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!


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.


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.

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.

Arm Knitting – Brownies Can

Good Idea

Brownie Meeting Ideas

For Key to I Can: Sewing Magic, we did aChunky Arm Knitted Cowl. It was 24 projects, 48 balls of yarn and 24 newbie knitters. Have a headache yet?

Take a big breath and I’ll tell you how we did it. Because it went pretty well.

Prepareone kit per Browniein advance (we needed 24).

  • Yarn – Bernat Chunky big 400g balls x 8 ($10 each). In a variety of colours divided into 48 66g balls (get a kitchen scale). We actually did 48 80g balls but it was too much.
  • Pop bottles to cast on to in advance.
  • Large Zip Bags

Cast on ten double stranded stitches (see video) onto your arm and transfer those stitches to a pop bottle — grip the spout and slide the stitches from the arm to the bottle.Put the bottle and two balls into the big zip bag. Repeat 23 more…

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Coffee and Pampering

Each year we raise money for a different cause and in 2015/2016 it was for Action Cancer. One of our leaders is very involved in the local branch and was keen to get the guides involved. Just like last year, when we raised money for the Nepal Scouts and Guides, we decided to have a coffee evening and invite the parents of our Guides and the Beavers.

The coffee evening went basically as planned but we had some funny incidents with the Guides and some of our new Senior Section.

First there was the overly guilty looking Guide who came to confess her sins. Her and her friends had snuck out to the garage and bought themselves sweets, they hadn’t thought that it wouldn’t be okay. I ticked them off but then let them eat the sweets anyway.

We had a brand new Guide that night, who seemed kind of bemused by the whole situation but once she found some friends seemed to settle in. In fact she is still with us this year so we must not have scared her too much.

One of our newer Guides and one of the new Senior section asked why they had to stay late that night, when I explained that we would need them to clean up, the shock on their faces! It was as if I had told them I expected them to fight a lion, they couldn’t believe I wanted them to wash dishes.

They did manage to raise about £180 and the Guides had fun and learned how to talk to adults a little better.

The next week was the church’s Week of Mission. Something I find difficult Guiding in Northern Ireland is that a lot of the units take place in Church Halls and the leaders are very nice Church Ladies who have a habit of pushing a religious agenda onto the Guides, which I don’t agree with. But sometimes I have to allow it to happen and can’t really do much to stop it.

Our youth minister is a nice guy and he ran an evening with them which we set up as a pamper evening. He brought beads for them to make bracelets (they did have something to do with Bible quotes but I wasn’t paying attention). We invited in a lady who does makeup, someone else who did hair and Barrel brought along her extensive nail polish collection.

It was interesting to see the Guides interacting with all of the girlie things, some of them jumped right in and others were shy about it or not interested at all. I had a small delegation who asked if they could do my make up and I of course agreed. I try not to wear make up but sometimes being a Guide Leader means making sacrifices :p

The youth minister had brought along a chocolate fountain, fruit and sweets so we sent the Guides home happy and full of sugar!