Thursday, November 06, 2014

My Family Story

Tessa's troop enjoyed Brownie Quest so much during their first Journey meeting that I was a little afraid to switch over to My Family Story badgework so soon. It seemed a natural break, though...like there should have been a big red arrow in the leader guide pointing to "insert My Family Story badgework here" (that would have been helpful, actually). Maybe our girls aren't picky, but they seemed to enjoy it just as well. Their favorite part was making family trees. It was all I could do to contain their excitement upon seeing my sample.

The full requirements for earning the My Family Story Badge can be found in the Brownie It’s Your World - Change It, Skill Building Badge Activity Set. The resources listed below are the ones we used to fulfill these requirements. We spread the work over two meetings.

Brownie My Family Story Badge


My Family Story

Every Family has stories. It's good to share them so you know who helped make you who you are. Do this badge to find out more about the people you love and who love you. That's your family!

1. Explore family stories. There are all kinds of family stories and all kinds of families. As you explore these stories, think about the questions in the box below. Talk about your answers with your family and Brownie friends!
  • Troop completed choice #3 - Share family stories with friends.
  • The girls used their completed Blue House School Discovering Family bags (scroll to bottom of linked page) as visual aids for telling about their families. (The Discovering Family bags I designed for the girls were intended to be twofold. Identifying the special qualities and values of their families at home fulfilled the final step of their Brownie Quest Discover Key. Using the bags as visual aids for sharing what they learned about their families with the rest of the troop fulfilled this step.)

Tessa included smiley face stickers, a wooden sunflower cutout (to represent Sunny the Sunflower) and a Playmobil doctor as clues in her Discovering Family bag. She chose "friendly and helpful" from the Girl Scout Law as the value that is important to our family because "being friendly and helpful shows that our family cares about people."
Tessa included smiley face stickers, a wooden sunflower cutout (to represent Sunny the Sunflower) and a Playmobil doctor as clues in her Discovering Family bag. She chose "friendly and helpful" from the Girl Scout Law as the value that is important to our family because "being friendly and helpful shows that our family cares about people."

2. Know where your family is from. Find out which different countries, states, or towns your family comes from. Family stories are passed down differently in different cultures. How does your family share its family traditions and history?
  • Troop completed choice #3 - Ask about a family recipe.
  • The girls made troop family recipe books with recipe cards that I sent home for their parents to fill out. I made photocopies of all of the completed cards for the girls to put in their books. (This project ties in with our Step 5 project below.)
Quick note: I realized when cutting out the aforementioned completed recipe cards that I messed up when designing them. Some are not correctly sized. And, they are just a funky size, in general. You might be better off searching for free recipe card printables on Pinterest. I'll try to fix this as soon as I can.

3. Make a story tree. Knowing who your family members are is only half the fun! Find a special detail about each person to write on your family tree. Then make your tree in one of these ways.
  • Troop completed choice #2. - Draw or paint your tree.
The previously mentioned Discovering Family bags were actually supposed to be threefold, but some girls missed a meeting due to parent-teacher conferences, so I ended up modifying my original idea a bit. Since I already had the girls draw their family members and write their special qualities on their Discovering Family bags, I had planned to collect the bags to scan their pictures into my computer, play around with them a bit in Photoshop and then print them in color on cardstock at appropriate sizes. Afterward, I had planned to use a circle punch to create ornaments the trees.

Here's what I ended up with instead. To save time, I made up kits for the girls that we completed one step at a time. It took about half an hour for the them to complete their family trees. I have included a quick rundown of the project below. For the most part, the only steps some girls needed physical assistance with were tying knots and gluing wiggle eyes and feathers on the bird. I was a little surprised how well they did and how well they turned out.

Sample family tree I created for Brownie Elf.
Sample family tree I created for Brownie Elf.

