Senior Section Grand Opening

In my eternal madness, I’ve decided to open a Senior Section in the District. I have a lot of free time these days since the leadership team in my new unit is so competent and I’ve given up Tae Kwon Do because of my joints.

My previous unit had a Senior Section attached and I’ve been doing most of the awards myself in the last few years so I have a pretty good knowledge of the programme and I think I connect pretty well with the age group, at least, I hope so. I am having to redo Module 1 of the ALQ, and apparently I will get a mentor for it! I didn’t have a mentor for my leadership so this will be interesting.

We have a lot of young leaders in the district but nothing joining them together, the idea behind this senior section is to get as many of them as possible to attend meetings but also to invite the those who can’t attend regularly on outings and camps to let them have some peer Guiding time.

The plan is to meet once a month, on a Saturday or Sunday, for 5 hours, roughly equivalent to meeting once a week for an hour and a half, once you get set up and going. By having it all at once, it should be easier for those who have a lot of homework and exams looming. They have also expressed an interest in having meetings during the summer holidays. It doesn’t make a difference to me, since I have to work anyway!

Our first meeting was on Saturday and we had two girls attending but another 5 on the books who couldn’t make the first meeting, which is more than enough to get started with.

The five hours went in pretty quickly and the 3 of us had a lot of fun. We started off by discussing the program and the awards available, starting to generate some ideas for meetings. Then moved onto baking cookies, I wasn’t completely sure about the facilities or what the level of their baking experience would be so I went for a mix which just needed butter and water added to it. I’m glad we started small, it took them an hour to make the two packets and they did forget to switch on the oven! It was fun though and tasty.

Next we played the card game “In a Bind”, a bit like twister but with cards instead of the mat. It was hilarious, very enjoyable and got everyone laughing and chatting.

Our last activity of the day was collages. The idea was mood boards or inspiration but it really turned into “Things we liked the look of”. I had collected all of the junk mail which had come through my door, there was a lot of funeral homes and life insurance leaflets, this entertained the Senior Section a lot.

All in all, a really good day and I think we are off to a good start!

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Craft Badge – Fimo Charms

This week was our last Craft Badge Activity and we made charms from fimo clay. We used the bake in the oven kind, it takes about 30 mins to bake properly. We also had four Brownies who will be moving up next term visit with us for the first half hour.

Celtic, Merida and Mulan spent the first part of the meeting cutting up the fimo into small blocks so the Guides could choose four different colours each. The Brownies got to chose first so they would have time to make something.

While they were setting that up, Windsor and I ran a game, no idea what it is called but they wander around the room, you call out a number and an animal and they have to get into a group of that number and make the animal shape. Much laughter was heard and my favourite was the centipede!

The Guides then settled in natural groupings and chatted while making their charms. Trinity asked me to sit with our eldest grouping and have a chat. Two of them are fourteen and are moving onto my new Senior Section (More about this in the next post), but the other three have 6-12 months to go and are struggling with the very young 10 year olds in the unit. We have suggested them having their own senior patrol next term and it was really well received. They don’t want to do anything different from the rest of the unit, they just want to be able to do it in peace.

The charms were adorable, little penguins, beads, door number from Sherlock etc. The Guides liked the activity and it gave them a chance to gossip.

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We finished up with a game of Rats and Rabbits and Wink Murder.

Craft Badge – Marbling and Silk Painting

Week 2 of the craft badge and it was all about the ink! I was so covered.

Merida and I ran the marbling station which involved a lot struggling with our tiny sinks and trays of water. The Guides were pretty good and patient enough and managed not to spill ink everywhere. They worked in groups of 2 or 3 to decide which colours to add and how much to smoosh (Merida and I’s new favourite word) the ink, then dipped their paper in. Next week they will make it into cards for Mother’s day.

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They took a little longer to dry than we thought so Celtic has taken them home to lay out in her conservatory.

Celtic, Trinity, Windsor and Mulan were running the silk painting, we had rented the silk paints from county and Trinity had gotten the silk squares online. They looked beautiful! And they really enjoyed painting them.

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We had 10 mins left at the end, so I got the two young leaders to run a game. Its the game where you get them into groups of 3 or 4, each group has a chair and they leader shouts out a bunch of body parts which are allowed to touch the ground. Then they have to support one another and make it happen. Lots of noise and entertainment and Merida really loves it!

Craft Badge – Pyrography, Encaustic Art and Shrink Plastic Keyrings

During our planning meeting, Trinity discovered we had a large number of craft badges that really needed using up, especially with the programme changes coming up. The Guides also enjoy craft so it seemed to match up well.

What I’m loving about this group is that they don’t just do the easy thing, they put in effort to make meetings as interesting as possible for the Guides. Our county office allows you to rent interesting art equipment and we decided to go with pyrography and encaustic art. We had two pyrography irons and five encaustic art irons so we also did shrink plastic keyrings to fill in the time. We also had a Duke of Ed volunteer start with us, Mulan. She seems good with the Guides.

I was in charge of the pyrography irons and seeing that no one burnt themselves or the tables. We got wooden coasters from baker ross and let them draw their own designs with the advice to not make it too detailed. Not all of them took that advice sadly but they really did enjoy getting to use the irons. A couple of them were a bit nervous at the start but built up confidence and helped one another. I also let Mulan and Merida have a go and have suggested that we could hire them for a Senior Section meeting and let them have a longer go.

