"Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere"
"Shared With A Pal"
What are SWAPS? A SWAP is a handmade craft that Girl Scouts give or trade with other Girl Scouts as a special remember me gift. S.W.A.P.S. can be simple or complex, cheap or expensive, whatever the maker desires. SWAPS are usually an inch to two inches in size. 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 county or national events. S.W.A.P.S. do not have to be pins. They can be bracelets, necklaces, council patches, event patches, or other small items. S.W.A.P.S. should NOT contain edible food. Food items can't be kept as keepsakes and they attract bugs and critters when outdoors.
Why SWAP? The girls and leaders "S.W.A.P." these tokens with new friends they make at various events such as wider opportunities and national meetings. 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.
Planning and making SWAPS: Swaps should be hand made. Store bought things take away from the concept of the gift. Each girl should decide how many S.W.A.P.S. she wants to trade. She may make them all the same, or make every one different. S.W.A.P.S. can be made during part of a troop meeting, during a special meeting called for the purpose of making S.W.A.P.S., or with examples shown at the meeting, with the S.W.A.P.S. to be made by the girls at home. If you are making S.W.A.P.S. in your troop, give the girls an assortment of beads, small wooden shapes, paints, markers, ribbons, felt, chenille stems, and let their imaginations go wild. It is a good idea for the Leader to have several SWAPS samples on hand as an example for those girls who cannot think of a single thing to make. 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. Instruct the girls to create their S.W.A.P.S. with a safety pin attached or some way of wearing the swap. If you are attending an event as a troop, encourage each girl to make a different SWAP. This will prevent an overabundance of your SWAPS.
Wearing and Displaying SWAPS: S.W.A.P.S. are traditionally pinned on a S.W.A.P.S. hat. This hat could be part of your troop identification. Perhaps matching painter's caps in your troop color. Some troops use lanyards to hang their SWAPS on. Never wear SWAPS on the front of your Girl Scout Uniform.
Other Neat things to do with SWAPS which may apply towards badges and patches: Make a display or scrapbook for Wider Ops night or troop visits. Put the swaps in a memory box or shadow box. Make a quilt. Give the swaps away with your thank-you letters to sponsors and folks who helped you go on your wider op. Attach pins and patches on a hat or jacket. Start a council "best of swaps" collection display and donate to your Council. Ask your leader to set up an on-line exchange and start an All 50 State SWAPS collection.