March 2020 Newsletter

A Note From the Founder – Bright Idea Award Presented to Brenda Barrington

by Kerry Cordy

I am super excited to introduce the leader of our new troop #543 in South Carolina, Brenda Barrington.  Brenda just started her troop in February, but is already on fire and has a million fabulous ideas to help improve the program for all members across the country.  She participated in Girl Scouts back in the 1950’s and has been a Girl Scout fan most of her life as well as a leader for several years.  In addition to her Girl Scout background, Brenda has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has spent the last 40 years building programs in her community.  So she has some great connections.

Brenda and I have been brainstorming together for a week now on how to make starting a troop easier and she has some fabulous ideas.  She has taken the time to start her own 501(c)3 and is helping me write up a plan so others can easily replicate what she has done which will help limit the need for outside charter organizations.  We will be working together to create instructions with everything from how to set up a 501(c)3 non profit to where you can get inexpensive insurance and quality leadership training.  I will have a template for an easy free website and other structural resources as well.    Brenda also has some great ideas for some easy fundraising that I will write about once we get the details sorted out.  (No, there will be no national cookie sales!)

This is what I love about Frontier Girls.  Since the day I started the program in 2007, members from around the country who share my vision have always jumped in to share their ideas with the rest of our membership.  Many people don’t know that we have a “Bright Idea” award as it is not something you can earn so it isn’t on the website.

The Bright Idea Award is given at my sole discretion to those members who come up with an idea that substantially changes the program for all members for the better.  When Diana Havir and Sylvia Duke convinced me to add a preschool level and wrote the preschool portion of our handbook, they received Bright Idea Awards.  When Dingo convinced me to add the adult level, she also received one.  When a half dozen leaders and parents on our forum got together and brainstormed Frontier Girls holidays (Founders Day: Sept. 20, Frontier Girls Birthday: Jan 19; Leader Appreciation Day: Feb. 20; March 4th (Forth!): Mar. 4) they received the Bright Idea Award.  When Makayla Russell not only suggested an outdoor award, but wrote a quality one and sent it in, she also received the award.

Only about a dozen of these have been handed out over the years as I do not give them lightly.  You can’t get one just for writing a badge or sending in a suggestion.  Those who receive this award do more than just come up with an idea, they act on it.  They put time and energy into it and convince me it is needed.  Brenda has done just that and I can’t wait to be able to get all her ideas in concrete form to share with everyone.

New Badge Added

Role Playing





Girl of the Month – Mia Richins, Otter Pioneer

submitted by Holly McCluskey

Mia Richins earned her Make A Difference Award at the Otter Level. Last year in kindergarten she noticed that trash was on the playground at school. Mia saw a need at her school and on her own she decided to spend some of her recess time picking up trash because “we are big kids now and the janitors don’t need to pick up after us.”
Mia started first grade this year and decided she was going to spend the last recess of the school week helping to keep her school clean. She recruited some of her friends to help her and they spend their last recess on Thursdays picking up any trash they find on the playground. The teachers at her school noticed Mia’s efforts of keeping her school clean, telling her mom about Mia using her recess time to pick up trash on the playground and that Mia has recruited her friends to help her. The teachers at Mia’s school started rewarding any student who spent their last recess on Thursday with stickers, for every handful of trash the students picked up they are given a sticker. Mia rarely keeps the stickers she is given, instead she gives them away to her other classmates.
Note from Kerry Cordy:  I love this particular Make a Difference project as Mia did all of this with no desire for a badge or award but rather because it was needed.  She took our motto, “If you see a need take lead.” to the next level all on her own at such a young by organizing her friends to help with weekly clean up.  the fact that she doesn’t even keep most of her stickers, but gives them away was icing on the cake.  When I asked for a write up on her project and her picture, she didn’t want recognition until I mentioned that the picture would help other kids “act like big kids” just like her.  That did the trick!


What is a Badge Hound?

by Kerry Cordy

Meet Savannah Crowell of Troop #101.  Savannah is a Badge Hound.  What is a Badge Hound you might ask?  A Badge Hound is someone who can sniff out badge possibilities in everything she does.  In addition earning an abnormal amount of badges, Savannah takes badge earning to the next level by writing her own.  I have had the pleasure of knowing Savannah for the last seven years or so and over that time she has written several badges for our program including some of our more popular such as the Big Sister badge and the Poisonous Plants badge.

