Put This On Your Calendar
We will rotate themes quarterly (January, April, July, and October) that will highlight the celebrations, national holidays and some “silly celebrations” that you can use to plan your Troop Meetings.
Table of Contents:
- MLK Day / Black History Month - January / February
- Valentine's Day - February
- World Thinking Day - February
- Women’s History Month - March
- Girl Scout Week / Girl Scout Birthday - March
- Earth Day - April
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – May / June
- Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, and Flag Day – May / June
- Time to Camp – May - November
- Back to Troop – August - October
- Hispanic Heritage Month– September / October
- Labor Day - September
- Grandparents Day - September
- Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday – October
- Halloween – October
- Thanksgiving – November
- Winter Holidays – December
- Other Fun Dates / Celebrations – Year Round
Black History Month, also k nown as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of African descent. Martin Luther King was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. His birthday is a national holiday observed on the 3rd Monday of each year. In 2015, it will be January 19th.
To celebrate with your troop, utilize these resources for grades K-12 to examine the historical and social context of slavery, black culture, important holidays, and famous individuals. From music to technology and from poetry to sports, there are activities to connect Black History with every interest.
Take a look at these short printable bios of African American artists, innovators, inventors, and athletes.
Are you’re girls into arts and crafts? DLTK has put together a fantastic resource of craft ideas and instructions. One of our favorites is this Unity Wreath. Have younger girls? Introduce them to important historical figures with these coloring pages.
The iconic “I Have a Dream” Speech can be read or listened to here. Or you can watch the ABC News Coverage of the event in this two minute video. Do girls have dreams of their own? This worksheet can help them visualize their ideal world.
Day of Service: MLK is often celebrated as a day to give back to the community. The National Service Organization has put together toolkits to help people everywhere start the year off with giving back. Girls can choose from ideas ranging from organizing a clothing drive to helping others prepare for disasters.
Looking for fun, new, and exciting ways to celebrate? Tinkerlab put together 30 ideas for crafts and activities. Some our favorites areheart-shaped snowflakes, homemade glitter soap, this great gift for parents, and this fun new take on s’mores.
Looking for something more interactive? Check out these fun games!
Everyone knows Girl Scouts love food. Impress them with some of these themed treats or challenge them to make one of these – there’s something for every age and skill level. None of those strike your fancy, here’s 10 more recipes for kids.
World Thinking Day is a day of friendship, advocacy and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. On 22 February each year, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world celebrate World Thinking Day by learning about our international sisters and doing fun activities based around a yearly theme. The theme for World Thinking Day 2016 is "Connect"!
To take part in World Thinking Day 2016, girls will explore how they are connected to the incredible people in their lives and the amazing world around them.
Activities broken down by age level are provided by GSUSA and WAGGGS, and can be found here. You can also download the activity pack and board game here. If you decide to earn the full badge with your troop, it can be purchased here once you’ve completed the requirements.
Women’s History Month is a National Celebrated and Government-Recognized month in the United States. During Women's History Month, we recognize the victories, struggles, and stories of the women who have made our country what it is today
The United States Government has complied resources for teachers and other educators, and InfoPlease has joined them in providinghistories, timelines, and activities aimed towards children. Or, you can check out the resources provided by TIME for Kids.
Don’t know which famous women to focus on? Here’s an A-Z guide of incredible women. Or, if you prefer royalty, here are 10 famous princess from history. Here are 10 scientists every girl should know, 10 artists who challenged the world, and the 20 most powerful women in politics. Don’t want to look to the past? Here are the 20 most influential women today.
Do your girls enjoy thinking outside the box, being creative, and playing with American Girl Dolls? Follow this lesson plan to have them create a new American Girl character and tell her story.
Do you have high school students who want to read about women who went against the grain of society? Have them check out thesefamous female spies.
Do your girls know who Sybil Ludington is? If not, now is a great time to introduce them to one of our own local heroines and start them working on the GSHH Sybil Ludington Patch
Girl Scout Birthday, March 12, commemorates the day in 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the organization's first 18 girl members in Savannah, Georgia. Girl Scout Week is celebrated each March, starting with Girl Scout Sunday and ending with Girl Scout Sabbath on a Saturday, and it always includes the Girl Scout Birthday.
