Trading pins and badges is a well-established tradition with both Boy and Girl Scouts around the world. Early Scouts would trade their actual Scout pin with their peers from other countries to remind them of the international nature of scouting. Today's Girl Scouts often make their own special pins, called SWAPS, to trade with other Scouts during campouts or festivals. SWAPS are intended to represent something unique or special about a specific troop; they may also be based on traditional Girl Scout emblems or symbols. Making and sharing SWAPS is an enjoyable and inexpensive way for girls to learn about each other and be reminded of scouting's many facets.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- SWAPS design or pattern
- Coloured markers
- Strong craft glue
- Construction paper
- Craft sticks
- Craft foam sheets
- Jewellery pin backings
Guide the troop in selecting the type of SWAPS they want to make for an upcoming event. SWAPS for a local campout may reflect the camp's theme -- outdoor activities, tenting, swimming or cooking, for example. SWAPS made for the annual Girl Scout Thinking Day, an international celebration, are intended to symbolise the country the troop is representing -- wooden shoes for Holland, a shamrock for Ireland or a country's flag.
Develop a simple design for the desired SWAPS. Identify the specific items needed to make one pin; then multiply for the desired number of SWAPS. The girls should figure out what supplies they need, what it will cost to make enough SWAPS and how long it will take to make them. Schedule an outing to purchase the supplies and enough meetings to make them before the event at which they will be traded.
Use basic craft supplies and jewellery findings to make flag SWAPS. Cut out a construction paper rectangle, colour the flag with markers and glue it to a Popsicle stick. Write the name of the country on the stick. Firmly glue a jewellery pin backing to the back of the flag.
Cut silhouettes from sheets of coloured craft foam to represent Girl Scout symbols or badge themes. Use brown or green for a tent, yellow for the official trefoil and blue for music notes. Use fine-tipped markers or beads to add features or detail, if desired. Glue on jewellery pin backings to the back of the SWAPS.
Tips and warnings
- SWAPS stands for "Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere." The name itself also reflects the items' intended purpose -- to be swapped with other Scouts.
- Avoid using perishable or food items to make your SWAPS. These may spoil or fall apart and typically do not last for the girls to enjoy.
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