Kaper Chart

Kaper is the word Girl Scouts use for any of the little tasks that make a meeting or activity possible.  As a Junior leader, I use the patrol system and give each patrol a responsibility, but when I was an assistant Brownie leader one of my roles in the troop was to make the kaper chart every week.

There are many ways to do kaper charts.  Some troops make a permanent chart and put the girls’ names on Velcro or something so they can move them around each week.  Some troops don’t have a chart and just draw a name whenever something needs to be done.

What I found simplest and most effective was to write the kapers and the names of the girls assigned to them on a sheet of paper (just scratch paper with something printed on the other side) with a marker, in letters about 3/4″ high.  I posted it in a visible place on the wall of the meeting room so that anyone could glance over at it when needed.  I made the chart in advance, usually the night before the meeting.  I used a spreadsheet to show who had which kaper at which meeting so that I could make sure everyone got a turn at every kaperRead more…

The Frog Game

Here’s a game I learned at camp many years ago.  It’s a fun way to fill those moments when you need something to do that doesn’t require any special equipment.  We used to play it when we got to the dining hall early and were waiting for the dinner bell to ring!

Shhh, don’t tell the kids, but this is a great way to practice the multiplication tables of twos and fours!

Make sure to start slowly when new players are involved.  Kids younger than nine may find this game too difficult. Read more…

The Seven-Minute Stretch

It’s amazing how just a few minutes of stretching can change everything.  Just moving around a little bit for a little while gets the blood flowing through your muscles and brain, makes you more flexible, reminds you to breathe, lifts your mood, and makes the various motions of daily life easier and less likely to strain something.  And it doesn’t require any special equipment or gym fees.

Try it!  Choose two favorite songs and play them on your music-playing device.  Read more…

Stroller Madness

Long before we became parents, Daniel and I decided we would not be transporting our child in a stroller on any regular basis.  We live in Pittsburgh, a city of steep hills, stairs, and sidewalks cracked by frost heave and tree roots.  Our neighborhood has heavy pedestrian traffic on sidewalks that are narrow in places.  We often ride city buses, which allow strollers only if folded, and we’d seen how parents struggled to fold a stroller with one hand without dropping the baby.

Recalling the various baby carriers used by my mother and her friends, I did some research and learned that carrying a baby or “babywearing” has many advantages  for child development, as well as being convenient for parents.  I bought a ring sling, and by the time Nicholas was two months old, I felt we could hardly live without it!

However, we did wind up owning a stroller. Read more…

Living by the Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do;
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

These words are the best code of behavior I’ve ever seen. Read more…

about my Girl Scout articles

I am posting some of the ideas that have worked out well for me as a Girl Scout leader, and some of the experiences I’ve had as a girl and as a leader, in hopes that they’ll be helpful to other Girl Scout leaders and perhaps to people who work with other children’s groups.  These are my personal opinions and experiences and do not represent the views of Girl Scouts USA, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, or any other official entity.

The Earthling’s Handbook includes articles on many topics other than Girl Scouts.  While I hope that people who visit this site looking for Girl Scout resources also will enjoy some of the other articles, they are not intended to connect with Girl Scouting directly and may include opinions and material that I would never discuss with my girls.

My Girl Scout resume: I became a Brownie in 1980, when I was seven years old, and continued in Scouts all the way through high school in Bluestem Council, now Girl Scouts Eastern Oklahoma.  As a Cadette and Senior Scout, I worked as a junior counselor at Spring Break Day Camp and Brownie Camporee, taught knife safety and first aid to Brownies, worked in the kitchen at Camp Wah-Shah-She, and served on the council’s Board of Directors.  I worked as a cook at Camp Wah-Shah-She one summer during college.

I started volunteering with Girl Scouts in the Pittsburgh area in 2002 and became an assistant Brownie leader in 2003, then a Junior leader in 2006.  I took a break from leadership in 2009 due to the demands of full-time work and mothering a young child, but I continue to volunteer at occasional Girl Scout events.

Which one is my daughter?  You don’t have to be the mother of a Girl Scout to be a Girl Scout leader!  I became a leader before I became a mother, and my only child is a boy.  (He was our troop mascot!)  Girl Scout leading is a great opportunity to “have girls” without having to give birth to them, as well as an opportunity to experience the fun of Girl Scouting again!

Zucchini Tofu

Meatless MondayHere is my favorite tofu recipe.  Although it’s sort of Chinese-like, I cook it more slowly over lower heat than an authentic Chinese stir-fry, which gives the onions a very different flavor.  Quantities are VERY approximate; basically it’s “season to taste”.  When zucchini is not in season, you can use frozen zucchini, thawed and drained–but it should be cut in wedges or slices, not shredded, to work well in this recipe.  Yellow summer squash with a soft peel, or with the peel removed, can be substituted for zucchini. Read more…

Great system, bad example!

We’ve been struggling with our three-year-old’s demanding behavior and angry outbursts and have sought help from several books.  The most recent was Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey, frequently recommended in online discussions.

Overall, it’s an okay book.  The main idea is that a conflict is an opportunity to teach your child skills he can learn to control himself on his own, and she explains very clearly why this is such a great approach.  The book has a few very good parts: Read more…

Train Travel

We just took a trip to Chicago and back on Amtrak, and it was wonderful!  Our three-year-old railroad enthusiast was thrilled, and Daniel and I had a great time too.  It’s dramatically different from airline travel.  Some of the differences are absolutely positive, others are better from our point of view but wouldn’t suit everyone, and others are not so much better but at least acceptable to us. Read more…