See how many of the activities on GS Week Bingo they can complete together or on their own.
Each day of GS Week has a different theme reflecting the important aspects of Girl Scouting. This activity sheet gives ideas for each day matching up with the themes. Pick and choose the ones that interest you.
Once they’ve completed some of the activities, patches can be purchased online or in our shop.
Earth Day celebrates our love for the planet we live on and shows our respect for the other trees, animals and humans who co-inhabit it with us. What can you do for Earth Day? Anything that is meaningful to you and for the environment. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Connect to a Journey - For girls who care about the environment, It’s Your Planet—Love It! is especially compelling and the adult guide will provide you with ideas for girl-led activities for years to come.
Let’s get Crafty:
- Are there birds near your home or meeting location? Check out these birdseed ornaments.*
- Have leftover Easter Eggs? Try this fun craft!*
- Create Nature Journals*
- Build a life-size structure out of recycled materials
Earn a Patch:
- All age levels can earn the Our Future on Earth patch by taking a pledge and then taking action to make a safer, healthier planet.
- Juniors can earn the Tree Patch by creating leaf prints, identifying different types of trees, taking care of plant life in their neighborhood, planting, or investigating their favorite tree
Involve your local Grocery Store – Decorate bags from a local grocery store with a picture of the earth, the words “Earth Day 2015” or other fun slogans and images the girl’s think up. After they’re decorated, return the bags to the store for customers to use on Earth Day. More info can be found here.
Have a Parade! Encourage each girl in your group to dress up as her favorite animal (or, with parent help and permission to bring in their pet) and have an animal parade.
Plant a Tree – Be sure the species are indigenous to your area. Think about working with local tree-planting groups or botanists.
Looking for more? Check out these teacher resources* for videos, worksheets, quizzes, and lesson plans on topics ranging from weather to animals to going green. You can also check out This list* from Edutopia which provides reading lists and activities, or these resources* from energy.gov.
Mother’s Day started in the United States 140 years ago when Anna Jarvis, a teacher living in Grafton, West Virginia, recalled her mother’s prayer: “I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”Inspired by her mother’s wish, Anna launched a campaign to establish a National Mother’s Day, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it official.
While Mother’s Day in the U.S. is always on the second Sunday of May, some countries celebrate moms on different days. Many Arab countries honor their mothers on March 21. In Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, Dia de las Madres (Day of the Mothers) is an unofficial holiday held every year on May 10.
Father’s Day in America has been officially celebrated since 1972, but it all started back in 1909, when Sonora Dodd was struck with an idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. She wanted to honor her own father, William Smart, who was a widowed farmer raising six children. Proof that Sonora’s touching tribute is still going strong all these years later: Father’s Day is the fourth-largest occasion for sending cards.
Are we inviting our favorite adults to participate? Here are some fun ideas!
- Host a tea party, luncheon, or dance – everyone invite an important adult role model in their lives.
- Play “What are you Carrying?” – Have girls make a list of items they think at least one of their mother/father would have on them – in their purse/bag/backpack pockets. Have them be creative and think outside the box. Assign points to different items (the more rare/unique the more points). Then have the girls join up with their parental figure to see who has what. Score the points. See who’s family is “most prepared.” Some items on the list may include, spare socks, a spoon, an mp3 player, hair brush, nail file, chocolate, book, water, calculator, Band-Aid, gift card, postage stamps, USB drive, photos of their family, umbrella, Chapstick, etc.
- Cook a meal or dessert for them – have they been working on one of the cooking legacy badges? Perhaps now is a great opportunity to earn all of part of one as they whip something up for their parent/guardian. Or, just have fun with it – what kind of toppings will make a banana split extra special? Can they share their favorite campfire snack?
- Have the girls select a patch or badge they want to work on and then invite their adults to help out.
