Its a new dawn, its a new term!

We started back and my night was a busy one! One of the other Guide Units in the district has nine Guides who will be ready to move up to Senior Section in the next year and their leader asked me to come visit and talk to them about moving up. The only problem is that they meet on the same evening as us, starting half an hour before. So it was a quick drive over, enthuse them about Senior Section and a quick drive back before our unit started. They did seem interested though so hopefully the Senior Section will start to grow over the next year.

Back at my Guide Unit, we were doing the agility badge and had 5 new Guides who had moved up from Brownies. Our three oldest have decided to have their own patrol to give them a little space from the younger ones, which left one of our other patrols a little sparse. All five new Guides have joined this patrol with two older Guides as the PL and PS. We are a lower age majority unit, once we lose our three eldest to Senior Section after Christmas, the eldest will be only 12.

We had four stations, skipping, tennis ball and racket, yoga and throwing a ball. Myself and Merida were running the tennis ball and racket station and I was quite surprised at how difficult some of them found it.

They had to bounce the ball on the racket 20 times without dropping it and hit it off the ground 20 times without stopping. They all tried really hard but a couple of them really struggled.

They seemed to enjoy the yoga taught by Celtic and came in looking relaxed.

It was a very active night but they were still looking engaged and excited at the end.

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.

Mascot Bear

My Camp Blanket used to hold my pin badges as well as my fabric ones, but it was a bit awkward for use at camp as an actual blanket. So I decided to invest in a mascot bear with a camp poncho for my pin badges. Turns out that there are lovely people on the internet who will make a leader uniform and camp blanket! Celtic offered me a spare bear but she turned out to be too small and I ended up buying a Build a Bear instead.

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The Guides have decided to name her Coco and she comes to Guides every week. The Bumblebees love her and normally end up with her in their patrol circle.

However, spare bear was still going spare so we decided to make her into a Rainbow Bear and gift her to the Rainbow Leader Mrs Whiskers. So I had a friend help me cut out a pattern and I sewed up a little red hoodie out of felt and added a rainbow badge to the back. Mrs Whiskers seemed really pleased 🙂

My Journey: London Monopoly

So this post has nothing to do with my Guides and is about me and my Guiding Journey 🙂

I’m determined to experience all that I can from the Senior Section before I hit my 26th Birthday and since its the centenary year, there is plenty to get involved in. Reed messaged me and asked if I fancied a weekend in London for London Monopoly and we got Bowline involved as well! That’s me on the left, Reed in the centre and Bowline on the right, notice how short I am in comparison. Occasionally my District Commissioner finds it difficult to spot me when I’m with my Guides.

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I was so excited to spend an weekend in London with my two best Guiding friends and we had an amazing time. It did involve us arriving at Kings Cross at 8.30am though, which made me a little sad. We got handed our starting pack without having to ask, as our NI accents gave us away. The weekend was organised by Bedfordshire Senior Section and was exceptionally well run. Our meeting place was the Birdcage, which actually contains a swing. Bowline really enjoyed the swing!

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Our starting pack contained a cryptic clue tube station quiz, a laminated card for you to write your team name on, the back had all of the places you had to visit, ÂŁ5 for the Chance cards, a tube map, a London A-Z map and of course, badges! We actually got two for this event.

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There was a countdown to 9.30 am and then we were off. I think we should have planned our route a bit better but we ran off to get Fenchurch Station and London Bridge Station but really should have gotten Whitechapel road while we were at it.

The day was so busy, we walked 27,756 steps according to Reed’s fitbit. The aim of the game was to reach a location, take a picture with the item or the street sign in the background and then tweet it to @bedsmonopsat and you could ask to buy it. If you were the first team there, then you owned the property and any team who turned up afterwards had to pay you rent. I think we owe a lot of respect to the kind Leaders who were sitting in Monopoly HQ trying to figure everything out.

For bonus points there was a famous location to find for each colour. There was also things to do, buy and find for chance and community cards. For example, get a pic with a police officer, some Boris bikes and a ÂŁ1 tacky souvenir (we got Union Flag underwear). We also had to get monopoly counter selfies. The best of which was when we found Doug the Pug Therapy Dog and his lovely owner who let us take a selfie with her.

We managed to own some locations and paid rent on others, by the end of the day we had only missed out on 4 locations. Although if  we had planned better, I think we would have managed it. We came 2nd out of 6 in our game and 6th out of 20 overall!

The highlight of the weekend was getting to stay at Pax Lodge. It is one of the 5 World Guiding Centres and since I got back into Guiding, I’ve been keen to visit one. Pax Lodge was lovely and we met some amazing people there.

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The event was for Senior Section Members aged 14-25 so there were some older leaders there to look after anyone under 18 and we mostly ended up talking to them. I asked if they had anyone going to the World Scout Moot next summer and I was lucky to find someone! One leader’s daughter, Overhand, is going and is super excited, just like me. I asked how she was getting to the briefing weekend as I was struggling to find a way to get there and she was amazing and offered me a lift if I could get to Peterborough Train Station. So she is my new best friend. What sort of amazed me more was that Overhand and her mum just accepted that she would pick me up and I could have dinner at their house before we drove up to the campsite. This is something that I love about Guiding, instant friendships.

We had a get to know each other game of monopoly, a modified board which included cards that had someone’s name on, then you had to go find them and ask them a question. It included winning sweets and chatting to everyone and it was really good fun.

Reed and I went a bit crazy in the Pax Lodge shop and I bought a necker and some badges. We also pinned our county badge onto the wall map to show we had been there.

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The morning was very special. We had a flag raising and pinning ceremony. Each World Centre has its own pin and you can only get the pin by going to the centre, you can’t order them or buy them on Ebay, you have to actually be there. When the flag was raised we sang the World Song, which none of us knew but that I’m determined to learn. There is a special pin this year for the 25th Anniversary of Pax Lodge.

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Bowline had to leave early to get her bus home but Reed and I spent the day together in London, I’m an engineer and she is a physics teacher so we headed off to the Science Museum. We had a great day and got to see some cool science things and tried to get some inspiration for our Guide Units. We then headed to platform 9 and 3/4 and may have indulged in buying some badges.

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All in all, I had a brilliant weekend and am so glad we decided to do this.

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.

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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!