S’mores and Tents

This week I was a little let down by my other leaders. We have the official LiC (Leader in Charge), Barrel; an Assistant Leader, Sheetbend, who is only helping us out occasionally since she is working up to retirement (her, I have no problem with); our two LiT’s (Leaders in Training), Square and Sheepshank and a Unit Helper, Fisherman. Fisherman hasn’t completed her CRB check yet so obviously cannot be left alone with the Guides (Girlguiding UK rules) and Square, as I mentioned before is doing a university course, has several placements and is also a hockey coach, so she isn’t always available for Guide meetings or things at weekends. Once again, her, I have no problem with, I am happy to help her with her leadership and love seeing her, she is great with the Guides as well.

However, Barrel and Sheepshank are a different story, they never let me know when they aren’t going to be at Guides, frequently contacting Sheetbend but not me, when Sheetbend isn’t going to be at the meeting herself. To be honest, if they had good reasons for not attending I wouldn’t mind but often its that they decided to go for a walk instead, or go canvasing with a local politician like this week.

I can run a Guide Company by myself, but I’d really rather not. I have a full time job and a part time one, in addition to volunteering with Guides and I like having some free time. So I’m hoping that they all start stepping up.

Right, rant over, let’s move on to what we did this week. I had Sheetbend, Fisherman and Square (She could only stay for half of the meeting) and we were putting up tents outside. At least it didn’t rain but it was very windy, none of them got the idea that putting something heavy on the part of the tent they aren’t dealing with, stops it from blowing away! It took nearly 40 mins but at the end we had 4 tents all standing in one form or another, and without too much arguing.


Then came the challenge of taking them back down and putting them back into the bags they came in. We sensibly moved back inside for that bit, it was bitterly cold by that time.

We are heading to camp at the end of June. Last year was my first year as a leader at camp, and none of our Guides had ever camped before, so getting the tents up was a struggle. I’m hoping we are in better shape for this year!

And if you have tents, then you definitely have to have S’mores 🙂 so we melted marshmallows over tealights and ate lots and lots of S’mores while chatting about camp songs. I’m hoping that they will know a few more before camp.

All in all, it was a pretty good night.





GFI’s and Activity Planning

Many apologies, I’m new to the whole blogging thing and completely forgot to take a picture this week.

So each of our patrols had chosen a different GFI pack and yet they all managed to incorporate food somehow! The Roses made chocolate muffins and then did some of the paper activities. The Poppies made fruit smoothies, watching them try to figure out how to peel and chop a kiwi, was one of the more entertaining things in the evening. The Daisies had food from all over the world, and actually impressed me with trying new and exciting foods like sushi and seaweed.

I’m not entirely certain what the Daffodils were up to but it included apples and honey and they seemed to have fun. I was very wary when they came to me and tried to get me to eat an apple, the last time that patrol offered me food, it was a pancake they had dropped on the floor!

Overall, they seemed to have fun and mostly kept themselves entertained for an hour. They are still pretty new at planning their own evenings.

Last week the girls decided that they would like a trip to the local trampoline park which has recently opened. It sounded good and I decided to ask if another local Guide Group would like to join us, thinking that, if we got enough, we could book out the entire place and let the girls go wild. However, the other Guide Leader told me that there has already been several serious accidents at the place, with broken legs and arms. We decided that the risk was too large to bring such a big group of girls.

Therefore we decided to plan a day at our local water-sports centre instead. So I’ve asked two local Guide groups to join us and we are booked to go do Canoeing and Banana Boating and two dry activities as well, Archery and Climbing.

We have two leaders in training in our unit, having just recently completed my own ALQ, I’ve tried to take on a mentoring role with both of them. Occasionally I worry in case I’m coming on too strong but mostly I just want to make it as easy as possible for them. Sheepshank is a single mother with an 8 year old boy and Square is in the midst of a university course and works strange hours. Square is also a hockey coach so hasn’t been with us on our meeting night for the last couple of months, which I don’t mind, but I’m loving having her back, as she is really good with the Guides.

Our District Commissioner has just taken up the role and is trying to settle in and get things organised. She is actually my old Guide Leader, Clove 🙂 and I’ve been enjoying working with her so far. She held her first district meeting last night and I’m honored that she has asked me to set up a mentor group with the new Leaders in Training to give them a hand with their leadership book. I enjoy working with people and really am happy to help.

