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.
The next two weeks were out of the meeting place, we are completing the Anglia outdoor challenge and really enjoying ourselves, mostly the weather has held.
The first week we had a Penny Hike, my first one ever! I was so excited to finally go on one. We had 3 leaders, 2 Young Leaders and 4 Patrols, so our Young Leaders took the eldest patrol and each of the leaders went with one of the others.
My patrol has mostly Guide who have just moved up so I was keen to get them independent and tried to let them lead as much as possible, just keeping them out of private property and reminding them to flip the coin.
We ended up having a lovely walk, although we got stuck going in circles in the chalk pit for a while. Finished up in the play park for 5 minutes where I found the young leaders and the caterpillars 🙂
From land to water, the following week was at our local campsite’s outdoor pool. I think it was a first for some of our Guides and it was a bit chilly but half of them really got into it. All of them tried but some of them had to be sent to get changed early. They weren’t moving around enough.
Windsor taught them some live saving and water safety and then they started jumping in and playing with blow up balls. A few had to be persuaded to get out at the end!
We finished up with hot chocolate and biscuits and singing Taps outside. I love singing Taps outside, it always feels connected to the world around you.
GirlGuiding is going through a really exciting time at the moment, the entire program is being revamped and I’m really excited about it. They are trying to make sure that new leaders have plenty of support but allow the experienced leaders to continue to provide good guiding.
The whole structure is changing but there will still be badges and top awards for each section. At the moment they are asking for badge ideas and help with testing meeting activities.
Our unit signed up to help and received an activity. Our Guides really enjoyed the process of testing and got really into giving feedback and trying to make the activity as good as it could possibly be.
It was all about making choices and how you don’t have to be influenced by what your friends chose.
They spent most of the time drawing the choices grid and their main complaint was that once they had done that, the rest of it hardly took any time at all.
They did really like the responsibility and took the time to rewrite the instructions so they were more clear.
I then asked them to come up with some #badgegoals. That was interesting, our Caterpillar patrol are our three oldest Guides, they decided they wanted to do badges on Makeup, Shopping Awareness, Eyebrow Plucking and Sumo Wrestling… one of those is not like the others.
However a good thing did come out of that. I was chatting to a friend who can actually do makeup and she has offered to come and do a session with the Caterpillars. Both her and the Caterpillars are really looking forward to that one!
Apologies for not blogging in so long. On the positive side, its because life has been going really well, I’ve been busy with friends and Guiding and am really glad I moved over here.
Our Campfire got cancelled, as the heavens opened and it chucked it down. We are Guides, we could totally run a campfire in the rain but no one would be happy and would never want another campfire. So that week got cancelled and instead us leaders had a lovely night in at Celtic’s house and she made us dinner.
The following week I had flown home to surprise my mother for her 50th (It went really well) and Timber and Windsor ran a PJ party with popcorn and hot chocolate, they watched the old version of Beauty and the Beast and had a great time.
Next meeting was a trip to Clip and Climb. This was with the Guides and the Senior Section, fulfilling my requirement for my Senior Section ALQ to join with another unit for an activity.
Fantastic evening, the set up in there was pretty good, we had exclusive use of the place, and there were enough walls and staff that all of them could be climbing at once.
I think we will be returning to Clip and Climb, it was a request from all of our Guides to do so!
We have a new LiT (Leader in Training), kind of, she’s called Timber and she’s a fully qualified leader with Brownies, who is doing her module 1 for Guides this term, and Rainbows next term, to allow her to mentor more people through the ALQ (Adult Leadership Qualification). She doesn’t have a permanent unit at the moment and is more interested in exploring mentoring. So she has to plan a few of the activities this term to fulfil some of the ALQ clauses.
Together we set out to organise an evening in the local chalk pit around the theme of direction and trails. Our original idea was the TV programme Taskmaster, but a lot of the tasks didn’t really lend themselves to a group of 24 Guides.
We set up 4 positions, labelled 1-4, and from each position there were two compass directions to follow until they found an unusual item, they were to leave the item alone and write down what it was. At the end, the first letter of each item, would make the phrase, “Well Done”.
We thought it would take them about half of the meeting to complete so had also given them a sheet explaining how to lay trails and another one with semaphore on it. However it actually took them the entire meeting.
None of them had seen a compass before, even after explaining how to use one, and demonstrating it, I still had one Guide hold it vertical and exclaim that it wasn’t pointing north. Several of them decided that the paper plates denoting the starting positions were the items they were supposed to find. *headdesk*
But after a lot of learning and fun, they figured it out and had a whale of a time. A very successful evening.
Isn’t life great when your new unit wants a Harry Potter night 🙂
And even better when you can get your young leaders to plan and run the evening for you!
Everyone dressed up and I was impressed at the level of effort, all the leaders went for it and we all had a bit of a laugh. Celtic made an excellent Professor McGonagall!
I was in charge of the sorting hat, the young leaders were out in the corridor with an envelope full of house names, a walkie talkie and the sorting hat recordings for each of the houses. I had a sorting hat (in this case, it was a baseball cap cause we couldn’t get hold of a witch’s hat, and the other walkie talkie. It was very entertaining but our unit really don’t work well when they are mixed up, that worries me a little.
Merida ran the first activity, each house was given an envelope containing sheets with creature parts written on them. Each member had to draw one or two things without looking at anyone elses, then cut them out and put them together. They had to name and come up with a backstory about their creature. It was very entertaining.
Next we moved onto Mulan’s part of the evening, she had put together a capture the flag game with Harry Potter Trivia. I had to make up an extra person and ran about in my cloak quite happily.
Our Unit helper Windsor brought along the ingredients to make butterbeer, they all enjoyed the process but it tasted gross apparently. So she also brought green lemonade for potions.
All in all, a lovely and well run night.