I volunteered to help my daughter’s Brownie troop by planning and leading a meeting in which we earned the Household Elf Try-It. In addition to reading the badge requirement info for this Try-It, I searched online for meeting plans for this badge, but found very little. Possibly this is because the badges have been revised very recently. I am posting my meeting plan with the hope that it might help another Girl Scout leader or volunteer.
The Household Elf Try-It is about making your “home clean and green.”
I created a Conservation Log and emailed it to the troop a week before the meeting, asking the girls to look around their home and school for ways that they can
1) save energy
2) save water
3) recycle and reduce trash
4) and clean the air.
The text from my log is below. The girls were asked to bring the log to the meeting.
At the meeting, I divided the girls into three groups. Each group was assigned one of the first three topics. They discussed their answers to their assigned topic and planned which to present to the whole troop. The girls were encouraged to present NEW ideas to the troop as opposed to the ideas they had heard before. I had an older girl or adult in each group to assist them in coming up with additional ideas by asking questions such as
What do we throw away and what can we do with it instead?
How could we use less energy instead of driving to school or a friend’s house?
How could you save water when you shower? How could you make your shower shorter? (sing or use a timer)
My older daughter and I modeled the presentations by presenting ways to clean the air since that seems like the most challenging topic to me. The girls were also asked to choose several ideas from the presentations to use at home to help the environment more and note them on their conservation log. Ideally we’ll discuss how that goes at a later meeting.
Reusable Gift Bag Project
Since our meeting was a month before Christmas, we decided that our project would be to make reusable gift bags that the girls could use for the holiday. We collected small paper shopping bags (around 8×10″, such as Starbucks or Bath and Body Works) from the families. We cut red and green card stock (from the craft store) for both sides of the bag to cover store logos. Recycled holiday cards were used to decorate the bags, as well as holiday stickers. A recycled holiday card also makes a great gift tag that you can tie onto the handle of the bag with ribbon.
It was difficult to get the paper to stick to some of the bags. We used double sided tape, but it seemed to need at least 5 large pieces and a lot of pressing down to get it to stick. (Some of the girls also seemed to get the tape stuck to the floor or their pants which made it much less sticky.) I think the tape works better than glue sticks, but maybe there’s still another better adhesive. Also, remind the girls to only write their name on the bottom of the bag, not the sides.
While we made our gift bags, we sang an ecology song that I found in a campfire song book. To keep with the green theme, I printed the song on half sheets of paper (2 to a page) and printed song sheets for every two girls to share.
River Valley Household Elf Try-It Plan
This was another meeting plan I found for this badge.
Following is the text I used for the conservation log that was emailed to the girls before the meeting.
Think about how you can help save energy and water, recycle and reduce trash, and clean the air around your home and at school. List your ideas below in this log. Bring the log to the next Brownie meeting and we will use the ideas for an activity towards earning the Household Elf Try-It.
Recycle and Reduce Trash
Clean the Air
[space left after each of the 4 topics for the girls to write ideas.]
Suggested Conservation Ideas
Here are the ideas I came up with before the meeting.
Turn off lights and electronics when not in use
Seal around doors and windows to prevent drafts
Walk, or ride a bike instead of driving
Ride the school bus instead of driving to school
Use energy saving light bulbs
Clean the clothes dryer lint filter after every load
Use cold water instead of hot when possible
Turn off water when brushing teeth and soaping hands
Take shorter showers
Use less water in the bath tub
Use a rain barrel to water the garden
Use dish washer and clothes washer only when full
Recycle and Reduce Trash
Learn to compost food scraps
Learn what can be recycled in your area
Reuse clean containers for crafts
Recycle plastic and plastic bags at the grocery store
Reuse school papers (blank on back) as scrap paper
Donate items or have a yard sale
Clean the Air
Replace home air filters
Grow house plants
Drive less — use the bus, walk or ride a bike
Use natural cleaning products (see recipes in badge requirements)