My Journey – The Young Years

I’ve decided that I want to write up a lot of my journey in Guiding, as well as updating weekly with what we’ve been up to.

When I was younger, I wasn’t involved in many activities outside of school. We moved house when I was about 9 and one of the girls who lived in the development was a Brownie and encouraged me to come along. I turned up in full uniform, it had been donated by a family friend who had moved up to Guides and I was so excited to start!

I only had a year in Brownies, but I loved making my promise, making new friends and I even got to go on pack holiday! We went to the Ulster Folk and Transport museum and stayed in the dormitories there. I got to visit Lorne (Guide Headquarters in NI) for the first time and go to the shop.  On the last day of the holiday, we were gathered together for Guide’s Own (a bit like a church service but not following any particular religion), and they announced the yearly awards. I received a prize for best new Brownie, they thought I had thrown myself into the pack with enthusiasm.

You have to understand, I didn’t normally get those sorts of prizes, I’m a bit of a bookworm and always have been. Brownies was the first time that no one made assumptions about me and my intelligence. I got to try lots of different things, but I still did my book lover’s badge 🙂 I’ve since sewn my Brownie Badges onto my camp blanket (The picture also shows my Guide badges, I’ve rearranged them since).

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After my year in Brownies, I moved up to Guides. Once again I was in love with an organisation. The first year was pretty enjoyable, I learnt Captainball (Guiding sport, a bit like netball), and remember getting to cuddle animals for my animal active badge.

Things got really good in my second year, I met two Guides, Reef and Bowline, who became my two best friends. They both live in different cities in England, and I can still say that I would trust them with my life and that they are my first port of call when I need a shoulder or advice.

I started reading the Chalet School series, by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. It’s about a boarding school, which starts out in Austria, travels during the war and settles down in Switzerland. In the first few books, they start a Guide Company and I was inspired by how seriously they took their promise and tried so hard to be the Best Girl Guides they could be.

I got the opportunity to go on camp several times, including a mixed Scout and Guide Camp in Crawfordsburn with over 300 people attending.

By the time it got to our final camp, Reef, Bowline and I were pretty sorted with this whole camping thing. Reef was supposed to have moved on from Guides, as she is the year above me, however she had asked to stay with us, but she was also completing her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. That year we were staying in two man tents, but were an uneven number, we begged to be the ones that were in a three and didn’t mind squeezing into the small tent. However our Guide leader, Clove was so very lovely and brought her personal four man tent for us to share.

We had very strict rules for our tent:

  • No shoes in the tent – they live in the entry at all times
  • Beds were made up at the same time – to allow overlapping of the ground sheets
  • If it isn’t being used – put it back into your bag

This made it very easy for us, at the end of camp, to pack up and be ready to go. However, some of the younger Guides had not followed the rules we lived by and we spent a lot of time helping them get sorted.

When I finished Guides, I continued with my Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards with my Guide Leader, Clove and Bowline joined me. We walked our Bronze and cycled our Silver. I got to use a trangia and spent a lot of time having fun with Bowline.

There was no Senior Section near to me so I couldn’t continue into there.

And so ended my Guiding experience until I was 23. More on that next time 🙂

Brownie Invitations and GFI’s

It’s coming to the end of the year now, only a few months to go and it’s time to invite the older Brownies up for a visit to Guides. I think it gives them a chance to meet our current Guides, get to know the leaders and see what Guides is all about.

Last year, we had a bake off (actually a decorate off – but close enough). They had a flan, some cup cakes and a swiss roll. Then each group competed to get different ingredients and had a go at decorating. The Brownies and the Guides really enjoyed it.

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This year I am leaving the planning to our two new Leaders in Training and this week one of them sorted the Guides into making individual invitations for each of the Brownies. There was a great range of artistic skill but each of the invitations was made specially. We have 13 Brownies from 3 different packs coming to visit. So in total, that night, we will have 35 girls!

After this, we got the girls planning their second Go For It of the year. Go For It’s are packs on a theme, which suggest a lot of activities for the Guides to do. They get to pick their own activities and organise themselves in their Patrols.

Guides are arranged into groups called Patrols, our patrols are named after flowers, we have the Roses, Daffodils, Poppies and Daisies. Daffodils have chosen – Five Senses, Roses – Chocolate, Daisies – Globalistic and Poppies – Healthy Eating.

They have got their plans for next week and I look forward to seeing what they come up with!