- Who do you think knows more about the great outdoors? Girls vs. Adults or Family vs. Family, this Tree Safari Game is a great way to get everyone outdoors, learning, laughing, and enjoying nature.
Gifts for Our Loved Ones – Activities for just your troop:
- Have the girls Write a poem or short story detailing all the things you adore about this person and the favorite memories and moments you’ve shared throughout your life. You’ll be amazed by how easily the words flow when you’re writing about someone who means so much.
- Cards – Always a simple and easy craft that can be adjusted to fit the girl’s age level. Tinker Lab provides 40 creative card making ideas* if they want to move beyond markers, stickers, and glitter.
- Other Crafts – Mother’s Day crafts* and Father’s Day crafts* are pretty interchangeable. Use these resources to find ideas that work for the girls in your troop for either holiday.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. It was born out of the Civil War out of a desire to honor our fallen soldiers, and became an official holiday in New York in 1973. Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. On August 31, 1949, Louis Johnson, who was the United States’ Secretary of Defense, announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th and commemorates the adoption of the flag by the Unites states, which happened on that day in 1777.
These days are great opportunities to teach girl’s how to hold a Flag Ceremony, or to refresh their skills if they have learned before. GSUSA provides a how-to guide for teaching a running a flag ceremony with your troop.
If they want to try a new type of Flag Ceremony, we’ve compiled a sample Flag Retirement Ceremonies. This can also be a great community service project if they choose to collect old flags from friends and neighbors.
Look to community events – Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day often sees a variety of local parades, educational activities, and celebrations.
Community Service Opportunities:
- Operation Dear Abby*-- Send greetings and messages of support.
- Operation Give* -- Donate toys to be given to the children of Iraq
- Operation Gratitude* -- Contribute to care packages sent to our service members.
- Any Soldier* -- Sponsor care packages to servicemembers in Iraq.
- Books for Soldiers* -- Donate books, movies, CDs, and more.
Women in the military – The Women in Military Service for America Memorial put together a timeline*of important events in women’s history in the armed forces). The Department of Defense also created this wonderful handout showcasing important women and the heroic deeds they accomplished while serving their country Are your girls looking for current role models? Check out this list* of the “14 Most impressive Women in the US Military” – they’re all currently serving.
The summer and fall are perfect times to spend an extended stay outdoors, and with multiple facilities for you to choose from, there’s no reason to not jump into some camping fun with your girls.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated with community festivals, government gatherings, and educational activities. Many schools celebrate the month by learning about contributions of Hispanic Americans both past and present.
Meet the most Influential Hispanic-Americans as selected by TIME Magazine.
Want to test their culinary skills and excite their taste buds? QuéMás has collected 1 well-loved recipe from 21 different Hispanic countries. Need something a little simpler? The food network recommends these Mexican dishes for cooking with kids.
Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.
A Labor Day celebration may be a great way to get your troop back together if they took the summer off. Plan a picnic or BBQ with fun outdoor games like horseshoes, relay races, and water balloons. Invite parents to bring a side dish, and have a quick meeting with them to discuss the upcoming year.
Crafty Activities –
- Make a collage of different jobs in your town (or different jobs the girls might want to try) by cutting out pictures of workers from magazines and gluing them to a poster board.
- Build a box town – make an entire town using recycled materials. What are the important jobs needed to make sure the town is successful?
Interview a Professional – Labor Day is a great reason to get your girls thinking about their own careers. Meet with a fire fighter, police officers, sanitation worker, or medical professional to learn about their jobs. If you have high school girls, have them name a potential dream job, and then see if there’s an opportunity to tour a job or interview someone in that field.
This is a relatively new holiday in the Unites States – only celebrated officially since 1979 on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The holiday is also celebrated in other countries around the world – sometimes split into two separate holidays (Grandmother’s Day and Grandfather’s Day).
Grandparents coming to join you for a meeting? Whether it’s a tea party, luncheon, or your regular standard troop meeting, celebrating their granddaughter’s will be a highlight of their week. The Legacy Project has put together an incredible resource with lots of activities.
