Friday, December 7, 2012

Ready, Set, SWAPS!


As many of you know, I've got a Brownie in my house and this year our girl scout troop has taken the plunge and started camping!  We started back in October with a Mother-Daughter overnight hosted by our service unit, but last weekend was our first camping trip without moms (Dun, Dun, Duuuuuun)!!

There was lots and lots to do to get ready and to tell you the truth I was more than a little nervous about taking 7 girls to the woods for the weekend with only one other chaperone, but it was wonderful!!  Thanks in no small part to the Host(ess) troops who came up with the cutest theme for a winter campout ever - CANDYLAND!!

Hats off to those girls because they put on a spectacular program, filled with crafts, archery, canoing and all the candy you could eat (and then some!!).  Girl Scout camps with a pre-set program of activities are called carousels and I would definitely recommend them as a "next step" in your camping progression, because it means all the troop camper (ME!) and chaperones need to take care of is food and sleeping arrangements!  And for our first time out without back-up, that was enough!

One of the things we did to get ready for our campout was make SWAPS!  SWAPS are either Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere or Something Shared With A Pal - either way, they are something little to exchange with other girl scouts you meet at camp and elsewhere.  They usually have a pin so they can be worn and/or displayed while you're out and about!

Pinned Image

Swaps are fun,  but can also be somewhat of a challenge when you're asking little ones to do the work.  Luckily,  I found this idea on Pinterest and knew it was something my Brownies could tackle!  BTW, I have since checked out SWAPS-A-Lot and they have very affordable SWAP kits available, but of course I was prepping for this project mere hours before the meeting, so no time for something like that.  Besides, I figured we could wing this one!

Lollipop SWAPS

Multi-colored pipe cleaners, cut in half
Popsicle sticks, cut in half
Hot glue
Flat-backed pins

1.  Twist two different colors of pipe cleaner together to form a candy cane stripe.
2.  Start at one end and roll up flatly to form the lollipop.
3.  Place a dab of hot glue on the back to attach the Popsicle stick.
4.  Use hot glue to add the flat-backed pins.
5.  Print out your troop number (and the name of the event if you want) on cardstock.
6.  Cut out small tags, attach with pin.
7.  Now Share With A Pal!

Close up of flat-backed pins we often use for our SWAPS

Since it was a Christmas Candyland Carousel Camp (how's that for alliteration?!), I also came up with a quick candy cane swap, that I didn't see anywhere beforehand, but I'm sure is out there somewhere already.  In other words, it was my original idea but probably not the original idea.

And yes, all of these photos are of actual SWAPS made my my actual Brownies, with only a little help with the glue-gun from me!  Soooo, they aren't perfect and they don't all have the right same number of beads on them, but they are pretty darn cute!  And they are equally easy to make!

Candy Cane SWAPS

Red and White pipe cleaners cut into thirds
5 Red pony beads and 5 White pony beads
Hot glue
Flat-backed pins

1.  Turn a small hook on one end of the pipe cleaner to prevent beads from slipping off the end.
2.  Thread red and white pony beads onto the pipe cleaner, alternating colors as you go.
3.  Hook the top end of the pipe cleaner over last pony bead to prevent beads from falling off.
4.  Bend beaded pipe cleaner into the shape of a candy cane.
5.  Attach pin with hot glue.
6.  Add your tag (see above) and exchange!


  1. These are super cute. Are you sharing with the holiday knock off party. This week there is NO newbie party. I have been announcing it for weeks now:) If this is a copy from somewhere please show the original source. Thanks.

    1. The source and a pic are embedded in the post. Hope that's sufficient! Merry Christmas Debbie and thanks as always for hosting!


  2. From the thumbnail link I couldn't tell exactly what they were, but I am glad I clicked because I am a scout leader and we love our swaps. VERY cute & easy ideas. Might have to do them at our Christmas party. I have pinned. I'd love you to come link up at my Pin Me Linky Party. I am following via GFC and am going to check out your blog to see if there are any other GS ideas.

    1. Hey - thanks Diana! There really isn't enough girl scout bloggy goodness out there. Maybe we can change that!! Be sure to check out my post from last Christmas and Thinking Day too and I promise to keep the girl scout ideas coming! Heading to your party now! Thanks for pinning!

    2. Thanks!! There doesn't seem to be much scout blogginess out there. Maybe we should talk!

    3. Hi Jen! I know it's been a while. I wanted to let you know that I created a community board at Pinterest for scouting ideas & activities. I pinned this post into it. I'd be happy to make you a contributor and/or pin more!