Sunday, May 4, 2008

Summer Crossing -- August 23, 2006

I had a lot of fun this past weekend teaching Cross Stitch all day on Saturday to teenagers during Summer Crossing!

Summer Crossing is an older Girl Scout weekend event that is held right before school starts. The girls range in age from entering seventh grade (apx. 12) to girls entering 12 grade (apx. 17). We all go up to a local parks and recreations camping facility and have a fun filled weekend that is just for the older scouts. The intent is to have a lot of fun and to get them excited about Girl Scouts for the next school year.

This was my fourth year volunteering and I'm in charge of the Needlework area. Now being in charge means I have lot's of responsibilities... Yep... I'm the one who takes roll! Impressed? :-)

Actually there isn't much for me to do as the other two volunteers are excellent teachers and love their respective crafts. We teach for five sessions and each session is one hour and fifteen minutes.

Pat teaches Hardanger, Janet teaches Crochet and I teach Cross Stitch.

Last year we had a tremendous amount of activity at our respective stations, 6 - 10 scouts for each session, as we were one of the program areas for last years Interest Project Patch. This year we were part of the alternate activities but we still had a good turnout. At least 4 to 6 girls each session for a total of five sessions. I know it doesn't sound like a lot but the other options were geo-caching, low ropes, archery, swimming, computers, leather, etc. So we were doing pretty good!

We encourage the scouts who sign up for needlework to try an activity that they don't already know how to do or that they don't have someone in their family or circle of friends who can teach them. In one session they all wanted to learn how to cross stitch, in another session they were all at crochet, and during the other three sessions they were split across two or three of the areas. I was kind of excited when I had two sessions where I didn't have anyone who wanted to learn Cross Stitch. They already knew how to Cross Stitch!

This was Pat's second year teaching hardanger and she noticed that if the girl had taken cross stitch with me last year she was better prepared to learn hardanger this year. Especially since I spend time at the beginning of my sessions teaching the proper way to thread the needle (no licking or spitting at my table!), and how to make a waste knot. If this was their first time working with a needle craft, Pat had to go over the basics which takes longer. Pat has designed a simple Kloster block design which the scouts can then attach to a piece of decorative glass. They leave her class with a nice ornament that they can proudly show off at home.

Janet teaches crochet and also does a wonderful job. This was also her second year teaching crochet and she learned a few tricks from last year. She was able to round up donations of plastic crochet hooks so that each girl was able to leave with a hook to continue crocheting which many of them did! Pat has them start off with a simple crochet chain. Once they are comfortable with that, she then has them start crocheting a small rectangle. Now here is where Janet got clever!!! She noticed last year that the girls had trouble moving from the crochet chain to crocheting a small square. They just had a really hard time crocheting the second and third rows. Once they got past that point they were fine. Sooooo Janet made up a lot of bags of already crocheted squares. The girls selected a baggie that had their favorite yarn color with an already started crocheted square and a crochet hook. They then continued working this square. Many more happy faces and successful beginner crocheters! Janet really understands this age group as she only puts varigated yarn in the bags... and do these girls love the varigated yarns!

I use a "Gloria and Pat" Owl kit for my class. Everyone who is taking the class for the first time works on the Owl kit to make teaching easier. The kit includes all of the materials and has excellent directions. They don't have enough time in a session to complete the design so they need good instructions to finish the project at home. Several of them each year finish the Owl kit before leaving for the weekend. If a scout wants to take Cross Stitch again, I have additional kits that they can pick from such as a boat, butterfly, kitten, etc.

We have a wonderful time and the location is gorgeous. The major challenge is that we don't have air conditioning which can be challenging with the fibers sometimes! In years past it's been quite hot but this year the temperatures just climbed to the high 80's and the humidity was reasonable for Maryland in summer.

Unfortunately we don't have pictures as we get so busy teaching we forget to take pictures! We'll have to work on that next year...

All three of us have a fun time with each other, even though I tease Pat that I don't "get" Hardanger (just not my cup of tea!) and we enjoy sharing our respective needlework crafts with the girls. It's a wonderful feeling when you see that they finally get it! You might want to try teaching your needlework craft to someone younger. You will have a lot of fun!!!

Waving to you from Windy Meadow

Original Comments:

- Cynthia,
What a great thing to do! I am a firm believer in teaching the younger people an art form to carry forward. I have taught all the nieces and nephew how to cross stitch, and some to knit!

Pat in NC

- Hi Pat,
Isn't it wonderful teaching younger people a needleart?I have a great time and they laugh at my stories! Or at least they chuckle... :-)

I forgot to mention that I'm also willing to teach adults to cross stitch and every year I have at least one who sits down and learns to cross stitch...Congratulations that you've been able to teach your nieces and nephews how to stitch!

Windy Meadow

Originally Posted: August 23, 2006

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