Happy Birthday!

She was kind of a stern looking woman, wasn’t she?  But as far as role models for girls go, she’s pretty awesome.

Juliette Gordon Low . . .

  • stood on her head at every birthday just to prove she could do it.
  • helped organize a convalescent hospital during the Spanish American War.
  • started Girl Scouts when she was in her 50s.
  • welcomed girls of all nationalities and abilities into Girl Scouts at a time when this was not done.
  • encouraged girls to not only learn about homemaking in the 1920s, but also science and business.
  • flew in some of the earliest powered planes.
  • would frequently use her deafness to pretend not to hear when someone tried to get out of doing work for the Girl Scouts. (I wish I could use this sometimes . . .)
  • acted fearlessly, compassionately, and intelligently at all times.  And had a great sense of humor, too.

Happy birthday, Juliette, and thank you for bringing into being an organization that means so much to me and my daughter.


What DID work – patches



So I brought the patches.  The whole gallon bag of them.  And swapped a LOT.  I’m really happy about this lovely stash of patches.  There are a lot from the various Texas Councils, because we all sat together, so they were easy to get to, and a lot from Ohio, because there were a lot of volunteers and staff  from Ohio helping out here to see how it’s done (the Utah staff and volunteers came and helped out at ours 3 years ago for the same reason).  There’s even quite a few from Legacy Councils that no longer exist (maybe their History Committee hooked them up, too).  And there’s a lot that I need to look up the initials of to see exactly where they are from.

The ones down the right hand side are all the patches I got from vendor booths.  My faves of these are the Space Camp, UK Brownie 100th Birthday, and KOA patches.



But these are my specials.  Three of them (the ones that say Utah or are shaped like Utah) I actually bought as Convention souvenirs.  The two on the top right are from meeting and swapping with Anna Maria Chavez and Connie Lindsey, the CEO and President of the Board for GSUSA (although Connie Lindsey had actually just stepped down when I swapped with her *grins*).  And the bottom two may not look like much, but I love them for where they came from – those are my Girl Scouts Overseas patches, one from France and one from Italy.

I will definitely do this again for my next Convention.  I definitely liked bringing home the flat and nearly indestructible patches more than the SWAPs (some of which were very delicate).  And yes, I brought home SWAPs, too, because not everyone brought patches to swap, and I really didn’t want to take any of my patches home so I swapped for SWAPs.  Next Convention, though, before Sunday’s meeting/ceremony, I am just going to start giving away whatever patches I have left!




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.



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. 🙂



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.



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.



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 . . .



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.



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


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?


{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 . . .


Delegate Wear

I have been going over and over the bazillion travel capsule wardrobe plans out there on the internet. I think they are a great idea, especially if you want to pack very lightly. But no one has really designed one for my specific need – being a Delegate at the National Girl Scout Meeting and Convention. Almost every capsule starts with the premise that you should have a foundation of black, because black goes with everything.  Many will give lip service to the idea of using other neutrals, like beige, brown, white, ivory, or navy – but they rarely show examples.  The Vivienne Files does have quite a few posts that focus on navy, as do some other sites, but many of those do not focus on formal business attire.  So, what is an adventurer to do?  Make her own.

The Rules:

  1. Navy formal business attire for Council Sessions.  Three days of them.  Don’t want to wear the same thing three days in a row.
  2. Try not to buy things I will never wear again.
  3. Must look good with the Girl Scout Scarf – so orange and red are out.  Would be anyway, since I don’t wear them.  Ever.
  4. I might get to walk around the Hall of Experiences, or do other things where I can wear casual clothes.
  5. I’m not wearing a suit on the plane.
  6. There is a Delegate Dinner and Party I would like to look pretty and non-suity for.

Here is what I came up.

Delegate Wear

Navy Suit Jacket, White Scoopneck Tank Top, Blue GSSJC Polo (I already own), white button down, Girl Scout Legacy Scarf, Navy Scoopneck Tank Top, Green to Navy Ombre Overtunic, Khakis, Navy Suit Pants (The suit pieces are from Jessica London, the polo is Land’s End, the other four shirts are from Catherines, and I haven’t gotten the khakis yet.)

  • Travel days – khakis and polo
  • Casual Activities – Khakis and polo, khakis and white shirt, khakis and navy tank and white shirt
  • Council Sessions – suit pants and white tank and jacket, suit pants and navy tank and jacket, suit pants and white shirt
  • Dinner, Party, etc. – either pants and navy tank and overtunic

I love that overtunic.  It screams Girl Scouts to me while not screaming GIRL SCOUTS, if you understand what I mean.  It’s sheer and floaty – no way to wear it without a tank underneath, but that’s okay.  The tanks are the same as one of my favorite shirts I already owned – in black.  I love the fit, the thickness of the material, the length (have I mentioned I’m really tall?), the collar, and the shoulder area.  I like that they don’t have the usual tank straps, so under a jacket it looks like I am wearing a regular shirt without all the extra fabric making me hot on my arms.  I would never feel really comfortable wearing a full business suit with long sleeve white button down shirt under a jacket – the heat would kill me!

Next, I have to sort out shoes and accessories.