30 – planned to do Spark closing to let the little ones go. (didn’t need it).
    • 7:35 – Pathfinder Enrollment (started 7:05 and took about 5 minutes)
    • 7:40 – Adult Enrollment and Promise (another 5 minutes).
    • 7:45 – Campfire if there’s time (we did a short campfire with Fire’s Burning, Make New Friends, 40 Years on an Iceberg, Penguin Song, and On My Honour from 7:15 – 7:22).
    • 7:50 – Closings (started at 7:25 with Sparks, then Brownies around Sparks, and Guides, Pathfinders and Adults around them).  Then, right where we were, we did a group photo.
    • After the photo, people were able to wander around and talk to each other, get pins and take group photos – but anyone who wanted to leave could do so.  I was very happy.  It was nice to be tidied up and home by 8:15.

    How did your enrollment ceremonies go?  Do you do a neighbourhood/district event?  Or just your unit?

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Last night Julie C asked a question in the comments of the Getting Started: What to do About Badges post and this morning I shared it on the Brownies Meet Facebook Group.

She asked: What do you do when a badge sash is full of badges (no crests) and the girl is still going strong? Does the girl put the additional badges on the under side of the sash or buy a second sash?

Photo source: http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n312/canarysanctuary/guides004.jpg (Brownie and Guide Badge sashes circa 1985-95)

Here is what the Facebook crew had to suggest:

  • Get a second badge sash – a few Guiders have seen that work.  Guider Kathleen said that she’s seen wide homemade ones.  Guider Peggy said that a seamstress could cut a second sash in half and add it to both sides of the sash.
  • You could use the back of the sash – but Guider Peggy said that that would make it impossible to put on a camp blanket later.
  • Guider Louise suggested that you normally sew badges to the edges… there might be room to put some down the centre row with a little overlapping.
  • I thought that you might be able to sew badges so that they’re partially hanging off the sash, but well secured.
  • My favourite idea came from Guider Danielle – their group buys grosgrain ribbon wide enough to fit the badges and tack it on to make a third row down the middle. When the girls are done Brownies, the ribbon is removed and added alongside the sash on their camp blanket. Looks gorgeous.

Do you have any other ideas?  Thanks everyone for your awesome input.  Please continue adding to the discussion here in the comments or on the Brownies Meet Facebook Group.

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Ok, so this looks cool, but you have to be really dedicated to actually do this.  The Make Craftzine posted a tutorial called Embroidered DIY Merit Badges.

As I can’t get my act together to sew my crests on my blanket, I can’t imagine making my own crests and badges.  But it looks neat.

For those of you who said your first Brownie Free Tuesday was this week… guess what?  You’re not hunting for scissors or cutting 24 sets of shapes out of fun foam at this moment.

(Actually, if you’re like me, you might still have all that stuff piled in the dining room – maybe I should run a series on what to do with Brownie Mountain over the summer).

Happy Brownie Free Tuesday!


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There’s nothing like a camp blanket to visually represent your time in Guiding.  It shows what challenges you’ve done, who you’ve met, where you’ve been, and what you like to do.  2013-04-30 iPhone 001

The photo here kind of implies that I’ve got my act together and have dutifully sewn on all of my crests… but that is a fib.  There are about six crests actually sewn on, but seeing it laid out in its potential glory is encouraging.  Guider Marie suggests that it is best done with a needle and thread.  She uses “thread to match the outside threads on each badge/patch.. it takes time, however I like the result… ”

Tonight’s meeting was about Brownie Memories.  We mostly re-used the meeting from two years ago with a little bit of revision.

6:30 – Earth Day Word search we didn’t use last week Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Word Search (from alschutzman.com)

6:40 – Brownie Inspections

6:50 – Brownie Circles

7:00 Program

We put away the toadstool and Snowy Owl and I showed the girls the crests that we’ve collected through the years.  I had my old Brownie scarf and belt, and Snowy had her Guide and Pathfinder sashes.  And I just talked about the different kinds of crests and badges that we had.  It was neat to show them the traders and swaps I had and how the different challenge crests actually look when they’re put together.  I was pretty surprised at how interested they were in this.

7:10 – Brownie Memory books from 2011 Meeting – have you used Pocket Mods for Memory books?  They take a bit of time, but are a bit of magic.  Check out the post for links to templates.  Practice putting one or two together before the meeting.

  • 10 minutes assembling the books
  • 10 minutes getting autographs and decorating

7:30 – we cleaned up the gym and went outside to play some games – Time Bomb is in the list on this site: http://www.girlguidinghantswest.org.uk/games/30sec_1/menu.php

7:50 – Campfire and Close.

I have lots of stuff to catch you up on, and I will (might be a summer project).  But we have four more meetings to go till Brownie Free Tuesday.

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When I was a Brownie, Circle time was all about dues and chatting.  I’m sure we did inspection too… I think?  (I do remember getting a black eye once during circle time, but that’s another story).

Here’s how we’ve been doing Circle Time lately:leprechauns

  • Circle Leader grabs the circle pack (a pencil case with their circle song written on the outside and a pencil, the Circle Inspection Attendance Record and star stickers – everyone who gets a perfect score gets a star).  You can also get the Brownie Attendance and Dues book from the Guide Store… but we don’t do dues so mine makes sense for us.  (As always, do what works for you).
  • Inspection: There are five points available and girls are measured on:
    (1) do they have their Brownie Book?
    (2) are they wearing full Uniform?  (shirt, blue pants, badge sash, and tie)
    (3) do they have clean hands and face (with allowances made if we’ve just finished a messy arrival craft – or something with markers),
    (4) is their tied back in a pony tail (if applicable)?; and
    (5) are they wearing rubber soled shoes suitable for running?
  • Incentive program (New this year!): If they do get a perfect inspection, they get a star to put on the inside back cover of their Brownie Book (we split the page in two – top is in first year, bottom is for second year).  Girls with the most stars will be eligible for a (yet-to-be-determined) prize at the end of the year.

The fuzzy picture I’ve provided shows the front of the circle pack (the circle song is printed on the back – very helpful at the beginning of the year), some of the Brownie books with their stars proudly showing, and the page of stickers they have to choose from.

This idea came from a Guiding team discussion around “how do we do this better” and we’re really pleased with the results.  The girls are responding well to the stickers.  It is sinking in better for them than it did when we just had them write down a number on a page that got tucked back in the circle pack.  We’re really going to have to figure out what kind of prize we should give them – I think it should be something “Guidey”.  Maybe a set of crests – or from the Guide Shop.  Any recommendations?

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