This post was originally shared on Guider Cara’s blog Brownie Meeting Ideas. Thank you Cara for letting us share this with our audience! Do you have a craft or idea to share with other girl or adult Members? Pitch us your blog idea.
Snowy Owl Christine* is responsible for badges in our Unit, and, let me tell you, I’m so glad to have her. She manages our badge stock, does most of the badge testing, and is always on the lookout for “if we did this one more thing, the girls would get this badge” opportunities.
Where to get badges, emblems, crests and pins:
- Budgeting: Badges, emblems, crests and pins are not cheap. It is important to browse through the online catalogue at the beginning of the year, take note of what you’ll need, and budget accordingly. Think about keys, year pins, enrollment pins, circle emblems and crests. All but title tapes tapes are available from the Online Guide Store.
- Challenges: There are lots of neat challenges around – Guides Ontario has some good ones. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t do the Queen’s Jubilee one. We love Brownies Splash (no crest), Sing Ontario Sing and Emergency Preparedness. Are there others you like?
Earning badges and crests and how to arrange a badge sash:
- Snowy Owl Christine’s Badge Testing Tips:
- Introducing badges at Meetings: I like to give a general overview of badges to the full group during our second or third meeting of the year, but I also make a huge effort to meet with each girl individually within the first six weeks. This gives me a chance to determine each girl’s interest level, explain things and make sure she understands what is required to actually earn a badge. I try to point out some specific badges she might be interested in working on. Some girls are VERY keen and will have badge testing at every opportunity; others only earn the badges that we do as a group. Either option is fine, as long as they’re having fun.
- Earning Badges:
- On badge testing days (it isn’t really a test – just a conversation with the girl where she talks about the badge one-on-one with the tester) we ask who has badge testing at the beginning of the meeting and do our best to take five minutes out of an activity to cover it. Some Units do badge testing once a month – we do it during any meeting in our own space.
- Write it down: Each girl is expected to show up with a record of how she earned the badge. I ask them to keep a special Brownie notebook to write down the page number, key and badge that she’s working on, as well as notes about what she did for each of the badge’s requirements. Having the details written down (even if the requirement says “Think about…”) means that the girl more easily remembers what she did to earn the badge, makes it easier for her to talk about it, and saves us from spending five minutes searching the Brownie book for “that badge that has a hammer on it…”
- I’m pretty lenient, but if a girl hasn’t completed all the components of a badge, I’ll help her figure out ways to complete it and redo the badge testing after she’s finished.
- Showing the group: If there is time at the end of the meeting, we try to let the girls who have earned badges show and tell to the rest of the group.
- How parents can help: I encourage parents to email me ahead of time with the badges that their girls are working on so that I can make sure I have the badges in stock. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve never had a girl complain about having to wait a few weeks before she gets her badge, and I’m pretty good at following up to make sure everyone has all their badges at the end of the year.
- Once the girls get their badges, many will ask where to put them on the badge sash.
- Handout: Since I’m kind of particular about where things go, I’ve created a printable handout explaining where to put badges, pins and emblems on the badge sash (PDF from Dropbox). Honestly, I’m fine as long as the sash is worn on the correct side (right shoulder) and the tape, pin and circle emblems are in the right spot. But parents of badge-crazy girls want to know what to save room for.
- What to put on the badge sash: We say ‘if it’s not in the program book, it does not belong on the badge sash’. But if you must put crests on, put them on the bottom of the sash. Make sure you save room for your keys and interest badges.
Do you have a Badge Guider in your Unit? (Ours is Awesome)
By Cara Hicks – Community Guider, Brown Owl and Blogger. Read previous posts written by Cara on our GirlGuidesCANBlog: Junior Leaders: How to Make the Best Use of Their Generosity?, What I Would Tell a New Guider, and Online Resources: Guiding in the Cloud.
* Snowy Owl Christine Dalgleish: Christine Dalgleish has been a Snowy Owl since 2005 – she was a Pathfinder Guider before that.