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Girl Scouting at Home

When girls take the lead, great things happen! Even though your girl’s daily routine may have changed, there are many ways she can still participate in Girl Scout activities and earn awards, even at home! Here are a few resources and ideas for Girl Scouts of all levels to help you get started.

Please see the latest Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resources under Adult Resources.

Learn how Girl Scouts can support your family and make learning, doing, and growing more fun. We’re here for you! For questions, you can reach us at customercare@gswny.org, or call us at: 1-888-837-6410.


Staying Safe Online

Nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safety of girls, whether they’re engaged in a real-world activity or exploring online. Instilling in girls an understanding of the best ways to stay safe in today’s complicated world is a top priority for us. 

Online Safety

Before getting started, here's a quick word from Girl Scout Kayla, sharing best practices for Girl Scouting online. Also, for Girl Scout activities that involve the Internet, be sure to consult this Online Safety Guide and Virtual Meeting Safety Tips Sheet. Then have your girl sign the Girl Scout Online Safety Pledge.


Trefoil TV 

Girl Scout as a family! Each day on our Facebook page, you can look forward to short clips of Girl Scout history, singing along to camp songs, or other ways we’re Girl Scouting at Home. Every video will highlight something new and spark conversation about your girl’s favorite activities in Girl Scouts. We can’t wait to see you there! 

Watch Trefoil TV

Watch Trefoil TV, weekdays at 3:12 p.m. on GSWNY’s Facebook PageWatch past episodes of Trefoil TV on our YouTube page or using the links below:

Staff Choice
Girl Scout High Awards & Other Service Ideas 
Girl Scout Traditions 
Health and Wellness 
Fun & Games
STEM
Arts & Travel
Camp Week
Lifeskills
Acts of Kindness & Service
Trefoil TV Kick-Off Week:

Council Patches

Explore your interests and expand your horizons by working on patches and badges created just for you! Be creative at home by completing the required steps at home or virtually with your troop. Each patch program offers a curriculum for every age level. 

Please note: patch delivery will be delayed until GSWNY offices reopen.

Patches
Outdoor Experiences

Troop and Family Self-Led Outdoor Activities

Due to the pandemic, we’ve had to modify and scale back many of our in-person Outdoor Events and Programs. So we’ve put together this list of ideas for your Troop or Family to enjoy the outdoors safely. All girls and troops must follow GSWNY COVID guidelines during these activities.

View and Download the Self-Led Outdoor Activities Guide


Badges & Journeys

What’s that? You’ve always wanted to… Make your own movie, cook food from a different country, go geocaching, sleep under the stars, write a book of short stories, plant a garden? Invent something new, paint a masterpiece, star in a play, take amazing nature photographs, make your bedroom into a jungle, run a business, go on an adventure trip? Great news! You can learn to do all these things and earn Girl Scout badges as you go. 

Read more about badges and The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting

Badges

Find Badges and Journeys: GSUSA Girl Scouts at Home

Badge Checklist

Keep track of your girl's progress and document all of the amazing skills she's learned and badges she's earned! Download the corresponding checklist based on your girl's age level.

Daisy | Brownie | Junior | Cadette | Senior | Ambassador

GSWNY Badge Resources

Daisy
Brownie

No submissions are required for badge work. If you would like to share photos or feedback, please email girl.experience@gswny.org.

Household Elf: PART 1 (video, click here if video is not visible below)

Household Elf: PART 2 (video, click here if video is not visible below)

Junior
Cadette
Senior
Ambassador
Badge Resource Opportunities
Free Girl Scout Brownie Safety Award PDF
First Aid for Kids with Epic

SPCA Serving Erie County Free Activities and Virtual Scout Patch Program for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Troops!

 

Free Activities: 

Pre-recorded videos of animals and their owners

Humane Education animal storytimes, pet projects, and animal assignments!

Virtual Patch Program Information (Fee-based, program on demand)

Complete simple activities in your virtual troop meetings or individual scouts and then invite the SPCA Serving Erie County to your troop meeting for a virtual field trip and animal meet and greet.  Suggestions for which activities work best virtually are made for each age group below. 

