Last year Liz’s ambitious Daisy troop earned all their petals, plus two financial literacy leaves in a single year! This year the eager troop set their sights on the 7 Brownie badges in the Legacy tier, and succeeded! Here’s how she did it so your troop can get there too!

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When my troop bridged to Brownies, I decided to start us off with the Legacy badges, which cover the core badge categories in Girl Scouting: Artist, Athlete, Citizen, Cook, First Aid, Naturalist, and Girl Scout Way. The girls’ interests change as they grow, so although we feel we “know” our girls, I asked them to vote on where we should begin. They picked their top three choices by indicating their votes with a sticker on a chart listing the badges. We planned out our meetings to make sure we had the time to complete each badge, and so we could plan ahead for badges that required more organization or preparation. Here’s how we earned the 7 Brownie Legacy badges in a single year!

Badge #1: Fair Play

Brownie Fair Play Badge

My sporty sweeties chose to start off their year with the Fair Play badge. It was one of the only badges that we completed in one meeting. We discussed the importance of rules, and then played Red Rover without going over the rules first. Some of the girls knew how to play while others did not. We laughed about how confusing even a simple game can be without rules. We then all learned the rules and played the game the right way. Next, I wanted the girls to learn about equality in sports, so we watched this TED video on Title IX. They learned that if they’d been born earlier in history, they may not have been able to play soccer and other sports that they adore.

The next three steps were all tied together. We split into two teams and then broke into pairs for a field day. We used a poster to keep score of the girls’ performance on sit-ups, push-ups, the 40-yard dash, and tossing a ball into buckets that were progressively further away. Partners held one another’s feet and helped count and keep time for each other. We talked about ways to demonstrate sportswomanship and had an amazing afternoon cheering for one another. Our day was focused on positive experiences for all, instead of who did the most push-ups, or was the fastest runner.

Badge #2: Snacks

Brownie Snacks Badge

Around Halloween, we chose Snacks as our next badge, since we all adore food. We matched some of our favorite foods to the appropriate areas on the My Plate Guideline to learn more about balanced nutrition. The girls talked about why each choice fit into its category. They cleverly realized that the My Plate Guideline doesn’t have an area for fats/sweets, unlike the old food pyramid. To finish off the badge, we had a Halloween party. We enjoyed dipping a variety of fruit and other goodies in a chocolate fountain as our sweet treat, made a DIY trail mix for an energy snack, and made smoothies as the slurping snack. I made sweet potato chips for the savory snack. Although there were girls who did not like some of the food options, they tried the snacks anyway to earn their badges. After the girls tried each of the food choices, they voted on the snacks that they liked most and least.

Badge #3: Celebrating Community

Brownie Celebrating Community Badge

I love the town we live in, and though this was not next on the girls’ list, we worked on Celebrating Community. It was the perfect badge to earn around the holidays, because we were able to complete steps 2 and 3 by walking and singing in our hometown holiday parade! We tackled the next two steps by touring the historic downtown area of our town. We started at City Hall where we read about our city’s history. From there we walked a 4-block radius that allowed us to visit and learn about the historic sites we’d read about. Some girls were assigned to read the street signs and we thought about why the streets were named the way they were. We finished up the badge by watching a video of a flag ceremony and practicing the ceremony in preparation for our first camping trip this summer.

Badge #4: Painting

Brownie Painting Badge

Next on our list was the Painting badge. We applied fall-colored acrylic paint to fallen leaves and used them to make prints on paper. At another meeting we used our pre-meeting time to look through art books from the library. The girls marked their favorite paintings with post-it notes, and then shared them with the group, discussing why that piece of art spoke to them. (Be ready to talk about the place of nudity/“nakie people” in art, as most art books have famous paintings containing the topic, and the girls are frequently curious.)

Next, at our annual holiday party, we did a project where we learned about abstract art. The girls suggested colors that represent feelings from stories, songs and our everyday lives, with the goal of painting an emotion inside a glass Christmas ornament. They chose up to three nail polish colors to represent their feelings and dripped them (with the help of some wonderful moms) into a ball ornament. They swished the colors around to make a tie-dye effect. They turned out beautifully and the girls took home their beautiful creations.

