Wednesday, April 28, 2021

My Girl Scout Troop Earned a Totally Made-Up Badge: Introducing the "Troop's Own" Percy Jackson Badge


Thank goodness that there's no such thing as the badge police! One of my favorite things about Girl Scouts is their emphasis on the kid-led experience, which to me is far preferable to a regimented set of practices. Girl Scouts are encouraged to explore their interests and make their own decisions, and they can move even the official badges in directions that aren't directly specified. 

Once upon a time, troops often made up their own badges, including the requirements to earn them. Although this is no longer a common practice, it's a terrific way for a group of kids to direct their own learning. So when I saw that this particular company makes a badge that could work as a Percy Jackson badge, I remembered that several kids in my Girl Scout troop are Percy Jackson fans, and I asked the troop if anyone would like to create a "Troop's Own" Percy Jackson badge.

It turns out that some of my Girl Scouts WOULD like that, as a matter of fact!

The requirements to earn this Percy Jackson badge were kid-created, and decided upon by committee. There were a lot of suggestions in our Percy Jackson badge planning doc that we didn't end up doing--we didn't learn to read Greek and make Greek puzzles for each other, we didn't make book recommendations for people who like Percy Jackson, we didn't wood burn book quotes onto plaques, etc., but it was fun to see what the kids did vote to do, and which activities they ended up liking best. 

Battle a Monster Piñata

For this activity, I gave each kid the name of another kid in our troop. Each kid, then, was to shop for a gift for their particular kid (they had a small budget of troop money for this), and then put that gift inside a monster piñata that they were to make from scratch. 

Here are some good piñata tutorials:
At the meeting, each kid got to battle the monster created especially for them, and when they had conquered that monster, inside its belly was a prize!

Which God/Goddess are You Descended from?

During the meeting, I pulled up Rick Riordan's own quiz on my laptop, and let each kid take it so they could learn who they were descendants of. Hades and Poseidon, mostly!

Blue Foods

Just for fun, Syd and I made a feast of blue foods for the troop meeting. Alas, blue chocolate chip cookies only look BLUE blue if you underbake them, but the blue Jello, blueberries, and blue tortilla chips were blue enough to make up for it. Blue Gatorade was also a bit iffy--Syd tells me that it tastes like batteries, although how she knows this I will not question.

Cards Against Mythology

You know how much the kids and I love Cards Against Humanity, and apparently we could not rest until we had brought an inoffensive version to the Girl Scout troop. 

Since this was for personal use only, we cribbed pretty hard off of legit Cards Against Humanity for our own troop game. Matt made black and white card templates in a Google Doc, and the troop kids and I filled them in with our own ideas. We went for anything mythology, Percy Jackson, or Girl Scouts, as well as whatever other random stuff any of us could come up with. 

Oh, my gosh, but this game was SO FUN. The kids who'd never played before picked up the rules almost immediately, and the kids who had played before thought that our DIY version was nearly as seamless as the store-bought decks. We'd all put in not just funny Percy Jackson and Girl Scout references, but a bunch of inside jokes from past troop adventures, and they were hilarious every single time they came up. Here are some of our combos:

We played twice in a row, and decided that we'd keep adding to the deck and then play it again at next month's camping trip.

Percy Jackson Crafts

All the kids wanted to do one or two crafts, but there was no real consensus, so I just laid out a lot of options, and we spent the last hour of the meeting each working on the craft of our choosing while listening to the Lightening Thief soundtrack:
  • Camp Half-Blood Beads: unfinished wood beads embellished with paint and paint pens
  • Mythomagic Trading Cards: Artist Trading Cards made to look like mythology-themed trading cards
  • Greek Alphabet Blocks: these Greek alphabet blocks, with kids figuring out how to spell their name in Greek and making the blocks for those letters
And that was our Percy Jackson badge! The kids learned some mythology, designed and built their own piñatas, shopped on a budget, tried new foods, experimented with grammatical structures, learned a new game, listened to new-to-them music, played with the Greek alphabet, did some art, and got some social time in with their friends. The badge they did all that for may not be the "official-est" of official badges, but it was earned with plenty of Girl Scout spirit, and I hope the kids wear it with plenty of Girl Scout pride. 

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