Tag Archives: Girl Scouts

It was a Ronald McDonald House Birthday Party

22 Jul
Elizabeth couldn't wait for a chance to help out the Ronald McDonald House in Providence.

Elizabeth couldn’t wait for a chance to help out the Ronald McDonald House in Providence.

I’ve always said that one of the things I love about Girl Scouts is that the kids get the chance to do things they wouldn’t normally get to do. This past spring, in March, Elizabeth had one of those chances. Her troop visited the Ronald McDonald House in Providence. The house hosts the families who have children in treatment at the nearby hospitals, no matter how long the treatment might be.

I was not a chaperone on that trip, Don took her that night. When Elizabeth came home, I asked her how it was, and it was clear to me that the visit had made quite an impression on her. She talked about all that she had seen and heard when she was there, and she said that she wanted to find a way to help out the house.

In the later part of the school year, Elizabeth began planning her 11th birthday party, which would be her first sleepover party. It was then that she told me she wanted to do something for Ronald McDonald House at her party, but she wasn’t sure what to do. Around the same time I covered a story at a local elementary school and there was a speaker there from the Ronald McDonald House.

As I listened to the speaker, taking notes for my story, I realized that there was a lot we could do to turn Elizabeth’s birthday party into a fun night of helping others. I came home and told her some of my ideas. As we talked about it, Elizabeth decided that she would incorporate her invites, her crafts and activities, her cupcakes, and even the colors of the paper goods she chose.

We kicked off our party planning and shopping with a visit to McDonalds where Elizabeth got her color scheme inspiration and took a photo with the RMH Helping Hands.

We kicked off our party planning and shopping with a visit to McDonalds where Elizabeth got her color scheme inspiration and took a photo with the RMH Helping Hands.

It wasn’t hard to get excited about this party. Elizabeth’s enthusiasm was catchy. I typed up her invitations before the end of the school year and I put the Wish List from Ronald McDonald House website on the back. Elizabeth added her own message on the front:

** A message from Elizabeth**  My theme is Ronald McDonald.  Ever since a Girl Scout field trip to the Providence Ronald McDonald House, (which by the way was spectacular) I have been inspired to do something that includes helping other other people! Now that it has come close to my birthday I went with helping the Ronald McDonald house fund. You don’t have to come with anything to donate because we’ll be making things for the house at the party, but if you would like to then the Wish List is on the back!

And then came the real fun. Elizabeth had found plates, napkins and streamers in the colors of red, orange and yellow at the dollar store. While we were there, we happened to find bright yellow t-shirts that we could decorate with the fabric markers we had at home; a great activity for the party. We decided to make covered journals and coordinating bookmarks as the craft. We’d use composition notebooks and scrapbook paper to cover them. The bookmarks would be made with the leftover scrapbook paper. These would be for the girls at the party and for the Ronald McDonald House; each guest would make one to keep and one to donate. The journals could either be for kids or adults. They could be used as diaries or for keeping notes at doctor visits or even as gratitude journals.

Around the same time, the kids saw an episode of DC Cupcakes on TV and the bakers were designing cheeseburger cupcakes. It was then that Elizabeth knew she’d found her cake. I hadn’t seen the episode myself, but the girls told me how they were made: chocolate cupcakes sliced in half to make burger patties and vanilla cupcakes sliced in half to make buns. Once assembled, fondant and frosting were used to build the “burgers.” That sounded fun and easy.

Making fondant lettuce for the "build your own burger" cupcakes for the party.

Making fondant lettuce for the “build your own burger” cupcakes for the party.

The day of the party, I used a coupon at Michaels Crafts to get a four-pack of premade fondant in red, orange and yellow. The girls each took a color and made a condiment. Elizabeth made lettuce, Caroline made ketchup and Alex made Swiss Cheese. The white frosting would be the mayo. I baked my two batches of cupcakes and set them out to cool.

These were fun and we used them for the chips and snacks at the start of the party.

These were fun and we used them for the chips and snacks at the start of the party.

Earlier in the month we’d spotted the coolest additions to the party theme: fast-food themed paper goods in the dollar bins at Target. We had plates and napkins already for some of the food, but we could definitely incorporate these items for the rest of the food. We even found similar containers shaped like hot dog holders that we could use for the cupcakes.

The night of the party arrived. All of the guests brought bags of donations for Ronald McDonald House. We had coloring books, puzzle books, toiletries and grocery items. We filled a whole basket with them. The girls decorated their t-shirts any way they wanted to. Our three decided to make theirs Ronald McDonald themed, with big red smiles. Caroline, who loves doing nails, did all the girls’ nails in yellow with big red smiles on the thumbs. So cute!