The cost is $50 per troop for a 30-minute virtual tour and animal encounter.  Patches cost $2 per participant and will be mailed to the troop leader following completion of the evaluation form.  Program is available Monday-Saturday afternoons and evenings. 

Register for your field trip here.

Daisy Patch Program Activities 1-3 and 6 are easiest to do virtually.

Brownie Patch Program  Activities 1, 3, and 6 are easiest to do virtually.

Junior Patch Program Activities 1, 3 and 6 are easiest to do virtually.

For Activity 6 (all levels):  Humane Poster & Creative Writing Contest

*NEW* Information on our REVISED 2020 contest is  here >>

Submissions and nomination letters must be received by the SPCA no later than August 31, 2020! And now submissions can be made DIGITALLY

Please note that we are not accepting most wish list donation items at this time .  You are welcome to collect them and hold onto them until we can accept them again a part of your patch program.   

Katherine Gillette-Cockerill
Humane Educator
SPCA Serving Erie County
300 Harlem Rd.
West Seneca, NY 14224
(716) 875-7360 ext. 234
KatherineG@yourspca.org

The SPCA Serving Erie County is not affiliated financially in any way with any other animal agency, including the Niagara County SPCA, the ASPCA, or any other humane society or animal welfare group. Our protocols, policies, and procedures are unique to this organization, a completely independent humane society that does not receive any city, county, state, or federal tax dollars. The important programs and services of the SPCA Serving Erie County are possible only due to the caring people and organizations that support us.

Badge in a Box

Introducing our GSWNY Badge-in-a-Box!

We’ve found a new way to bring Girl Scouting home.

If circumstances make it difficult for a girl’s troop to meet in person, if she is a Juliette Girl Scout, or if you simply want to have some additional Girl Scout fun and learning experiences as a family, the new Badge in a Box program might be a good fit for your family.

For $10 to $15 you can purchase a Badge in a Box designed to make Girl Scouting at home stress-free, the Badge in a Box includes the supplies needed to complete a badge at home, an easy to follow activity guide, and the badge itself!

Available for $15 per box:

Outdoor Art Maker

Daisy Outdoor Art Maker 

Have fun outdoors and become a nature artist with three different activities!

Brownie Senses

Brownie Senses

Use your 5 senses to go on a scavenger hunt, take a taste test, create Braille, and use sign language!

Junior Independence

Junior Independence

Want to become more independent? Learn basic sewing skills, make a Good Habits board, and more!

Cadette Special Agent

Cadette Special Agent

Become a Special Agent and learn how to analyze “blood splatter”, interview an eyewitness, read body language, and measure bones!

Available for $10 per box:

Democracy

Democracy (all Girl Scout levels)

Learn about how government works through games and activities. Also be part of the Girl Scouts national service project Promote the Vote and receive a fun patch. 

Senior Space Science Box Pic

Senior Space Science Expert

Become a Space Scientist and discover “shifting stars”, compare your eyes to telescopes, and scrapbook the lives of stars! 

Ambassador Program Robots Box Pic

Ambassador Programming Robots

Do you want to build a robot? Have fun learning how robots work and how to control them and make your own robot that creates art! 

NOTE: Grant funds available for some areas of our Council reducing the cost of boxes down to $5.00. If there is not a grant available in your area, members can apply for Council Opportunity Funds

The boxes will be available for curbside pick-up at the Buffalo, Rochester, Lockport, and Jamestown Service Centers. Click here to order your Badge in a Box.

There are a limited number of boxes available and will be for curbside pick-up only.

Questions? Call toll-free 1-888-837-6410 or email.


Earned Awards

Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community and the greater world. The skills and experiences she gains along the way set her up for special recognition through the Global Action, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.

All four awards give girls the chance to do big things while supporting issues they care about.

Earned Awards

Girl Scouts are called to address global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by discovering, connecting, and taking action in their communities and beyond. In 2020, girls will explore SDG 5 (Gender Equality) to earn their Global Action award. Complete the award through  GSUSA .

