Bring on the Bling

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Motor Away!

Scouting is hard. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, just smile and nod. Our little pack combined with another pack a few months ago, giving the Wolf Den about 14 boys each week. Woof. Fortunately, there are 3 leaders total...but even then, we have our hands full every week. We've ended up splitting the boys up every week and having different "stations" in the hallway where we have them doing a different activity. This helps us on many levels:

1. We don't get more gray hairs than necessary
2. We get to know the boys a little bit better
3. We can get more accomplished each week

One of the biggest bummers is that when we split the group up, I am not able to get any real pictures of my boys. Fortunately, this last week we decided to stay together as a Den for our activity - making paper airplanes! I was super excited for this activity and was making paper airplanes at know, for research. :)

When we finally got the group quiet enough to explain what we were doing, we didn't have a whole lot of time left. We talked about what makes an airplane take off, stay in the air, and not spiral. The boys are so adorable with their stories of flying and wind. Priceless.

The boys were able to make 3 different types of airplanes: the Arrow, Delta, and Dart. After they made them, we asked them to make predictions as to how far they thought each of their models would fly. I can't tell you how many of them were just so excited to be folding paper! A few of my boys kept asking if they could show me how they make their favorite airplanes, and even taught me how to do it. Yes, they were much better than the ones shown in the cub scout book. 

All of the boys' predictions and actuals...yes, it was a madhouse!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Getting Creative with Bobcat Requirements

When we got our 3 new 7 year old scouts, I learned that we were going to have to go over their Bobcat requirements. I had no idea what that was, but I learned. We had to introduce the boys to the Scout Law, Motto, Sign, Handshake, Salute, and Oath. Seriously? How in the world was I going to do this? It's not that the boys had to have everything memorized 2 weeks into their Scouting, but how was I going to make it fun so that they'll want to come back? Fortunately, I like Pinterest.

Our Bobcat requirements "unit" was split into 2 weeks. I figured if I could introduce everything to the boys on one night, we could play games to review the following week. One thing that I remembered about my mom's time as a scout leader was how creative she was. She could use the simplest, craziest things for an activity. Things that people would normally discard were turned into something wonderfully useful. Example: dryer lint to help start a small campfire. Wha??? I started to look around at what I could use. 
I had a bunch of random cardboard pieces that I brought home from work. They made awesome posters for the 12 parts of the Scout Law. I had the points at the top and had the boys pick which pictures should be added.
We love to play Minute-to-Win-It games with our scouts...mainly because they involve a lot of laughter, are easy to do/create, and it helps break up the not-so-fun parts of the meeting (like trying to learn the scout law/motto/oath etc.). This particular game was a challenge. They boys were each given a long piece of uncooked spaghetti and had to string 5 pieces of uncooked penne pasta onto it, while only using one finger to help. And yes, we added the one finger part because, let's face it, they're only 7-8 years old! Tons of drooling and laughter with this one!

Many raw noodles lost their lives during this activity...
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After the noodle game, we talked about the Scout Motto and Oath. I couldn't think of a fun way to remember these, so we just kept repeating them over and over. Good thing these young boys don't need to have them all memorized...yet.

Our final game of Bobcat Night #1 was a fun one. We provide a lot of M&Ms for meetings at work, so I naturally gravitated that way. The boys were each given 2 trays, one with a handful of M&Ms, and a straw. The game was simple: move all of the M&Ms from one tray to the other, while only using the straw. The boys thought it might be fun to try and move the trays far away from each other. Hilarious!
One of the few quiet moments of the night...
And then of course, they got to eat the M&Ms (well, the ones that didn't fall on the floor).

Bobcat Night #2 was a fun one. We started out with only 2 scouts (later got up to 4), but it was still fun. They were each given a straw and had to sit at opposite ends of a long table. Aurelie and I sat on the opposite ends of the boys. I placed a cotton ball in the middle of the table and told the boys that they had to get it to blow off the other end of the table...kind of like hockey. Oh. My. Goodness! The spit! The giggles! Oh, the belly laughs! It was all I could do to keep it together. I love hearing the boys laugh so hard, they sound like little girls with a high-pitched laugh! I live for these moments!
Action shot!
Once the rest of the brood arrived, I pulled out 2 large dice that I made. One had the 6 different Bobcat requirements on it. The other had a gross motor skill on it: jump up and down, spin in a circle, flap like a bird, etc. The boys each took a turn throwing/kicking the dice and performing whatever came up: demonstrating the Scout Sign while spinning in a circle. HILARIOUS! 

Le Dice...taped down and durable to withstand kicking...

Scout Handshake while hopping on one foot
After everyone got a few turns in with the dice, I taught the boys how to make cootie-catchers. Okay, so they might have looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently they call them fortune-tellers. Whatever. They're cootie-catchers to me. Below each of the folds was a Bobcat they could take it home and play/practice them. It was pretty fun.

I might have made one at work and tested it on my coworkers...
Once we finally finished with our review and were feeling pretty good about the Bobcat requirements, we played our final game of the night. I put the boys back-to-back and gave them a roll of toilet paper (and then was asked if it was clean...seriously? Only boys would ask that...). They had to remain back-to-back while wrapping themselves up. It was a learning experience for them...having to go slowly and give themselves some slack before wrapping.

