It is one of those years where no one thought we would have to discontinue in person meetings. Over the last couple weeks I have witnessed some amazing things that shows not only the creativity of our huge community of leaders, but even our girls. When across the country and even around the world we started seeing shut downs and closures. Everyone asked to social distance to save lives. What do our leaders and girl leaders of tomorrow do, they said, “How can I help? What can we do to continue learning and leading? How do we socialize remotely?” The challenge was given and around the world the ideas started pouring in. This post I want to share some of those ideas and suggestions to keep your troop active and engaged as a troop and in your communities.
Troop Care Packages
One great idea is to put together care packages to send home for your girls to do badges at home. If you decide to do virtual meetings (Check out advice for Zoom meetings below) you can give directions to parents to do parts of the activities before the virtual meeting. If you are just discontinuing meetings for now this is great for parents to do with girls at home.
For example, Amanda Lee, a leader with Daisy and Brownie girls put together take home activities badge packs for her troop. These badge packs included 3 badge activities with projects, worksheets & crafts to earn badges at home along with a badge journal. She also included some extra things she purchased using cookie profit and added a box of cookies left over from sales as an extra treat!
She used a few of the activity booklets from this website in her packet. For the Daisies she used the Petal Fairy Garden Adventure cut and paste book, Board game design challenge, and with her Brownies she used the Home Scientist. You can also checkout the Leader Connecting Leader shop for great resources for any age scout you may have.
Virtual Meetings Using Zoom
There are a number of ways you can have a virtual meeting. I have seen troops use Skype, Facebook, Facetime, Microsoft teams and the one I am going to discuss Zoom. It seems like Zoom has been the most popular for a number of organizations not just scouts. My sons Karate group uses it and has been a great way for him to keep being active with classes while being in our living room.
Few Zoom Tips (you can use some of these with any technology you choose
- Just because we are at home we should still feel like we are going to meeting. Have your girls wear their uniform or whatever you require for meetings, vest, sash etc.
- Beyond just having video so everyone can see each other and you can see them, you can also share your screen. So you could show a Youtube Video, powerpoint or other presentation you have on your computer.
- There is a white board you can share which allows everyone to add comments and write things about a certain topic you are discussing. Reminds me of a poster board or white board you would have at a in person meeting.
- You will have ability to mute girls and not allow them to unmute themselves. So. you could then unmute and mute (one at a time or as a group) as you need.
- Zoom is free, you just have to keep your meeting under 40 minutes. I found that is plenty enough time for a meeting. If you needed more time you could start a new session.
Cyber Security Idea
If you are working on cyber security for any level scout many groups have taken a screenshot of their Zoom meeting and posted it on one of the private Scouting groups on Facebook. Here is a long list of ones you can join. When you post the image mention you are working on the badge and you want to show your girls how quickly something can travel on the web by having as many people as possible post a comment with their location. This way you are still keeping it pretty private into the scouting community while showing the girls how quickly something can travel. If you have 2nd or 3rd grade girls check out the Cyber Basics Printable Activity Booklet here on this site.
Learn About The Stars
Alphabet Challenge During Virtual Meeting
During your virtual meeting have everyone write A – Z straight down on paper. Then give each girl a set time to write something down for each letter of the alphabet based on a topic such as countries, animals, kitchen items etc. Then starting with first letter everyone shares their answer. Girls discussed which answers are good and counted. Let the girls judge.
- 2 points for each unique answer
- 1 point if someone else had the same answer
- 0 points if no answer or invalid answer
At end of meeting as an activity girls can do with their parents is use the A – Z scavenger hunt Activity booklet. Which allows them to get outside and find things that start with each letter, or if to cold do it in the house!
Using Zoom and Girls Creativity to Plan
Are you struggling to come up with fun ideas to do virtually? Leave it to your girls. If you are using zoom then use the whiteboard function on zoom. You can stop sharing and turn on and then let the girls write down ideas for what they want to do at online troop meetings. Then once the brainstorm is complete vote on what the girls want to do at their next meeting. Be sure to save the white board to refer back to later.
Group Service Project Ideas
Even if you are not together, why not learn a new skill. Even a better time to make something and donate to people who need it. Examples such as learn how to knit, make scarves for homeless. Learn how to sew and make masks for first responders. Making fleece and no sew beds for animal shelters, which can be connected to pet activities for 2nd and 3rd grade girls.
Meet a Author, Read, and Earn a Fun patch
I have talked about Rachel Alpine who is the author of 2 great books:
- YOU THROW LIKE A GIRL, the book is full of girl power and a message about being yourself. It was a Junior Library Guild selected book and is perfect for kids in grades 2-6 and is 100% kid friendly (so you can read it together with your family!) Read more
- FRIDAY NIGHT STAGE LIGHTS is about a girl who loves ballet but moves to a town that loves football and what happens when the two worlds collide. It’s full of girl power and messages about trying new things and believing in yourself. It’s great for girls in grades 3-8. Read more
She is still offering patch programs for both of her two books, which is a great way to keep your troop connected while not in school. And as a bonus, she is doing a live web stream for each book where the girls can tune in and submit questions that she will answer in real time.
Be sure to contact her to learn more about free private Zoom chats with your troop and/or discounted bulk rates for 25 or more books. [email protected]
Meet another author, Micheal Anderson, who is also offering meet and greet zoom sessions. If leaders are interested, they can contact her at [email protected] and write “Im Interested” in the subject line of the email along with their troop number.
Zoey Lyndon’s Big Move to the Lou is an inspiring book about a 4th grade science loving girl who desperately wants to fit in at her new school. She struggles initially, but her love of science is what ultimately ends up breaking the ice for her and she learns to navigate the fourth grade like a pro. This is a fun, fast paced story that encourages girls to pursue STEM.
Fun patches With Virtual Meetings In Mind
They are popping up everywhere. Funny patches, patches around virtual meetings, patches around Covid-19 you name it. Here are my top 3 favorites that have been circling around.
TOGETHER WE STAND ACTIVE, INFORMED, CONNECTED AND PREPARED TO FIGHT COVID19 Fun patch – pick between a patch that you can color in the bracelets using markers or ones that are already colored. It is pretty cool!
Your first Zoom meeting? Of course you want to remember that with a fun patch. ZOOM MEETING FUN PATCH
Virtual meeting using any platform. This is really a cute fun patch. ViRTUAL MEETING FUN PATCH
Let Your Council Help
I have seen it all over Facebook, many councils are offering virtual programs to earn badges. They are using virtual systems like Facebook Live, Zoom, Skype programs. If you have not seen any of these on Facebook, checkout your council’s website. Many councils have opened it up to girls all over the USA so be sure to go to Facebook and search for girl scouts!
Digital Tools For Your Troop
The likelihood is you won’t always be running virtual meetings, and at some point you’ll be returning to a meeting setting. Technology can support us in many different ways, whether we are communicating virtually, or in person. For example, wireless screen mirroring in classrooms is a fantastic tool to use for presentations, or sharing information. When you use tech tools like this at your meetings, you’ll benefit from improved teamwork, interaction and active learning. It could be a great way to introduce ways to allow for girls unable to attend a meeting due to illness or other transportation issues to join a meeting virtually while others are in person.