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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.
    browniekeypin130111_m
  • 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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