Friday, August 14, 2020

Crafts for the Apocalypse: Syd's Girl Scout Silver TAP


My kid wrote a book!

For Syd's Girl Scout Silver Award, she wanted to focus on the problem of tweens and teens spending too much time on screens. Syd really enjoys crafts and recipes and likes to follow tutorials to make new creations, so she decided that making a set of craft and recipe tutorials for other kids to follow would be a fun way to encourage them to put down their phones and pick up the cardboard and scissors.

Thus began one of the LONGEST Silver Award TAPs in history. OMG, I had NO IDEA what an involved process this would be, particularly when accomplished by the world's pickiest perfectionist.

First, Syd had to brainstorm and then settle on possible crafts and recipes. Then she had to test each one, discard the ones that she wasn't happy with, and decide on a final line-up. Then she made them all again, sometimes a few times, until she had the perfect process for each one. Then she wrote each tutorial, and went through a few revisions on some of them, because it's tricky to write a tutorial!

Fortunately, tutorial writing is exactly within my very specific skill set. 

Syd sent a draft of her tutorials to our Girl Scout troop to be beta tested, and revised some of the tutorials again based on her feedback. As all this was happening, and for the next several months after the tutorials were finished and polished, she was also creating all the art. She went through several drafts to create an original character to model the finished projects, and then a zillion drafts as she drew each of the illustrations. 

And, of course, the book needed an overarching theme, both for the illustrations and the cover art and title.

Thanks to the pandemic, the entire book became... apocalypse-themed. 

When Syd was FINALLY happy with her illustrations and art, she imported it all into Adobe InDesign and Matt showed her how to do even more edits and make the layout:

When Syd was happy with the layouts, she sent a pdf back out to the Girl Scout troop to proofread, made more corrections based on their feedback, and then made even more corrections after feedback from the MEAN GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION MOMSTER. 

Originally, Syd had the idea that she could present physical copies of her activity book to kids, perhaps at day camps or after school programs, possibly with a kit included or possibly in concert with some in-person programming. Obviously that was out, thanks to the apocalypse, so instead Syd created a blog to host free downloadable pdfs of her book, and then promoted it.

Syd still wanted to give out *some* copies, though, so she decided to have a few copies printed and drop them off in Little Free Libraries around town. She wrote a budget proposal and presented it to our Girl Scout troop for the funds, then emailed back and forth with a local printing company to get her order made.

And at long last, Syd had real copies of Crafts for the Apocalypse in her hands!

But only briefly, as off they went into all the Little Free Libraries in town:

I had hoped (and advocated for, and nagged about) the project would be completed and the paperwork submitted before Syd began her public school adventure this week. The paperwork isn't submitted, because apparently none of the brilliant minds in this family are brilliant enough to figure out how to create a multi-page pdf (SIGH!), but the rest of the work is done and the forms are filled out and the essays are written, so perhaps today will be the magical day when the pdf fairy comes down from on high to compile the essays and time logs and forms into one clean and efficient multi-page pdf.

This was the perfect project for Syd, even though it turned out to be way bigger than it needed to be for the Silver Award (the suggested time commitment for a Silver Award TAP is 50 hours; Syd put in over 90, and even then didn't log everything). She got to exercise her creativity, express her love of art and making things, and work through the big challenges of maintaining a giant project independently. 

And of course, the fact that her project concluded with a connection to Will's Silver Award TAP is especially sweet to me.

Now... on to Gold!

Twelve Years Ago: I'm a Wench

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