Liz's Brownie Troop with their Mural

At our final Painter meeting, we worked in two groups: one group made murals and the other painted a still life of a bowl of fruit. I made them a studio-like backdrop with a piano bench and a white sheet with the bowl of fruit and the girls were invited to paint what they saw while the other group worked on creating a mural. Since our troop has 16 members, I put some thought into how we could make a mural in which everyone could participate. I chose a lesson plan that I’d tried before as an Art Docent in my daughter’s classroom since I knew it worked well for large groups and would give everyone a chance to contribute equally. The still life pieces and mural turned out amazingly well, and we had a wonderful time working with unusual ways to paint our world.

Badge #5: First Aid

Brownie First Aid Badge

As we moved toward the close of the year, we earned the skills we need for a night of camping, so First Aid came next. We arranged a visit to our local police station, and instead of their usual tour, we customized our visit to focus on the first two steps of the badge. Our Community Service Officer gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the dispatch center and we met the dispatchers. We had a Q and A covering the do’s and don’ts for calling 911 and met with an officer who showed us the fantastic tools in his vest and utility belt. We were fortunate our tour was at shift change, so we met many amazing officers, including one of our female officers! The girls learned a lot for this part of their badge.

Liz's Brownie Troop at their Local Police Station

We continued the First Aid badge with the help of one of my troop parents who is an ER nurse. One meeting was dedicated to learning about administering basic First Aid and assembling a First Aid kit for each girl. The First Aid kits we created will be used for our Hiking badge when we go camping this summer. The finale of our First Aid badge was hiking while chatting about outdoor safety like sunburn, bug bites, and being prepared for the outdoors.

Super bonus! As the year progressed, I found we could add the Hiking badge to our Cabin Camper badge and then only need to complete a Take Action project to earn the Outdoor Journey! YAY!

Badge #6: Bugs

Brownie Bugs Badge

Though this was initially my girls’ least favorite topic, learning about Bugs was fun and easy with the help of the staff at the East Bay Regional Park District’s Big Break Regional Shoreline. The educator tailored the program to our badge work and schedule, and best of all, it was all FREE! We combined the last three steps of the badge through our trip to Big Break. To introduce the Bugs poster, I used arts and crafts to introduce the Bugs poster. I found a pretty easy bead-and-pipe-cleaner dragonfly that utilized some left-over SWAPS beads and researched some interesting facts about dragonflies for kids. Using 5 interesting facts I found online, I created a poster to demonstrate the final product since I wanted them to complete the poster at home so each girl could learn about a bug that they liked (could be an insect, arachnid, etc.). In preparation for this online research project, we read and talked about Internet Safety and signed the pledge in their books.

Badge #7: Brownie Girl Scout Way

Brownie Girl Scout Way Badge

We finished our Legacy badges with Girl Scout Way. The girls learned three new songs—“Brownie Smile” at meeting closing, “Addams Family Grace” at snack time, and the “O-way O” song for hiking. We sang throughout our meeting and as we cleaned up the lunch area at the school where we meet. During Girl Scout Week and at future meetings, the girls can share their sisterhood by wearing their uniforms to school. We achieved the last steps of the badge by playing Kim’s Game (found in the Girl Scout Way Brownie Packet) as a fun way to practice being honest and fair, learn about our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, as well as celebrate her birthday. The girls loved playing this classic Girl Scout game. For the final step of making the world a better place, our troop presented Guatemala at our service unit’s World Thinking Day event. The girls really enjoyed this badge and it was really easy to do at the end of the year when energy and time are low as summer approaches.

I’d love to hear more about how you were able to keep your Brownies happy and busy while working through the Legacy badges. What did you do to earn the Legacy badges with your troop?

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Liz LivolsiLiz LiVolsi—Liz LiVolsi is a former Girl Scout and now a Girl Scout leader of 16 eager second grade girls. She is Midwestern transplant who adores everything Girl Scouting: spending time outdoors, crafting, going on quests and learning. Follow Liz and her troop’s adventures on Instagram: @datroopleada.