What DID work – uniform

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So many things went right, I think I’m going to split them up.  So this is about the uniform.  If you are a delegate in the future, DO NOT STRESS THE UNIFORM.

Seriously.

There were people in t-shirts.

Some Councils decided to all wear matching polos (hot pink, nonetheless) or cardigans (light blue) or cowboy hats (from Nation’s Capital Council of all places) or t-shirts (seriously).  If your Council (like mine) does not opt for something like this, wear the navy blue pants you want to sit for hours and walk for miles in.  Wear the shoes that are most comfortable and don’t worry if they go with your outfit. Wear a white button down or blouse or nice knit top.  Wear a jacket if you want.  Whatever style you want.  If you have a denim jacket covered in patches, wear it.  People will take pictures of you in it.

Wear your pins and scarf.  This is not optional.  If you forget yours, they are sold at the Girl Scout Shop Booth.  Go get them ASAP.

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Decompression

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What an amazing experience Convention was.  But I am glad to be back.  Forgive me for not blogging while I was there, but I was honestly either too busy or too tired from being too busy. So you will be getting several posts about the Convention, about Salt Lake City, and other miscellany about the trip.

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No, the National Council Sessions were not actually this boring, I just suck at taking selfies.  Trust me, this one is better than the ones where I tried to smile. 🙂  The business meetings were actually pretty interesting, although the proposal I thought was going to be most controversial wasn’t and one of the ones I thought was a snooze ended up with quite a bit of passionate rhetoric.  I guess you never know.  The one thing I was told to be prepared for was for there to be LOTS of people going to the microphone to ask for the air conditioning to be raised or lowered – and it never happened.  Everyone pretty much stayed on track.  Well, except for one morning. 🙂

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This was Saturday morning.  We were having technical difficulties with our voting gadget, some were not working.  So the presiding officer used her executive privilege to have everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the Board Members whose birthday was that day.  And then it became “Happy Birthday” to all October birthdays.  Well, we’re Girl Scouts.  It doesn’t take much to get us to sing.  After that came “Make New Friends” in a round, then someone from the Council behind me started a round of “Boom Chicka Boom“.  Then the Presiding Officer asked for a Girl to come up and help her lead a song.

That was a mistake.

First one Girl Delegate from the front row sprinted to the stage.  Then came a few more.  Then a lot more.  Finally, every Girl at the meeting was up on stage.  They started us off with “The Milk Song“, and then one of my troop’s favorites, “Princess Pat“.  After this, the presiding officer decided she had better take back control of the meeting and shooed them all off the stage. 🙂  It’s one of my best memories of the trip, though.

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I took time to explore the Hall of Experiences, picking up goodies for my troop, pamphlets to read, and samples to snack on (though I tried to limit those – I think I only ate 3 Girl Scout cookies the whole trip).  There were a lot of really great booths, a fabulous treehouse, and exhibits trying to get everyone excited about the new technology that will be coming to help us manage our troops.

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One of the focuses for this Convention was the Outdoor Discussion – how much is and should the Outdoors be part of Girl Scouting.  There was a pretty resounding, “DUH” from the Council.  The Girls especially were very loud about not only retaining and increasing the Outdoor badges and experiences currently in the program, but also complained that Ambassadors were left out of the proposed new Outdoor Badges.  It was interesting to see the concerns of Councils from around the country, from the completely urban Girl Scouts of Greater New York who have to put their girls on a subway and then a bus to get the girls to Camp in a different Council’s geographic area to the Councils that are desperate to stop having to sell off camp properties to the Councils which have so few camps that if their Older Girls want to go to camp they have to volunteer to be a counselor for the younger girls.

I realized how lucky I am to be in the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, where we have 10 camps spread pretty evenly around the Council geography.  We have a robust cadre of Outdoor trainers (and I can’t wait until I can rejoin them!), wonderful facilities at our camps (most of them), equipment for troops to use for free or rent for dirt cheap, and most importantly a climate that allows us year-round use of our camps.

I should have asked the ladies I met from Alaska what their camps were like . . .

