Cookie Clinic Meeting

The last year has been completely crazy here at my house and this blog was one of the things I’ve been neglecting. But my end of year Bridging and Awards Ceremony is Tuesday and my second semester of college ended in May, so I have the entire summer off! I’ll be using that time to post a lot of my meeting plans from throughout the year and hopefully get this thing up to date.

I decided to start with our first meeting back from the Christmas holidays. In December, our community hosted an event called a ‘Cookie Clinic’ where they had stations and activities throughout the day centered around cookie selling skills and tips. The girls would earn the 2017 Cookie Sale Activity Pin and parts of one of the Cookie Business badges for their level. We REALLY wanted to go, but it was $12 a girl and with our troop being as large as it is, there was no way we could afford to bring our girls. So we decided to plan our own.

Each girl got a small card with check boxes on it. The numbers in the boxes were the numbers of the stations they had to visit in order to earn their awards for the meeting. I made the tables on Word, printed and cut them out, and matted them on different colored paper for each level. The girls wrote their names in the top box with their level name. This is what they ended up looking like:

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Each level earned the Cookie Pin and a Cookie Business badge. The Daisies earned three of the leaves. This may sound like a lot, but soooo much of the content for them was so repetitive , especially with the Cookie Pin activities. I understand preferring not to double dip your activities, but I also don’t believe in beating a dead horse. As long as the girls get the memo, I’m good. Most of it is also things that we will be constantly reviewing throughout cookie sales. Anyways, this is what everyone earned:

Everyone: 2017 Cookie Sale Activity Pin

Daisies: Money Counts leaf, Talk It Up leaf, Count It Up leaf

Brownies: Meet My Customers badge

Juniors: Cookie CEO badge

Cadettes: Marketing badge

Seniors: Customer Loyalty badge

Ambassadors: P&L badge

Fun fact: P&L stands for profit and loss – I had been wondering for AGES what that stood for and could not figure it out. Mystery solved!!

Below I’m going to describe my stations. For each one, I’ll add what levels had to stop there and what badge requirements it covered.

Station 1: Cost of Fun – pick an activity and figure out how much it would cost to go with the whole troop. Our troop makes 60 cents for each box we sell. How many boxes would the troop have to sell to go? The older girls chose a destination and looked up the price, while the Juniors and below chose from a list that I put together of some local places, such as the Houston Aquarium or Houston Zoo. The equation for this station was as follows: (Ticket price x Number of girls) divided by 0.60 = boxes of cookies we would have to sell. Divide that number by the number of girls and that gives you the boxes per girl. The supplies for this station were the list of field trips and their ticket prices, several cheap calculators, and a small paper for them to fill out with the information to make it easier to follow. All of the girls did this station and it counted for this: Cookie Pin – Money Management badge, Money Counts leaf, and Cookie CEO badge. The paper has two on a page and we cut them in half and will be included below.

Station 2: Goal Setting – set personal learning goals. We had two posters taped to the wall and a box of markers next to them. One said ‘What do you want to learn this year?’ and the other said ‘What do you want to do better?’ The girls just wrote down their answers. All of the girls came to this station and it counted for the Goal Setting part of the Cookie Pin.

Station 3: Sales Goal – each girl set her sales goal for the year. For the girls that sold last year, we took sticky notes and wrote their name on the front and how many boxes they sold last year on the back. They were stuck on the wall so each girl could decide if she wanted to match her sales from last year or try to aim higher. All of the girls visited here and it counted for the Goal Setting part of the Cookie Pin and the Count It Up leaf.

Station 4: Business Plan – girls will discuss the best and most innovative ways to sell cookies. We had a large poster taped to the wall and the girls wrote ideas on it. Some of the prompts we had were ‘Think of new places to set up cookie booths’, ‘How could social media help us sell more cookies’, etc. The Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors only had to do the first one but were allowed to add other ideas if they had them. All of the girls came here and the requirements it fulfilled were the Decision Making part of the Cookie Pin and the Marketing badge.

Station 5: Brand Identity – the girls just had to fill out a small paper with several questions on it. These were:

  • What do you think of when you hear ‘Girl Scout cookies’?
  • People view Girl Scout cookies positively – why?
  • Name 3 brands that you view negatively
  • Name 3 brands that you view negatively

The Cadettes were the only group that had to come here and it counted for a part of their Marketing badge.

Station 6: Competition – check out the cookie competition! Look at and compare Girl Scout cookies to other types of cookies. I had packs of Oreos and Chips Ahoy labelled with their prices. The girls just had to fill out a paper that asked ‘Which one is cheapest?’ and ‘Do you like either of them better than Girl Scout cookies?’ and ‘Which box of cookies do you think is the best value?’ This was also an only Cadettes station and part of the Marketing badge.

