Events & Activities

Below is a list of terms used by the Nine Mile Service Unit to describe many events and activities. Before you come to a leader meeting, please read this page so you know about the events commonly discussed.

Please note that adult leaders are encouraged to attend training in order to learn about national events such as the appropriate age levels and bridging. A national glossary of Girl Scout terms is available on the national Girl Scout website at


You can find tons of ideas for making SWAPS on the websites above, and on others. Ebay also has stores that sell SWAP kits.

Keepsakes for Girl Scouts

Swaps, the tradition of Girl Scouts exchanging keepsakes, started long ago when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides first gathered for fun, song, and making new friends.

Swaps were widely exchanged at national Girl Scout Senior Roundups in the 1950s and 1960s.

Photo of various Girl Scout swaps pins. © GSUSA. All rights reserved.In more recent years, some Girl Scouts describe the types of objects now preferred as swaps by calling them:

Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.

Swaps are still the perfect way for Girl Scouts to meet each other and promote friendship. Each one is a memory of a special event or Girl Scout Sister.

Swaps should:

  • Tell something about the givers or their group. (Girls may include their address or e-mail information so others can write to them.)
  • Represent the givers’ country, community, or local Girl Scout council.

Girls should:

  • Think about the kind of swap they would like to receive from someone else.
  • Try not to spend a lot of money. Consider making something from donated or recycled material.
  • Be creative, and take time to make hand-crafted swaps. (Include directions for making the swap if it is a craft project that can be replicated.)
  • Try to have one swap for each event participant and staff member.
  • Plan ahead so there’s time to make the swaps.
  • Make swaps that can be worn, used, or displayed.
  • Ask their group or service unit for help, if needed, in putting swaps together.
  • Make swaps portable. Remember: Swaps must be carried or shipped ahead to the event, where other girls will be carrying them away.

What to Do With Swaps

  • Include swaps with thank-you letters to sponsors and those who helped them go to a travel ordestinations event.
  • Make a display or scrapbook for travel night or troop visits.
  • Keep swaps in a memory box or shadow box.
  • Make a quilt, using swaps.
  • Put pins and patches on a hat or jacket.
  • Start a council best-of-swaps collection.

Swap Safety and Etiquette

    • Never refuse to swap with another person.
    • Swap face-to-face, especially if exchanging addresses or e-mail information.
    • Avoid using glass and sharp objects in swaps.
    • Follow all Safety Activity Checkpoints guidelines.
    • Avoid using food products, unless they are individually wrapped.


Event Glossary

Bloomington Memorial Day Parade

Our service unit participates each year in Bloomington’s Memorial Day parade. There is no RSVP for this event; girls simply arrive at the intersection of 94th & Lyndale around 8:15 AM for snacks and start lining up at 8:30. The parade begins at 9 AM and goes south to the cemetery. Top sellers for each program age level are invited to ride in convertibles during the parade; the service unit provides treats for the other scouts to give out along the parade route. Treats must be HANDED out; not throwing items through the air.


Bridging is a ceremony that celebrates the transition from one age-level in Girl Scouting to the next. Learn more in GS Central: Bridging Ceremonies. Although this event can be planned by a troop independent of its service unit or council, our service unit hosts an annual Bridging Ceremony for all troop levels on a Sunday afternoon in May. The Nine Mile Service Unit also acknowledges its Bronze, Silver and Gold Award winners at this event.

Day Camp

Bloomington Girl Scouts have offered a volunteer-driven Girl Scouts day camp for almost two decades. The Bloomington Day Camp usually takes place the third week in June, at West Bush Lake Park. Unlike other service unit events, day camp registrations are mailed to individual girls and registration is handled on a per-girl basis, not through the troop.

Guys & Dolls /Father or Friend & Daughter Event

Our service unit tries to have one Guys and Dolls event each spring. It might be a bowling event, a trip to the batting cage, or a dance but this is always memorable for the girls and adults involved. This event was formerly called FROG & Princess, where FROG stood for “Father, Relative or Guardian”. Girls are encouraged to bring a male figure in their life to this event.

Gift Making Class

Our service unit traditionally offers a Gift-Making Class for grades K-4 and an older-girls event for grades 5+ in November and/or December. Girls “rotate” through several gift-making stations and bring home an assortment of handmade and already-wrapped gifts. This is an all-inclusive, non-denominational event. No gifts will contain Christian symbols unless a girl chooses to paint or draw such symbols on her gift.

Please note that leaders do not stay with their troops at this event. Adult volunteers are assigned a gift station where they work the entire event. We have older GS chaperones for the younger troops, and no adults are allowed at the event unless they are wearing a Gift-Class volunteer badge. Most adult volunteers return the next year — it’s fun for all ages!

Leader/Daughter Retreat

Usually held in January or February, this event is a way for the Nine Mile Service Unit to thank parent volunteers. GS leaders and their daughters are invited to attend a weekend getaway where all meals and entertainment are provided. There’s a minimal fee and entertainment includes a variety of craft activities and outdoor winter sports. It’s a relaxing weekend with lots of other similar-minded families, and a lot of fun!

Piper Valley

This annual encampment for scouts in grades 5+ typically occurs at Camp Lakamaga in September. There are mandatory leader meetings about the encampment in May and August. It’s a LOT of fun and the leader meetings make it easier for first-time leaders to take their girls camping. All the activities are planned for you!

Pixie Valley

This is an annual outdoor event in Moir Park for Girl Scouts in grades K-3 across the southern metro region. This event has a limited capacity so registration is first-come, first-serve. (Hint: Troop leaders get priority by volunteering to help organize and work at the event.)
Since this is the first outdoor event for many troops, leaders are encouraged to review the SafetyWise regulations on adult/girl ratios. Lots of adult volunteers are encouraged, since it’s a long day for the girls and many helpers are needed. Please read all paperwork carefully, especially “what to bring.” Each girl must have her required paperwork and footwear to attend!
The event lasts 9 am – 4:30 pm. Parking is limited, so troops are encouraged to carpool. Parents should arrive by 4:15 if they’ll be picking up their daughters.

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