What are SWAPs?

What are SWAPs? And what are they used for? What has this got to do with Girl Scouts? Two meanings are:

Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere”

Share With A Pal”

The “SWAP” was introduced into Boy/Girl Scouting/Guiding as a way to introduce one Scout to another. The swaps were traded and a conversation would result from explaining the swap. Many of these “SWAPS” started long friendships that lasted although the two swappers may have lived far apart. A SWAP is usually, but not always,a small homemade item that represents the person, their community, or their background.

What to make?

S.W.A.P.S. can be simple or complex, cheap or expensive, whatever the creator 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.  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 community, council or national events.

Why swap?

The girls and leaders “S.W.A.P.” 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.

S.W.A.P.s Etiquette

  • S.W.A.P.s to be traded should be carried in a shoe box, baggie. S.W.A.P.s that are pinned to someone’s hat are generally considered off-limits unless they are offered to you as a trade.
  • It is considered rude if you refuse to swap with someone who asks you. Be courteous. If a person gives you a swap you really don’t like, remember that it may have come with the purest of intentions and the simplest of skills.
  • If you don’t like the item you have been given, or already have an identical S.W.A.P, accept it politely, and give them one of yours with a Girl Scout smile.
  • ALWAYS say thank you! A Girl Scout is courteous.
  • Never give a swap away that someone gave you.
  • Always have a few extra S.W.A.P.S. on hand for those people who have few or none. It is also nice if you give someone a S.W.A.P. who doesn’t have one to give in return. That is what being a Girl Scout is all about.
  • Include the information such as your troop number, city and state on the S.W.A.P. You may also want to mark it with the date or the event name to help identify the S.W.A.P. later on. Tags can be easily made on the computer, cut to size and attached to the pin.

S.W.A.P.S. Don’ts

  • Swaps without a meaning – Should have something to do with the event, with Girl Scouting in general, the troop or about the person who made it.
  • Food items – they can’t be kept as keepsakes and they attract bugs and critters when outdoors.
  • Flimsy swaps – they’re heartbreaking for the creator and the recipient. Make sure items are colorfast, the pin is secure and the item can hold up to handling and transport.
  • Leader-made swaps – items shouldn’t be made FOR the girls by their leaders – after all, what would the point be? Swaps should be designed with the age and skill level of the girls making the swap. Don’t give them something they can’t do on their own (or without minimal help).
  • Forgetting the girls – Don’t design swaps without giving the opportunity for the girls to also make one for themselves. Otherwise, they won’t want to give it away!

Too fast, too easy, too many – if all the girls in the troop each have 5 of the exact same fast and easy swap, they won’t be one of the most sought-after swaps in the group to say the least.