Archive for the ‘Trips’ Category

Video: Rock the Mall & Metro


2012
06.06

Are you going to Washington DC for the “Rock the Mall” event? Here is a helpful video to help you navigate your way around the Metro train system in Washington DC.

When my troop visited Washington DC a few years ago, riding the Metro system was their favorite part! Make sure you troop finds time to experience the Metro system.

 

 

This troop did a fantastic job! They are awesome ambassadors for Nation’s Capitol Girl Scouts! Enjoy the event everyone!

 

Yours in Scouting!

Trips: Museum Overnights


2012
03.02

“Spend the night sleeping on the floor, with 15-20 7 and 8 years that don’t want to sleep, surrounded by dinosaurs…” Doesn’t that sound like a fun night! Well for those 7 & 8 years – it is!

In Girl Scouting we love to talk about progression! One of the things we are know for is camping.  However, we can’t take the 6 year old away from the comfort of their home and bed and having them pitch their own tent and sleep on the ground for their first camping experience! This is where progression comes in.

The first step on progression is an overnight “sleepover” type outing. This is like a slumber party – everyone sleeps in the same room (including adults) so that everyone feels secure. You can have a sleepover at the church you meet at but it is also fun to be able to sleep in a museum.

Getting close to nature!

Think “A Night at the Museum” type event.  (Actually I read somewhere that the New York Museum of Natural History that the movie was based on now has overnights based on the movie!) The museum is closed for the night and the staff have activities for the girls to participate in. At the end of the night, the troops roll out their cute slumber bags (save the sleeping bags for camp!) and go to sleep. When my troop did the overnight at our local science museum we stayed in a room with a maze (they played in that until it was time for lights out – wore them out!). Another troop stayed in the room with the dinosaurs – I’ll bet that was a fun experience!

If you are going to be in Washington DC for the “Rock the Mall” event, I heard the Newseum is sponsoring an overnight experience for Girl Scouts. (How fun!) Check out their website for more information!

For Brownies an overnight trip to the museum is a great beginning step on the road to the adventure of camping! Contact your local museum to see if they have a program available for your troop. If they don’t, find out how you can help them start one!

Have you spent the night on the floor of a museum surrounded by dinosaurs?

Trips: Zoo Sleepover


2012
02.03

Lions, tigers and bears and monkeys and giraffes and so much more can be found at zoos! Zoo’s are a great trip for Girl Scout troops to take.

A great day trip is to visit a local zoo. We did this when the troop was Brownies (1st grade). We had lots of parents to split into smaller groups (we usually found each other at the more popular places – like the lions!). At our local zoo – there are “zoo hosts” that will give talks about the animals. At this age – the girls weren’t too interested in stopping to listen to someone – they just wanted to SEE the animals! We also would try to time it so we were there when animals were being feed. The trainers would give a talk about the animals and then feed them!

 

 

Bear not happy that Girl Scouts woke him up!

As the troop got older – they still enjoyed the zoo – but they wanted more. So we found a zoo that offered an overnight sleepover – at the zoo! We arrived at the zoo as the visitors were leaving for the day. It was so cool to be able to walk into the zoo with no one around! We got to choose from a couple of different programs the zookeepers would talk about. We even got to travel through the zoo  (with our zookeepers) at night to see the animals! The zookeepers showed the girls how they feed the animals. It was really fun & interesting to see! It was also fun to wake up the next morning and be the first to visit the zoo. After our night “sleeping” at the zoo, we then had the next day to explore the zoo and visit our friends in the daytime.

 

 

The girls also enjoy visiting zoos that have different animals than our local zoo has on exhibit. We visited the zoo in Washington DC to see the Pandas. They were very cute! When we visited our local zoo, the lions had just had cubs and they were in the exhibit for the first time. They were so cute!

 

 

Have you taken your troop for an overnight adventure at a zoo? What was your favorite part?

Savannah: Dining Options


2012
01.06

Eating is not optional! Eating with a large group & making it affordable is a challenge! But it can be done. One word to remind everyone about eating with a large group (over 8 people) is gratuity. The restaurant will generally add a gratuity of between 15 – 18% onto your meal. Budget for it! They earned it with your group!

When the girls look at restaurants in your planning stages, they will get excited by all the choices – you will get shell shocked by the price ranges! When we were setting up our budget and the girls picked a restaurant that served al a carte (everyone can choose a different meal & there are various prices from $9 – 25) we choose to use the highest price on the menu. We didn’t want to get to the restaurant and then tell everyone they had a price limit what they ordered. We didn’t feel that was fair. This way there was enough money in the budget for one person to order the Seafood Sampler ($32) and another person to order a Pizza ($8). It all worked out and everyone was happy. There were also money in the budget for “extras”. Maybe the restaurant has an awesome dessert that some want to try (but that wasn’t in the original budget). With “extra” money, you have the flexibility to order it!