We bet the grandparents of members of your troop have great stories – invite them in to share their memories and histories. Were any of them Girl Scouts? What was their experience like? Were they involved in the Vietnam War? WWII? Have they always lived locally? What major changes have been made?
Grandparents won’t be present? That’s okay! You can make cards, write poems, or make a gift instead.
Be Prepared! For changes, that is - As girls and adults leave or join the troop, the group dynamics change. The “personality” of the troop changes, and it may take returning members a little while to adjust. Even if the same girls and adults are in the group – no additions or deletions – a major change has still taken place: the girls are a summer older! Some girls had a birthday, some grew taller, some experienced their first menstrual cycle, and some lived away from home at camp or with relatives. A few may have survived a death, divorce, or other family upheaval. Most will be entering a new school grade, and they certainly see themselves as being more grown-up.
The first few meetings are a great time to sit down and plan out the year – what badges, patches, Journeys , or Awards are the girls interested in earning? Talk about what programs they might like to attend and if there’s any community service they might like to get involved with this year.
Need more ideas? This book lists 100 ideas for holding a troop meeting.
One of the keys to being a successful leader is to realize that Girl Scouting does not quick-freeze girls; they continue to grow and change, and want you to acknowledge their changing. As you begin to mentally prepare for a new season of Girl Scouting, keep these thoughts in mind:
- Girls have grown and changed over the summer, and they want their Girl Scout leadership experience to reflect that growth.
- When new girls and adults join an existing troop, everyone needs a chance to get acquainted.
- If girls haven’t seen each other over the summer, they need time to catch up and get reacquainted.
- Just as girls forget a lot of what they learned in school over the summer, they’ll forget Girl Scout knowledge and skills; allow time for quick reviews that are also fun!
Juliette Gordon Low was born on October 31, 1860. Many troops like to hold birthday parties with desserts and classic party games on this day. You can find simple instructions and how-tos both here and here.
Girls can also bring in a donated item (clothes, games, food, etc.) as a “gift” for a local organization in honor of our founder’s special day.
Since today is also Halloween, perhaps girls want to come dressed as Juliette Gordon Low or other famous Girl Scouts. Or, they can paint or carve birthday-themed pumpkins – we always love a blending on celebrations!
Halloween is a fun time for girls, parents, and leaders, to think about who/what we want to be and let our imaginations run wild. It’s a time to transform ourselves into something different –something bigger and bolder, model ourselves after a role model or hero, or stretch our creativity.
Having a Halloween-themed party of meeting? Try one of these activities: bobbing for apples, a bean bag toss, painting or carving pumpkins, donuts on a string, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin ring toss, or a balloon sweep relay. Want to involve your parents? Host a “mummy of the year” contest and have girls wrap their favorite adult in toilet paper. Have a mummy-fashion show to end the event!
Want to try some crafts? This website has some fun ideas for crafty projects and tasty snacks!
On this Thanksgiving—before the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the trimmings—take a minute to list the things you’re most grateful for. It might be a beloved pet, a special relative, your troop, the community you live in, how much you’re learning in school, your athletic ability, or your creative talent. You might be thankful that you live in a time where girls can do and be anything! Celebrating with your troop? Here are some activities to tie in the spirit of the season:
- Thankfulness Bag Start with an empty paper bag, with the words “I Am Thankful For…” on scraps of paper. Give the girls markers, crayons and pencils and have them write or draw things they are thankful for. Afterwards, you can share these with the troop and parents. This is a great way to see what girl’s value.
- Corn Husk Dolls – A great tie in to introduce the concept of “Using Resources Wisely”. In the past, people didn’t waste a thing, and the husk from corn was no exception. Dried corn husks can easily be found in the Hispanic food section of most grocery stores. Here is a great link to make your own corn husk doll, or try other Native American crafts.