Girls who are pursuing higher awards my continue to do so by taking advantage of the online workshops. These are mandatory workshops available through the Silver Award and Gold Award resource pages. Girls must complete the workshops before beginning her project. 

Global Awards

 Global Action Award

The Global Action award recognizes girls’ commitment to improving the world as they take action to help meet any of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals—for example, reducing poverty and providing universal primary education—form a working blueprint for a better world.


Whatever development goal a girl chooses to work on, the Global Action award is a terrific way for her to participate in Girl Scout Leadership Journeys. Get started.

Bronze Award
Silver Award
Gold Award
Ambassador Service
Cadette Service
Religious Awards

Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) have developed resources to support youth in completing their religious emblems at home and fostering their faith formation during this time of social distancing.

Recorded Facebook Live events describing the online process for caregivers and youth leaders/counselors and include:

  • Facebook Live Video 1: P.R.A.Y Awards and Religious Emblems in the Home, 3/24/2020 (28 min)
  • Facebook Live Video 2: Bible Basics RP3 Lessons as Family Ministry, 3/27/2020 (12 min)

Online resources  for completing the P.R.A.Y. religious emblems can be found here:

P.R.A.Y. has also extended the deadline for students who are eligible for a program based on their current grade level in March 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Feel free to share these resources with your staff and networks. P.R.A.Y. welcomes questions at info@praypub.org


Virtual Experiences

Girl Scouts' Virtual Experiences is a new and exciting way for girls to engage in Girl Scout activities from home. Girls can participate in meaningful programs and activities through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience—a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, selling cookies virtually, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects.

Virtual
Field Trips
Virtual Cookie Program Options
Distance Learning & Fun Activities

Community Service

Now's a great time for your girl to get creative on how she can give back to her community! 

Community Service

Need some inspiration? Send cards and notes to nursing home residents who are seeing fewer visitors. Some organizations may let you video call with residents to help them feel connected! Contact your local senior center to learn what works best for them. 

Girl Scouts of Western New York has shared their Guide to Helping Others as an excellent resource for practicing responsible community service acts. 


Share Your Story

Girl Scouts have amazing adventures! We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home.

Share Your Story

Have a badge or patch she's proud of? Take a picture of the badge or patch and tell us the story behind it. She can send in her story here.

Working toward a new badge, patch, or award? Create a short 1-2 minute video of your girl's favorite Girl Scout activity that can be shared throughout Western New York. We'd love to see how she's been Girl Scouting at Home! Email your videos here.

A reminder to leaders if you are sharing group photos please make sure the photo doesn’t include girls who have opted out of photo permissions.


Adult Resources 

To be a Girl Scout volunteer is to be a changemaker. Through giving supportive pep talks that inspire girls to aim for the stars, engaging them in activities that ignite their passions, or simply turning frowns into smiles, your mentorship and support helps girls grow into women who advocate for positive change in the world. View some of our resources to help with virtual learning. 

Adult Resources
Volunteer Tips for Staying Connected
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resources

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resources

Tolerance.orgA site dedicated to teaching teachers helps with webinars, articles and tools to give parents resources to start conversations with their children. 

  • Teaching about police violence (good resources for grades 6 and older)
  • The Let’s Talk series contains webinars to give guidance for conversations about Black Lives Matter, Whiteness and Gender Issues
  • Discussing Abuse of Power using teachers as examples of bullying behavior 
  • Five tips for helping preschoolers understand tolerance

Scholastic BooksScholastic helps parents teach and understand tolerance with younger children (preschool and kindergarten) by telling stories and helping kids role play. The publisher also recommends using things you know your kids already love – books, music, dolls and blocks – to introduce other cultures and experiences.

American Academy of PediatricsThe AAP, based in Itasca, recommends several items to monitor a child's health and well-being as well as open a dialog. 

