Postal Badge

Postal Badge

Postal Badge

Thinking Day Postcard Exchange 2013 Crest

Thinking Day Postcard Exchange 2013 Crest

This year, for once, we remembered to register in time for the Thinking Day Postcard Exchange! We’re super excited because every other year we would be so distracted by start of the year things like registration and enrollment, that we wouldn’t think of Thinking Day until just before Christmas and by then it would be too late!

So the way it works is that you register on the Postcard Exchange Website, and then you get invited into a Yahoo Group where there is a listing of all the different units that want to participate. They are mostly American units but there are also a bunch from Canada and some from elsewhere in the world. If you’re interested in exchanging a postcard with that unit, you send them an email requesting an exchange, and if they also want to exchange with you, then they’ll respond with their address.

Important Note: This is NOT a pen pal exchange. It’s a one time exchange with an entire unit. (ie, your unit sends their unit one postcard and vice versa. The idea is to learn about what that unit does)

We decided to try and arrange exchanges with at least one unit per Guide in our unit. That way, they would each get to keep a postcard from somewhere else in the world.

We are exchanging with: Iowa, New Hampshire, Texas, North Carolina, British Colombia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Nova Scotia, Virginia, England, Yukon, Hawaii and Thailand.

We decided that this was the perfect opportunity to earn our Postal badge!


Most of the girls were pretty familiar with how to address an envelope, but we quickly went over it with the girls with some examples. We also explained how the postcard exchange works.

Postcard and Envelope addresses

Postcard and Envelope addresses

Activity 1: Package wrapping game

We wanted to have something active and fun, so we created a game! We got the girls into teams, and then quickly went over how you should wrap a parcel before sending it in the mail. We gave each team a cookie box, a cookie case, some brown paper, scissors, tape, a marker, and a jumbled address. Each team had to wrap a cookie box, wrap a cookie case, and then correctly address the cookie case as if you were going to put it in the mail. (They could look at the examples above for help to address it right)

The twist? Each girl could only use one hand! They all had to have one hand behind their backs. This was super entertaining as they tried to use tape and wrap the boxes and realized how they had to slow down, communicate, and work together. Lots of giggles with this one!

Working together to try and cut the masking tape!

Working together to try and cut the masking tape!

While the packages probably couldn’t have safely made it through the mail following this activity, it was a lot of fun! The team who finished first, got to open their wrapped box of cookies and eat them! (and share with everyone, of course!)

I love the "Handle with Care" note. Nice touch, girls!

I love the “Handle with Care” note. Nice touch, girls!

Activity 2: Postcard time!

We took all the addresses that we’re exchanging postcards with and put them in a hat. The girls drew out of the hat which unit they would be exchanging a postcard with! After each girl pulled one out, we all looked at the map to see where that unit is from. (We bought a world map poster a few years ago for a Thinking Day activity and I can’t tell you how many times it has come in handy since! We use it for a LOT of things)

Checking out where the units are located in the world!

Checking out where the units are located in the world!

We had bought three different types of Newfoundland postcards and let the girls choose which one they wanted to send to their unit. The Moose and Newfoundland Dogs were most popular!

Moose, Newfoundland Dogs, and a harbour with an iceberg.

Moose, Newfoundland Dogs, and a harbour with an iceberg.

We typed a message from the whole unit, and printed them on labels that (sort of) fit in the message part of the postcard. (We used a small font so we were able to fit a lot!) We left a little space above the label so that each girl could write a personal message to the unit they were exchanging with. We gave them some ground rules (only first names, they could write or draw, maybe say what their favorite part of Guides is, etc.) and gave them some scrap paper with little squares drawn on them so they could practice and make sure what they wanted to write would fit in the little square. They also practiced writing out the address before writing them on the actual postcards.

Gillian's postcard to a unit in Hillsboro, Kansas.

Gillian’s postcard to a unit in Hillsboro, Kansas. (Click for a larger version to read the message)

Activity 3: Post Office

Now that the girls knew where their postcards were going, we went over how much they thought it would cost to send the postcards to their destinations. We also explained that how much it costs to ship a package depends on the dimensions and weight of the package, so we calculated how much it would cost to ship a case of cookies overseas and then for fun, how much it would cost to ship one of our Guides overseas. 🙂

We talked about where our local Post Office was and what they do and sell there. We talked about the different ways we could send the postcards – we could walk into the Post Office and pay them to send it, or we can buy the appropriate stamp, put it on the postcard, and then drop it in a local mailbox/red Canada Post mailbox.