Savannah Dining

So, you ask with baited breath – what are the best places to eat in Savannah! I don’t think there is a bad place to eat! We stayed at a hotel that offered hot breakfast so that made that meal easy!

Lunch offers many different options. You can go “fast food” franchises (think Subway, Blimpies, etc.). We choose to try restaurants that were local. Some of the most popular lunch options in Savannah are Leopold’s Ice Cream, Smooth Cafe,  & Mom & Pop Shoppe. All of these places offer Girl Scout lunch specials and are within walking distance of The Birthplace. They also are a great option for “snack” time – ice cream is an awesome snack for that mid-afternoon slump!

Savannah dining

Dinner in Savannah is where you can break the troop budget! Unless you plan! There are lots of options in Savannah for Dinner – Pirate’s House, Lady & Sons, Tony Roma’s, and Casbah Moroccan Restaurant just to name a few. Most of them have Girl Scout prices. At Pirate’s House, if you have a large enough group, you can get a private dining room. You can also get a buffet option – something for everyone! Our group was not large enough to secure the private dining room initially, but when we arrived we were escorted to a private dining room with other Girl Scout troops from around the country! Lady & Sons offers a buffet on Sunday for lunch. The Birthplace Bound book – available from The Birthplace is a great place to start on your search for dining in Savannah.

Tybee Island dining

We spent one whole day on Tybee Island so we were able to have lunch & dinner on the island. There are a couple of lunch choices – our pick was Island Picnic which offered to deliver our lunch anywhere on the island! We meet them at a park – tables to eat at & time for the girls to use some of their energy on the playground! If you’re on an island next to the ocean, you have to find a seafood restaurant! There are at least two on Tybee Island: Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House (Paula Deen’s brother) and The Crab Shack. Both have great food & also offer lunch. The Crab Shack boasts of live alligators! You can even feed them! We didn’t get to feed them because they were hibernating when we were there (a little cold for them!) but it was still a fun place to go!

I hope I have helped you narrow down you choices for dining in Savannah! At least I probably made you hungry!

 

 

Savannah: Tybee Island Adventures!


2011
12.20

Tybee Island

 

There is a little island just across the bridge from Savannah – Tybee Island. There is plenty to see & do on this tiny island for troops! We planned a very full day. We timed our travel time very well (we were only late by a couple of minutes once or twice!). However, we probably could have used a little more “extra” time to allow the girls to explore areas that they wanted to. We also didn’t allow ourselves a lot of time for eating lunch! We kind of had a time to meet our caterer, grab our sandwiches and run to the next stop. We meet the caterer at a park & the girls got a chance to play on a playground for about 10 minutes while we waited for the caterer to bring us an order that had been left off. The girls would have liked to have had more time playing & eating – maybe next time!

Dolphin Crossing

 

Our first adventure of the day was the dolphin tour. There are several boat companies that offer dolphin tours. The girls thought this would be a fun experience! I was a little worried. We were going to Savannah in November. Would there still be dolphins around? The tour operators assured me when I scheduled the tour that we would see dolphins – not guarantee, but reassured me. We DID see dolphins! It was the best! The girls had a blast on the boat. We were the only ones on our tour so we had the run of the boat! They were able to go to the front & watch for the dolphins as we went out to the ocean. The captain & his first mate did an amazing job telling the girls about the area as we were going to find the dolphins. If you’re going to Tybee Island – a dolphin tour is a must!

Old Fort Jackson - cannon firing

 

Our next Tybee Island adventure was at Old Fort Jackson. There is a one hour session that allows the girls to be “mustered” into the Girl Scout Militia. The reenactor takes the girls through joining the militia. They learned to march, salute and all things militia. They learned how the fire a cannon and watched the reenactor actually fire the cannon. I think that may have been the girls favorite part of this stop – unless you count the part where they ran around aimlessly within Old Fort Jackson itself. They did have fun getting rid of some of their energy!

 

Tybee Island Lighthouse

 

Tybee Island Lighthouse was our next stop. The lighthouse museum is actually a group of buildings plus the lighthouse. The lighthouse has over 170 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse. From there you can see up to 20 miles. I am afraid of heights, so I wasn’t able to make it to the top, but I did have plenty of adults that did stay with the troop to the very edge! Every lighthouse is painted a different pattern so that as ships are coming into the harbors they will know which lighthouse they are coming to. The house on the grounds was the lighthouse keepers residence. It still has some of the original furniture from the keepers families. Our tour guide did a great job with the girls!

