What do Guides actually DO? (Oh, if I had $1 for each time I was asked this question!)

This sums up Guiding very well. So often I tell people that it doesn’t matter what my Rangers actually do, its the fact that they have planned it and resourced the materials that matters

Catching Up

So I’ve had a busy few months and want to get back to blogging a bit more often. No promises but I will do my best.

A quick summary.

  • I finally aged out of Senior Section – #onlyagrownupinguidingnow
  • The night before my birthday I got assessed for and awarded my Commonwealth award. I quote “My god you can really talk”
  • I got asked to be County Senior Section Adviser and have agreed
  • I’ve been running a lot of self defence sessions with Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Senior Section units in the county
  • Went to the GirlGuiding Roverway briefing weekend and made lots and lots of new friends
  • Had Guide Camp
  • Ran lots of Guide and Senior Section meetings
  • Started planning my first training session (hurry up March)
  • Volunteered at Brownie Starburst in the STEM area

Burning Promise

Our May Senior Section meeting was busy.

They had requested to hire the pyrography pens so that they could spend a bit of time decorating some wood. Since there are so few of them and so much time, they reckoned they could do some really nice work and my young leaders had had a taster with the Guides.

My mentor was coming to do a unit visit and I decided that it wasn’t a great idea for my attention to be elsewhere when the Senior Section were using hot things. I asked Timber to come and give a hand so that someone could keep their eye on them. Turns out Timber is really artistic and an absolute treasure trove of ideas and materials and a lovely person as well.

I think one of the things that I really enjoy about Guiding as an adult is that there is no age divide. I’m 25 but Guide with people who are older than that and its never an issue, we have great conversations and go out for dinner together etc.

Overhand had come to visit because the International Opportunities weekend was coming up and we were trying to persuade the Senior Section to go for it. We were both super excited about our trip to Iceland for the World Scout Moot coming up in the summer (There is going to be a blog post, or maybe a few) and wanted to get them interested. We did convince Merida to go for selection and she is now heading to Spain next year. I was really proud.

We moved on to some promise activities. I had some exercises on making your own decisions and being true to yourself. We had a discussion about what the promise meant to everyone and made some good turn promise beads, which gave us lots of time to chat.

My mentor, Crown and the Peer Education Coordinator came to visit and I discovered they were both Trainers. I had a chat with them about being a prospective and came out with Crown as my Tutor, so definitely a success! I can get started on training now 🙂 ( I also went to the trainers conference, very informative, met up with the Ulster lot and made some new friends from Anglia).


The Future

The final part of the Anglia Outdoor challenge was to have a meal in an interesting outdoor location. We chose my old college Newnham as it has some beautiful gardens.

Surprisingly, as an Alum, it was very easy to get permission, it did help that we were planning to go during university holidays so we wouldn’t be disturbing any students.

We met outside the Porter’s Lodge and started the evening off with a tour. I used to give access tours a lot when I was at Uni so I’ve picked up a lot of titbits about the college.

Newnham is an all womens college, one of three in Cambridge. It was founded in 1871, however women were only allowed to attend lectures with a chaperone and were not permitted to sit exams. In the future they were allowed to sit the exams but could not qualify for a degree. It took until 1947 before they were allowed to hold degrees from Cambridge. Keep in mind that Cambridge is over 800 years old, and women have only been able to hold degrees for 70 years of that.

Many amazing women have attended Newnham. Millicent Fawcett read Mathematics and was ranked highest in the year of her final exams, scoring higher than the Senior Wrangler. The Senior Wrangler is the highest ranked person in the Mathematics Tripos, in those days, only men qualified. Today is obviously different.

Emma Thompson attended and an admirer once road a motorcycle down the corridor to surprise her. Miriam Margolyes also attend and read English.

I think I got them a bit interested but I did get some strange questions when I explained that I used to live in the buildings around us. One asked if I was ever allowed to go home!

We finished up in a lovely spot in the gardens, had a picnic and asked what they wanted to do next term!

We asked them all to bring a picnic and maybe something to share and they really did get into the spirit of sharing which was lovely to see.

Self Defence

I’m a qualified Tae Kwon Do Instructor and offered to run a self defence class for our Guides as part of the Anglia Outdoor Challenge Badge, and we actually ran the class outside since it has been so warm!

I think self defence is very important and it isn’t about being able to beat people up. It’s all about knowing how to keep yourself safe, and if you get into a situation, how to get out of it quickly and with the least amount of damage.

The Guides were suffering from end of term-itis and it was difficult to keep them on track but my fellow leaders were good at keeping them from hurting one another. When I ran this class for Guide Units back home, I had people from my Tae Kwon Do club to help, but over here I don’t have that.

We discussed the 3 steps to self defence:

  1. Run away if possible
  2. Find a weapon
  3. Prepare to fight

We talked about target areas and what can be used as a weapon, all prefaced with not being allowed to use this in any situations other than self defence, no hurting siblings.

Then moved on to teaching them release moves and how to walk with confidence. Explaining how to not get into dangerous situations and also to not be scared of the world.

I’ve offered sessions to the other units in my county, I think it’s an important skill to pass on and it’s also a way for me to meet other Leaders.

I also managed to socialise at the County Awards dinner a few weeks ago and really enjoyed myself. It was a lovely evening out.

Surf and Turf

The next two weeks were out of the meeting place, we are completing the Anglia outdoor challenge and really enjoying ourselves, mostly the weather has held.

The first week we had a Penny Hike, my first one ever! I was so excited to finally go on one. We had 3 leaders, 2 Young Leaders and 4 Patrols, so our Young Leaders took the eldest patrol and each of the leaders went with one of the others.

My patrol has mostly Guide who have just moved up so I was keen to get them independent and tried to let them lead as much as possible, just keeping them out of private property and reminding them to flip the coin.

We ended up having a lovely walk, although we got stuck going in circles in the chalk pit for a while. Finished up in the play park for 5 minutes where I found the young leaders and the caterpillars 🙂

From land to water, the following week was at our local campsite’s outdoor pool. I think it was a first for some of our Guides and it was a bit chilly but half of them really got into it. All of them tried but some of them had to be sent to get changed early. They weren’t moving around enough.

Windsor taught them some live saving and water safety and then they started jumping in and playing with blow up balls. A few had to be persuaded to get out at the end!

We finished up with hot chocolate and biscuits and singing Taps outside. I love singing Taps outside, it always feels connected to the world around you.

In With The New

GirlGuiding is going through a really exciting time at the moment, the entire program is being revamped and I’m really excited about it. They are trying to make sure that new leaders have plenty of support but allow the experienced leaders to continue to provide good guiding.

The whole structure is changing but there will still be badges and top awards for each section. At the moment they are asking for badge ideas and help with testing meeting activities.

Our unit signed up to help and received an activity. Our Guides really enjoyed the process of testing and got really into giving feedback and trying to make the activity as good as it could possibly be.

It was all about making choices and how you don’t have to be influenced by what your friends chose.

They spent most of the time drawing the choices grid and their main complaint was that once they had done that, the rest of it hardly took any time at all.

They did really like the responsibility and took the time to rewrite the instructions so they were more clear.

I then asked them to come up with some #badgegoals. That was interesting, our Caterpillar patrol are our three oldest Guides, they decided they wanted to do badges on Makeup, Shopping Awareness, Eyebrow Plucking and Sumo Wrestling… one of those is not like the others.

However a good thing did come out of that. I was chatting to a friend who can actually do makeup and she has offered to come and do a session with the Caterpillars. Both her and the Caterpillars are really looking forward to that one!