Brownie LetterboxingI had never even heard of letterboxing until the new Girl Scout Brownie Badge book came out. I was talking my first glance through the book and there it was… Brownie Letterboxing Badge. What was this? I typed letterboxing in Bing and got {gasp!} over 150,000 results. How could it be that I was totally oblivious to an activity worthy of a Brownie Girl Scout  badge? Maybe it was a regional thing? No! Upon further research, there were 760 letterboxes in my area. Over a dozen of those within a half hour drive.

After reading the getting started page from Letterboxing.org, I decided to give it a try. All you need is a rubberstamp, a stamp pad, a notepad and a pen. So, time to put on my sneakers, coax my reluctant teenager to join me and choose some letterboxes to search for. After checking on Letterboxing.org, we planned a half day excursion to look for four to six letterboxes close to our home. The first two were at a local beach. I must admit, living on Long Island, I take it for granted how lucky we are to be so close to the ocean, harbors and rivers. I seldom go off-season and was glad for the motivation to get outside.

Letterboxing on the beachWe followed the clues to the first letterbox. It was cleverly hidden under a loose board on the boardwalk. The second was in a bit more of a secluded spot. Both were a soggy mess. We should have brought wipes to clean up our hands and fresh zip bags to replace the wet ones. We stamped our notepad with the stamp in the kit, dated it and wrote a description about the location; then used our stamp to stamp the notepad in the letterbox, dated that and left a message including our town and our first names. Kinda fun.

Our second spot was a nearby harbor town with a nice park. There were supposed to be two letterboxes hidden there. We found only found one. The second was either missing or we didn’t follow the clues correctly. A bit disappointing. At that point we were dirty and hungry and it was starting to get cold.

Would I go letterboxing again? Maybe. Would I take a Girl Scout troop letterboxing? Definitely! It’s like a treasure hunt. The only thing I might do is scope out the location ahead of time so that I didn’t have 14 disappointed eight year olds to deal with. After you find your first letterbox, it would be important to explain that some boxes might be missing to prepare for that circumstance. Also bring wipes, fresh zipper bags, water, a snack and dress for a change in weather.

At MakingFriends.com, we’ve put together a Letterbox Badge in a Bag. As a troop leader, you will have an economical, fun learning experience for your girls. Take a look at the activities we have included.

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Step 1: Getting Started With Letterboxing

Learn how to follow clues to find a Letterbox. Our colorful map is a fun-filled adventure to get your troop started.

 

 

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Step 2: Make Your Own Stamp
Peel and stick craft foam shapes on the plastic top to design a stamp. Girls have 100s of combinations to choose from to make stamp that is uniquely their own.

 

 

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Step 3: Practice Solving Clues
We’ve set up a set of clues to solve on a printed worksheet. Girls can also make up their own clues and solve their troop mates clues.

 

 

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Step 4: Search for a Letterbox
Learn to use a compass and head out to find a letterbox. MakingFriends.com is in Western Suffolk County on Long Island. In our area? Come find our letterbox! Here are the clues:

Go to the store to buy your Letterboxing Brownie badges. Look around. They have many things for Girl Scouts like badges, Girl Scout books, vest, sashes and pins. Make sure to go during business hours! Make a right out of the parking lot. Make a left on M______ Parkway. Drive passed Bertucci on the left and then the Fed Ex Store on the right. Make the next left. Watch for the first building with burgundy awnings on the right side of the street. Park. Free-MakingFriends.com-Embroidered-PatchWalk on the sidewalk until you see a black and white butterfly. Go in the door closest to the butterfly. Look around the shelves for a green tube. Bring your rubberstamp and stamp our memo pad. Show it to a MakingFriends.com associate and get a free patch!

While you are there, check out the craft table and make something.

When you are in the area, you can also pick up discounted food for the animal shelter or find some cheap fabric for you international costumes!

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Step 5: Make a Letterbox

Kit includes a memo pad, a stamp pad and a zipper bag. Add  handmade stamp from Step 2. Hide the letterbox. Write clues for the troop.

 

 

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