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Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

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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If you are a friend, family member or significant other of a Guider and you’re trying to figure out a gift to give them, I have a few suggestions for things that could make your Guider’s life easier that she might not buy for herself.

This post is modeled on the Gifts For Knitters series on www.YarnHarlot.ca.

Cara’s Gifts for Girl Guide Leaders list:

  • Electric Pencil Sharpener ($40 at Staples) – do you know how many pencils and pencil crayons Guiders have to sharpen during the year?  I have an awesome electric pencil sharpener that I got from a yard sale for $4. I doubt you’ll find one for that price in a store, but look for one that is described as “Heavy Duty” – especially if it might go to camp.
  • Mini Bluetooth/Wired Portable Speaker ($20 at the Source) – whatever the need for music (dancing, a game, or just to listen to), I appreciate having a small but powerful speaker in my kit. 
    • Wired: I have used an iHome Speaker from Walmart ($19) and it was fine (pretty good sound that filled the room).
    • Bluetooth/Wired:I just upgraded to a Gadgetree Bluetooth one from the Source (reg $40, but on for $20 right now).  I like the Gadgetree one because of Bluetooth.  It is really good quality too (the store did a side-by-side demo and this one won hands down).  We played Christmas music last night and it filled the gym nicely over the chatter of the meeting.
  • Music Player – I use my iPhone to play music, but if your Guider doesn’t have an MP3 player, that might be a good gift too.  (If your Guider already has one, check to make sure she knows how to use it – a new skill is a gift that keeps on giving)
  • Appropriate Kid music that won’t drive the Guiders crazy – ModernKiddo’s post Kiddo Dance Party Heck Yeah! has a pretty good list of kid-appropriate tunes that everyone will like.  I’m compiling a Brownie/Kid appropriate playlist for our unit.  It is kind of reminding me of the old “mix tape” days but it is nice to have a set of songs ready to go.
  • Music resources for Guiders to learn Guiding Songs.
    • Melinda Caroll is a Girl Scout Leader in the US with a vast library of Scouting and Guiding Songs.  An iTunes card might make your Guider happy.
    • Sing a Long for Sparks and Brownies from the Girl Guides Ontario Shop (scroll to the bottom) is an EXCELLENT resource for new Guiders.   It is a teaching CD that sets Guiders up to teach songs well. Song List
  • Scissors are always in demand. (Pipe cleaners are murder on them – maybe some small wire snips would be good too)  I like the scissors you get at Ikea (the three pack for around $5) because they’re pretty good quality, but not too expensive so that you’re upset if they get damaged or don’t come home with you.
  • Door Stops (inexpensive/home made) – I’ve asked a woodworker I know to make some doorstops/wedges out of scrap wood from his shop.  The school we use has really heavy doors and there are times that you need them to stay open.  Some “owned by Brownies” doorstops are on my list. (Believe it or not, I’m most excited about this gift idea!  Guiders are weird.)

Now, a small word of caution … make sure you know your Guider before you get her this stuff.  Be careful getting gifts that could be seen to be supporting Girl Guides (and not her).  One recipient might think “wow, something to make my Guiding life easier – this person really cares”, while another might take offense that you didn’t pick something for them personally.

Also, if you’ve tripped across this post as a parent of a Girl Guide, I’d suggest that a heartfelt thank you is all your Guider needs.  The best Guider gift I ever got was a card during Volunteer Week saying thanks for volunteering.

Is there anything that I missed?  Something you love that you think would be an awesome Gift to a Guider?

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The organizers of the indoor campfire a couple of weeks ago made a really beautiful gift for each of the participants.  I have been meaning to show them to you.  Thank you to Guider Judith and your team.

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