Girl Scout Convention only happens once every three years, so it’s extra special, full of thought-provoking conversations, educational experiences, and invaluable bonding opportunities. Attendees get to connect and network with over 10,000 brilliant, capable, like-minded girls and women gathered together from around world—so who knows who your Girl Scout will meet? A camp buddy she hasn’t seen in years, a new lifelong friend, or even her future boss! Since most girls travel to convention as individuals (or sometimes with their fellow national delegates), it’s a chance to make an impression with custom convention SWAPS that showcases her personal style and Girl Scout spirit.
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Show what it means to be a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader
The G.I.R.L. 2017 Convention is for every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who wants to stand up, take charge, and change the world, for her and for all of us.
- Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards – Did you just finish an award project? Design SWAPS that celebrate that accomplishment. For example, if you created a Little Free Library, then a literary or book-themed SWAP may be just the ticket. If your project involved having a website or social media account, include the web address on your SWAP.
- Inspirational women – Ada Lovelace, Shirley Chisholm, Dolores Huerta, Sylvia Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Hilary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai… this is the smallest sample of the many amazing, trailblazing women you can draw inspiration from. Choose a quote that resonates with you, or print a portrait.
- Good Housekeeping has a list of 26 famous women who were once Girl Scouts.
- Glamour’s also rounded up quotes from 26 inspirational women (many of whom, no surprise, were Girl Scouts).
- GSUSA has a timeline of inspirational women, starting in the 1500’s! The interface is a bit buggy but there’s a wealth of knowledge there if you click through it.
- #GirlsinSTEM – What’s not to love about science, technology, engineering, and math? Get brainy and swap tools of the trade, like beakers, lab coats, robots, batteries, circuits, or computers!
- The great outdoors – pick your favorite part about getting outside with Girl Scouts and use that to inspire your SWAPS. Camping gear, wildlife, your favorite flora, and outdoor activities like hiking, archery, and canoeing.
- What other interests has Girl Scouts enabled you to explore? Did you discover a penchant for photography or a knack for horseback riding? An aptitude for computer programming or a hunger for high adventure? Now’s the time to let those interests shine.
Show pride in where you come from
Convention brings together girls from near and far. While you’re out and about in the world, show pride in where you come from.
- State shape or state flag
- Key landmarks and natural features like the Golden Gate Bridge, Hearst Castle, Yosemite, Mt. Shasta, the redwood forests, or the many missions
- State symbols – golden poppy, grizzly bear, redwood trees, gold nuggets
- Printouts of local stamps
- Tour guide/brochures
- You can also design a destination SWAP that celebrates both your hometown and the location of the convention, like Leah did for the 2011 convention in Houston, Texas (below). This year’s convention will take place in Columbus, Ohio.
Show pride in what you’re a part of
Being a Girl Scout means being a part of an international sisterhood striving together to make the world a better place. These SWAPS are sure to be a hit at convention.
- I *heart* Girl Scouts pin – SWAPs don’t have to be complicated; in fact, the best ones often are made of few materials and simple to put together, so you can make them in volume. Show your Girl Scout pride with a few simple pony beads and a safety pin.
- Girl Scout Promise on a clipboard
- Girl Scout scarf – navy ribbon, yellow pony bead, and creative use of green, gold, and silver paint pens.
- “Make new friends, but keep the old” tokens of silver and gold
- Include your name, troop number, and city/state on each SWAP. If the information doesn’t seem to fit on the object you designed, include an additional paper tag. You want your new friends to remember who they received the extra cool
- Try not to spend a lot of money. Consider making something from donated or recycled material.
- Plan ahead so there’s time to make them. You won’t be able to make enough for every person at convention (10,000!), but plan on making enough that you won’t run out before the last day. Even if just one girl from your troop is going, you can make SWAPS-making a bonding experience and get your Girl Scout troop sisters to pitch in on the production during a troop meeting.
- Swap face-to-face, especially if exchanging addresses or email information.
- Avoid using glass or sharp objects in SWAPS.
- Follow all Safety Activity Checkpoints guidelines.
- Avoid using food products, unless they are individually wrapped.
- Looking for more SWAPS ideas? Check out summer adventure SWAPS ideas or our Pinterest SWAPS board!
- Register now—G.I.R.L. 2017 Convention is right around the corner! At G.I.R.L. 2017, you’ll meet fellow young women leaders, participate in leadership skill workshops, and hear from inspirational go-getters like Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Barbara Pierce Bush, and Gabby Douglas!
- Want to know more about what this year’s convention in Columbus, OH will be like? Hear from two girls on the planning committee from Western Ohio council.
Ashley Redfield—Ashley is the Digital Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Northern California, where she’s constantly planning, creating, and managing awesome content for social media. After graduating from Mills College (a women’s college in Oakland), Ashley joined the Girl Scout movement where she loves being part of a team that helps girls unlock their potential and continuing that legacy of women’s leadership. She has spent much of her life exploring Northern California, especially the Bay Area, so when not behind a blue-lit screen, you’ll probably find her hiking through a local park or at a café planning her next road trip.