  • Place limits on media. Don't leave the TV on in the background and monitor what websites your child is using. If you do watch the news with your kids, use commercials breaks to talk about what they saw and how they feel.
  • Check in. Ask them how they're doing, how they're feeling and how you can help them. 
  • Ask them about their experiences. Has your child been a victim of racism or witnessed it? How did that make him or her feel and how did he or she react in the situation?
  • Watch for changes. Stress such as new reports or worry about friends and family will come out in your child's mood or behavior. 
  • Are you OK? Monitor how your emotional changes are impacting your reactions to your children and your family.
  • Make this a teachable moment. Discuss racism and discrimination in U.S. history.
  • The AAP also recommends this article that explains how early children can recognize race and when they will start to latch on to biases. For more resources, check out a 2019 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health.  

 

 


Virtual Meeting Planning

Tips, Tools, and Ideas for Planning a Great Virtual Meeting: Keep the Girl Scout spirit strong, no matter where you are.

Planning virtual meetings can feel quite different from the in-person meetings we’re used to: can you successfully engage your girls through their screens? Can you keep your troop’s favorite traditions going virtually? The answer is yes! 

Use this sample agenda and the following tips to prepare for your virtual meeting and get ready to have fun with your girls, wherever their “meeting spaces” may be. 

Sample Virtual Meeting Agenda
  • Welcome (5 minutes)
    • Give girls a few minutes to join the meeting and get settled.
    • Encourage the girls to take this time to chat with each other before the official meeting begins.
  • Ground Rules (5 minutes)
    • Review the ground rules or use this time to create list together.  
  • Promise and Law (5 minutes)
    • Recite the Promise and Law together. Ask girls to keep themselves muted as they follow your lead. Internet connectivity issues can cause a lag in audio, which can be discouraging and frustrating for the girls when they aren’t hearing themselves in unison.
    • You can encourage girls to have their cameras on, but it shouldn’t be required.
  • Icebreaker (10 minutes)
    •  Add an icebreaker activity to help everyone get comfortable. Explore examples of icebreaker activities.
    • Use the same icebreaker at each meeting or try different ones—it’s entirely up to you!
  • Main Activity (20 minutes)
    • Whether it’s badge work or just something fun, the main activity should take up the bulk of your meeting time. Here are some tips.
  • Prep For Your Next meeting (5 Minutes)
    • If the girls will complete an activity on their own, set them up for success and explain what they’ll need to do.
    • If not, give them a sense of what to expect for the next meeting.
    • Looking for feedback on what to do next? This is a great time to poll the girls!
  • Make New Friends (5 minutes)
    • Wind down your meeting by singing “Make New Friends.”
    • Just as you did with the Promise and Law, ask the girls to mute their microphones and follow your lead.
  • Friendship Circle (5 minutes)
    • Encourage the girls to share this special time of the meeting with a sibling or even their favorite stuffed animal.  
    • Just as you would with an in-person meeting, ask them to cross their arms and give them a moment to squeeze their own hand (by making a fist) to virtually pass on the squeeze.  
    • Then, on the count of three, instruct the girls to lift their arms over their heads to virtually “twist out” to close the meeting.
Conducting a Virtual Meeting
  • Consider guiding the meeting with a PowerPoint or Google Slides deck. Having a slide show presentation can help your troop move smoothly from one part of the meeting to the next. Check out this sample, which you can customize on any PowerPoint or slides platform.

  • Be as visual as possible. Depending on their ages, your girls’ reading comprehension levels will vary. If you use slides, keep them as visual as possible and read everything aloud to make sure all the girls understand the rules, instructions, and activities planned for the meeting.

  • Tap into the Volunteer Toolkit. Look through the suggested activities on the several Volunteer Toolkit for badges the troop is working on. Think about how you might adapt the activity to be virtual-friendly—a special guest, for instance, could share a presentation during your meeting or offer a virtual tour of their place of work. 

Here are some suggestions for adapting badge or journey work for a digital setting.

  • Develop ground rules. To keep your troop girl-led, work with the girls to establish rules that everyone can agree to, like when to keep cameras and microphones on or off, or raising hands when girls want to speak.  

  • Keep your supply list simple. Remember, not all families have lots of craft supplies on hand. Consider activities that stick to the basics—crayons, paper, scissors, and glue—and give families advance notice if you will require additional supplies. 