...we might have helped at this point...

And of COURSE we threw all of the TP at Aurelie after!

Rocket Derby Craziness

During one of the first meetings I had with the other scout leaders for our troop, there was talk about a Rocket Derby. I had no idea what it was, but to avoid looking like a clueless idiot, I just nodded along. Whatever. I didn't have to make a rocket, so I wasn't too worried. And I figured if it was anything like the Pinewood Derby, the dads would take care of it.

Every month, the different dens switch off duties for the flag ceremony and this was our first opportunity. It was so cute watching the little guys carrying the flags. They were super heavy, so their poor arms were shaking a bit. 

As part of their Bear requirements, the boys each participated in a short skit or run-on. Here's the best one I was able to catch on film.

One of the awesome things that happened the night of the Derby was that 3 of my little scouts earned their Bobcats! SO PROUD! I'll post about that madness later. I had a 4th little scout join us the week before Pack Meeting, so I wasn't able to work with him in time to get his Bobcat. We're working on it now so he can earn it by next Pack Meeting. Anyway, I wasn't really familiar with the whole ceremonial thing surround the Bobcat, so it was fun for me to watch. Basically, the parents of the scouts came up and painted their faces, with each color representing something different (I don't really remember). They looked so adorable! 
How can you not love this face??
Holding still was the hardest part!
Awesome moms!
Of course, we all have to check each other out!
They put up with my picture-taking antics and never fail to provide an awesome pose!
Our newest addition to our troop! We'll get him his Bobcat next month!
So PROUD of these boys!
Time for rockets!

Showing me how to wind up the rubber band with the propeller...had to make sure they were wound the right way!
Such a proud moment...holding their rockets like trophies!
Since I'm single and have no kids of my own, I'm still trying to find my place amongst the group. Everyone is super awesome, but I'm still in that "getting to know you" phase. I'm still navigating through the slew of kids that are in every family because, let's face it...nobody is an only child here! While we were getting ready for the races to begin, I looked around the gym to figure out where I could hang out. It was fun to see all of the dads working on the rockets and "track" together, with the moms and little babies on the other side of the gym. I wasn't sure which way I should I plopped down under the track with my camera. It took all of 5 seconds before I realized that I wasn't alone...

My buddies for the night...and future scouts!
Of course I'm going to hang out with the little kids! They're so much fun and so excited to see everything going on. The boys were so excited to watch their rockets and loved seeing how far they could go!

I wanted to get a selfie with my 4 boys (and apparently a little brother in the white shirt)...

And then got a request for little sister to join! These kids make me smile!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My 1st Pack Meeting

Last night was pretty epic: I attended my first Pack Meeting as a leader. I'm pretty sure I've attended some in the past for my little brothers, but it's been years and I don't remember much about them. I wasn't really sure what to expect, what to where, or what I'd be doing. Fortunately, the other leaders are super nice and chill, so there was no need to feel out of place. I tried racing to a Savers after work to see if I could pick up a shirt...but couldn't find one. Seriously? Isn't this Utah where everyone is a Scout? Next time I'll try DI (since I'm not spending $45+ on a shirt) since I know THEY probably have a whole section (or at least a rack) of Scouting uniforms. I just wish there was one on my way home from work...

Every day since I've been involved in Scouting (I say that like it's been a hasn't been, but still) I've learned something new. What I learned recently was that each month's Pack Meeting is given a theme from the BSA Council. This month's theme was "Clean - Cubservation." Silly, but cute little play on words. I'm still smiling about that. It's hard to not get caught up in the awesomeness of Scouting!

The Pack Meeting started with a little activity to help "decorate" the board.

The Scouts all traced their feet and wrote 1 way they can stay physically, mentally, or morally clean.

After learning what those 3 things meant, they cut out their feet...

And made a little path around their advancement bulletins.
Some of the things the Scouts (and siblings...this is totally a family affair) wrote on their "feet" were super cute - shower, say nice things, choose the right. It brought everything back to how young they really were. I had to remember really quick what I was like back when I was 8-10...Greek Dodgeball was the best, tetherball was my sport, the clarinet was my instrument, and play time was until mom whistled for us.

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance

Cute little colorguard...I get to help my new Scouts learn to do this!

During the course of the meeting, we were divided up into 7 different groups to help with the story that our Cub Master read to us. Each group was assigned a different animal (well, I was a tree) and had to make a specific sound when our animal was mentioned in the story. It was pretty fun to hear the squirrels, rabbits, people, snakes, and other various sounds.
Most of the crew...what a fun, loud, and rambunctious bunch!
One of the things I learned was that Pack Meeting is a time for the Scouts to be presented with their advancements. As an adult, I can imagine thinking "how silly this must look to others." As a new Scout leader, I am so thrilled to see the boys advancing and learning new skills (even though I didn't have a hand in this month's presentations). It was cute to watch the Scouts pin little pins onto their mothers.

