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General 'How to Do' PostCard Info & Suggestions

General PostCard Info PostCard Fronts PostCard Backs


Emailing a Request for Postcard Exchange:  Always be polite and patient, especially with international troops (these tend to receive tons of email and may not return an answer to you right away). Please see examples below, you do not have to follow these exactly, they are simple examples of how you might contact or respond to another leader when requesting exchanges...

Request Trade

Subject:  Postcard Exchange with [You're country / state / province]


Hello Leaders Name,

My name is ... Your Name and I am the leader for troop/unit name in the Where are you? area. My troop would be very interested in trading postcards with your troop.  Please confirm with me if your troop would like the same and I will send you my mailing address.  Looking forward to the exchange.
Your Name

Yes to Trade

Subject:  Postcard Exchange with [You're country / state / province]

Hi Leaders Name,

THANK YOU! we would love to trade!  

Our mailing address is:  Mailing address here

Have a great day! Please confirm with your address.


Your Name

No to Trade

Subject:  Postcard Exchange with [You're country / state / province]

Hi Leaders Name,

I am sorry but we have already agreed to trade with a troop in your area and our budget only allows for 1 per state. 

I hope you and your troop have a great time trading! 


Your Name

Not Sure to Trade

Subject:  Postcard Exchange with [You're country / state / province]


Hi Leaders Name,

Right now I am not sure if we can make an exchange.  We have been besieged with emails.  Please allow me some time to answer your request.


Your Name

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Goals & Themes: 

Have a goal in mind for your troop or unit.  Collecting all 50 states is ambitious and sometimes impossible. Instead, you could have your scouts come up with a theme. Once they have their theme, have them study the area's geography and/or history. Some thematic examples:

  • All the Southern or New England states
  • Counties in Great Britain, or Countries in the UK
  • All the service units in your troop's state
  • Canadian Provinces
  • Island countries
  • Asian countries
  • Troops with the same thing in common
    (i.e. troop number, leader's name, scout's name, city name)
  • LEADER SUGGESTION:  we have already figured out our goal for next year. We want to see how many of the same troops with whom we can have repeat trades. We think it will be fun to catch up with them again and see what new things they have been up to and here about all the troops who will have bridged like us.

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Types of PostCards: 

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People choose all kinds of cards, many times you can get stores, visitor centers or organizations to donate cards.  Cards with the State, Country, or City name on it are popular. The one common thread is to have the card reflect your troop/unit's interests or the area of the world that you are in.  Your scouts can make their own cards by hand or by computer.

(See more card examples)

Self Made Cards

These are a lot of fun to do.  But they might not be the best choice if you plan to exchange many cards.

Postcard printer paper (3x5 and 4x6) is available at your local office supply store.  Corresponding templates are found in software like Microsoft Word.  Be creative!  Photo's, thumbprint flowers, etc...

Content:  What do you put on the Back?

Every troop has their own way of putting their postcards together.  The following options are the usual ones. (Click here to see actual postcards)

  1. Computer printed info only with names typed
  2. Computer printed info plus Scouts sign
  3. One scout hand writes message and signs

Content:  What do you say?

Example of a computer printed message

To the right is an example of content that was printed on the back of Troop 1138's postcard. 

Font size: 8
Font Face: Times New Roman

They were printed on oversize labels and then stuck to the back of the cards by the scouts.  You should also include an email and/or return address.

Hi all!  Namaste Ö.Happy Thinking Day!  

This postcard exchange has been great! We are Troop 1138 from Florida, 8 Brownies (7-9) and 1 Juliette Jr. We have one leader (Mari Jo) and two co-leaders (Kim and Karen). We live in the metro area of Orlando (yes... home of the mouse).  The town we live in is just to the north of downtown called Winter Park.  We just had our Thinking Day and represented India!  We went to an Indian grocery store and tried on Indian dresses!  We tried the food, learned some Hindi, wore Bendis, & watched Bollywood movies.  We are fascinated and all want to visit when we get older.  Itís cookie selling time for us, and we spent an evening at Sea World for a cookie rally (3000 girls showed up!).  Troop 1138 wishes that all you scouts and leaders Have a wonderful 2005!  Amanda, Amberley, Alexis, Cristina, Clara, Cody, Jessica, Paula, Karen, Kim, and Mari Jo.

