Are you a Swap-a-holic, too?

Hat crafts. Traders. Swaps. You can call them whatever you want. I call them “my addiction”. My name is Alana, and I am a swap-a-holic.

It started innocently enough. When my daughters were Sparks, a fellow Guider showed up at an event with her camp hat. I thought, “How cute! We’ll have to make some at our sleepover.” And so we did. Then we made more at camp. And more the next year. Five years later, my camp hat has gotten so heavy that I have a permanent crick in my neck.

I don’t know why, but those tiny little crafts really appeal to me. Our collection has grown to include seven hats, four banners and hundreds more we simply have no place to put.

I can make a hat craft out of anything. Springs from the inside of pens and bits of coloured wire left by the phone repairman are perfect robot parts. Tiny bits of fun foam are just the right size for ears on inch-long bunny slippers. Broken pencils? Keep those! They’re perfect for Yahtzee-in-a-film-canister. And speaking of film canisters, I have hundreds stored in my basement… just in case!

I’ve created an army of swap-a-holics. My Guides want to make hat crafts all the time. They come up with new ideas, and bring them in to share. I love seeing how the girls take an idea and make it their own. We hosted a Thinking Day Swap Exchange, where we had 80 Sparks, Brownies and Guides come together to make and trade hat crafts. It was an awesome night, and we saw amazing creativity from the girls and Guiders.

Alana Coneen pic of daughters

Madeline and Abigail. Courtesy Alana Coneen

But why limit yourself to face-to-face trades? The Internet has let us connect with other “hat craft addicts” all over the globe, and we’ve traded with girls from Alaska to Australia. We pin them to a world map, and use them as a tool to learn about WAGGGS.

If you’ve never made a hat craft, there’s no time like now to start! Hit Pinterest, Google and Facebook for tons of great ideas. And e-mail me. Because, you know, it’s an addiction.

Alana is a Guider with the 2nd Bedford Guides. She loves to share her addiction and can be reached at coneen (@)


Earth Day 2013What’s New with Girl Guides? Earth Day is the largest, most celebrated environmental event worldwide. On April 22, more than 6 million Canadians join 1 billion people in over 170 countries in staging events and projects to address local environmental issues.

Environmental awareness and action has always been an integral aspect of Girl Guides of Canada’s programming. The 2012-2013 National Service Project encourages Members to work together and make a difference in the world! And here are a select number of related girl programming activities, outside of the National Service Project, that you could do with your Unit to celebrate Earth Day and to help girls be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world.

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2 Responses to Are you a Swap-a-holic, too?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love hat crafts. The girls love looking at their hats and remembering each camp.

  2. Marie Cron says:

    I love this Alana, what a wonderful way to teach the girls about other parts of the world.. how to re-purpose things and to share what they make with others. Thanks for sharing.

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