Singing, Swapping and S’moring - Girl Scout Season Begins with Fun Event

Lisa Patrick

The Ashland Beacon


   The Girl Scout season traditionally runs throughout the school year, with most troops taking a break from weekly meetings for the summer. September is the month when troops get started again, and letters asking students to join Girl Scouts come home from school. This year, the Girl Scout leaders in the area decided to try something a little different by hosting an event called “Songs, S.W.A.P.S., and s’ mores” at Armco Park this past Friday.

   “We wanted to set up a quick and easy event for new leaders or returning leaders at the beginning of the year,” Teresa Hardesty, leader of Girl Scout Troop 98, said. “This was meant to be something fun that troop leaders could bring their girls to kind of kick off the new year, without having to do any of the work.”

   When the leaders were trying to come up with an idea for the events, they wanted to make sure that the event included a few girl scout traditions. They wanted to include songs and since the event was in September, they decided to go all in on the “S” theme. Hardesty said they all felt that there needed to be three things, so they went with the other two big traditions of making s’mores around the campfire and making S.W.A.P.S. to exchange with other Girl Scouts.

   All the girls kicked off the evening in a big circle, singing songs before splitting up into three groups to move around the different areas. The first group stayed in the circle and continued singing traditional girl scout songs. These included the “Brownie Smile” song and “I’m a Daisy Scout” song which is sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot.”

   The S.W.A.P.S., or “Special What-cha-ma-call-its Affectionately Pinned Somewhere,” table was run by experienced Girl Scouts, Mary Lara Hardesty and Daisy Conn. They helped each girl build three swaps, including a small one that looked like marshmallows roasting on a stick and a tied bedroll to signify the tradition of girl scout camping. Hardesty said the tradition of exchanging S.W.A.P.S. is “kind of dying out a little bit” and they are not as popular as they once were. She said, “some troops build them, some troops don’t, and some girls have never even heard of them.” But they still wanted to include them because they have been a part of scouting for a long time and they were a fun, simple, craft to make.

   The girls roasted their marshmallows for s’mores over hot coals on the grill instead of over an open flame, but they were just as happy with the results. The children were able to choose between traditional s’ mores or s’ mores made with Girl Scout cookies. A couple of the girls chose to put their marshmallow and chocolate in between two Girl Scout s’ mores cookies, making themselves a triple s’ more.

   Hardesty said the leaders were able to get almost everything that they needed out of the extra stuff that was already at the Girl Scout office downtown. She said, they were “using their resources wisely.”

   The event attracted more than 30 girls from units out of Boyd County, Carter County and Greenbo. Membership specialist, Karen Conn said that it was “simple, fun, and embodies what girl scouting is all about.” She said that it was a good intro for new Girl Scouts because it was “kind of like girl scout traditions in a nutshell.” For returning scouts, it was more of a “getting back to girl scouting” event.

   The leaders feel that they had a really good turnout. Hardesty says that she hopes that they can make “Songs, S.W.A.P.S., and s’ mores” a beginning of the year event every year.