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Posts Tagged ‘Swaps’

2013-07-16 16.36.05 Swaps trillium flowers and OttawaTrading SWAPS is just one of many fun activities that you can expect to do at a Girl Guide camp.  SWAPs (Sharing With All People) are small gifts, tokens, crests, pins or crafts that you offer to the new people you meet – and they to you (just like a business card in an office).  At camp, they are great for breaking the ice with a new friend, especially if you’re shy.  After camp, they’re an excellent touchstone reminder of all the people you met.

In my opinion, traders need to be small, light, and easy to get/make – remember they have to fit in the bag you carry to camp.  Unique and personal traders are best… your trader should say something about you.  For example, as I’m one of only a few people going to camp from my area, my trader(s) will represent me regionally and as a crafter/crocheter.  Always try to put your name and maybe e-mail on your trader so your new friends can find you later.

This year, I’ve got three traders…

  1. City of Ottawa lapel pins (courtesy of my City Councillor),
  2. Government of Ontario trillium lapel pins (from my MPP), and
  3. Crocheted flower pins that I’ve made.

Pins from your local municipality, province or area can usually be obtained for free if you ask early and politely.  To personalize these, I could either put a small sticker on the baggie they come in, or I could stick each pin through a card with my name and e-mail.

For my crocheted flower, I’m using the five petal flower pattern from Maize Hutton’s crocheted flower bouquet post and I’ve pinned a small card with my name and e-mail on the back of each flower.  Size works out to be approximately 1″ diameter.

Looking for more on the subject of SWAPS and Traders?

Happy trading everyone.  What was your favourite SWAP at Camp?

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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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I didn’t really finish up on my summer camp stuff from last year (Summer Camp: What the heck is a swap?) and, since I came across my traders from the Nova Scotia GG 100th Anniversary Camp I attended in August, I thought I’d write a post about what I’ve learned about swaps and traders.  Big thanks again to the Nova Scotia Girl Guides for their hospitality.  It was so much fun!

Swaps (or SWAPs – Sharing With All People… Guider Nikki – did you tell me that?) are things that you make in advance of a camp to share with the new friends that you meet.  You trade them – kind of like business cards.  It is a lot of fun – and it gives you an incentive to mingle too (and works as an ice breaker if you’re a bit shy about it).  My favourites, and therefore the most memorable swaps, are the personal ones.  Some were a lot of work… but not all of them.  Alberta Girl Guides Bright Ideas has a great handout too.

When to bring a Trader:

  • A big organized camp – Check your kit list or other notes in advance of camp – they’ll suggest you bring a trader or SWAP.
  • If you’re travelling and may meet Guiding friends… bring a trader.
  • Maybe your Brownie Unit is participating in a multi-level camp or is partnering with another unit to make up numbers at camp.  The unit could make a large number of one kind of trader to share with their new friends.  Make the suggestion to the camp organizer so that everyone knows to bring something.
  • Traders are great bridging tools for the girls too.  Have the girls make traders to give to the girls at a unit you’re visiting (or to your guests).

Here are some notes and ideas:

  1. The internet is a good starting point… check out this list of SWAPs ideas from About.com.
  2. Small plastic zip bags are great ways to make something you can’t usually pin to a hat, easily pinable (look for 1″x1″ bags for beading and jewelery found at the dollar store).  Add a safety pin and a label with your name and/or e-mail and you’ve got something personal and easy to assemble.  For example, one Guider put some Nova Scotia Tartan fabric and an explanation in a baggie.  Another Guider is a geologist and she traded a small sample of a local stone.

  3. Crests are great traders too.
    • There were a few people who made their own crests.  That isn’t a cheap option, but it is really cool – and I remember those folks.  If you go to a lot of camps, or are going to a big camp, this would be a good option.  A Google search finds e-Patches and Crests – they appear to be able to make a crest for you – and they’ve got some neat challenge crests too!
    • Commissioners also have their own crests… be sure to introduce yourself and maybe get a crest too.
  4. Laminate something… I got a bookmark from a girl from Britain that had UK flag stickers on one side, and a water saving tip on the other.  Fun, memorable and useful.   Also, Guider Kathleen printed and laminated small cards with her provincial flower on one side and her e-mail on the back.  Both good SWAPs all around.
     
  5. Shrink something… The waterfront staff and another Guider at camp made their traders from Shrink Art (Shrinky Dinks).  You can buy kits, but you can also Make your own Shrink Art.
  6. My favourite trader was the sea glass I got from Guider Marie.  It has (frustratingly!) gone missing in my move, but I had it hanging in my office for the longest time.
  7. Lots of people went to their local municipality and got pins to trade.  That was fun because you got to have a conversation about their area.  Items from “away” were pretty hot commodities.
  8. Do something unique to you… My Ontario Crocheted Trilliums were a hit and they represented me as a crafter very well.
    cropped Trillium

To sum up…

  • The best SWAPs are memorable and personal/regional.
  • Keep them small – you have to carry them to camp.  And the people you trade with will need to carry yours home too.
  • They don’t have to be a lot of work.
  • Don’t forget to put your name and possibly e-mail on it.
  • Add a safety pin on it so it can be attached to a hat.

Happy swapping!

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This summer I will be participating in the Nova Scotia Heritage Explosion camp hosted by Nova Scotia Girl Guides as a volunteer staffer.  I’m pretty excited about it, but this is a new experience for me too.

I’ve got the kit list in front of me and they’re asking for us to bring “traders/swaps (camp hat craft to swap with friends)”.  I guess I hadn’t really put much thought into the idea … I’ve made hat crafts AT camp, but not beforehand.   It doesn’t say so on the kit list, but the internet reading I did suggests that you should put your contact info (like an e-mail or website – NOT home number/address) on it so that the camper you traded with knows who you are.

After some thought, I’d like my swap to be:

  1. Easy (and quick!) to make in large quantities
  2. Something personal/regional (representing Ontario). 
  3. And Simple.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of hat crafts – I do have a box of walnut shells with eyes on them, baggies wrapped up like bedrolls, and film cannisters with first aid supplies in them.   My craft/swap must not dangle or flop around.  It must be sturdy and light as well.  

Here is my thought… I am a knitter/crochetter.  I could make a small flower – like a daisy or trillium – in the form of a small brooch.  I’ll provide a safety pin for attaching to the hat.  Something like this.  Or this.  Now how many do I make?

UPDATE: I decided to go with a Trillium and modified Akua’s Daisy pattern to get what I wanted.  Here is the pattern which I wrote about on my other site (about knitting and crochetting).

Other Swaps resources:

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