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I picked the Celebrate Cultural Arts theme dinner.  It was pretty great, with a couple of Henna artists, a presentation from Eunique Jones about her “Because of Them We Can” campaign (plays a video automatically), and performances from local dance and music groups – Irish step dancers, a drum and bagpipe corps, an opera singer, a group of Basque dancers, and a group of Chinese dancers.  I think the performances could have been a little more multicultural, but I think the reason we had 4 out of 5 groups from Europe was simply because Salt Lake City is not as diverse a city as Houston.

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The goodie bag from my theme dinner.  A Dreamcatcher kit, a pen from the hotel where the dinner was (which also happened to be the hotel I was staying at), two leftover cookie sale necklaces, and a Jolly Rancher.  Le sigh.  I was way more excited to get a henna tattoo.  I hope it stays long enough for my girls to see it at our next meeting. 🙂

Okay, am I the only delegate who is kinda wishing that we were going to be voting on something a little more earth shattering that who appoints to CFO? 🙂

But this is how democracy works, right?  Small incremental changes.  I just had to try to explain the proposals to my Community last night at our monthly meeting.  I actually got some questions about the third proposal, whether the Past Presidents hold be on the Board.  They were confused because it will continue to say Past Presidents will be full voting members of the National Council.  I got excited because I could actually answer it in a way that would be understandable (I am a full voting member of the National Council for the next three years, that is who votes at the National Convention, but the Board of Directors is a whole ‘nother animal).

I am WAY more excited about the Outdoor Experience Discussion.  I am counting the days until I can retire as CLT (SUM, if you don’t use our jargon), Registrar, and Placement Specialist for my Community so that I can get back to being a Troop Leader and Outdoor Facilitator.  Guess where I stand on the discussion. 🙂

Any other delegates out there feeling underwhelmed by the proposals?

Trivial Details: SWAPs

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Special Whatchamacallit Affectionately Pinned Somewhere

If you’re a Girl Scout, you already know what these are.  If you’re not, there is lots of information out there.  I wasn’t sure I would bring any SWAPs to Convention.  The ones I would bring are fairly small and packable, but the problem is I have no idea what I will get in exchange.  I have gotten some SWAPs that were nearly 4″ square!  I’m trying to keep my packing fairly light, both coming and going.

But then I went to my Council Delegate Training meeting.  And our Council’s History Committee had gone through THOUSANDS of old GSSJC patches, and made up bags of about a hundred each with a nice mixture of patches in them.  Apparently, among the adults and delegates, Council patches are swapped more than actual SWAPs.  But it has to be patch for patch.

This is a BIG bag.  A gallon, packed to the gills.  Coming and going.

But then I think about getting 100 patches from different Councils across the country and from around the world.  Last Convention, I got patches from the UK and from Japan – and it was cool enough that I remember that off the top of my head.  And I think – they would make a really awesome quilt.  I should be able to find some Girl Scout fabric at the International Quilt Festival at the end of the month here in town.

But then I wonder should I make my other SWAPs?  They are something that seriously could not come from anyone but me this time around – though my girls made them to swap last Convention.  Basically, it’s a packet of sugar in a bag.  Imperial sugar.  Has to be Imperial sugar, because I live within biking distance of the original Imperial Sugar factory and sugar refinery.  My city is called “Sugar Land” because it was originally a company town for Imperial.

So what do you think?  Should I make the sugar SWAPs?  Would YOU want to swap me?  Or should I just stick with the patches, since I probably won’t be spending a huge amount of time down in the Hall of Experiences?

It’s not required, but . . .

that doesn’t mean I don’t want/need a jacket.  After all, it is Utah.  In October.  And I’m from Houston.  But, rather than the stupid (already returned) badly fitting structured blazer, I’m going with a DIY solution.  I’m using this pattern (which is not as easy as it looks), so try to imagine the jacket in a navy blue ponte knit.  That pretty much EXACTLY matches the pants I bought at the beginning of summer (which are gonna be a whole lot looser on me now).

