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.

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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.

My New Unit and Me

I’ve moved to Cambridge East in Anglia Region and joined up with a unit in the village I’m living in. I joined them just before Christmas and the leadership team, Trinity, Celtic and Windsor have been so welcoming and they are so competent! And just after Christmas we have had a young leader, Merida move up from Guides. Merida has been so helpful! I’m still learning everyone’s names and she makes sure that I don’t feel too out of my depth.

The first week Celtic was running an adorable craft. it was coins of wood painted to look like robins and penguins with hooks in the top to hang them from a stick with wool. All of the Guides were sitting at a long table and I wandered around helping and chatting to them, it was actually a really good way to get to know them.

Screwing the hooks into the wood turned out to be really difficult and took a lot more time than expected so keep that in mind if you ever want to do similar.

The next week was run by Trinity and her mother, who was lovely. The Guides decorated chocolate swiss rolls with homemade chocolate frosting. They were so hyper after eating all the sugar.

Our final meeting before Christmas was a leaving party for Brown Owl, the Brownies, Guides and Leaders headed out to a local Italian restaurant owned by one of our Guide parents. They did a fantastic job feeding 60 of us in under an hour. They brought out plates of pizza and pasta and everyone served themselves, some of the youngest Brownies needed a bit of help but everyone got plenty. They even coped with the little Brownie who would only eat plain pasta.

We had some Guides make their Promise and finished the evening singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, much to the entertainment of the other patrons.

I also managed to attend a district meeting and meet some other leaders. I did discover there is no Senior Section unit in the District though. I’m thinking I might do something about it.

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!

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!!!

Brownie Meeting

When I was a Brownie, I was invited to visit the Guide pack at the end of my final year, it was a chance to meet the leaders and talk to some of the Guides, to make moving up a little less daunting.

I decided to bring the tradition to this Guide pack and got the Guides to draw up lovely individual invitations and invite the Brownies to a Bake Off Evening.

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Only 2 came to visit us and were adopted into our patrols. Each patrol was given a swiss roll, a flan and 5 cupcakes. They were given a selection of sprinkles and icing and then had a chance to chose some other ingredients.

There were 3 choices to be made, and 3 patrols, so each patrol got to chose 1st once.

  • The first bag contained cream, jelly or jam.
  • The second bag contained fresh fruits
  • And the third canned fruits

So the teams had to chose carefully to get the best use of the ingredients.

They worked well together and produced some lovely creations. We had two judges, the mother of one of our leaders, a keen baker, and our church youth worker. They judged well and the prizes were awarded accordingly. The Brownies really enjoyed themselves.2015-06-02 20.07.20.jpg

First Aid and Valentines

As a leadership team we chose to do the First Aid badge. First Aid is always useful and a good traditional Guiding skill. We were lucky to be able to get in touch with St John’s Ambulance and have a volunteer come to us for two weeks and teach us all the skills the Guides need.

To be honest I think some of our Guides struggled with this badge, not that they couldn’t understand and learn but that they found the material hard to concentrate on and the guy delivering it was a bit shy and awkward. I think if I were to do this in the future I would make it more interactive and fun.

We asked the Guides what they wanted to do for Valentine’s and they asked if they could bake. I left this one up to Halter and she decided they could make Shortbread, and Barrel also suggested a Valentine’s craft while it was baking.

Halter was really prepared and had the recipe printed out, we had scales and baking equipment and each patrol was tasked with following the recipe, with various levels of success. Halter hadn’t left the butter out for long enough, and it was still rather hard, this lead to some creativity amongst the Guides. Lots of them were stabbing at it, one patrol softened theirs in the microwave and another patrol managed to melt theirs completely. I explained the chemistry behind baking at that point but they bulled on ahead regardless.

We put them in the oven to bake, tidied up and then set about making adorable heart shaped bags to put the shortbread into. That wasn’t too difficult for them and gave them a bit of a rest.

I was sent in to check the shortbread and it was a disaster! Half of them seemed to have melted and spread across the baking tray. However, the great thing about Guides is, they will eat them anyway!