Arrow of Light favorite part of the Meeting!
Of course, it wouldn't be a Pack Meeting without some fun games. Similar to the rigged games they have at carnivals and state fairs, the boys lined up behind a strip of tape and had to use a rubber band to shoot down some Solo Cups. It was fun to watch the little kids do this, as they hadn't mastered the "gun" configuration on their thumbs and index fingers.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Yup...I'm a Den Mother

I moved into a new area back in June, and with it, moved into a new ward. Unlike the YSA wards I had attended, I didn't need to fill out the standard white information sheet to request my records. It was one of many small changes that I needed to get adjusted to. Secretly, I was grateful. Whenever we fill out those sheets, our ward leaders lose that sense of discovery. I know, I know. The turnover rate in a YSA ward is so quick and the membership count is usually pretty high (at least in SLC), ward leaders don't usually have the luxury of finding out on their own. I'm not trying to knock the sheets...I've relied on them so many times as a music chair. I guess I'm just happy to have a new calling, having been in music for the last 4+ years!

I have a gift. I can usually tell when people are holding back dancing around something. So when I met with a member of my bishopric, I could tell that he was circling something. He asked me to speak in church later that month, but I knew that I was going to get a calling as well. He was my neighbor and from what I've heard, he will either stop by your house or call you to assign a talk. This was bigger. He was dancing. Finally he came out and said that they'd like to extend a calling, and it was something completely new and totally different from what I've been doing. At this point, I had a few thoughts running through my head:

1. They know I've worked in the Nursery, Primary, and taught Sunday School
2. Was this a library calling?
3. I don't know this guy well enough to know if he's being sarcastic and will ask me to do something musical (which I totally would, don't get me wrong)
4. Wouldn't it be funny if they called me to Scouts?

Oh yeah. It was #4. "We'd like you to serve as a Den Mother for our 8-9 year old cub scouts." What? I'm a 31 year old single woman. No kids. I was wearing glittery high heels...clearly not an "outdoorsy" person. I don't camp. Secretly...I was SO EXCITED. I finally get to play!

We had our first den meeting (is that what they're called?) this week and the topic (lesson?) was about laughter...and boy did we laugh!

We started out with a fun minute-to-win-it game: the boys had to place an Oreo on their forehead and try to get it into their mouth without using their hands. TONS of silly faces and laughter!

We were laughing the entire time...just look at those faces!
I wish I was able to get more pictures of their faces, but they kept laughing and dropping their Oreos! I got a few shots of these little guys...

We have a winner! Victory is sweet!
After the Oreo minute-to-win-it, we did some tongue-twisters and some mad libs. While we were doing the mad libs, we had one of the boys writing the words on a poster. About halfway through, he looks at us and is all like, "I'm not doing good spelling, kay?" Giggles ensued. Then we asked for an adjective. One of the boys said, "Purdy." What? "You know, like a purdy birdie!" Oh dear. Time to keep a book of quotes: Out of the Mouth of Scouts!

These guys are just too much! It didn't help that there was a pet bird who kept whistling at the boys, almost cat-calling them. So much laughter! And they all kept saying "I have Oreo still in my eyes!"

After all of our activities, it was time for Rootbeer floats. One of the kids asked if we could make "squishy balls." Huh? I've never heard of those before, and he kept saying he needed flour. I was amazed at these kids. They worked so well together and managed to keep the flying flour to a minimum.

Making squishy balls
Once they all had some, they started asking for "masks." This is where I came in. The other leader was helping make the 3rd ball and I started on the masks. Mad skills. We made a Ninja Turtle, Spider Man, and an...eye ball? I was talking to a friend about how much fun we had. I was asked how I could handle being around squirly little boys. My answer: I grew up with some and it feels natural to be surrounded by them again!

Love these goobers!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cecret Lake

"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled." -Mohammed

Before my friend left, I took some of her advice: I decided to explore Utah a little more. Plus, I just bought a car, so I don't have as much money to travel far for long periods of time. I bought a book called 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Salt Lake City. It's the greatest little book with 60 hikes detailed out from what type of wildlife you'll encounter, how much water to bring, elevation gain/loss, etc. I'm not a good hiker. At all. Hiking really hurts my hips and I have to be careful which trails I choose to explore. I perused through the book and found a little up-and-back hike to Cecret Lake (not sure why it's not "Secret" Lake, but whatever). 

I decided to take off after work one day to do this hike. Although I was going to hike by myself, I knew I wasn't going to be alone. This is a super popular hike and there were a bunch of people on the trail: families with kids, teenagers, people with photographers, and various other solo hikers. The trail is just about 1 mile (1.6 km), with the last little bit a straight-up climb over rocks. Even though there were tons of people on the trail and up at the lake, it didn't ever seem crowded. There was plenty of space along the banks to feel secluded. 

Of course, I brought along my GoPro and took some awesome shots!

This happened to be a popular shot for family photo shoots

May all your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.

Even though it is later in the season, there were TONS of flowers everywhere!

Got to watch the sunset for a bit before heading back down

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." -Gustave Flaubert

So much of what you are is where you've been.