My Family Story Tree Kit
  • Small tree limb with many branches, which each girl selected from a table
  • Small tin pail with floral block cut to fit snuggly in the bottom half of the pail
  • School glue
  • Pre-measured pebbles in small plastic zipper bag, enough to fill to the top embossed line of the pail when poured on top of the floral block (pebbles were originally purchased from Lowe's for another project)
  • Excelsior grass (handed out in small clumps when we got to the appropriate step)
  • "Family" sign created with Going Places Cricut cartridge, 2 inches at actual size
  • 6-in. piece of orange ribbon (color matches the bird's beak)
  • Fifteen cardstock leaves (three each of red, orange, brown, green and yellow), which I cut from 2-in. circles with the pre-mentioned Cricut cartridge, folded, trimmed to shape and then punched with a teeny hole for hanging
  • Fifteen small metal Christmas ornament hangers
  • Large pre-threaded (and knotted) needle with a small eraser over the point for safety
  • Orange felt beak cut to size
  • Two small wiggle eyes
  • Two pompoms, which the girls selected from a bag
  • Feather, which the girls selected from a bag
  • Black, non-smear pen
  • Scissors

Believe it or not, I had most of this on hand. The only things I had to buy were the tin pails from Dollar Tree and a cheap pack of small Christmas ornament hangers from Wal-Mart.


My Family Story Tree Instructions
  • Complete Pom-pom Songbirds as directed, except substitute wiggle eyes and use smaller pompoms (set aside to dry)
  • Carefully center and push selected tree limb into floral block in pail (make sure the handle of the pail faces the front)
  • Cover floral block in pail completely with school glue, pour in half the small bag of pebbles, cover again with school glue, pour in the rest of the pebbles, cover one more time with school glue
  • Run a line of glue along the bottom of the "Family" sign and nestle into the pebbles in front of the tree
  • Press a clump of excelsior grass in the front of the pail, repeat for the back (add a bit more glue before or after, if needed)
  • Write names of family members (limited to those that live in the girl's house; I also allowed pets) on leaves, hang on tree; hang any number of extra leaves, if desired
  • Glue pompom bird into a study forked branch (test fork before gluing)
  • Knot ribbon around handle as shown, trim ends

Another potentially cheaper, simpler option I considered was to have the girls make paper bag trees and glue on the leaves. Birds could be made and added as well. Alternatively, birds could be purchased from a craft store or made by a troop leader ahead of time.

Tessa and her troop crafted family trees from real tree limbs for part of their My Family Story badges.
Tessa and her troop crafted family trees from real tree limbs for part of their My Family Story badges.

Tessa's completed My Family Story tree.
Tessa's completed My Family Story tree.

A couple of other family trees created by girls in Tessa's troop.
A couple of other family trees created by girls in Tessa's troop.

4. Find an object that means something to your family. Objects like photos, jewelry, and books can mean a lot. They can be favorite things from old times, or things that make people feel special. This means that objects can have their own stories.
  • Troop completed choice #1 - Ask about an old photo, or #2 - Talk about an object that has been handed down. (Each girl chose which of the two to bring to share in show and tell fashion.)

5. Share your family story. You've heard so many amazing family stories. Now it's time to share them with others! Pick one of these activities to help you tell your story.
  • Troop completed choice #2 - Make a family crest.
  • The girls completed contemporary "family crests" for the covers of their troop family recipe books. (This project ties in with Step 2.)

Tessa's troop created contemporary family crests for the covers of their family recipe books from patterned and plain cardstock, paper flowers, jeweled brads, shaped brads and pipe cleaners. Each girl chose from an assortment of papers, colors, shapes and brads to symbolize various aspects of their family.
Tessa's troop created contemporary family crests for the covers of their family recipe books from patterned and plain cardstock, paper flowers, jeweled brads, shaped brads and pipe cleaners. Each girl chose from an assortment of papers, colors, shapes and brads to symbolize various aspects of their family.

Purpose

When I've earned his badge, I'll know how to tell my family story.