Station 7: Business Ethics I – find 3 examples of companies that are under fire for unethical practices. We just had the girls use their phones to research and write them down. This station was only Ambassadors and was part of their P&L badge.

Station 8: Business Ethics II – how the Girl Scout Law applies to how we sell cookies as businesswomen. This station had a large poster with the lines of the Girl Scout Law on it. They were spread out with space under each one. The girls wrote their name under the line they think is the most important in selling cookies. Everyone came to this station and it was Business Ethics part of the Cookie Pin and a part of the P&L badge.

Station 9: List your customers – The girls listed everyone they could think of that they should ask to buy Girl Scout cookies. Our Ambassadors prepared their lists beforehand, but left them more vague, such as listing teachers, aunts and uncles, neighbors, etc. Then we used them as prompts to help the younger girls make their lists. Everyone stopped at this station and it counted for the People Skills part of the Cookie Pin, P&L badge, Meet My Customers badge, and Customer Loyalty badge.

Station 10: Practice – practice selling Girl Scout cookies and how to handle customers. I had a friend of mine come and work this station just so the girls would be “selling” to an unfamiliar face instead of a mom. They had to walk up and try their hardest to sell her cookies. I told her to mix it up – be nice sometimes and rude other times, say no, ask them what they did with the money, why we sell cookies, if they had cookies with caramel or peanut butter, etc. Basically, anything they may have to answer at a cookie booth. They received their cookie order forms at the beginning of the meeting and we allowed the Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors use them for reference if they needed to. All of the girls had to go through this station and it counted for the People Skills and Money Management parts of the Cookie Pin, Cookie CEO badge, and Meet My Customers badge.

Station 11: Money, money, money – This is where the girls practiced the money part of selling cookies. We quizzed them on how much cookies cost and what the different coins are worth. They practiced making easy change and figuring out the price for multiple boxes of cookies. I found the cutest thing from ABC Bakeries called a Change Tree Cup and it helped my Daisies out a lot. You wrap the part with the owls around a Solo cup and fold the numbered leaves on the ends of Popsicle sticks. On the bottom of the sticks, write the price of that many cookies. It was easy to make and really came in handy at cookie booths. Only the Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors came through this station and it counted for parts of the Meet My Customers badge, Cookie CEO badge, Count It Up leaf, and Talk It Up leaf.

Station 12: Cookie Crafts – Each of the badges had some requirement that we could fill by doing a craft, so everyone at this station was doing something different.

  • Daisies – made posters (on half poster boards) to hold at the cookie booths
  • Brownies – wrote thank you cards on note cards to hand out to customers and deliver with their orders. They just grabbed a stack of colorful note cards and wrote ‘Thank You, Troop —-” on them
  • Cadettes – made half posters to hold at cookie booths that included their marketing message for cookie sales
  • Seniors – also wrote some thank you cards and then made half posters about how cookie money helps girls
  • Ambassadors – each girl came up with a ‘Cookie Promise’ and wrote it on a note card that she decorated. We taped them to the inside lid of our money box as reminders

Everyone had to come to this station but the Juniors, but most of mine found their way there anyways and made posters or thank you notes. It counted for the P&L badge, Marketing badge, Meet My Customers badge, Customer Loyalty badge, and Talk It Up leaf.

Station 13: Jobs at a Cookie Booth – make a list of everything that needs to be done at a cookie booth. Help them conclude that we need someone to do money, keep tally of boxes sold, keep the table stocked, hold signs, attract customers, and whatever else you need at your booths. This station was Juniors only and a part of their Cookie CEO badge.

Station 14: Philanthropic Angle – find a company that makes its customers ‘feel good.’ Most of our girls named companies that donate something for every item you purchase, such as Toms. We let the girls use their phones to look up ideas. This station was Cadettes only and was a part of their Marketing badge.

At each station, we had a pack of stickers. When the girls were done at that station, the adult working it put the sticker on the box with the station number. At the end of the meeting, the girls had to turn in their cards to get credit for the pin and badge. Most of our stations had an adult working them, but some of the smaller ones had one parent working two of them. And all of the stations that were just for the Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors were unmanned and just had a nearby parent watching from another station.

It was definitely one of our more chaotic meetings because everyone was walking and moving around, but I think it was a success. We had nearly all of our girls show up that day and a lot of parents came to help. I think we want to use the same idea next year and just switch out some of the badges for our levels that not everyone bridged. Hopefully, next year the setup will be smoother and easier to follow now that we know what did and didn’t work.

Resources:

Christmas Sleepover Activities

Every year, we host a Christmas sleepover for our girls at the church where we meet. We don’t worry about earning badges or awards or learning anything – just having lots of holiday fun! This is everything we did and all the games we played this year.

