Mascot How-to Ideas


Much thanks go to many people who have helped with this... as you read through the different web pages, you'll see there's the same information in different variations. I've just tried to compile, update, and add my own 2 cents' worth!

How Do We "Do" a Mascot?

What a Mascot is:

Normally, it's a stuffed animal. The type of animal is often related to the troop or the troop's area. (But this certainly isn't a requirement!) As an example, several troops from Florida and the east coast have Dolphin mascots. We once hosted a stuffed animal lobster named "Sandy Claws" from Rhode Island...a troop in Minnesota has a Moose; you get the idea! A great way to see democracy in action is to let the troop vote on who their mascot will be.

How did they get started?

Many troops learned about mascots from the series, "Here come the Brownies", the Brownie books by Marcia Leonard. In Volume #10, "Marsha's Unbearable Day", Marsha is responsible for taking care of a visiting mascot named "Matilda" that her troop is hosting from a Girl Guide troop in Austrailia. Of course, there have been troop mascots long before these books were published, but this particular book specifically talks mascots!

How do you find hosts for your mascot?

Many hosts are found over the internet, through WAGGGS-L list, America on Line Girl Scout forums, Chris Welch's Girl Scout Resource Center Mascot Forum , etc., but there's no reason you can't contact relatives or friends in other cities and have them help you arrange for your mascot to visit a troop in their city.

Why are mascots sent out?

To learn about other places; it's similar to a pen-pal relationship. The mascot's adventures are usually logged into a journal or diary so at every stop along the way the girls in the hosting (and ultimately originating) troop can learn a bit about other places. The mascots usually wind up with photos from their journey. Videos and Audio tapes are common too. We've read about mascots coming home with Patch vests, friendship blankets and many other things. Some troops even chronicle their mascot's adventures on their Web sites. (Check out all the mascot pages!)

What do you do if you volunteer to host a mascot?

The mascot will normally come to you after you've agreed with the "home" troop and provided certain tracking information (such as listed below). Some troops will ask for specific things from you, such as a council patch and/or a note letting them know their mascot arrived safe and sound. Beyond that, it's up to you. Depending on how much time you have until the mascot's due at the next destination, you may only have time for it to visit one meeting -- or, your mascot may be able to spend time individually with each member of the troop. (The scout level and size of your troop may also dictate how you will host the visit). Ideally, the mascot would participate in every event your troop does (with photos to document it) during his or her stay.

What is usually sent along on the journey(s)?

Journals, video and/or audio tapes, backpacks or carry bags for all their stuff. "Passports" and Membership cards are often sent, too. Troops are encouraged to keep the weight of the mailing package light to keep down mailing costs. On occasion, troops who have videos or heavier items to add to our mascot send those special items back in a separate snail mail to the troop right after their hosting time is over. For international mascots, please be aware that American TVs and VCRs are not compatible with overseas TVs and VCRs.

Who pays for the mascots travels?

Hosting troops (or individual girls from them) normally pay the postage to send the mascots along to their next destination. Successful mascots will come with all the information for the hosting troop to use to send the mascot off to the next host.

Mascot Do's/Don'ts

** Always try to include a swap, patch or other exchange (photo of troop is great!). Some troops will include a swap for every scout in the hosting troop; some send just one item for the entire troop.
** If you are having the mascot sent on to another country, include any forms needed for mailing to that country, or forms to return to your country (e.g., customs documents)
** Try to include a letter about your troop, and/or something about your council. Hosting troops will be interested in your troop activities and especially about the area you live in. Your local Chamber of Commerce will often have materials for free that you can include! There should be a copy of this for each host troop your mascot is visiting! Your troop may want to include an Intro Letter that goes to each host troop who will take care of your mascot. You could also put some specific instructions for hosts inside your mascot's journal.
** Be sure to pack things well, as damage may occur during shipment! Be sure to clearly print the proper address, especially foreign ones. (When we sent out our mascot, we sent out pre-printed address labels so that there could be no accident with illegible printing on the labels!)
** Be extremely cautious about including the addresses of girls...you never know who may actually receive the package.

Many people are concerned about their mascot disappearing. Here are some tips to keep better track of your precious little friend:
•When you set up a host, save the e-mail. (We've seen too many posts from desparate leaders who had a computer crash and now have no idea where their mascots are!)
•Before sending the mascot, make sure you have the snail mail address, the name of the council, council's phone number, the leader's home phone number, and the address/phone number for the co-leader (or another adult in the troop).
•Send a confirming letter by snail mail separate from the mascot package. This can contain your trader patch if desired. There is no guarantee that a patch for each troop, all put in the box at the beginning of the year, will actually get to every troop.
•E-mail when you send a mascot. E-mail when you receive a mascot. E-mail is cheap (sometimes free)! Take advantage of it.
•Don't be afraid to call the council if you lose a mascot and get no response. They often will call the leader and get things moving again. Remember, leader's lives can get crazy!
•If you're truly concerned, put self-addressed stamped postcards in your mascot's package for each hosting troop to mail when they receive your mascot as well as when they mail it off to the next troop. One mascot we saw ("Rosie") had stamped postcards addressed to different members in the troop. The hosts were asked to send one or two of these postcards at each of the mascot's stops. The postcards had great pictures of York, Pennsylvania (where Rosie was from), so hosts were able to see Rosie's home....plus, the Brownies in Rosie's Troop were able to get a surprise in their mailbox during the year!

 

This is the information many troops request when agreeing with other troops to host a mascot:
Troop Level & number :
Leaders Full Name:
Mailing Address:
City, State & Zip:
Home Phone #:
Email Address:
Troop Council's Name:
Council Address:
Council Phone #:
Number of girls in Troop:
(asked if you send some type of swap or friendship gift [bracelet, letter, etc.]. Some mascot owners send this separately from the mascot. This helps to ensure that every troop gets the right amount of gifts and none get lost or used by mistake. Others package all info for each host troop in sealed envelopes, with the host troop's number boldly marked on the front).