Start of a New Year and Bullying – Sept 2015

Our first meeting of the term was not well attended, I think we need to work more on contacting the returning Guides and the new Guides to give them information. Our new unit email has really helped with that, it means I can contact all of the parents quickly and easily.

We did some team work games and then had a talk from some of our Senior Section, members and Leaders who had gone international over the summer. One of the leaders had gone to Peak and one of the Rangers had gone to Our Cabana in Mexico. It was brilliant to hear about what they got up to and really excited me to get involved myself.

Planning for the year was done by putting up posters around the hall with titles such as “Outings”, “Weekly Meetings”, “Badges” etc and giving the Guides some post it notes and 15 mins to write down as many ideas as they could, running around the hall to put them in the correct place. My Guides were very mean and kept putting the post its really high up the wall, where I couldn’t reach them! This is the disadvantage of working with Guides and being short.

We discussed the Guidelines and reward chart rules:

Guidelines

  • Have Fun!
  • Respect your Leaders, Peers and anyone who visits
  • Don’t talk over other people
  • No swearing or inappropriate language
  • No bullying – either verbal or physical
  • Wear uniform
  • All Mobile Phones must be placed on stage / put into box at the beginning of the meeting

Reward Chart Rules

  • For being helpful/tidying up – 1 sticker each
  • Recite the Guide Laws– 2 stickers (only available once)
  • Full Patrol in uniform at inspection (including appropriate trousers and shoes) – 3 stickers per Patrol
  • Completing an interest badge in your own time – 1 sticker
  • Sewing a badge onto your uniform or camp blanket – 1 sticker per badge
  • As a prize for a game/competition between patrols – as many stickers as announced by the person running the challenge
  • End of year bonus – 5 stickers for the Patrol which has arranged the stickers neatest and in a way easy to count!

Last year we had some difficulties with bullying in our unit. Obviously we could never catch the girl at it, or we would have dealt with it directly but instead we decided to have a general look at bullying.

We did acting out scenarios and answering questions but I think the best thing we did was have a simple chat. We asked how many people had ever been bullied (reassuring them that they didn’t have to put up their hand if they didn’t want to) and lots of them put up their hands, including the leaders. Then we asked if anyone had ever been a bully, they all started shaking their heads, until I put up my hand and they all stopped in shock and exclaimed at me, “You bullied someone?!”

At this point I asked if anyone had ever done or said something that had upset another person, whether they had ever ganged up with their friends to “tease” someone, who had become upset and asked them to stop. The Guides started looking more doubtful and some started putting up their hand.

It was an interesting way to deal with it, because it made it acceptable to admit to having bullied someone in the past, but highlighted why it shouldn’t be done in the future. I think it is something that we need to be working on all the time. I don’t think one or two sessions is enough.

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Get your plan on!

This week the Guides got stuck into planning their year and organising their patrols. We started with a scavenger hunt, I cannot take credit for the list as I found it online but it did keep them amused for a good 20 mins.

1. Prickly and tickly
2. hard and soft
3. rough and smooth
4. long and round
5. white and yellow
6. thin and fat
7. tiny and rough
8. curly and straight
9. shiny and dull
10. feathery and hard

One group arrived in with a mop for curly and straight, I was very impressed with their ingenuity! Lots of daisies for white and yellow and plenty of twigs and feathers for everything else.

This year we are trying to put the girls in charge of more, we want them to choose their own patrols and Patrol Leaders and Seconders. This is twofold, one, gives them the opportunity to have some independence and two, if they form their own patrols, hopefully they will want to work in them and I won’t have to spend all of my time chasing Guides back to their own patrol.

Some of our Guides who are a few months from Senior Section have decided to set up a Senior Patrol and work with Sheetbend since we don’t have a Senior Section at this time. I think this is going to be a good thing, they are all the Guides who were getting a bit restless at the end of last year. I think giving them a separate space will really help them grow.

Our largest patrol is formed of our eldest Guides, most of them were together last year and I know that one of them is particularly good at keeping them on track and entertained. I asked them who was going to be patrol leader and was surprised and impressed that they have decided their quietest member is going to be their PL. I think they want her to step up and come out of herself a bit. She was very surprised herself. I’m not worried about the Daisy Patrol.

