It is at this time that we give all the new girls (because if it's their second year in our Sparks unit, they already have it) their Brownies and Beyond Keeper. This caused some debate between myself and my coleader the first year, as we wanted to make sure that girls who earned keepers got them, but how could we give the keeper to girls who weren't going Brownies and Beyond the next year?
We have erred on the side of caution. If she's earned it, the girl gets it, even if it's her first year. What happens if she decides not to do Sparks for a second year? What it it doesn't work out for scheduling? She earned it - she gets it. Second year girls get their Fun and Friendship pin anyway.
For Advancement this year, we asked the girls to tell us what they'd like to make for decorations, and they chose Rainbow Clouds. We drew the outline on half sheets of poster board, and they painted them. I've cut them out since, and we attached them to the floor with painter's tape.
Here's our advancement layout -
Brownies sit by the toadstool by the mirror pond. Sparks sit on the rainbow. Each Spark gets called up, gets their Sparkling Certificate and badges, a small bag of goodies and sits back down on the Rainbow. The advancing Sparks come up, get their certificate and badges, and then I tell them a little poem before they leave. I got the poem from Becky at Dragon Sleep deprived (if you haven't checked out her songbook, you totally should).
You've learned to share and be a friend
but this by far is not the end.
Across the pond, not far away
Is where the Brownies come to play.
So now to cross the stepping stones
and meet the fairies, elves and gnomes.
The Brownie ring is where you'll land.
It's where you'll learn to lend a hand.
Then they cross the stepping stones, where our Guide helper is waiting, and the Guide spins them while holding onto one of their hands. Twist me and turn me and show me an elf. I looked in the water and there saw..." and the Spark responds myself.
The two Brownies then shout "welcome to the Brownie ring" and hand her the small bag of things she can use to get a badge over the summer.
Here's a look at what's in the bags this year. The Advancing Sparks always get a bag of stuff they can use to earn a badge. Last year was the Hiking badge, which had a pair of good socks, a water bottle, and a bunch of maps and guides for our area's walking trails. This year is the All About Art badge, so girls are getting play-doh, suncatchers to paint and wooden stuff to paint as well. Sparks get the same bag, but without the instructions for the badge.
At the end of the ceremony, I remind parents that they need to turn in their camp forms and thank them for a great year!
Then we break and have cupcakes and sparkling lemonade.
Instead of buying pop, I buy frozen pink lemonade, and mix it with a bottle of lemon sparkling water.
We do have three meetings left this year, all outside and doing stuff.