Like this, only cut out and sewn together. 🙂
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The pattern is way more complicated than any pattern I have used before, because it has this weird Y-seam going on at the shoulders.  I tried really hard, but I couldn’t get it to be perfect.  I’m okay with that, because the shawl collar is gonna cover that up.  I am VERY proud of my armscyes, though.  For you non-sewers, that’s the armhole.  This was the first time I was able to produce a perfect, non-bumpy, non-gappy, set-in sleeve.   So if you see me at the Convention, you are allowed to come up and compliment me on my sleeves, but no fair lifting my collar to see the craziness going on at the shoulder seams. *grins*

No Jacket Required

Woot! So after all my angst and worry about wearing a “professional” blazer to represent my Council in the most dignified way I can – now I find out I can actually be comfortable!  Once I was able to log on to the Delegate Resource site, I noticed that the exemplar piture they have of a woman in official Girl Scout uniform is wearing . . .

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A navy sweater.  THIS navy sweater.  The one that is curently on sale for $9 at girlscoutshop.com and is listed as a T-SHIRT.

Rather than get my knickers in a twist over the unnecessary angst, I merely cheered loudly and made plans to return the blazer I bought to wear for the Convention (and that I would wear  NOWHERE ELSE).  I am totally going to get a waterfall style jacket instead, which is a design I love and I think looks much more attractive on my bulk than a structured jacket.

It will not look good over my white button down blouse, but my intention was to wear that on days when I didn’t wear a jacket anyway – I get too hot to wear a long sleeve shirt and a jacket.

So the lesson for other Girl Scout National Delegates (for 2014 and beyond), is that “business attire” in the GSUSA lexicon means “business casual” but don’t forget the scarf and pins!

Oh, and speaking of scarves – I found the one I really wanted on ebay, and it arrived, and I’m so loving it!  I was not a fan of the current scarf (not big on polka dots, and the background is a little too dark for me).  I would love either of the 100th Anniversary ones, but silk is out of my price range.  So I got one from several years ago, which I fell in love with months ago when I was reseaching the various scarves.

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I love all the different blues and greens (except the chartreuse, I really hate chartreuse) on this scarf.  I like that it is an oblong scarf, as that seems easiest to work with (as a non-scarf-wearer).  And even though it is polyester, it has a really nice drape and feel.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout scarf?

Webinars

{psst . . . sorry for the delay in posting.  it’s summer, you know.  kids . . . }

 

My puppy likes webinars.

My puppy likes webinars.

So, I just finished participating in the first National Delegate webinar.  I’m not sure what to say.  I love that GSUSA and GSSJC are both using webinars more and more for presentations and trainings.  Let me count the ways that I love this:

  1. Training in pajamas.  Sold.
  2. I don’t have to drive into downtown Houston or find someone to watch my kids.
  3. I can pet my dogs while I get the information I need.
  4. For this delegate thing, I’m not sure HOW they handled this without webinars.  Conference calls? (ouch, holding a phone to my ear for an hour) Cutting down a forest for the documentation? (and then having to read language devised by attorneys and marketers, sheesh)
  5. Did I mention I can do this while wearing pajamas? )

I’ve participated in quite a few from my local Council, and always found them an enjoyable alternative to a half hour to 3 hour drive for a training or meeting.

For a local webinar, we usually have one person handling all the technical support part of running the software and fishing technical issues.  Then two to eight people presenting information depending on the webinar.  And at least a couple of people who never speak but are just typing away in the background answering participant questions and passing those that seem like they would be of interest to everyone to the speaker/techie.

Now the important thing to realize is that as a Facilitator, and as a rampant extrovert, I know all these people.  While I may not necessarily know which person is behind the screen fielding my questions at any particular time, I’m pretty sure it’s someone I’ve met, who knows me well enough to put a name to a face.  So, the snark begins to fly.  I can’t help it.  I have a perverse sense of humor I inherited from my father, I giggle at funerals and make snarky comments to people who are trying to run training sessions.  And then the person who was behind the keyboard finds me at the next big Council event and we giggle some more . . .

But this one was . . . different.

Yeah, this Delegate one was not like that.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never met a single person involved in that webinar (yet), and I’m pretty sure they would view my sarcasm and humor as a lack of focus.

Which in a way, it’s the exact opposite of.  I noticed that this time, unable to make gentle fun of what was being said, I was way more likely to tune out.  I heard people asking questions that were so far afield of the proposal being discussed that it was eyerollingly funny.  And that’s about the time I started surfing the web . . .

Oh, well.  One Delegate webinar down, two to go.  And one more webinar to do this week (local though, this time).

How do you focus during webinars?  Do pajamas help?  I bet they help . . .