This weekend we had our largest group of Girl Scouts this year – over 500 ladies and their leaders! Camping Adventure was the theme, and the girls enjoyed lots of Boating, Archery, Climbing, and hikes. Many also took advantage of the Flying Squirrel and Zipline. Despite a few rain drops here and there, it was a great weekend for all.

Saturday night was a highlight, as the girls did their SWAPS Meet. SWAPS stand for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere, and they are a national Girl Scout Program. SWAPS began in the 1950s and 1960s as a way for girls to meets Scouts in other troops. The goal is to make something that tells others about your troop without spending a lot of money. Girls are encouraged to use recyclable materials and make enough to exchange with a wide variety of other troops.

The girls that swapped at Frost Valley this weekend made 10-12 SWAPS each and shared them at a campfire on Saturday night. Many pin these on hats that they wear with pride, and they tend to be great conversation starters. Sometimes the girls add a tag on them that says where they’re from and the year they were made. The Girl Scouts I spoke to told me the following:

“They open me up to new people. Later I’ll see them and say, ‘Hey, I recognize that girl from the SWAPS Meet-up’”

“I made them because I want to share with my friends.”

Frost Valley is not the only place that the girls swap either. The ladies from Westchester do an annual event called World Thinking Day. For this program each troop researches a different country and learns about the Girl Scouts there, as well as the food, clothing, and general culture of that country. The girls visit each other’s displays to learn about the different places. Then they have the chance to share SWAPS afterwards. They can even relate the SWAPS to their country.

Here at Frost Valley, we encouraged SWAPS, as they seem to be a great way for Girl Scouts to meet other in different troops, and although we do not have a hat, we do have a banner that the girls can use to pin their SWAPS on, and we display it proudly in the dining hall each Girl Scout Weekend. Come join in the fun and bring your SWAPS. We’ll have many weekends next year and look forward to seeing you!

Ashley Ritzheimer

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Ashley Ritzheimer

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