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What are they and when do you use them?

Nothing compares to an actual postcard coming from another troop or unit.  Postcards are preferred, eCards are a last resort.  Eventually, though, we reach our limit and run out of postcards or postage.  If you are still getting a lot of requests, you can put together an eCard (a card in a document or image format, sent through email or available on a website). When someone requests an exchange, you can let them know all you have left is an eCard.  If they say yes, you can then email your eCard to them or let them know where they can get the card.  Some troops collect eCards and eCards also have the benefit that they can contain a lot more information about a troop or unit.

What document format?

ECards are most often sent in a .doc format (Microsoft Word) or an image format (.jpg, .gif, or .bmp).  Most computer users can access the images files.  But to open the .doc files, a person must have Microsoft Word.  Word is also susceptible to viruses, please make sure your virus software is up-to-date.  (See below Adobe PDF)

Please be aware of the file size of your eCard if you are emailing it.  

Many people still have dial-up Internet access.  This means large file sizes take a long time to download from someone's email.  You can bog down a persons email this way.  Always make sure that you have agreed to send an eCard, before you just send it.  A 2mg file (2,000 kb) can take over 4 minutes for a person connected with a 56k modem.  Bitmap (.bmp) image files tend to be a lot larger than .jpgs or .gifs, so it is better to use your graphic software to convert your bitmap (.bmp) image to one of these formats. 

Hosted on web site

If you have access to a website, (i.e. troop's site, personal, friends).  You can create an eCard online and just send people the URL in an email.  This is probably the easiest.  You can use HTML if you know it, or you can post your document or image there for people to download when they have time, rather than forcing them to go through email.

Please do not post addresses or last names on the web (web sites, blogs, news groups, etc) ...

RESPECT ADDRESS PRIVACY - If you decide to do a project where you make your postcards available to the public, through print, email or Internet web sites, blogs, etc... Under no circumstances should last names or addresses appear, please white out this information.  Please respect others privacy and keep address information between the agreed upon trade-parties.

Adobe PDF

Another good idea is to covert your document or image into an Adobe PDF format.  You create your document in whatever format you want (.doc, jpg, .bmp, .gif).  Adobe will then take any format you have and convert it to a PDF which can be viewed by anyone. It reduces file sizes and is safer from viruses.  Adobe can take a 2mg .bmp file and reduce it, sometimes by more than 80%. For the Adobe converter, you can sign up for a free trial at www.adobe.com and covert your first 5 PDFs for free.  For viewing (only) PDF files, the Adobe reader is free.  Most people using IE may already have Adobe Reader, if not you can download it for free at www.adobe.com  

ECard Examples:

  • Example 1:  Web Page (opens in new window)
  • Example 2:  PDF (need Adobe Reader) originally a .bmp file (2mgs large). 
                      converted it to a PDF and reduced file size by 85%.
  • Example 3:  .Doc Version  | .PDF Version

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GET ORGANIZED - Suggestions from a leader

I would suggest that you remind people that they can save a draft of an e-mail. It was a huge time saver for me. I had a draft of an e-mail for requests for, positive response to requests, negative response to requests (which I used once), and confirmation with my address. I'd simply cut and paste the e-mail address from the database, and add any personal touches needed. Send. Done.

When I mailed out the postcards, I wanted to let people know that they were on the way. To save time here, I saved the e-mail addresses as they came in. When a trade was agreed upon, they were added to a special mailing list. For the mass mailing, I inserted the mailing list into the BCC and put my own address in the "To" box. When people received their e-mail, it only showed their e-mail address and mine. This preserves the privacy of the other traders. Plus, I was able to do it with one e-mail. (Do not use this method to bulk mail requests for trades)

The last suggestion that I have has to do with the people who lost their information because of a computer crashing. I used the available folders that internet companies provide. I created a folder for e-mails I sent, e-mails I received, and one for moderator e-mails. Even if my computer crashes, I can go to any computer and access my folders because they are actually saved on the provider's servers. I, of course, also kept a database in Excel as recommended by my lovely moderators. I hope these help because I know that time is a precious commodity for all of us.

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