The Roses are made up of our 3 last year’s new Guides, a transfer Guide and 2 new Guides. They seem to be getting on well but are a bit boisterous. Their Patrol Leader is a younger sister to one of our new Senior Patrol and I think it will be good to get her out of her shell.

The Poppies are all new Guides who have all moved up from Brownies and they are full of enthusiasm. They haven’t chosen a PL yet and are each going to try it out and see who suits best. They will need more of an eye kept on them since they are so new but I think they will do alright.

With that settled, we gave them a planning sheet and got them to write down their ideas for the year.

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The Poppies got super excited about badges, so hopefully the unit as a whole may start taking an interest in completing interest badges! One of our older Guides turned up with 3 badges completed over the summer but she is the first Guide in 2 years to do so.

They wanted to continue with the Patrol Nights so that obviously went down really well last year.

Then Barrel took the PLs for a Patrol Leader’s Council and planned the rest of the term while the other patrol members chose a GFI and started planning for it.

gfi-planner

Through all of this I was being observed to see if I’m acceptable as a prospective trainer. One of the trainers came to see if we were following the program correctly and that I was interacting with the other leaders and girls in a good manner. I passed muster and will now be passed on to the shadowing stage.

In another entertaining turn of events, I finally completed everything for my Chief Guides Award and am trying to figure out how to receive it. Sheetbend has no idea, she contacted the District Commissioner, who doesn’t know and who is going to ring the County Commissioner.  I don’t think anyone in our district has done this in a while!

Guess Who’s Back

This week we started back and it was the usual chaos and fun. We had 7 new Guides and hoping we may gain a few more next week and we’ve lost a few of our old Guides to other activities. To be honest, I don’t mind losing them to other activities, I just wouldn’t like to think of them not doing anything. One is heading to a theater group and the other to cadets which are a lot more specialised than us.

We had two rather shy Guides, one was a Brownie who had moved up and was worried that she wouldn’t know anyone and sent her dad in ahead of her. The other was a Guide moving from a unit which had closed, I was quite surprised by her, she was actually in tears, but I found someone she knew and sent them off to chat and she seemed to calm down a lot.

Two of the others were a bit stressful for me! The reason being, they were twins and told me their names and I realised that I had gone to school with their big sister and remembered them being born!

We started by asking them to get into groups of 3 or 4 and they had to find something in common with one another, which no other group had already claimed. Then we mixed up the groups and did it again. It really got them chatting to one another.

The older Guides were taken to the side with Square and Sheetbend and introduced to the concept of Senior Section and asked if they wanted to help with Rainbows and Brownies. While this was going on, I took the younger Guides and introduced the new ones to the idea of interest badges and GFI’s. I had brought along my camp blanket, both to show them and to use it in a game.

We decided to do a brain teaser evening, it allowed them to work in small groups and do some bonding. We just moved the puzzles around each group and let them work on them in their own time.

  • Have the whole group stand on the blanket, without touching the floor they must turn the blanket over to the other side. Further on from that, how small can you make the blanket and still fit the whole team on.
  • Handcuff game – tie the first person’s hand together with string, leaving a long trail in between the hands, do the same to the second person but their handcuff string should pass behind the handcuff string of the first person, causing them to be trapped together. Then they have to get themselves apart.
  • Crossing the river – a farmer needs to get a fox, a chicken and a bag of grain across the river, he can only take one at a time and if left along, the fox will eat the chicken and the chicken will eat the grain. How does he get them all across the river?
  • Crossing the river (Hard) – similar only you have a mum, dad, 2 sons, 2 daughters, a cop and a robber.
  •  Tower of Hanoi – 5 boxes, from biggest to smallest, 3 positions. Box can only be lifted from the top and then be placed in a spot, cannot put a bigger box on top of a small box, have to get them from position 1 to position 3.
  • Give the team a piece of paper and they have to somehow make it so the entire team can make it through the piece of paper.

The Guides really enjoyed this evening, really good feedback from them all and the little groups were already starting to form.

