guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Sewing, science, and skyscrapers

Fun and delightfully planned-by-others night at Guides this week, as we split the girls up into three groups (rather than the usual two), separating out our high schoolers (who we refer to as ‘upper seniors’)  from our seniors, and having separate programs for them, and separate again for the juniors.

The Upper Seniors had fun in the kitchen, doing crazy masterchef style ‘molecular gastronomy’ experiments – making ‘cordial caviar’, ‘fruit fettucinni’ and various other concoctions! It was basically science via food, and they all seemed to really get into it.

Meanwhile, the Seniors were working in patrols to tackle a series of skyscraper challenges, building towers out of skewers and marshmallows, legos, straws (strong enough to hold a tennis ball), and various games based on towers, like jenga. I peeked in a couple of times and they were all really engaged, with lots of giggling, plus a bunch of gentle of teasing the opposing patrols.

I was mainly working with the Juniors for the night, doing sewing. Newest co-leader (leader #6, yes, we’re super lucky!!) had arranged for the girls to sew little echidna shapes out of a stretchy fabric, which was then filled with dirt and grass seed, with the idea that with a bit of love, care, and water, will end up having echidna ‘spikes’ of grass in a week or two!

Once again, the juniors were fantastic at the sewing, really engaged, and quietly focused. They all did both hand-sewing of two button eyes (and even our littlest 6 year olds managed this just fine), plus at least some of the machine sewing of the pieces together. We did have a few sneaky cheats to help progress – a mum helper got a production line going of pre-threaded and knotted sewing needles, so we didn’t have to fuss about that, and our new junior leader (well… not yet official, as she’s not *quite* 14) was fabulous at wrangling the filling of the echidnas with dirt, and generally trouble-shooting. Anyway, a great night, and one where all of the girls seemed happy and settled.

1 Comment »

A new term!

Back for term two, and a great night with lots of different things happening – Juniors playing a whole bunch of traditional games all roughly on the theme of ‘fruit salad’ (the name of one of their favourites), Seniors playing with fabric and making costumes, and lots of Rangers running about like pre-schoolers playing hide-and-seek in the dark!

Our Juniors’ games included variations on duck duck goose, ladders, oranges and lemons, kim’s game, and a few others. It was a nicely chilled out sort of night, and they all seemed to have fun. As always on these sorts of nights, the tricky part is knowing when to call a game over – trying to hit that sweet spot of when they’ve had enough goes for it to be fun and understood, but not so many that they get bored!

Meanwhile, our Seniors group were playing with a whole bunch of donated fabrics (as in, full bolts!), making ‘national costumes’ for their patrols… which probably didn’t end up quite getting there in terms of that particular aim, but they all seemed to be having fun, and being a bit creative, and trying different approaches to construction, using needles and thread, and knotting, and draping etc etc etc. So it terms of an explorative activity, it totally hit the mark!

We also had our Rangers group back together, including most of the Upper Seniors girls, which gave us a group of 11, I think. Anyway, plenty enough to spend nearly the full hour and a half playing two different versions of hide-and-seek in the dark with torches. Which they were all completely into, because apparently nothing entertains a bunch of teenagers like being allowed to pretend to be back in kindergarten!!

Leave a comment »

Catching up

Two weeks to catch up on!

Week one we had a brilliant night with a local women’s circus organisation coming in and running a circus skills workshop. The girls all got to do some basic acrobatics (mainly balancing), as well as plate spinning, hula hoop tricks, and juggling. They all had a lovely time, and it was great to connect with another organisation focused on girls and women, and give the girls a different experience. For our juniors, the activity counted towards their ‘body’ badge, for the seniors, it was just something fun and different!

Week two was a night where I focused on the rangers group, rather than the Juniors or Seniors, which was rather lovely. On the program was international games, which of course led Rangers Co-Leader and I madly googling the night before… and hurrah for the internet, we had a bunch of easy and fun games to play!

The resources we used were: http://www.girlguides.org.au/public/attach/go_girl_final_web.pdf
http://www.girlguides.ca/web/documents/ns/6/pa-int-booklet.pdf
http://guidinguk.freeservers.com/internationalgames.html

Games played include sleeping lions (because rangers girls are indeed overgrown tiny people!), big snake (essentially chain tiggy), and moon and morning stars – using a footpath in place of a tree shadow. We were joined by a prospective new ranger (super exciting!), and for about 20 minutes, the upper seniors group, about half of whom are nearly ready to move up. If they all end up making the transition up (and the current ones continue!), we should end up with around 10-12 rangers, which would be brilliant. Still, that’s a little way in the future, and I should *never* count guides before they’re promised 😉

4 Comments »

Knots and knots of fun

A fun night with the senior guides, building their knotting and lashing skills as part of the Ropes badge.

