Teaching Camping Hazards with GIANTmicrobes

giantmicrobesdisclosureCamping Girl Scouts Vintage PatchIt’s almost time for Summer Camp!  Which means there’s no time like the present to start teaching younger girls about the importance of insect repellent to keep their mosquito bites to a minimum and the dangers of watching for ticks.  A great way to make this fun is with the use of the plush mosquito, tick, and Lyme Disease organisms from GIANTmicrobes!

These fun plush toys are a million times larger than the actual organisms and cells that they represent.  They are a tactile way to teach kids about health, their bodies, and their environment without complicated technical drawings.  GIANTmicrobes was good enough to provide Girl Scout Guide with a plush mosquito, tick, and Lyme Disease in their original 5″ size complimentary to spread the message!

Mosquitoes!

GIANTmicrobes MosquitoAs I mentioned, these plush pests are 5″.  They’re are 3,000 species of mosquito, but the most common are Culex pipiens.  Only the females bite, sucking your blood like tiny vampires!  Girls going off to camp need to know that they can get some nasty infections and viruses from mosquitoes, so regularly applying a good insect repellent is very important, for more than just avoiding itchy bites!

Mosquitoes can carry malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile Virus.  Insect repellents with diethyltoluamide (DEET), lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin are the most effective to keep mosquitoes away while your girl is having fun on the lake with her new camp friends!

Ticks!

GIANTmicrobes TickThese slightly larger little vampires can be found in deep woods and grassy plains.  Ticks can be as large as grapes or as small as a pinpoint, but all can carry diseases.  Ixodes scapularis, their scientific name, are actually not insects, but arachnids more closely related to spiders.  These little buggers can carry tularemia, Rocky-Mountain Spotted Fever, and most famously Lyme Disease.

Girls should always check for ticks after prolonged time in the woods, like camping in deep woods or a hike through.  There is ample time to remove ticks before they can transmit these diseases.  While there are many remedies floating around that involve heated pins, matches, or gasoline, all of these should be avoided as they can drive the tick further into the skin.  The best method of removal is to grasp the tick with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, flip it onto it’s back slowly (you don’t want to dislodge the “head”, or mouthparts, from the skin) and pull gently until it’s removed.  Washing the area with alcohol and maybe a clove of garlic should make it safe to remove.

Lyme Disease!

GIANTmicrobes Lyme DiseaseOne of many diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, Lyme Disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness.  This disease is initially identified with aches, fever, fatigue, and the signature bulls-eye shaped rash at the site of the tick bite.  Antibiotics can help, however Lyme Disease is sometimes hard diagnose quickly as it can be misdiagnosed.  This disease can lead to more problems later in life like arthritis, facial paralysis, meningitis, and more.  Some victims of Lyme Disease can also develop cognitive issues like memory loss and mood changes.

Lyme Disease is diagnosed in approximately 300,000 people in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  LymeDisease.org has published a Lyme Disease symptom checklist that all campers should be familiar with.  All leaders and camp counselors should also be diligent with checking for ticks after extended periods of time outdoors and should know what to do if they find a tick to avoid this disease.

Each GIANTmicrobes toy comes with some facts about the microbe in the tag and their website has lots of information about the organism as well.  All of these facts will help with teaching your girls about not just how important insect repellent or checking for ticks can be, but with their wide selection you can use these plushy germs to teach them all kinds of lessons!

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Crafty Gift Guide 2015

afflinksincludedSometimes it’s worth investing in some cool craft gadgets for your troop!  Or, as a gift for your favorite troop leader!  We hope that this Crafty Gift Guide will help lead you in the right direction for your favorite troop leader, troop mom, or just generally crafty friend!  This equipment and supplies will really step up your game.  And pay attention to the $300 savings on that laser printer!  Supplies are limited on that one!

Before you point out that a Girl Scouts Cookie Oven isn’t really related to crafts, COME ON how awesome is this?!  Why wasn’t this a thing when we were kids?  It’s been thrown in for fun! Click the image to enlarge it a bit if you need.

Crafty Gift Guide 2015

  1. Cricut Explore Air™ Machine + EVERYTHING Starter Set ($379.99 | Cricut.com)
  2. Beadsmith RV Beading Loom ($49.99 | Create and Craft)
  3. Girl Scouts Cookie Oven ($48.98 | Sears)
  4. Plaid Adhesive Vinyl ($3.25 per roll | Happy Crafters)
  5. Canon MF212w Mono MFP Wireless Laser Multifunctional Printer/Copier/Scanner ($399.99 $99.10 | Walmart.com)
  6. Happy Press – 15″ x 15″ – Nearly New T-Shirt Press ( $316.00 | Happy Crafters)
  7. Singer 8763 Curvy Electronic Sewing Machine ($179.99 | Joann.com)
  8. Essential 40 Color Embroidery Starter Kit With Rack ($79.99 | ThreadArt.com | 10% off w/ code SAVE10)
  9. Xyron 250 Create-A-Sticker Machine ($19.99 | Walgreens.com)
  10. Adult Coloring Books ($5.99 – $24.99 | Michaels.com)
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Girl Scouts is #ForEVERYGirl

1996-CampDeerLakeI’m sharing this IndieGOGO campaign from Girl Scouts of Western Washington. I’m not sharing it because Girl Scouts of Western Washington hasn’t met their goal to raise back the $100,000 donation a narrow-minded person asked for returned after learning that Girl Scouts is #ForEVERYGirl and supports transgender girls.
 
Quite the opposite – I’m so proud of what they have raised instead – $337,892! That allows more than 1600 girls from low-income families to participate in Girl Scouts. This touches me very personally, even though this is a council I’ve never had any interaction with before this campaign
 
I was one of those girls that needed this kind of help. I had to have “camperships” to go to Girl Scout camp nearly every year, and I’m sure there were years that I couldn’t have gone had my aunt not worked for the council & pulled strings to fit me into whatever session had a cancellation. There were years that my leader paid the $8 registration fee so I could stay in the troop. When I was having problems with my step-mom and grounded, I was still thankfully allowed to go to my weekly Girl Scout meetings. I was taught skills I’d never have learned at home or school.
 
ShirleyI had the same leader from my first Brownie meeting in 1st grade to my last Senior meeting in 12th grade. I wish I’d done better to keep in touch with her when I went to college because she’ll never know how immensely grateful I am for her to have given me one of the few normal, positive, stable things in my life growing up (though I’m sure she had an inkling).
 
I have a… different… relationship with my mom than most women. But I have to say that one of the best things she ever did for me was get me involved with Girl Scouts, even though she hadn’t had a great experience in Scouts herself. She let me try.
 
And I found a place where I could be myself. It didn’t matter if I wore 2nd hand clothes, or had a weird haircut, or couldn’t bring snack sometimes. I never had to worry about fitting in. Or being popular. I just had to be friendly, and open, and thoughtful, and strive to serve others who needed more than I did, and be the best person I could be. Girl Scouts was always a safe place where no one judged anyone and we accepted everyone for who they were, no matter where they came from, what challenges they faced, what special needs they had, or what went on in their lives outside of our time together.
 
Girl Scouts HAS to be #ForEVERYGirl. Every girl needs some of that kind of positivity. Some don’t always get it from family or school or friends. They need it from somewhere. And I’m so happy to have contributed to this campaign to help hopefully change the lives of 1,689 girls for the better and return the favor that Girl Scouts did for me to themGirlScoutUniform-SashBack.
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