 

 

Jellyfish on Tybee Island

 

Our final adventure for the day was at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. The girls chose sand sifting & the marsh walk for their sessions while at the science center. One of the other choices was to go farther into the ocean, but we felt the water might be too cold in November for that! The girls did get wet doing the sand sifting! They were “only” going to get ankle deep, but with the waves, some got a little wetter! During the ocean adventure a couple of jelly fish washed ashore so the girls were able to explore/hold the jelly fish without being stung! The marsh adventure suggested that the girls bring rain boots – this was an excellent idea! The marsh was a little muddy. We also brought trash bags to put the muddy boots/shoes in for the ride home! (a definite must to contain the mud!)  During the marsh walk the girls discovered the animals that lived in the marsh. Very cool!

 

There are other things to do while on Tybee Island – we just ran out of time! There is Ft. Pulaski, it is part of the national parks system. They also have programs for Girl Scouts. I heard that the church that was built for the movie “The Last Song” is located on Tybee Island. It may be possible to tour it. You could also spend some time just on the beach (as long as it is warm!)! There were some shops near the beach on Tybee Island. We didn’t get a chance to explore them, but I’ll bet they were interesting!

Next post – Dining Options!

 

 

Savannah: The Birthplace


2011
12.09

Since Savannah is the Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouting, it is only right to visit the places in Savannah that were important to her.

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace sign

 

The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace House Tour: The Birthplace can be toured for a fee. You don’t need reservations or to even be a Girl Scout to tour the house. The house is a museum and you are guided through the house by a tour guide that will tell you about the different rooms in the house and how the Gordon family lived. The home is beautiful! It is a treat for anyone to visit. If you only have time to take the tour it is worth the time!

If your troop schedules a tour & a special interest session, you will be allowed to hold a special “Pinning Ceremony” in the garden at the Birthplace. Only girls that have visited the house can wear the “Daughters of the House” pins. The garden is next to the street so it can get a little noisy with traffic and pedestrian noise, but it was still a special ceremony for the girls & parents.

Candles" for Ceremony during Special Interest Session at Birthplace

 

Special Interest Sessions: There are ___ sessions for the girls ages Juniors – Ambassadors to participate in. There is one session – Spanning the Decades – that is only available during the 100th Anniversary Year. My troop participated in this session. It was a good session to show the girls what kind of things troops did during the different decades. They could see how some things changed and how some things never change! (Like SWAP’s, singing & flag ceremonies) There are 9 different sessions the girls can choose from.

Andrew Low House/First National Headquarters: Our troop did not find time to work this into our schedule. I wish we had. During our carriage tour, the tour guide showed the girls the house. The Andrew Low House is where Juliette Low died in 1927.

The Girl Scout First National Headquarters is located in the Carriage House behind the Andrew Low House. There are programs that troops can participate in also. Maybe on our “next” trip to Savannah, we’ll be able to “do it all”!

Gate at Juliette Gordon Low House

Next psot – Tybee Island adventures!

Savannah: Transportation & Budgeting


2011
12.01

Getting to Savannah might seem like a no brainer until you realize that Savannah is in Georgia and you live in Califorinia or Iowa or New York. So what is the best option to getting to Savannah. Well that depends on where you live.

While we were in Savannah, we met a group from Maryland. They drove 10 hours to visit Savannah. I think that would probably be my limit on how long I can ride with a troop in a car (I know that’s my limit riding with my family!). I also heard about a troop that traveled from Texas to Savannah (talk about dedicated!). They turned it into a week long trip with stops in Florida/Alabama on the way. I believe they spent 4 days in Savannah.

When you drive, you need to consider how many people will be going, so how many vehicles will be on the road. More than 2 cars/vans is tough to control/follow. Also you will need to budget the cost for each car to park while you are in Savannah. Our hotel charged us $10 per car per day. Others may charge more. Parking is limited in Savannah. You will also need to budget gas prices for every vehicle – that is tough to do with the rising gas prices.

Another option is to secure a tour bus. This is a great option if you have a lot of people (over 20). You can rent a smaller bus for less cost. The tour bus company will be responsible for all the permits & parking costs while in Savannah. You just get to get on the bus & ride! The cost on this can seem a little high, but the stress of  not having to drive can be well worth the extra cost.