Gift exchange: our older girls each brought a wrapped gift with a limit of ten dollars and did the white elephant exchange game. The Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors all brought wrapped holiday socks and I read one of those right/left holiday stories. This year I found one that had across in it, so that was a great way to make sure the gifts got good and mixed up and nobody got their own. It was called Christmas with the Right Family. Some of the girls weren’t so excited about the idea of socks so I suggested nail polish but we had several who didn’t like that idea at all so socks it was.

Making cookies: we just mixed up five batches of sugar cookie dough, gave each girl a ball and some cookie cutters, and let them go for it. The church we meet at lets us use the kitchen whenever we need to so we baked them that night and sent them home with everyone in the morning.

Candy Cane relay: We split the girls up into two lines and handed everyone a candy cane. They held it in their mouth by the straight end with the hook pointing upwards. Starting at one end of the line, they had to pass another candy cane from girl to girl WITHOUT USING THEIR HANDS by grabbing it with the candy canes in their mouth.

Rudolph game: I tied yarn around red pom poms and gave one to each girl. Then they each got a glob of Vaseline on their nose and had to hold the string in their mouth and flip the pom pom onto their nose. It’s actually pretty hard, but several of my girls got it multiple times and the Vaseline sticks really well.

Santa Belly Bust: Each girl got a blown up and tied balloon that she had to stick under her shirt. This was her Santa belly. The first person to bust their Santa belly was the winner. I got this idea here – Top 10 Funny Christmas Party Game Ideas

Christmas Family Feud: This game was just for the older girls and my mom said she thinks they really enjoyed it! My posters for the surveys were very simple – I cut a poster board into quarters, and on each one I stuck sticky notes for the number of answers and just wrote the answer and number of points underneath it. My mom played Steve Harvey and had a notecard with her that had the answers and their numbers on it so she would know which sticky note to pull off. Here are a bunch of links to several good sites with lots of Christmas surveys already put together so you just have to pick the ones you want – Christmas FeudChristmas Family FeudHoliday Family Feud Game

Icing Christmas trees: I had to mix up my own green icing with some food coloring because Walmart didn’t have any, but each girl got an ice cream cone and a small pack of M&Ms. They just smeared the icing on the cones with some plastic knives and then stuck the M&Ms on for ornaments. Super messy but lots of fun! I originally saw this idea on Pinterest but there’s the link to the original poster – Preschool Christmas Crafts.

Saran Wrap ball: This was the game I think everyone had the most fun with. My brother and I made this huge ball of saran wrap with candy wrapped up inside of it. There was a grand prize in the middle (ours was a bag of mini Kit Kats – round ish objects work best!) and several layers of wrap in between each candy. The girls all sat in a circle and one girl started unwrapping. She got to unwrap until the girl next to her rolled doubles on some dice, then pass it on. Any candy she uncovered was hers to keep! We used nearly all of a 300 square foot roll of Saran Wrap and it went around our circle of 21 girls almost 3 1/2 times. This got extremely intense near the end but it was so funny to watch! Here’s a picture of our ball:

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Finally, one of the older girls was nice enough to bring her nail polish collection and some cheap lipstick and eye shadow, so the girls got to paint their nails and we helped them with the eye shadow and lipstick.

We didn’t have a TV this year, so we couldn’t put on a movie to get them to settle down. As a result, they stayed up pretty late. I think we got everyone laying down at around one but I had some who stayed up giggling quite a bit longer. Despite that, I think everyone had fun and that this year was a success.

Cadette Babysitter badge and Daisy Be a sister to every Girl Scout petal

For the older girls to earn their Babysitter badge, we tried something a little different. Pretty much all of our girls had experience babysitting; most of them are the oldest kid in their family, so they have a pretty good idea of how to watch after children. So we had them work together to plan and lead a meeting for the little girls. One thing I always admire and am forever thankful for is how good the big girls have always been with the Daisies and Brownies. I know it’s not exactly common for troops to have all levels (at least not in our area) and they’re always willing to let them tag along on hikes and play games while we’re on camping trips. Most of them have several adoring fans among the younger troop. But leading actual activities is very different.

They chose to do the Be a sister to every Girl Scout petal. Trying to figure out how to begin the meeting was probably their rockiest part. All of them seemed very hesitant to step up and be the one to start talking and telling everyone what to do. Someone finally did, and they spent a few minutes talking to the girls about sisterhood and what it means. I loved the definition they settled on: sisterhood is like best friends forever, but just for girls – no boys allowed! The girls really liked the idea of having tons of Girl Scout sisters (they haven’t learned their Law yet and apparently don’t pay attention the words very well).

The next thing they did was make friendship bracelets. Every girl made a bracelet that they stuck in a bucket, and then went around and closed their eyes and drew out a different one. Each girl went home with a special friendship bracelet made by one of her Girl Scout sisters.