I think the girls really enjoyed this meeting, and they’re super excited to get their postcards back! Some have already started to come in, but we’re going to wait until our Thinking Day meeting to pass them out and learn about all these other units! We are all looking forward to seeing what they have to share!


Categories: Badgework, Guides | Leave a comment

Puzzle Themed Enrollment

Understanding the Promise and Law


For our Guide enrollment this year, we did a modified version of the puzzle one found here on the Girl Guides of Ontario website.  The puzzle in that enrollment was the Promise, Law and Motto, but we wanted to do something a little different. We wanted to show what a diverse and interesting unit we are,  and wanted to highlight that each girl brings her own unique strengths to our unit – and that we are not complete without all of our Guides.

Enrollment Prep

Advance Preparation: First we took two pieces of poster board and taped them together to make one large puzzle. On the other side, we drew a large Trefoil, a couple little ones, and wrote the name of our unit across the top. Then we cut the puzzle into 15 pieces – one for each girl and Guider. (tip: on the back, number the piece so you know where it goes, draw an arrow pointing up so the girls know which way to decorate it, and have the girls write their names) Each Guider took a piece of the unit name and then the rest were to be distributed to the girls to decorate. The trefoil was large enough that each girl would get a piece of the trefoil but it wouldn’t necessarily be obvious that it’s a giant trefoil from their piece alone.

We also got two extra pieces of poster board and made a “backing” for the puzzle, where we traced out all the pieces so that they could be placed in randomly and still be in the right place.

For our Enrollment prep meeting, we brought a random assortment of craft things – markers, crayons, leads, stickers, scrapbooking paper, sticky jewels, etc. We told each girl that their puzzle piece should represent them and that they could do whatever they want with their piece, as long as they didn’t cover up the black line that was already on it.

Maggie's puzzle piece all decorated and ready to go!

Maggie’s puzzle piece all decorated and ready to go!

Once the girls had all finished their pieces, we placed them on the backing, so that they could see what their completed puzzle looked like! As a bonus, many of the girls learned that “that clover shape” was called a trefoil, haha. We also wrote their names on the backing in their puzzle space so they would be able to put it in the right spot on Enrollment night.

Enrollment Night

When we arrived for the Enrollment, we put the puzzle backing up on the wall, and put pieces of double sided tape all over it so that it would hold the pieces when placed.

The Puzzle Backing ready to go!

The Puzzle Backing ready to go!

We always have the girls arrive normal time, and then invite the parents to come for the enrollment about 30 min later, so that we have time to run through the enrollment, finish set up, give out their pieces (that we had collected so they wouldn’t get lost) and make any adjustments that we need to (for example, one of our 3rd year Guides was sick so we needed to get one of the other 3rd years to do double duty for presenting the new Guides to be enrolled).

Here’s how our enrollment ceremony went:

Guider 1: Hi Everyone, thank you for coming to the enrollment of our newest members of the 37th Guides. All of us here (Family, fellow Guides and Guiders) play a part in the Guiding days of each new Guide who will make her promise tonight and we are happy to have you all here to share the moment.

(Introduce Guiders)

Guider 1: Normally we would have our District Commissioners here to enroll the new Guides, however Sarah and I are actually the District Commissioners for our area, so we are wearing two hats tonight!

Guider 2: Each individual member of our unit brings her own unique personality, skills and passions to our group.

Guider 3: To represent this, each member has decorated a puzzle piece to represent their contribution to the unit.

Guider 1: As the girls are enrolled, they will place their piece in the puzzle.

Senior Guide: I present (insert name) to be enrolled as a Guide

(She says her promise, gets pinned, receives her badges and places her puzzle in her spot on the wall)

The girls received their Badges and pins on cardstock puzzle pieces that were cut out using the Cricut.

The girls received their Badges and pins on card stock puzzle pieces that were cut out using the Cricut.

Guider 1: As Guiders, we also play an important role in the unit. As we place the last pieces of the puzzle, we complete the picture and our unit. (present year pins to Guiders)

Guider 2: Now please help us welcome the now complete 37th Guides. (clap)

Guider 3: To symbolize the start of our new year, we would now like to do our horseshoe opening. This is the way we start every meeting.

Guider 1: Patrols fall in!

(Then we did our normal Opening/Horseshoe, which includes the promise said together at the end)

Guider 2: In our promise, we agree to respect the Guiding Law. To help us remember the Law, we have created a cheer that we would like to share with you tonight! A word of warning – this may get loud!!

(I found a similar thing for the Girl Scouts Law, but I can’t find it again for my life… I adapted it for the Canadian Guiding Law, and we do it as a yell – A leader yells each line, doing the action, and the girls respond as loud as they can, also doing the action. The girls love it because they get to be loud and silly AND they get more familiar with the Guiding Law!)

