You have heard of SWAPS right? Of course you have, No, not this kind of swapping,
but the kind that girls all over the country share at their scout organizational activities. .Deep in the heart of scouting tradition is this thing called S.W.A.P.S. According to one website I searched, S.W.A.P.S. were initially designed for one scout to meet another with the idea being that a conversation would start to explain the SWAP. I began American Heritage Girls twelve years ago and S.W.A.P.S. was one of the first things that my girls learned about. So what are these things anyway and why do they cause panic in the hearts of moms and squeals of delight for scouting girls?? In simple terms it is hand-made pins made for trading and collecting, but really it is an acronym that stands for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere or in some circles Share With A Pal. Whatever you call them, there is some craftsmanship that is needed to make them and there is etiquette on how to share them.
What to make?
S.W.A.P.S. can be simple or complex, cheap or expensive, whatever the girl desires. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on S.W.A.P.S. Many people make them out of scraps or natural materials. Most S.W.A.P.S. are made with pins attached so they can be pinned onto a camp shirt or hat. S.W.A.P.S. are little things that girls and leaders make to trade with each other at local or national events. S.W.A.P.S. usually tell something about the person who made it or about the area or region that they are from. They can also represent the theme of an activity or event. S.W.A.P.S. are usually only an inch or two in size. There are so many great ideas for S.W.A.P.S. and many are the web or you can even buy kits from specialty websites like Etsy.
Each girl should decide how many S.W.A.P.S. she wants to trade. For summer camp we recommend around 75. There are girls who make more and girls who make fewer. It is really up to the girl. Some girls like to give a SWAP to everyone and so more are needed.
What to do with them?
S.W.A.P.S. are traditionally pinned on a S.W.A.P.S. hat or another idea are to make keepsake box to keep them in or pin them on a tote bag.
The girls and leaders SWAP these tokens with new friends they make at various events. S.W.A.P.S. are made and given to promote friendship and to make new friends. Swapping allows us to share our handiwork with other scouts and to bring back a memento of a special occasion.
Most of us have been involved with AHG for over 15 years and many of us on staff for Camp Wannacombac for 14 years. We have the best jobs at camp but are ever grateful for our adult volunteers who hold us up and fill in the gaps.