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I didn’t get to watch much of the encaustic art but it looked beautiful. They melted wax onto the iron then spread it onto a sheet of paper to make gorgeous patterns. Once again no one burnt themselves and they all seemed to have fun.

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The final activity was shrink plastic keyrings, the Guides drew onto the rough side of the plastic, their drawings had to be about 3-4 times the size they wanted them to end up and punch a hole through. There were a lot of unicorns, apparently someone had come into school and taught them how to draw one. Then they went onto a baking sheet and in the oven for a few minutes where they shrink down and thicken. Then the Guides just had to thread the key ring loop.

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I’m very impressed at the quality of craft we did and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the badge.

Tesco’s Farm to Fork

It’s the little things that get Guides excited, like my last unit going Christmas shopping. They requested to go to Tescos and mostly they were excited about getting to do shopping and put stuff through the till.

We arrived at Tescos to be greeting by two employees who were going to be looking after us and they did a brilliant job. They engaged with the Guides really well and kept them entertained.

We had two activities for the evening, the first was a tour of the bakery and the second looking at the price of Fresh, Tinned and Frozen fruit and veg.

We split in half and my group started with the bakery. The baker was excellent, he showed them how to make bread in the huge mixer, how the sifting and cutting machines worked and let them have a go at shaping the dough into buns and plaits. We got to see the huge proving oven and the cooking and steaming ovens. The Guides were engaged and interested and then we all got to taste a selection of breads and cookies. They were very happy and full of sugar.

Next we headed off to the fruit and veg section and they went off with their clipboards to find the price per kg of fresh, frozen and tinned, raspberries, peas and peppers. It was an interesting activity for them and they really enjoyed running around the store. I hope we didn’t annoy to many shoppers but I think they did pretty well.

The final activity Trinity had put together, she gave each patrol a chicken dinner list, one patrol had Tesco Everyday, one had finest, organic and the last had ready made. They ran around to find the prices and then compared them against one another.

We had one enrolment to hold that evening and the Guide decided to make her promise in the Fruit and Veg Section. I like that this unit is happy for us to have enrolments outside of the meeting place!

All in all, an excellent evening and I picked up my week’s shopping afterwards 🙂

Dragon’s Den

Celtic set up a Dragon’s Den activity for the Guides. It was something they had done 4 years previously, the aim was to get them to design something that could be sold to raise funds for the unit. Last time, one patrol designed an adorable whale pencil holder which Celtic got printed up and the Guides put them together and sold them. If anyone had come up with something good, the plan had been to repeat this. Sadly, they had good ideas but not really easily sell-able.

They were given a brief, what materials were available, an explanation of copyright and some costings. They had a meeting and a half to come up with an idea, do the costings and a presentation. The last half meeting was each patrol giving their presentation to the “Dragons”, Celtic, Windsor, Merida and I. The Guides decided that Merida was a Baby Dragon.

One patrol came up with patrol keyrings, they made adorable prototypes from cardboard and keyring loops. The bumblebee was particularly cute 🙂 They worked together well and came up with a really good presentation.

Another patrol decided on animal clocks. Once again they did a really good job making lovely prototypes and coming up with a slogan and selling strategy. Their downfall was their costing, the clocks were far two expensive to make a decent profit.

The Snack Box was a more creative but less practical idea. They got a drinks bottle and attached a tinfoil takeaway container with a hole in the centre to the top. They fed a straw through the hole, with the idea that you could fill the tinfoil dish with snacks and be able to just hold the drinks bottle and still eat and drink easily. It wasn’t particularly stable or reusable but they basic idea was great.

The final group made tanning suncream. Apparently when you have to put on suncream it makes you look white and this is not desirable. Essentially they mixed suncream and foundation into different shades. We tried to explain that mixing two safe substances together doesn’t always result in a safe mixture and that cosmetic products have to go through an extensive testing process. They ignored all of this and designed it anyway. Then exploded suncream and foundation everywhere!

All in all, a pretty good STEM activity to get them thinking about design and costs.

GFI’s and Settling In

The next two weeks were GFI’s. Our four patrols chose: Parties; Communication; 5 Senses and Sports.

We run GFIs in two week blocks, I tend to find anything longer and they really struggle to keep their interest and engage. Two weeks seems to be the correct length of time, as long as it is well planned. They do need to occasionally be checked up on but mostly cope well the challenge of planning.

Highlights of the weeks:

Parties They made fortune cookies! They turned out a bit thick but they had fun trying and apparrently they tasted okay. The next week they were doing henna tattoos, they ordered the henna online and everything was going well till they discovered one Guide had brought hair dye henna instead!

Communication The first week they did really well, they sat quietly and wrote fairy tales in text speak. I was super impressed. The second week wasn’t quite as well planned but they played charades and blind drawing.

5 Senses Week 1 was fruit tasting, they brought in so many different fruits and tried them all. Watching them eat lemon slices was the highlight of my week, so much screaming! Week 2 was identifying foods by touch blindfolded. The previous week, each of them told Merida and I (in secret) what they were going to bring in, so they didn’t have repeats. Watching them touch raw egg was pretty funny.

Sports The first week they walked in with a lot of sports drinks, chocolate and crisps. I went over to ask what their plan was, in a “I’m not accusing you of not doing the GFI” way but I’m interested in how this relates to sport. Turns out the energy drinks were what they were looking at, comparing nutrients and energy (all good). The chocolate and crisps,they just wanted to eat them. Week two involved a lot of weird exercises with balls and hoops, they seemed to have fun.

All in all, it went pretty well and the guides enjoyed themselves.