- Take a Hike! November is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the Hudson Valley. Take a hike and see how many leaves or plants the girls can identify. Tie in activities from any of the It’s Your Planet – Love It journey or the Brownie Plants Badge. Girls can collect leaves, bark, and other items to create collages or nature rubbings.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s there are lots of reasons to celebrate. Many troops like to spend this time serving the community (donating food or games, sending letters to soldiers, caroling, visiting a senior center).
It’s also a great time to spend a day together enjoying each other’s company on a troop trip or outing. NYC and Albany are both popular destinations this time of year with great displays, shows, and shopping opportunities. Don’t want to leave council? Check out Van Cortlandt Manor’s holiday tour, the world’s LARGEST Christmas light display (ERDAJT) in Lagrangeville, Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival in Wappingers Falls, Frosty Fest in Ulster Park, Holiday Lights in Bloom at the Orange County Arboretum, or Christmas on Colden Hill in Newburgh.
Of course, December Holiday’s are often a great time for having a troop or Service Unit Party. Here are some great party games,Christmas Crafts, Hanukkah Crafts, Kwanzaa Crafts, Winter Crafts, more winter crafts, and delicious snacks and treats.
If you’re having a gift exchange, here’s a fun idea for passing gifts: Have each person write down a direction such as “trade gifts with the person who has the longest hair” or “everyone pass their gift to the left” or “if your birthday is in the summer, swap gifts with someone else who also has a summer birthday”, etc. Have girls take turns pulling a slip of paper from a bowl / bag until they’ve all been read. Girls then open the gift in front of them.
- MLK Day (3rd Monday of January)
- Compliment Day (January 24th)
- Backward Day (January 31st)
- Groundhog Day (February 2nd)
- Chinese New Year / Spring Festival
- President’s Day (3rd Monday in February)
- Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17th)
- International World Thinking Day (February 22nd)
- National Nutrition Month (March)
- Girl Scout Birthday (March 12th)
- St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
- First Day of Spring (March 21st)
- World Water Day (March 22nd) – Brownies, check out WOW
- Keep America Beautiful Month (April)
- April Fool’s Day (April 1st) - click here for a history of the day, and traditions in other countries
- Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 16th)
- Earth Day (April 22nd)
- Arbor Day (Last Friday in April)
- May Day (May 1st)
- Bird Day (May 2nd) - click here if interested in earning the Eastern Bluebird patch
- Cinco de Mayo (May 5th)
- Mother’s Day (2nd Sunday in May)
- Armed Forces Day (3rd Saturday of May)
- Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
- Sally Ride Day (May 26th) - Did you know she was an avid supporter of and volunteer for Girl Scouts? Find out more here
- Flag Day (June 14th)
- International Picnic Day (June 18th)
- Father’s Day (3rd Sunday in June)
- National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day (July 1st)
- Teddy Bear Picnic Day (July 10th)
- Friendship Day (August 2nd)
- National S’more Day (August 10th)
- Women’s Equality Day (August 26th)
- National Trail Mix Day (August 31st)
- Hispanic Heritage Month (September)
- International Peace Day (September 21) – Find out more (http://internationaldayofpeace.org/)
- Native American Day (August 25th) – Find out more (http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/native-americans-day)
- Johnny Appleseed Day – August 26th
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October)
- World Smile Day (1st Friday of October)
- Fire Prevention Day (October 9th)
- Make a Difference Day – Neighbors Helping Neighbors (4th Saturday of October)
- Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday (October 31st)
- Halloween (October 31st)
- Book Lovers Day (November 7th)
- Veterans Day (November 11th)
- America Recycles Day (November 15th)
- Have a Party with Your Teddy Bear Day (November 16th)
- Take a Hike Day (November 17th) – Learn more about the Girl Scout Ranger Program
- Pearl Harbor (December 7th)
- National Brownie Day (December 8th)
- New Year’s Eve (December 31st)
Around the Hudson Valley
Looking for activities, workshops, events, and field trips for your troop in and around the Hudson Valley?
For her Silver Award project, Cadette Girl Scout Tanvi, put together a book of local resources and potential workshops and trips for Girl Scouts and other members of the community. She provided valuable information about each location and matched each one with potential badges and/or patches that could be earned there.