They seemed to love decorating their journals and creating special ones to put in the donation basket. As the basket filled, they were even more excited. The “build your own burger” cupcakes were fantastic. The girls got such a kick out of creating them and eating them, and they really did look just like burgers!

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Ready to deliver!

A few days after the party ended, on a Friday evening, we gathered up our family and Elizabeth got together all of the donations and off we went to Ronald McDonald House in Providence. It was exciting for me to see the house, since I’d missed the original field trip. It was fun to bring in the donations and place them in the house where the families could take a journal and where the donated items would be added to the supplies that are kept on hand for the those who need them.

All in all, this party was a huge success. It was a fun party, it was very inexpensive to put together, and it helped Elizabeth help others, which was her intention from the beginning.

Best of all though, the feeling we had from doing good for someone else, definitely takes the cake.

T-Shirt decorating time!

T-Shirt decorating time!

Below are more photos from Elizabeth’s Ronald McDonald House Birthday party.

Caroline's shirt

Caroline’s shirt

Everyone loved their covered journals!

Everyone loved their covered journals and bookmarks! Alex ran the bookmark-making station.

Ready for "Build Your Own Burger" cupcakes

Ready for “Build Your Own Burger” cupcakes

YUM!

YUM!

Ronald McDonald nails

Ronald McDonald nails

Elizabeth created Ronald McDonald smiles on a stick for all her friends to take home with them.

Elizabeth created Ronald McDonald smiles on a stick for all her friends to take home with them.

Experiences like no other

4 Jun

Girl Scouting has provided our girls with experiences they might not be able to get anywhere else.

I’ve just returned from a Girl Scout camping weekend. Not quite a whole weekend, but about 36 hours.

Long enough.

It was not my first time going to, participating at or working for a Girl Scout Camp. I’ve been a leader for five full years now, and as a kid I was a Girl Scout for many years. I went to camp then, I’ve worked there as an adult so my kids could go, and I’ve chaperoned camping trips for all my daughters with this weekend being the most recent one.

Of course it rained like crazy yesterday, poured actually. Again.

And in my head through much of the trip I was thinking, “I’m getting too old for this ‘job.'” I thought it as I drove half the troop down there in the rain yesterday with my co-leader driving the other half down right behind me, and I thought it as I traipsed all through the camp in the rain, and I thought it as I laid awake in our leader “cabin” until 4am listening to them laugh and giggle and tell stories.

Four A.M.

But, throughout the whirlwind weekend I also watched them in amazement, thinking and talking with my co-leader (who was a saint to spend her wedding anniversary at a rainy camp in a cabin with me rather than at home with her husband of 16 years) about how much these girls have grown and matured and changed from when we first started this troop together as Brownies, second graders, five years ago. We looked at them all, not even believing it.

We had eight really great stations to rotate through at camp yesterday which took us from first thing in the morning until the movie and campfire at the end of the night. We watched them create beautiful beaded jewelry at the jewelry-making station, being instructed in the craft by some of the leading women in the jewelry industry here in our state. We listened along with them as they learned about how to write a check and a deposit slip at the financial literacy class, from an instructor at one of the local universities. We cheered and encouraged them as they shot their bow and arrow during archery class, knowing full well that some of them were doing it for the first time. There was a science class, a tie-dye station, a dance class where they learned the moves to an upcoming flash mob taking place this summer, S’Mores, and they were laughing and smiling, and hugging, and chatting, and laughing some more, the entire day.

And night.

Did I mention they were awake in their tent til 4am?

Many of them haven’t slept too far away from home before. Many of them have never slept in a tent or cleaned a latrine (there are some benefits to being a leader and not having to do the camp “kapers” is one of them) many of them have never shot a bow and arrow or a bottle rocket or been in a flash mob before.

Being a Girl Scout has allowed our own daughters and the scouts we lead, to experience things they couldn’t experience in the normal course of their days. With us as leaders, our troop has taken field trips, had a scholarship named after our troop, done community service projects, slept inside an aquarium near the shark tank, gone behind the scenes on movie sets, at radio stations, TV shows, movie theaters, stage theaters, been on the news, in the newspaper, met the mayor, a city councilwoman, a comic book designer, learned how to collect, categorize and display postage stamps, sold cookies, cookies and more cookies-showing a business sense and dedication like you wouldn’t believe- and they’ve loved every minute of it.

And now, they’ve gone camping. Overnight.

All because I chose to be a Girl Scout leader five years ago so that my daughter could be a Girl Scout.

So as I laid in my cabin last night, chatting with my co-leader til I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, someone I hardly knew before scouting, as we were listening to them laugh and giggle and shriek, I knew that this was the reason I was there at that moment.

Thank you Girl Scouts!