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When I started my own Daisy Troop, I realized one of the best ways I could set my troop up for success was to help them create some traditions. The girls were young and our troop was new so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to not only help them complete some badge work, but also help them realize that Girl Scouts was more than just a “thing I do”—it was a family.
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During our first November together, we started talking about traditions. Traditions in our families, in our community, and our troop. The girls bonded so much and so quickly over all the things they had in common, and now we have some wonderful, long-lasting traditions in our troop. Here are just a few of our traditions that my troop loves to do together from December 1 to January 1 that I hope will inspire your troop to do the same.
Homemade Holiday Treats
The first meeting in December kicks off our homemade holiday season. We make gingerbread houses (okay graham cracker houses) using Halloween candy that we didn’t like or don’t want anymore. The girls carefully craft their houses and sip homemade hot chocolate (this one is similar to my great grandmother’s recipe that we use) along with homemade marshmallows and whipped cream.
Both marshmallows and whipped cream are super easy to make and of course yummy! My girls wait all year long for these sweet treats! This February, our Juniors and Cadettes will be carrying this tradition over to Valentine’s Day and making homemade marshmallow and chocolate candies! More traditions in the making!
Pro Tip: Remember to use resources wisely! Our gingerbread houses cost less than 20 cents per girl to make because we plan ahead and use candy that would have been thrown away. Our hot cocoa only costs about 30 cents a girl to make (including the milk) so it’s a great recipe for a large group. You’ll find that sometimes homemade is often much more cost effective for your troop’s budget!
For us, cookie season starts early with a cookie exchange! This is a new way for us to begin talking about cookies and it’s awesome! The girls baked their favorite cookies and then each girl told the group what kind she had made before handing them out. Each girl had a handle bag that our amazing troop moms decorated with their names. They were perfect for holding the 20 plus cookies each girl got. From gingerbread to chocolate chip, there was a lot of love in those cookie bags!
Parents posted recipes in our Facebook group and printed them into recipe cards so each girl could take them home to add them to their recipe collections. Hopefully one day they will be able to pull them out and bake them with their own kids or their own troop!
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to put a Girl Scout and her mom in charge of a portion of the meeting. For our cookie exchange, we assigned one girl from the troop to be the hostess. Not only did she get to create the flyer with her mom, she also got to pick the fun patch everyone received. The girls take great pride in planning something fun and love that they get to hand out the patches they picked for their Girl Scout sisters!
End of the Year Bash
Last year’s meeting fell on New Year’s Eve so we counted down till “noon” or Noon-Year’s Eve if you will. This year we’ll count down again to noon marking the last minute of our last meeting of the year. But it’s more than just a countdown. We make fancy homemade treats like finger sandwiches, make festive noise makers, have a dance party, and of course a “glitter toss” (it’s actually confetti to keep it safe for the younger girls) all in celebration of their amazing year. At the end of the celebration we share homemade punch and “cheers” to the new year ahead. Celebrating their accomplishments and getting them excited for the year to come not only helps them bond, but has also taught them the fine art of planning! Keeping things handmade and homemade shows them that they can create a celebration any time they want!
Our girls love the opportunity to create and celebrate these homemade holiday traditions. Having annual traditions is a great way to get your girls excited for the year to come, but more importantly, it helps them bond and become a family. Whatever your troop’s traditions may be (or will be), I hope you and your girls have a joyous holiday season!
What to do next:
- What kinds of traditions does your troop have? Share them in the comments section—we’d love to hear them!
- You never know what might become a tradition. Check out these other holiday activity ideas for you and your troop!
- From SWAPS and badges to friendship circles and Girl Scout Days, don’t forget to brush up on our timeless Girl Scout traditions.
Richel Newborg—Richel is a troop leader to Troop 2740 located in Fort Worth, Texas (although she was born and raised in California). Her mom and grandmother were also Girl Scout Leaders. Her favorite memory so far as a troop leader was packing friends, family, and excited girls into her living room (almost 50 people) when their bridging/rededication ceremony was rained out. It was crowded but an awesome celebration of Girl Scouting and they even managed to have a real bridge!