Girl Scouts are known for their fun rituals and meaningful traditions, and exchanging SWAPS is one of those traditions. Girls who participate in Girl Scouts soon learn what SWAPS means and how SWAPS can lead to positive interactions with other girls. Whether you’re a beginning Girl Scout or a more senior scout with years of experience, making and giving away SWAPS can make your time in Girl Scouts better overall.
What are SWAPS?
SWAPS can stand for one of two things: either, “shared with a pal,” or “special whatchamacallits affectionately pinned somewhere.” SWAPS are little tokens that girls exchange with one another to build relationships and make friends. SWAPS are hand-made objects that can be made from found objects, recycled items or craft material.
SWAPS can look like almost anything. One SWAPS might look like a finger puppet, another might be a bottle cap with eyes, nose and smiling mouth. SWAPS are all unique in appearance. The beauty of SWAPS is that Girl Scouts can use their creativity to make almost anything. Typically, SWAPS are attached to a safety pin so they can be worn like any other standard pin or badge. Sometimes SWAPS takes the form of other types of jewelry, like a ring or a necklace.
Where are SWAPS Used?
SWAPS can be used at normal meetings and at special events. Girls may use SWAPS when they go to camps and parks, when they have Girl Scout parties and when they want to make friends. Many girls use SWAPS to solidify the bonds they form within their own troop. These little trinkets help girls make memories and can become long-lasting mementos. Some SWAPS are made commemoratively, to create a reminder of something that the troop has already done.
Are there any Rules About SWAPS?
Girls have a lot of freedom to make the kind of SWAPS they want. However, there are a few conventions that girls follow to make their SWAPS more meaningful and long-lasting.
- Hand made. SWAPS are made by hand, usually out of materials that girls can access easily.
- Durable. SWAPS are made to be worn on a girl scout’s clothes and therefore need to be able to withstand the elements.
- Signature helpful. Girls are encouraged to sign their SWAPS and write down the date, name of the meeting and other important information.
- Non-perishable. SWAPS are not made of food and should not be capable of spoiling.
With this in mind, girls are encouraged to make their SWAPS from materials like metal, cloth, wire, plastic and wood. Girls who make SWAPS should be careful to ensure that the token they make is safe, without pokey or sharp parts. SWAPS made from non-permanent paint, paper or cardboard may disintegrate with bad weather.
Girls who make SWAPS regularly will get better at coming up with ideas for SWAPS projects. Those who are new to making SWAPS can get inspiration and ideas from online sources as well as more experienced scouts. In fact, SWAPS kits are sold online and make the SWAPS-making process simple. However, girls are encouraged to make SWAPS from their own resources and their own imagination. SWAPS that are fully hand-made are usually more unique and more meaningful for the girls.