Taking the train can be a fun option also. If you are staying in the city of Savannah everything is within walking distance. If you are on the east coast, there may be a straight shot for you to get to Savannah – it wasn’t an easy shot for us this year, so we didn’t pursue it! Taking the train is a great experience for the girls. It is much easier than riding in a car – you can get up and move around, go to the bathroom whenever you need to & there is food always available!

Flying is another option. Savannah does has a small airport. All the major airlines fly into it. Many of the hotels offer courtesy transportation to and from the hotel. You can get some cheap airfares with the right airlines. Atlanta is not too far away (about 4 hours), you could rent vans to take you the last way to Savannah.

One of the things girls/adults struggle with is budgeting. As our troop travels, we have learned several things about budgeting. I’ll list some of the highlights here and then other things in upcoming posts.

  1. Gratuity – On our first trip, we failed to include tips/gratuity when we calculated our budget. Tips/gratuity are usually required for groups over 8. They can range from 15 – 20% of your total bill. They also are not limited to restaurants. Our dolphin tour & carriage tour also added gratuity onto our total bill.
  2. Patches – We bought 11 patches on our trip to Savannah. We had budgeted for 10 patches. The cost difference from the girls trip & the adults trip was $25 – the cost of the patches. Girls love to show off the places they have been with patches on their vests. We did so many things in Savannah – we knew they would want a patch for every place we visited & everything that we did.
  3. Food – If the menu was a la carte, we calculated the higher price item for everyone. That way we were covered with the adult who wanted to order the $25 Fisherman’s platter and the girls who ordered the $8 pizza. Plus then we had “bonus” money in the budget for the unexpected patch purchases!

I still haven’t had a chance to review the budget from our trip to see how close we came. On our original budget – we did not budget any money to pay for gas for the cars (a small error, but we were trying to keep the trip cost low). However, we had budgeted for a trolley tour that we did not take (more on that in the fundraising post!). After deleting the trolley tour, there was enough money in the budget for gas for everyone’s car (we had 2 cars). We had also over budgeted for “snacks” for every day for everybody. We estimated snacks at $7.50 per person per day. We knew one day we would get ice cream for everyone. There was also candy shops on Riverfront! We decided to give everyone $5 at the candy shops and let them buy what they wanted! That made them very happy!

I’ll cover fundraising about the trip in another post!

More on our Savannah trip later!

Savannah!!!


2011
11.16

Our troop just returned from visiting Savannah, the Birthplace of Girl Scouts. We had an amazing time! I’m going to break our visit out over several posts. There was so much to see & do & experience!

I admit, I was a little nervous about taking the girls to Savannah. I am a nut about all things Girl Scout! They look at me a little strange when I talk about the history of Scouting or other dusty, ancient things!

But the girls impressed me! They were open and listened and asked questions – not questions we “prompted” them to ask – genuine, thoughtful questions during our trips to Tybee Island and the Birthplace. They were engaged and excited for every part of the adventure!

The girl’s planned the trip and it was FULL of things to do – with some free time thrown in for shopping or sleeping in (or oversleeping!).  There were requests for dining choices (Paula Deen please!) and excitement to see dolphins (are there dolphins in Savannah in November?!). Some kind of tour was a must but which kind – trolley (looked like a trolley, but acted like a bus) or a horse drawn carriage (carriage please!).

As troop leaders we learned a lot of lessons from our last big troop trip to Washington DC (I’ll write a post about that adventure in the future!).

  1. Calculate your travel time and add 5 – 10 minutes (especially walking time). It takes a group longer to travel/gather. The Internet is a great tool to help estimate travel times between destinations. (I still have no clue how to get a group to gather quicker! Just when one part of the group was assembled, another part of the group would wander away!)
  2. Choose your parent chaperones wisely. They can be your biggest ally or your worst nightmare. Remember, this is a Girl Scout Troop outing, you really only have to follow the Girl Scout standards on Girl/Adult ratios. Parents that travel with the troop have to follow troop rules as well as the girls. That means joint decisions usually.
  3. HAVE FUN!
Our trip was very successful and a good time was had by everyone – including the leaders!
I’ll have more posts in the future on specific details on our Savannah adventures – stay tuned!

Girl Scout Summer


2009
07.10

Usually during the summer, we rest and relax from all of our planning for the troop year. This summer is definitely different! We are planning a trip to Washington DC in August. We are going with another troop so the planning has been split, but each troop is visiting different sites. I wrote a page on the planning we have done so far: Take Your Scout Troop to Washington DC. I will update it when we return from DC with anything we have learned!

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