We have many Badge Hounds in our program and I love to watch the way their brains work.  First and foremost a Badge Hound loves to earn badges and their collections frequently spill off their vests onto supplemental badge sashes, wall banners, or tote bags.  A WOW! award is usually their goal, though many don’t stop there and have earned multiple WOW! Awards at their age level.  You know you have a serious Badge Hound on your hands if they can’t find a badge for what they are doing and they start writing their own just so they can get a badge.

Badge Hounds have an abundance of enthusiasm for Frontier Girls and their badge collection, but just because a girl is not a badge hound doesn’t mean she doesn’t love the Frontier Girls program just as much.  Always remind your girls at the beginning of each program year as well as at each award ceremony that the number of badges on their vest does not reflect on their love of the program or how hard they work.  It only reflects a girls passion for badges.  Other girls may be passionate about softball, or dance, or theater and put their energy into other activities.  Just because they don’t earn badges at home doesn’t mean they aren’t just as busy and dedicated to their own passion.  Just like not all kids want to practice dance all week, others don’t want to earn badges.  Remind your girls that the best part of Frontier Girls is just having fun!

SWAPS 2020 has begun – Get Ready for March 4

If you are participating in the 2020 SWAPS event, please make sure to mail your SWAPS to your partner immediately if you have not already done so.  The goal is to receive the SWAPS in time to celebrate at your March 4th meeting.  We have already started receiving SWAPS at headquarters and are excited to see this years crafts and to read about all the great members around the country. If you wish to get the official Frontier Girls SWAPS from headquarters make sure to do the following:

  1.  First make sure you connected with your SWAPS partner and mailed off your SWAPS
  2.   Then mail one of your SWAPS and a letter explaining why it repesents you to Frontier Girls Headquarters
  3. Make sure to include your shipping address or we don’t know where to ship the SWAPS
  4. Make sure to tell us how many SWAPS you need us to send (enough for all girl and volunteer participants)

Every year we get SWAPS in the mail with no note or information attached and we don’t know how many to send back or where to send them to.

Feel free to post pictures of the SWAPS you made or received on the Facebook forum to give people ideas for next year!

What is March 4th (Forth)?

March 4th each year is a day of action when Frontier Girls “March Forth” across the nation to spread the word about our program and learn about other Frontier Girls around the country.  Girls participate in activities and projects with national themes to honor their sister Frontier Girls in other regions and states. March 4th (Forth!) not only gives girls a chance to celebrate inter-state or county friendships, but is also a reminder that they are part of a nationwide community.  They can even earn their March 4th Badge!

The date March 4th  was chosen as it is also the date that the first American Congress convened, marking the beginning of America as we know it today as they prepared to “march forth” as a nation.

Activities Ideas for March 4th:

  •  Earn a state badge for another state that hosts Frontier Girls. (Preferably the same state you swapped with!)
  •  Get together with another Frontier Girls troop or Pioneer to do a fun activity or service project.
  • Meet the Founder, Kerry Cordy, or interview her by phone or email.
  • Collaborate on a project with a Frontier Girl sister who lives far away.
  • Make flyers or posters to advertise your troop and try to recruit new members to Frontier Girls.
  • Make a recipe that is popular in another state and share it with friends.
  •  Make a craft that represents another state.
  • Host or participate in a March 4th Day celebration.  Have each person (or troop) learn about a different part of our country.  Then have each person/troop bring a dish of food from their region, make a swap from their region, bring a craft or item to talk about, etc.
  • Learn a song from a different region or state.
  • Wear your uniform to school.
  • Make a presentation about Frontier Girls to your church, class, friends or family.

Tips and Treasures – Seek! App by iNaturalist

Several Frontier Girls leaders have mentioned using a fabulous app on their phones called Seek! by iNaturalist so of course I had to check it out.  Found a mushroom, flower, or bug, and not sure what it is? Open up the Seek camera to see if it knows!  You can even earn online badges by taking on different challenges and observing wildlife in your area.

Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Scan the environment with the Seek Camera to identify organisms using the tree of life. Add different species to your observations and learn all about them in the process! The more observations you make, the more badges you’ll earn!

Seek! Uses the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants, and fungi.

  • Get outside and point the Seek Camera at living things.
  • Identify wildlife and plants you see and take pictures to earn badges
  • Learn fun facts about the organisms all around you


Kid-Safe and Fun for Families

No registration is involved, and no user data is collected.

Seek will ask permission to turn on location services, but your location is obscured to respect your privacy while still allowing species suggestions from your general area. Your precise location is never stored in the app or sent to iNaturalist.

Our image recognition technology is based on observations submitted to and partner sites, and identified by the iNaturalist community.

This is a great app for families who want to spend more time exploring nature together.

Life Skills Achievement Award

by Kerry Cordy

While it may take a few tries to get it right, and their idea of “done” may not be  the same as yours, learning to do chores around the house is a necessary part of childhood education.  Not only does it prepare your child for tasks they will have to perform as an adult, but it teaches them to be a part of a team and pitch in to help the family.  Mom should not have to do it all.    Even the smallest children can help out by picking up toys or wiping up spills.  By age 10, most kids can do just about any chore around the house from doing dishes and making beds, to dusting and laundry.

If you have not already looked at the requirements for the Life Skills Achievement Award, now is the time.  This award is a series of 30 requirements at each level that teach kids life skills in a variety of areas from household chores and good hygiene, to navigational and financial skills.  While 30 requirements may seem daunting, many are simply common sense tasks that your child has probably already learned.  Even if you are starting from scratch, if you teach your child one skill each month, by the time they advance to the next level of Frontier Girls they should have earned the award and amassed several skills that they will use throughout their life.

While taking the time to teach your children to be self-sufficient may require a bit of work in the beginning, in the long run it will save you a lot of time and headaches.  Things like cleaning their own bathroom and bedrooms, vacuuming, dusting, doing dishes, yard work, etc.  should be part of their routine.  They take pride in being able to do these things, and since they are

History of Taps

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

The 24-note melancholy bugle call known as “taps” is thought to be a revision of a
French bugle signal, called “tattoo,” that notified soldiers to cease an evening’s drinking
and return to their garrisons. It was sounded an hour before the final bugle call to end
the day by extinguishing fires and lights. The last five measures of the tattoo resemble

The word “taps” is an alteration of the obsolete word “taptoo,” derived from the Dutch
“taptoe.” Taptoe was the command — “Tap toe!” — to shut (“toe to”) the “tap” of a keg.
The revision that gave us present-day taps was made during America’s Civil War by
Union Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield, heading a brigade camped at Harrison Landing,
Va., near Richmond. Up to that time, the U.S. Army’s infantry call to end the day was
the French final call, “L’Extinction des feux.” Gen. Butterfield decided the “lights out”
music was too formal to signal the day’s end. One day in July 1862 he recalled the
tattoo music and hummed a version of it to an aide, who wrote it down in music.
Butterfield then asked the brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, to play the notes and, after
listening, lengthened and shortened them while keeping his original melody.
He ordered Norton to play this new call at the end of each day thereafter, instead of the
regulation call. The music was heard and appreciated by other brigades, who asked for
copies and adopted this bugle call. It was even adopted by Confederate buglers.
This music was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but not given the name
“taps” until 1874.

The first time taps was played at a military funeral may also have been in Virginia soon
after Butterfield composed it. Union Capt. John Tidball, head of an artillery battery,
ordered it played for the burial of a cannoneer killed in action. Not wanting to reveal the
battery’s position in the woods to the enemy nearby, Tidball substituted taps for the
traditional three rifle volleys fired over the grave. Taps was played at the funeral of
Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson 10 months after it was composed. Army infantry
regulations by 1891 required taps to be played at military funeral ceremonies.
Taps now is played by the military at burial and memorial services, to accompany the
lowering of the flag and to signal the “lights out” command at day’s end.

March 2020 Newsletter Frontier Girls
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