We have told them that they will be forming their own patrols, minimum 4 and maximum 8 and will be choosing their own PL’s and PS’s. I don’t know how it will go but its worth a try!

My Journey – County Training Day

Yesterday was our county training day and I’ve been excited about it for a while, I’m not getting a lot of socialising at the moment and after the training a few of us were going out for dinner.

Other than my fellow leaders, I don’t know many people in the county very well, I’ve run into them occasionally at training sessions and the AGM but that’s about it. When I arrived I was feeling a bit shy and awkward but the “B” Brownie Leaders soon turned up and included me in their chat and it was lovely.

We headed into Section Programme Training and the trainer had previously taken me this summer for Accounts and Gift Aid Training. When I was at the previous training, her husband had tried to persuade me to do the walking scheme. This does seem to be a theme in Guiding, “Do you want to get involved in this?”. The section training went pretty well, I was the teacher’s pet as usual, nothing has really changed from school. It worries me a little that very few of the leaders (most of them experienced) were able to talk about the five essentials and the five zones. When I was doing my leadership, it asked you to evaluate your program against them and I’ve continued to do that every week. I did get lots of ideas from other leaders though and chatted to one fairly new leader and gave her some advice.

The organisers had done a run to the play resource centre and picked up lots of craft supplies which we eagerly partook of. My car boot is now full!

After this was packed lunch time and the weather was good so we headed out to picnic tables and started chatting. It was lovely chatting with the Rainbow and Brownie Leaders, we were gossiping and talking about the year ahead and kids who were moving up. Then the Brownie Leader approached me about the concept of a Brownie Camp, she was really keen to take them away and give them the experience. She asked if I would be willing to come along as another leader and somehow I agreed lol. She’s planning to take 21 Brownies and at least 7 leaders. Compared to just me with 11 Guides this year at camp, Brownie Camp sounds like a breeze, although I might not be saying that next year!

The afternoon was international activities, STEM activities and craft. I’m not very artistic but we did learn how to make an adorable reindeer out of jigsaw pieces, I will take a pic of mine when I have a chance (I’ve left it in the car). I think the Guides would really like it, it’s simple but quite cool looking. I’ve recently become a STEM ambassador again so I’m looking forward to doing more STEM activities with my Unit anyway.

I was there from 9.30 am until nearly 5 pm but I learnt so much and enjoyed it. Then about 30 of us headed out to a hotel for dinner. I was sitting with my unit, the Brownie Leaders and the Guide leaders from down the road and we had a brilliant time! We gossiped all night and learnt more new ideas.

At the end of the meal, I ended up chatting with two of the Trainers, one of them I had met when I stayed over at Lorne for my leadership weekend last year. I had so much fun that weekend, it was my introduction to Guiding socialising and the chat that evening was brilliant. However they suggested that I should sign up as a trainer myself. It was something that had crossed my mind previously, I love teaching, I always have and I like working with people. So, in my eternal madness, I sent in my application to be a prospective trainer today. Not sure if its a good idea or if I have time for it but hey, you have to try these things.

I found a song, “This is why I am a Guider” sung to the tune of John  Brown’s Body, and I think its very true. Guiding Leaders tend to take on more than one role and really get involved.

I went along to Guides, just to help them out one day,
I must have done a decent job as I was asked to stay,
I really didn’t have the time to do the job just right,
But the Guiders all assured me that it only took one night.

Chorus:

This is why I am a Guider,
This is why I am a Guider,
This is why I am a Guider,
‘Cuz the others all assured me that it only took one night.

The District meeting came along and I was asked to go,
It’s sad to say the treasurer was ill and didn’t show,
So I was asked to do the job and I replied I might,
‘Cuz the others all assured me that it only took one night.

One day the new Commissioner saw me putting up a tent,
She said with great relief, “My Dear, you must be heaven sent,
I need a Camp Adviser and I know your time is tight,
But I really do assure that it will only take one night

I’ve been so long in uniform, my blood is navy blue,
My friends and neighbors think I’m mad and maybe so do you,
But I’m so proud and happy I’d complain with all my might,
If my many jobs in Guiding really only took one night!!!