The Guiding Law Challenges me to:

Be honest and trustworthy (hands up, palms out, as if to say “I have nothing to hide”)
Use my resources wisely (rub fingers together like money)
Respect myself and others (point thumb to self and then hand out, palm up, as though presenting something)
Recognize and use my talents and abilities (hands on hips, head held high, like the superhero/superman pose)
Protect our common environment (spread hands out in a circle indicating “this area”)
Live with courage and strength (show your muscles)
Share in the sisterhood of Guiding (put arms around shoulders of girls in circle)

Guider 1: Thank you everyone for coming! We would now like to invite everyone for some treats!

Of Course, what would an enrollment be without treats like cupcakes, cookies, fruit and juice!

The final puzzle! After the enrollment, the girls kept their puzzle pieces as a souvenir.

The final puzzle! After the enrollment, the girls kept their puzzle pieces as a souvenir.

Categories: Guides | 1 Comment

Understand the Promise and Law Parts 1 & 2

Understanding the Promise and Law

We took two meetings to work on our Understand the Promise and Law badge. We completed all of the points except the Patrol elections and Enrollment (those will come later!).

Meeting 1:

We started the meeting by going over patrols, how to do dues, etc. and then we practiced our opening and march. We may have had to do it a couple of times because we all (including the Guiders) had to try it a few times to remember it!! haha

Promise relay race
We took the Promise and divided it up into 6 different parts, and put each part in a balloon. We made two sets so that we could do a relay race (different coloured balloons so we made sure each team had a full set!)

The girls lined up at one end of the gym and we put the pile of balloons at the other end of the gym. One at a time, the girls ran to the pile, picked one, and either sat or stepped on the balloon to pop it. Then they found the little strip of paper and ran back to their team. Once each girl had popped a balloon and the team had the full set of promise pieces, they had to arrange the pieces to put the promise together. First team to have the promise correct, won!

Be Prepared Bags

We talked about the motto and what it meant for our daily lives. We printed out cardstock pages with a tote bag image on them, each with a different location/event like “Guides”, “school”, “dance class”, “outside play”, “camping”, etc. We had enough for each pair of girls to have one. We asked them to think about 5 items that they would bring with them to be prepared, and then draw them in the bag. We kept the sheets in their patrol boxes so they could finish up the following week during patrol time.

Be Prepared Bags

“empty” Be Prepared bags ready to go!

Meeting 2:

During Patrol time, the girls finished up their Be Prepared bags and then we went through our opening a few times to help the girls get used to it.

Be Prepared Bags

We started the meeting with a few announcements and then each pair of girls presented what they would put in their Be Prepared bags. The other girls would then suggest additional items that would be good to bring. They found that some of the places (like camping and sleepovers) had a long list of things that would be good to have, while

Handshake Game

To practice the Girl Guide handshake, we played a game somewhat similar to musical chairs. All the girls (an odd number) mix and mingle around, and when the leader yells “Go” they have to find a partner, shake their hands, and say the motto. Since there’s an odd number, one girl won’t have a partner, so she is then “out” and gets to be the one to yell “Go” next. (Since every second round there would be an even number of players, a leader would step in and play. This also helped to shake up the girls who were just following each other around, haha)

Reef Knot tying

About half of the girls had their scarves with them so we went over how to tie the Reef Knot with the group and then had them pair up so that each pair had one scarf. Then they helped each other practice tying their reef knots, while we went around and helped them. Simple but effective 🙂

Law activity

We explained the difference between the motto, promise and law, and then read them the Law. We went through each part of the law and asked the girls what they thought it meant. We were really impressed with some of their answers and stories!

We certainly don’t expect the girls to memorize the law, but to help us remember/understand the law, we did a little “action” activity. For each law point we had an action to go along with it. The girls loved learning them, and even challenging ourselves to see how fast we could do them! Here are the actions we used:

The Guiding Law Challenges me to:
Be honest and trustworthy (hands up, palms out, as if to say “I have nothing to hide”)
Use my resources wisely (rub fingers together like money)
Respect myself and others (point thumb to self and then hand out, palm up, as though presenting something)
Recognize and use my talents and abilities (hands on hip, head held high, like the superhero/superman pose)
Protect our common environment (spread hands out in a circle indicating “this area”)
Live with courage and strength (show your muscles)
Share in the sisterhood of Guiding (put arms around shoulders of girls in circle)

The girls enjoyed it so much I think we might actually do it more often either as part of campfires or on nights we have some extra time, during our closing right before we sing taps.

