The Promise, Christmas and a Tea Party

Our first night back after half term, we held a Pink themed Tea Party to raise money for our local branch of Action Cancer. Some lovely ladies came to give us a talk about checking for breast cancer and we had also invited the Guiding parents to come listen as well. Then we had a lovely tea party of pink foods only! Ended the evening with bobbing for apples, the Guides surprised me by being very competitive and getting stuck in.

When I was a Guide, I made a promise:

I promise that I will do my best,

To love my God,

To serve my Queen and my country,

To help other people,

And to keep the Guide Law.

and to be perfectly honest, part of it made me uncomfortable, I didn’t personally follow the Christian faith and the God mentioned in the promise, to many, is the Christian God. However, Guiding was never meant to be confined to those of the Christian faith. It has a spiritual basis but members are free to interpret this however they desire.

This is why I feel more comfortable with the new promise, this is the promise I made as a leader.

I promise that I will do my best,

To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,

To serve my Queen and my community,

To help other people,

And to keep the Guide Law.

I think it allows members, from all faiths and none, to stand together and comfortably say the promise as one.

Many of the leaders in my region have really struggled with this change. Most GirlGuiding UK Units in N.Ireland are run in Protestant Churches, there are two separate Guiding organisations for Catholic Girl Guides. Girls outside of these areas don’t always make it into Guiding unfortunately. I think I rationalised the promise by interpreting “My God” to mean my personal “God”, but others may have struggled.

Even though the promise changed a few years ago, a lot of the information about it has not made its way to the Girls. I have had several arguments with Guides, who insist that Guiding is a Christian Organisation, to which I point out the Hijab, sold by Guiding for its Islamic members. The surprising things is, that when I mention this, the girls all agree instantly that the new promise is more appropriate. So obviously, no one has ever pointed this out, which is shameful.

We did lots of activities with the Guides to help them understand the promise before they undertook it.

Overall, we drew a promise tree, each part of the promise was a branch, and the twigs were ways for them to achieve the things.

To help other people

We hid paper hands with a letter written on the palm around the hall. Each Guide had to find one and come up with something they could do to help people, using the letter.

To be true to myself and develop my beliefs

We made boxes with notes about things the Guides liked about themselves, this was an examination of how they thought about themselves and learning to believe in what they can do.

To serve my Queen and my community

The Guides discussed what they would do if they were a politician for the day and gave 5 ideas in their patrols.

After our weeks of promise activities, we turned to Christmas. The Church was doing a Christmas Tree Festival, different Church groups decorated and made trees, to be shown in the church and raise money for their missions and donations to people in the community.

For some mad reason, we decided that we could make a tree, instead of just making our decorations, and to make it worse, our theme was, “There was no room at the Inn”. Well it was all a bit of a disaster.  Halter and I are not artistic, and we really struggled coming up with ideas and implementing them.

I had some cardboard to make the tree, it was basically two trees cut out and a slit at the top of one, and the bottom of the other and slid together. I was struggling to draw the outline and one of the Guides kindly offered to help 🙂

The Guides decorated felt with doors and no entry signs, and we hung up our promise trees and coloured boxes of positivity. We added Guide Badges and our “star” was a trefoil flag topper.

It was terrible looking but at least we tried I suppose!

Our Christmas party got off to a bad start when there was a security alert on the main motorway and none of our leaders could get the the hall until just before the meeting started. The youth worker who knew how to set up the projector, ended up having to go with the Beavers to the Planetarium, since their leaders were on the motorway too.

So the food came at different times and we didn’t get to watch the whole movie but the Guides seemed to enjoy it. However, we were feeding them party food and pizza and I was rather worried when one of them commented that we were trying to make them all fat. I haven’t worked much with teenage girls and hadn’t come across it before.

Our final treat for the year was a trip to the local shopping centre. Our Guides don’t really get the chance to go shopping in a big centre without parental supervision, so it gives them the chance to buy presents for their family and hang out with friends. We also went to McDonalds for a sneaky snack before getting on the bus home. I thought I would find it more stressful than I did but the Guides were well behaved.

Then I got two whole weeks off to rest.

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