Mascot exchange is very popular in Guiding and Girl Scouting circles and involves sending a unit's mascot to visit another unit or troop, often halfway across the world. It is a wonderful way of making friends around the world and learning about them, their home country and their way of life, and if you have the stamina and the organisational skills to make it work, it can be really rewarding. International mascot hosting is complex and does have its drawbacks. Comunication can be fragmentary at best, it is hard to keep track of a mascot travelling round the other side of the world, and the non-return rate is disappointingly high. It can also be quite expensive, especially if exchanges are made with far-flung corners of the world necessitating the use (and cost) of air mail. Mascot hosts usually expect to exchange camp blanket badges and souvenirs, and also (especially in the USA and Canada) Swaps - usually with all the girls in your unit, so you'll have to get them busy quickly!
Virtual mascots have lots of advantages over sending real mascots out on visits : they cost nothing to send, they can't get lost in the post and they can visit more than one host at a time. Of course, you don't get the swaps and badge trades, but you can always arrange those separately if that's what you're interested in.
Your virtual mascot doesn't have to be complicated, you can download a picture to use as a mascot on from the internet, you could take a photo of a "real" mascot and adapt that, or you can have a go at creating your own with a graphics program.
You could even avail yourself of a free custom-mascot service available by email if you have something particular in mind.
Once you have your Virtual Mascot, you need a web-page for him or her to set off from and for you to host any visiting mascots in return! Make sure you put clear instructions on your page for any would-be mascot hosts, and sit back and enjoy!
These websites are just some which have virtual mascots you can host : 1st Isle of Skye Brownies, 1st Keyingham Guides, Greendale Brownies (Canada) - if you visit their sites you can visit the sites their mascots have come from, and so on....