The final part of the Anglia Outdoor challenge was to have a meal in an interesting outdoor location. We chose my old college Newnham as it has some beautiful gardens.
Surprisingly, as an Alum, it was very easy to get permission, it did help that we were planning to go during university holidays so we wouldn’t be disturbing any students.
We met outside the Porter’s Lodge and started the evening off with a tour. I used to give access tours a lot when I was at Uni so I’ve picked up a lot of titbits about the college.
Newnham is an all womens college, one of three in Cambridge. It was founded in 1871, however women were only allowed to attend lectures with a chaperone and were not permitted to sit exams. In the future they were allowed to sit the exams but could not qualify for a degree. It took until 1947 before they were allowed to hold degrees from Cambridge. Keep in mind that Cambridge is over 800 years old, and women have only been able to hold degrees for 70 years of that.
Many amazing women have attended Newnham. Millicent Fawcett read Mathematics and was ranked highest in the year of her final exams, scoring higher than the Senior Wrangler. The Senior Wrangler is the highest ranked person in the Mathematics Tripos, in those days, only men qualified. Today is obviously different.
Emma Thompson attended and an admirer once road a motorcycle down the corridor to surprise her. Miriam Margolyes also attend and read English.
I think I got them a bit interested but I did get some strange questions when I explained that I used to live in the buildings around us. One asked if I was ever allowed to go home!
We finished up in a lovely spot in the gardens, had a picnic and asked what they wanted to go next term!
We asked them all to bring a picnic and maybe something to share and they really did get into the spirit of sharing which was lovely to see.
I’m a qualified Tae Kwon Do Instructor and offered to run a self defence class for our Guides as part of the Anglia Outdoor Challenge Badge, and we actually ran the class outside since it has been so warm!
I think self defence is very important and it isn’t about being able to beat people up. It’s all about knowing how to keep yourself safe, and if you get into a situation, how to get out of it quickly and with the least amount of damage.
The Guides were suffering from end of term-itis and it was difficult to keep them on track but my fellow leaders were good at keeping them from hurting one another. When I ran this class for Guide Units back home, I had people from my Tae Kwon Do club to help, but over here I don’t have that.
We discussed the 3 steps to self defence:
- Run away if possible
- Find a weapon
- Prepare to fight
We talked about target areas and what can be used as a weapon, all prefaced with not being allowed to use this in any situations other than self defence, no hurting siblings.
Then moved on to teaching them release moves and how to walk with confidence. Explaining how to not get into dangerous situations and also to not be scared of the world.
I’ve offered sessions to the other units in my county, I think it’s an important skill to pass on and it’s also a way for me to meet other Leaders.
I also managed to socialise at the County Awards dinner a few weeks ago and really enjoyed myself. It was a lovely evening out.
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.
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.
We finished up with a game of Rats and Rabbits and Wink Murder.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I’m very impressed at the quality of craft we did and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the badge.
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.
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 🙂