  • Be flexible with timing. You might budget one hour for your meeting, but not all meetings will run that long—especially if you have younger girls with shorter attention spans. It’s perfectly OK to end the meeting early if you’ve accomplished everything on your agenda! Younger girls will be able to concentrate on a single task for only about 20 minutes, so plan your meeting in short sections!

  • Keep the sisterhood strong. You’ll have fun working on badges virtually, of course, but it’s also OK to take a meeting or two to just relax and be silly together. This strengthens the bonds among the girls during times of social distancing or when they can’t be together in person—it’s what Girl Scout sisterhood is all about! 

Supplies for a Virtual Meeting

Before we talk about physical supplies, a fun thing to share before the meeting are our Zoom and virtual call backgrounds! Everyone in the meeting can pick a fun, bright virtual backdrop to help hide background distractions at home and bring more visual excitement to the meeting! To download the backgrounds and for instructions on using them, please click here

Girls and families may already have some basic supplies to power a fun, hands-on meeting activity at home, but you’ll want to give troop families a heads up about what the girls will need on-hand at least one day before the meeting. If an activity requires supplies that might not be easily accessible, give families more notice to gather the materials, and provide potential substitutions wherever possible.

Everyday Supplies

Families are likely to have these items at home and easily accessible:

  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Children’s Scissors
  • Plain paper
  • Construction Paper
  • Tape

Supplies That Require Advance Notice

When planning activities that use these supplies, consider providing substitutions if families don’t have the exact item on hand:

  • Printouts of meeting handouts
  • Toilet paper tube or empty paper towel roll
  • Paint
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pom poms
  • Glitter glue
  • Stickers
  • Cardstock

 

Adapt Badges and Journeys

Easy Badge and Journey Adaptations for Virtual Troop Meetings 

In-person troop meetings are amazingly fun, but virtual meetings can offer a whole range of new ways to engage your girls, your guests, and families! 

Check out our newest training video, Virtual Meetings: Adapting Badges and Journeys! We walk you through our existing badges and journeys tailored for virtual meetings and share some tips on adapting badges and journeys for online. 

Check out these proven tips for how you and your girls can adapt your badge, journey, or award activities to a virtual setting.

Group Activities
  • Breakout rooms: If your virtual meeting software allows it, separate girls into smaller “breakout rooms.” Enlist a parent or caregiver to sit in on each breakout room to ensure that the conversation is productive.

  • Chat Leaders: Appoint two girls as the conversation leaders and mute the rest of the troop. The conversation leaders pose questions to the troop to get things started. The other girls should use the chat (or a virtual whiteboard) to respond.  The conversation leaders  read out the chat comments, make connections, and share any new ideas the chat comments might inspire. Rotate chat leaders times during the meeting. 

  • Small group virtual meetings: If you can’t do breakout rooms, simply set up three or four simultaneous virtual meetings (each with its own log-in). At the start of your troop meeting, break girls into small group and provide each with a new “small group” meeting log-in and assign an adult volunteer to help each group. Set a time limit to make sure that everyone comes back to the original meeting at the same time.

  • Parent and girl partners: For younger girls, ask each girl to invite a supportive adult to the meeting to be her discussion partner.  

Trips
  • Online Virtual Tours: Find a virtual tour, inspired by the badge requirements. Ideally, you want a tour with lots of options for clicking into different paths on the tour. Allow girls to lead the exploration, deciding where and when to click.

  • Virtual Reality Tours: If you and your troop have access to virtual reality goggles (such as Google Cardboard), find a VR tour, and explore the ocean, a foreign city, go on a hike, or even a new planet!

  • Photo tours: Invite a guest to your meeting to share a photo tour. The girls can ask questions while listening to stories and looking at the person’s photos or videos. Consider a museum docent, a family member who has visited a national park or international destination that your girls are interested in, or local tour guide.

Guest Experts

Virtual guests are even easier to find than in-person ones! Remember that you can invite a guest from anywhere in the world. Speak to them in advance so that they understand what you would like them to do in your meeting.

