DIY Summer Scouts

For some time now, I’ve been looking into having my girls join something such as Girl, Fireside, Spiral Scouts, etc, but for one reason or another none of those seemed to quite fit our needs.  The concept in general attract me but certain things were not as appealing (selling cookies, for instance).  Okay I suppose if I’m being fair, it is more that I often have a very difficult time committing to the schedules of these groups, which never seem to suit homeschoolers like us.  Sometimes groups seem to meet too often, and other times not frequently enough.  Can you relate?  It’s one of the biggest reasons behind me organizing the local homeschool group that I’ve been running for going on three years now, which started out as a simple Summer Park Day group and has since had many evolutions.  This year we have grown and developed much and are going to try our hand at a Summer Day Camp – a sort of co-ed scout troop complete with badges.  I referenced it in my last post and here I will go into more detail of the crafts and activities we plan to do over the summer weeks.  It is my hope that I can inspire you to start your own small “homeschool scout  group” if like me, you’ve been searching for something similar and haven’t yet found it.  Do It Yourself!

Why a homeschooler scout group?  Commitment.  I’ve spent a lot of time organizing functions for local homeschoolers and sometimes I’ve been disappointed by lack of attendance or feedback.  This is to be expected; as homeschoolers we may have more free time but the needs of our individual children trump that of any group we are in – as they should!  Creating a scout group may make it easier for those families who are able to attend many gatherings to commit for a length of time, as they would for any program.

How do you start?  First, you’ll need a name and if possible, a logo to go with it!  We wanted a catchy acronym and brainstormed for quite a bit before settling on the right one.  Then I designed a logo but if you want maybe you could enlist the kids to enter their drawings and vote on the favorite?  Or see if a member will volunteer to design one?

What kind of activities?  I took a look through all of my Pins and other ideas I’ve jotted down elsewhere, deciding which activities would translate to badges for a group, and added them all to a Google Spreadsheet.  We do those on one day of each week.  Then, I picked field trips and park days to coincide with the badge activities.  These trips would fall on another day of the same week.  There is an option to participate in one day or the other, or both (with two different price options).  That way everyone can commit to the option that works for their family, while still feeling included.  Some extra field trips are planned for the teens, who aren’t interested in earning badges but still desire to attend some events.  I scheduled two weeks off for the Fourth of July, and we will end it all with a two night NOT Back to School party at a local camp-ground.  An entire summer planned, easily in an afternoon.  Yikes.

Where to find badges?  Since I’m the craft blogger here, it will come as no surprise that I plan to make our badges myself.  I don’t have an embroidery machine, though, so I thought I’d print the badge icons that I design onto fabric and serge this onto stiff felt.  Before I go to all the trouble, I will most likely call around to local embroidery services for prices, and put a shout out to a few friends with machines.  I don’t want to use any copyrighted badge icons from other well-known scouts, however.  So I will have to take some time to design my own, or perhaps ask the children to do so.

 Maybe something other than badges?   And what’s more – “Where to put the badges?”; do they need vests (gag)?    Sashes (gag)?   Travel sack?  Maybe the process of reinventing the wheel is getting too involved and we need something really unique to us.  A member of our troop suggested color-coded beads to add to a charm or lanyard.  Or color-coded leather string to add to a tassle.  I had the thought, since we’re making nature journals to coincide with many activities, that badge stickers to place in their journals would make more sense.  I can use the above badge image to layer the individual icons over, and order stickers that resemble badges.

What other ideas can you think of to use instead of badges?  What kind of activities would you recommend doing with a homeschool troop?  Follow along with me and see what we do!