My Journey – Getting back into Guiding

At the end of my final university exams, I realised that I was free, but none of my friends were yet. So I decided to go and visit friends elsewhere and headed to Sheffield to see Reed. She was working so I got to chill out during the day and then on the second evening, she asked if I would like to come along to Guides with her 🙂

Of course I said yes! We spent a lovely evening interacting with the Guides as they did arts and crafts and sewed badges onto their camp blankets. Which was a definite inspiration for me to start my own blanket. As we drove home, I questioned why I was not involved.

As soon as I reached uni, I put myself on join us and waited for a call. The lady who got in touch was one of my old Brownie Leaders and the district commissioner at the time. She remembered my name and was very keen for me to get involved. I told her I would prefer the older age range but that I would go wherever I could be useful.

She informed me that the Guide unit had been run by a mother and daughter, Barrel, for many many years and unfortunately the mother had just passed away. Barrel was feeling a bit overwhelmed and didn’t think she would be able to keep attending every week for a while and they needed a bit of help.

I was very excited about my first night back and I didn’t really know how it was going to go. It had been about 9 years since I had been a Guide and the memories were a bit fuzzy, but I like working with kids and I was looking forward to the challenge.

Well it was a bit chaotic, there were a few people there to help, the Senior Section Leader, Sheetbend, was officially in charge, she had two established helpers, who weren’t always available, and she had planned to combine TSS and Guides to enable her to run them both. Another new person, Halter, and I, were aiming to do our leadership and help run the Guides.

The first few weeks were a bit hectic, Halter and I were trying to run a unit, with no access to the bank account and no knowledge of the current Guiding program, nor did I know how to access that learning. I will be doing some posts over the summer about the activities we did, just so that I have a resource which contains all of our ideas, you never know when they might come in useful again!

Being thrown in at the deep end had it’s advantages, I got my leadership book in March and had everything signed off come October and am now able to help other Leaders in Training.

Things that I struggled with were how to contact the parents. I really didn’t have the time to ring or text them all, so I made it my mission to get hold of all of their email addresses and set up a unit email. It has been amazing! I can contact all the parents within minutes and get replies to my phone. I’ve also started sharing pictures with them via dropbox and they have really enjoyed being able to see what their Guides get up to.

The behaviour of the Guides sometimes gets me down. I implemented a rewards chart and that really helped. The chart has pictures of the patrol emblems and they have to work together as a patrol to gain points over the year, with the winning patrol gaining a prize at the end of the year. It was initially started because the Guides were unwilling to help tidy up and Halter and I were having to stay for half an hour after the meeting to get everything clean and it really wasn’t fair. The idea is that the Guides win stickers, which are placed on their heads, with it being their own responsibility to transfer them to the chart at the end of the night.

The first night I introduced the chart was hilarious. I had mentioned it a few weeks before but hadn’t got around to implementing it. So that night, I was a bit stressed, the place was a mess and I was ready to give up. I told Barrel and Halter to not push individuals to help tidy, nor to tidy themselves. We made one announcement to tidy up and then I went around and put stickers on the heads of the Guides who were helping. The Guides were so funny, the ones getting stickers were confused, asking what they were for, the Guides without stickers were frustrated and kept asking if they could could have stickers, to which I just kept replying “I don’t know, can you?”. There were two sessions of tidying up and there were only a handful of Guides who didn’t have two stickers. When I explained what the stickers were for, the Guides without two started to look a little guilty and for the next few weeks, everyone helped tidy up.

My next journey post will talk about my leadership award and then the journey into Look Wider.

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