Family Events

Family celebrations can be done with free video conferencing software. Consider playing games and asking each girl to lead her family in a special activity, giving each girl a moment to shine.

Tip: Encourage girls to share their ideas for how they can meet specific badge requirements in a virtual setting. It’s a great way to keep things girl-led and they’ll be more engaged in the content if their creative thinking helped to shape it.

Plus, visit explore the activity pages on Girl Scouts at Home for examples of how specific badge steps can be accomplished virtually.  

Digital Icebreakers and Games 

An icebreaker game is a great way to start any meeting, but in a virtual setting they offer your troop the chance to get familiar with the technology and engage the girls before getting down to business. Here are a few ideas!

Icebreaker Ideas
  • Digital Show and Tell
    • Ask the girls to share something of theirs with the troop. Consider giving them a theme or a question, for example, “Show us something you’ve had since you were a baby” or “Show us something you can’t go a day without.”
  • Two Truths and a Fib
    • Give this well-known icebreaker a virtual spin! Ask the girls a specific question (“What are some places you have visited?” Or “What don’t we already know about you?”) and ask them to pick three answers—two that are true and one that’s not. But, when it’s not true, they have to make a subtle gesture or change in their tone of voice. Then see if the other girls can guess which answers are true.

  • Where Are You?
    • Ask girls to give you a brief virtual tour of their space. What’s one thing they love about the room they are in?  What’s one thing they wish they could change?

  • Virtual ‘I Spy’
    • Ask the girls to pick one spot and stay in that spot for the entire icebreaker. Then, have the girls take turns looking at the screens and seeing what they can find!
  • If Only I Could… Then I Would...
    • Ask girls to complete each part of the sentence “If only I could____, then I would _____.”  Remind them that it can be something true or just something silly—- it’ is completely up to them!
  • Question of The Day
    • Pick a different question for each meeting and ask the girls to answer it in just one or two sentences. The question can tie into something going on in their lives, badge activities you will complete during the meeting, or just something silly!
       
  • What's Your Emoji Today?
    • Instead of asking the girls how they’re feeling, ask them to take turns making the emoji face that matches how they are feeling. Then, give the rest of the troop a few minutes to guess the emotion before asking the girl to share how she is feeling. This icebreaker is a great way to check in on everyone while turning it into a game for the girls.
Tips for Leading Successful Icebreakers
  • Set ground rules. Share guidelines about the icebreaker before you start: how much time will you spend on the icebreaker activity, and how much time will each girl have to speak? You can set boundaries by time (“Everyone will have one minute to answer.”) or length (“Everyone should answer in three sentences or less.”)  Remind the girls to give everyone a chance to participate by not interrupting one another and muting their microphones when they’re not speaking.

  • Don’t make icebreakers mandatory. Remember, not every girl will want to speak or answer every question. Encourage them to participate, but don’t force them to if they aren’t comfortable. 

  • Don’t interrupt. Aside from the time limits they agreed to, let the girls speak and give them space to fully participate in the icebreaker. Remember, they are not just expressing themselves to their Girl Scout sisters; they’re also building their comfort with virtual meeting tools, and they need the space to do that.

  • Be comfortable with silence. It’s natural to want to fill any quiet moments during an activity but remember that the girls may need time to think about the question, and will speak up when they are ready. Filling the silence for them may discourage them from jumping in when they are ready to share. 

  • Keep parents or caregivers in the loop. If you’re using an icebreaker that involves the girls showing items in their home, let families know in advance so they can plan accordingly—they’ll appreciate it! 

  • Consider uniquely virtual icebreakers. Showing off a favorite routine or a favorite room in their home is something you couldn’t do with your girls during an in-person meeting. Embrace it! Take this time to explore new ways of getting to know your girls that wouldn’t be open to you during a regular meeting. 

  • Keep an eye on their involvement. Some girls will jump right into virtual meetings- but some may not. Watch closely for signs that girls are losing interest or having trouble participating and try to gently pull them into the fold. If the issue continues, ask their parent or caregiver about ways to better engage them during meetings, and possibly address other challenges the girls may be facing outside of Girl Scouts.