After that, the girls all played Little Sally Walker for a few rounds. I thought the way L (one of my Cadettes who really surprised us and stepped up to lead) introduced it was really cute – she yelled “How many of you guys know a girl named Sally Walker?” It took them a few minutes, but then they all circled up really quickly. This game is always a hit. I was away while they were doing this, but they wrote, “Compare this to being connected through sisterhood,” next to it.

The Cadettes ended the meeting by having the girls make a friendship circle like usual, except before they went around with the squeeze, each girl had to turn to the girl sitting next to her and compliment her.

When I talked to them afterwards, they had a lot of mixed feelings about their day as leaders. “It’s so hard to get their attention” and “They didn’t always listen to what we said” are two things I heard a lot. They told my mom that they would never ever again talk while she was talking because they understand now how difficult it is! L (mentioned above) said she felt like she was being mean the entire time because she kept having to raise her voice over girl chatter – some of it from her fellow Cadettes. No troop is perfect, and we had several who kind of shirked their leadership duties today and may not earn a badge for this one. The group said they were satisfied with their meeting plan, except that they didn’t expect the little girls to take so long making their bracelets and had to spend less time on Little Sally Walker than they wanted.

Overall, I think the meeting went pretty well. I did have several of my girls checking with me to make sure I wasn’t quitting and would be back in charge next week (I’m not going to lie, it was a nice little ego boost). The older girls seemed like they gained a little respect for what me and my mom do every week and the younger girls got some bracelets and earned a petal – and I got to relax a little bit for this week!

My Own Journey to Accepting Journeys

I’m going to be completely honest – I am not a huge fan of either the Journeys or the new patch programs. I miss the Brownie Try-Its that I earned as a child, and the huge IP book that was waiting for me when I got to Cadettes. The new patches don’t have enough variety for me. They used to have a Try-It for every activity you could think of and more. There was a little something for everyone to enjoy. The new badges have so many of them focused on business type things and topics and themes that aren’t anywhere near as fun. I know that it’s important to learn practical lessons from Scouting, but the fun stuff is what keeps girls around for years to come.

However, my dislike for the Journeys overwhelmed even my disappointment in the badges. I was in the process of earning my Silver Award when they were implemented, which means I got to skip doing one for that and I was over the moon. I hate their formatting – they remind me (and my girls) of school work and my girls are never interested in sitting down and listening to me read them a story like all of the Journeys have at their core. So our troop has actively avoided them since they became a thing.

However, I want my girls to have the chance to earn everything and anything they can. And I have two Juniors in fifth grade this year that want a Bronze Award. So we’re starting to dive into Journeys.

The more I read about them, the more I’m okay with them – just not in the format handed to me by Girl Scouts. We are not about to spend meetings listening to stories about the Flower Friends hanging out in gardens. (I tried that for the petals and was asked “Do we really have to listen to a story again this week?”) We’re going to spend meetings being active and doing things, because that’s what little girls (and big ones!) like to do.

What I’ve discovered about Journeys is that to figure out what you NEED to do, you need to focus on the awards within each one. Figure out their requirements, and let those tell you where you need to go. Just pick and choose the ideas you want from the books because their sessions are mostly a lot of nothing. I’ve managed to hunt down these “Journey Tip Guides” from the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois that break down the awards and their requirements. When I make my posts about the Journeys we earn, I’ll include links to the PDFs for that and anything else I have that helped me rework the Journey into something my girls would want to do. It sucks that we have to go to such great lengths to work with these materials, but we’re Girl Scout leaders – the most resilient, creative, hardworking people there are – and if anyone can do it, we can!

Fall 2016 Recap

So this second half of 2016 has seen us going everywhere as a troop. The older girls went to San Antonio for a weekend and did Six Flags and took a ghost tour. We took our little girls to NASA in Houston for their “I Camped in Space” program, went camping, took a (free) tour of a sea turtle facility in Galveston, spent a day at  Schlitterbahn (also in Galveston), went roller skating (a HUGE hit with my girls), took the Brownies (and one Junior we snuck in) to the Brownie Magic day event, and our Cadettes returned just today from Forensics Weekend!! We also threw a birthday party for our founder Juliette Gordon Lowe with a Halloween theme and are only one week away from our annual Christmas Sleepover.

In between all of these adventures, we did find time to earn badges and awards. Because we have multiple levels meeting together and not nearly enough manpower to separate them, it takes a bit of coordinating to make sure every level is getting to earn something. But we manage! So far our girls have earned:

  • Daisies – 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals Journey, Honest and Fair petal, Friendly and Helpful petal
  • Brownies – Home Scientist badge, Pets badge
  • Juniors – Camper badge, Animal Habitats badge, Junior Girl Scout Way badge
  • Cadettes – Special Agent badge, Public Speaker badge, Entrepreneur badge, and they’re about to finish their Babysitter badge
  • Seniors – Behind the Ballot badge
  • Ambassadors – nothing yet, but they’re about to wrap up the Photographer badge and Water badge