Categories: Badgework, Guides | 3 Comments

Opening Meeting and Brainstorming

Choosing Your Own Direction #3

The opening meetings for both of our Guide and Pathfinder units were very similar this year.

We started with making name tags and a get-to-know you game for the Guides since we have a bunch of new girls from a different school moving up from brownies (Hi, My name is Holly and I like Hiking. Courtney likes Crafts, Maddi likes Monkeys, etc…). All of our Pathfinders were returning girls that we knew well, so we caught up on all the summer news!

We did a quick introduction to the program and their program books, before jumping into our brainstorming sessions!


I got this idea from a Guiding friend and I really like how it went! We posted topics on the walls around the gym and gave each girl a pad of post-it notes and a pencil. The girls got a couple of minutes at each station to write down activities they’d like to do in each theme on their post its and stick them to the wall.

For Guides we used the following topics:

  • “What would you like to learn about?”
  • “How could we help people in the community?”
  • “What crafts would you like to do?”
  • “What have you always wanted to try?”
  • “What badges would you like to earn?”
  • “What would you like to do outdoors?”
  • “What games/sports would you like to play?”
  • “Who would you like to come visit our unit?”
  • “What songs do you like to play?”
  • “What special events would you like to do?”
  • “What outings would you like to do?”

The question format worked well for the Guides! For the Pathfinders, we went even simpler and just posted:

  • “Games/Sports”
  • “Outings”
  • “Service Projects”
  • “Special Events”
  • “Badgework”
  • “Outdoors”
  • “Crafts”

After they had each been to every station, we collected the signs and stuck all the post-it notes to them. After the meeting, we typed up all of their ideas and now we have a whole sheet of activities they want to do this year! For the Guides, it will help us plan our meetings and they came up with some great ideas! For the Pathfinders, we’ll keep the list with us for their planning meetings, in case they need some prompting or ideas for their next self-planned meeting (more about our Pathfinder meeting structure later)

At the end of the meetings, we set aside some time for games. The guides played Pac-man Tag and the Pathfinders played the hand game – both by request! They were the most popular games last year.

Pac-man Tag: The girls are only allowed to run along the gym floor lines, away from the girl who’s “it”. They can’t pass each other on the lines, and if they get caught, they have to sit down on the line and block it so that no one can get through. Once most of the girls are caught and sitting on the lines, we start the game again with a new “it”

Hand game: All the girls sit in a close circle, facing in, with both hands flat on the floor in front of them. Everyone takes their right hand and moves it between the person on their right’s hands, so that everyone’s hands are alternating. Whoever starts chooses a direction and slaps one of their hands. Then the hand next to the starting one, in the chosen direction, slaps. The “slap” continues around the circle until someone double slaps, which switches the direction back the other way. If anyone slaps out of turn, they remove that hand from the circle. The last two girls in the game, win!

Categories: Badgework, Guides, Pathfinders | 1 Comment

Time Capsule

Discover Your Community #5

We did this at the end of last year, with the plan to open it at the end of this year at a bridging event with the Pathfinders (so the girls who were Grade 6 Guides last year will be there for the opening!).

However, this could could just as easily be used at the beginning of the year with the plan to open it at the end of the year. Then you could also include the girls’ wishes/hopes for the Guiding year (and get some ideas about what they want to be doing!)

Each girl made their own personal time capsule in a ziploc bag with their name on it. Inside the bag, they put:

  • Their completed time capsule sheet
  • They traced their hand and their foot on a sheet of paper (so they’ll be able to compare when they open it!)
  • A piece of string that’s their height (In pairs, the girls helped each other cut the string to the right length)
  • A couple of photos of themselves that they picked out of the ones we took at meetings and events (At the beginning of the year, you could snap a photo at a meeting, or ask them to bring one)

We put all of the personal time capsules into a box along with the following:

  • We chose a couple of the badges that we worked on this year (we always end up with extra now that everything is ordered online), and together wrote about what we did to earn the badge and what we liked about it. Everyone had an opportunity to write a comment about it.
  • The girls also chose some photos from their favorite activities. Again, we wrote on the back of the photos why we chose it and why it was fun.

After putting everything in and closing it up, we decorated it and sealed it up with packing tape! The girls loved this part!

Time Capsule

The completed Time Capsule!

The time capsule now lives on the top shelf Holly’s laundry room, until the end of this school year – when it will be opened! Hopefully, the girls will have forgotten about it by then (or at least forgot about some of the things we did!) so that it will be a surprise. Either way, I’m sure they’ll have fun comparing their strings to their current height, seeing how much they’ve grown, and reading about all of their favorites from the year before (“That is SO last year!”)

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