As with previous “potentially boring” topics, we made it into a series of inter-patrol competitions, with the incentive (bribery?!) of a bag of jelly snakes for the winning patrol.

The competition rounds were:

  1. un-knotting and then re-knotting a series of reef knots
  2. racing to complete various knots using pictures pulled randomly out of a “hat”
  3. race to use square lashing to produce a structurally sound square of four sticks
  4. same again, but tripod lashing for a tripod able to stand independently
  5. follow a picture to make a “rope person” with the correct knots to form head/body/arms/legs etc.

It all worked fairly well, with the majority of kids engaged and focused. And at least a few of them discovered some latent knotting skills!!

image

To finish off the night, we let them play a couple of rounds of camouflage (a hide-and-seek type game), which was fun. About a third of our seniors group are now in high school, and wouldn’t dream of being so uncool as to play such games in public, so it was lovely to have them just being little kids again for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, as part of their Body badge, the Juniors were using their bodies to dance, act, and convey information with a series of theatre games type activities. They were all buzzing with excitement when I checked in on them, and it was really lovely to see! Especially  as it was a session being run by YoungCoLeader, who tends more towards the “correct” rather than “fun”end of Guiding. I know she had a total blast doing it too, so hopefully she’ll get more and more confidence to let her silly side come out with the kids in future!

 

1 Comment »

Mmmm delicious wide games

Fun night at Guides this week (and an easy one for me!) as Awesome CoLeader organised a nutrition-based wide game for the girls.

The basic gist of the wide game was that the various parts of the nutrition ‘plate’ had gone missing, and the girls needed to find them. So there was a dairy based activity (‘milking’ using rubber gloves), vegetable activities including vegetable carving, tasting purees, and brainstorming a list of veggies, protein activities like frying an egg, etc etc etc.

From my perspective, the most successful activity was the ‘fats and oils’ activity which had the girls using glass jars, cream, marbles and muscle power to make butter! How brilliant!

Awesome CoLeader has given me permission to publish the full wide game on her behalf, so keep an eye out for that in the next week or two 🙂

We also ran ‘Rangers’ this week (which ended up just being our upper seniors, annoyingly), and for them I’d organised (and RangersLeader ran) a ‘paper cut art’ evening. I purchased a bunch of craft knives (like delicate Stanley knives) from Kmart ($3 each, including spare blades!), and in a stroke of cost-saving genius, bought $1.40 individual vinyl tiles from Bunnings to use as cutting mats! A bit of a hunt on Google image search gave me a bunch of examples of different types of paper cut art, including fancy letters, floral pieces, and more traditional Chinese paper cuts, which the girls used as both inspiration and as tracing templates. It was a great activity for our slightly longer Rangers sessions (2 hours rather than 1.5 for the younger girls), and nice to give them an activity which we simply wouldn’t think was sensible/safe to do with littlies 🙂

2 Comments »

Cool, calm, and creative (oh and some knots!)

A lovely calm evening at Guides this week!

We split the girls into their three sections (Juniors, Seniors, Upper Seniors), and had different activities for each.

As part of their Fire badge, the Juniors made candle holders, decorating small glasses with tiny pieces of cut up tissue paper, which gave a gorgeous mosaic or stained glass window type effect.

To reduce the potential level of chaos, we had the three patrols on separate trestle tables (our hall is blessed with an excellent supply of tables!), and the various supplies on a fourth table for supervised distribution by the leaders – time has shown that Things Work Better if you don’t have overly enthusiastic six year olds being in charge of sharing out tissue paper and glue!!

The girls each did two candle holders, and those that finished a little early (or in the case of one or two, just got frustrated!) were then able to use some of the cut up tissue to do some simple collage type art. Wish I’d taken a photo of the floor under the tables- it was covered in what looked like bright oversized confetti!

Meanwhile, the Seniors were being Proper Guides, developing their square lashing skills – even using their handbooks for instructions on the knotting!

They were aiming to construct a lantern (basically a cube with a cross-hatch on the base to put a tealight), although due to time limits, none of them *quite* got there. That said, two girls were up to the final section, and several others were not far behind, so the timing/complexity wasn’t too far off correct, and most of the girls decided that they would take the extra bits and pieces needed home to finish it off properly, so I think we’ll call that a win.

