Start thinking about Thinking Day. Check out the People of the World Try It as a place to begin.  Find out what the Association event will be this year, because sometimes troops need to come up with an activity or food to share. Choose your country, and start researching. You can often take several meetings really concentrating on your special country.

The cookie sale shouldn’t be overlooked as a source of program. Sometimes games or other materials are provided to kick off the sale. Also, spend some time deciding what your troop will be earning money for. Do some budgeting: if we all want to go horseback riding, and it costs so much per person, how many boxes of cookies do we need to sell? Definitely spend some time role-playing making cookie sales, so that the girls feel confident and prepared. Make sure that they understand that they don’t need to feel hurt or rejected personally if someone doesn’t want to buy cookies. Brainstorm ideas of why someone might not want to buy cookies (as well as selling techniques for these e.g. we do have a low fat cookie.) The cookie sale is a great source of self-esteem for girls who get out there and have the experience of talking to adults, etc.

In the early days of Girl Scout cookie sales, troops made their own cookies to sell according to the following recipe: 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, well beaten, 2 tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour, and baking powder and mix. Add eggs, milk, vanilla. Mix well. Chill. Roll very thin and cut out with 2” cutters. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle baked cookie with sugar. Imagine how much work it would be if we not only had to sell cookies, but bake them, too?

Celebrate the New Year with noisemakers.

Paper-Bag Dramatics. Split the troop into groups and provide each group with a paper bag of props to use in a play. Items might include a flashlight, a spoon, gloves, a cowboy hat, a vegetable peeler, etc. Give groups a chance to plan before performing for the rest of the troop. OR, perform puppet shows or drama plays with their own ideas, or provide some well-known children’s stories to get them started.

Make puppets for a puppet show.

Try different exercises such as blindfolding or taping thumbs to your wrist and try to do everyday activities to know what it might feel like to be disabled.

Blind Walk: Before the meeting set up a simple obstacle course. You may want to have some items to go around or under and some to go through or over. Discuss with the girls so that they understand what it might be like to not be able to see. Have the girls choose buddies. Blindfold one girl and let the buddy guide her through the course. When the girls trade places, you may want to modify the course so they are not as familiar with it. Also, the blindfolded person may try to drink water or eat something. Follow up with a visit from a person who has to deal with blindness all of the time. Or perhaps an introduction to Braille would be another good activity.

Commemorate Martin Luther King Day. Talk about dreams, hopes and wishes. Talk about having convictions.  As an opening, tell the girls to pair up with the person who “looks like them”. Some girls will have trouble pairing up, but some will start finding someone who has similar features. When they do pair up, point out something that is different about the two girls so that they can’t be partners. Let them try for awhile. Eventually, they will all realize that nobody is exactly like anyone else. Talk about this and the fact that everybody is special and unique. Then, let everyone have a chance to make fingerprints, and talk about how they are all unique, too. You can even get fingerprint cards from the local police and send them home with the girls. If you have extra time, make a fingerprint, and then add features onto it to make a creative picture (e.g. the fingerprint can become the head of a person who is riding a horse - add the cowboy hat, body, horse, etc.)

Draw names for secret pals. Let the girls exchange small notes, stickers, little gifts, etc. for a month or six weeks until Thinking Day.

Talk about nutrition and the food pyramid. Test different foods for fat content by rubbing them on a paper bag. Fattier foods will leave oil stains on the paper. Test for starch by adding about 20 drops of tincture of iodine to a glass of water (be sure not to drink or touch wash hands and glass well before using as iodine is poisonous.) Pour some of this solution into a glass with about 1/2 tsp. of cornstarch. The dark blue color tells you that starch is present. Add a few drops of the iodine solution to small pieces of bread, cake, or a raw potato. You might test sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt in addition to cornstarch. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is necessary for prevention of bleeding gums, for repairing damaged tissue, and for wounds to heal properly. It cannot be stored in the body, so people must consume this chemical regularly. Make a vitamin C indicator by stirring a teaspoon of cornstarch into a cup of boiling water. Cool this mixture. Add drops of iodine slowly while stirring the solution. Keep adding until the mixture is blue. You are ready to test fruit juices, such as orange, grapefruit, lemon, tomato, and apple. Pour a small amount of the indicator into a glass. Start adding drops of some juice until the blue color disappears. Record the number of drops it took. Repeat with each juice using fresh indicator each time. The more drops it takes, the less vitamin C is present. Now try a variation. Boil a juice and test it. What did you find out? Let the juice stand for a couple of days in an open container. Test it for vitamin C. compare your results with your reading before.  What happened? What does this tell you about the nature of this vitamin? Add a little bicarbonate of soda to a juice and then test for the presence of vitamin C. Baking soda is often added to vegetables to preserve their green coloring. What happens to the amount of Vitamin C under those conditions?

Make some different paper airplanes and test which ones fly best. Have an air show.

Learn about how a checking account works. Print up some dummy checks and let the girls make a few transactions. Show how they can keep track of their checks in the register and learn how to reconcile a bank statement.

Spa night. Who says Girl Scouting has to be all about roughing it? Pamper yourselves with an evening of beauty treatments. Make homemade bath salts: 2 1/2 pounds Epsom salts, a few drops of food coloring, a few drops favorite perfume or cologne. Mix ingredients well in a large bowl until color is even. Put into smaller jars and let stand 4-6 weeks before using, so odor blends with salts. (Possible Mother’s Day gift!) Do facials: Mix approximately two cups of oatmeal with enough water to make a paste. Have buddy smear on face and let dry. Let the girls sit with cut cucumber on their eyelids. Do manicures. Let the girls bring bottles of their favorite nail polish colors.

Make finger puppets to donate to a hospital to give to children after they have had a finger stick for a blood test.

Sing around the campfire. It would be fun to sip hot chocolate and sit around a fireplace.