IMG_1070

Its always interesting with activities like these to see which girls do well and which struggle – the girls who were overly particular about their lashing struggled to get very far as they focused too much on perfection, and not enough on speed and getting through the task. But equally, the girls that were too unfussed about quality found that their lashing had no structural integrity, and the pieces kept falling apart! Perhaps a lesson there for all of us 🙂

I’m not a huge fan of the knotting/gadgets side of guiding, but they can be useful skills to know, and I think a small scale crafty activity like this was quite a good way of introducing the skills and applying them, without going the full build-a-camp-kitchen!

It was also a really lovely activity in terms of providing the girls with enough interest to keep their hands and minds busy, but not so busy they couldn’t chat. I think after several weeks lately of working in patrols, the older girls also really enjoyed just having something they could focus on individually, rather than needing to cooperate with others… well, apart from negotiating about who got access to the scissors!

Our final activity had the Upper Seniors in the kitchen, cooking marshmallows from scratch! AwesomeCoLeader is very clever with all matters culinary, so she was in her element playing with candy thermometers and whatnot. Also nice for her to have a break from the tiny ones where she usually ends up!

We’re aiming to have a couple of activities each term where we differentiate the Upper Seniors, both as a way of keeping them engaged, and as a longer term retention strategy for our next cohort of girls. The transition to high school is traditionally a huge drop off point for our unit (and most units, I gather), so having certain activities and privileges only available to those who have stuck around gives the next lot of girls reason to stay 🙂

Overall, a really lovely and calm evening, which the girls and the leaders all really got into!

Next week: we’ll be bringing the whole group back together for a campfire… lets hope the weather holds out!!

 

Leave a comment »

Kitchen experimenting

A fun night last night as I helped out with trying to re-establish our Rangers unit with our high school aged girls. We had our upper seniors, plus one ranger… no girls from Sister Unit… so… hmm. I guess we’ll see whether this re-establishment works!!

Regardless, the group had fun, doing a masterchef mystery box challenge – RangersLeader and I brought along the ‘pantry’ items (milk, eggs, flour, sugar, spaghetti, a tin of tomatoes, salt and pepper… a couple of other bits and pieces), and the girls each brought two things for the ‘mystery’ component.

After much fussing about, they ended up making a pasta dish with tomatoes, tuna, carrots and “waaaay too much” mixed herbs, some biscuity-pancake-y messes, and some pudding-ish thing. Not sure that any of it would be regarded as gourmet… or even properly edible, but they had fun! The opportunity to just “play” in the kitchen doesn’t happen very often, so I think they enjoyed the novelty of that if nothing else… and the pleasure of just having the older girls together 🙂

Meanwhile, the main unit went on a penny hike- splitting into Juniors and Seniors so the size of the group wasn’t too overwhelming – luckily we have enough leaders now to make this sort of thing possible, even with me out of the mix playing with rangers! The Juniors girls were all excited about just being allowed out at night (walking in the dark and cold is not really a standard thing for that age in our area!), while the Seniors had fun entirely regressing in age as they found The Other Playground (not to be confused with The Park we often go to!) and mucked about on the equipment in the dark without feeling “too old” for it as they weren’t surrounded by shouting six year olds 🙂

In recruitment related news- Newbie Prospective Senior returned and took forms, and two Newbie Prospective Juniors came along and seemed super keen, asking all about uniform etc! If all that comes through, we will officially be full in Seniors/Uppers, and have only one place in Juniors (after some discussion we’ve decided to cap both groups at 18 for ratio and wrangling purposes)… which given we have 2 kids due to move up to Seniors next term may prove tricky… hmm.

Still, a nice problem to have!!

Leave a comment »

Back again!

A somewhat frustrating evening this week as we returned for term two, and had an evening that just didn’t quite work in terms of programming and timing.

I think the issue is that the girls haven’t seen each other for a couple of weeks (not many of our group are out-of-guides-friends) so they are madly trying to catch up on everything, and don’t have the patience to engage in the program, particularly (for the Seniors at least) when it was mainly a discussion-ish based program. So, note to self: next term, week one – something that requires them to use their hands in pairs or threes, to keep them busy and the noise to a functional level!!

Over the holidays, the leadership team (now with an extra leader-in-training AND a new unit helper I AM SO EXCITED WOOHOO EXTRA PEOPLE!!) decided that we would have the Juniors working on the Fire Create-A-Challenge badge, and the Seniors/Uppers would work on the Emergency Achieve-A-Challenge badge. The Fire badge we’ve done previously, but long enough ago that the few girls still around from then are now safely into Seniors 🙂

So this week’s badge activities for the Juniors were based around myths of fire, getting them to learn a few myths (Prometheus and others) and then have them develop their own little skits based on fire. Meanwhile, the Seniors were learning about how and when to call for help in an emergency, and we had quite long chat about when and how to use 000, and how using that or 112 will basically override everything on mobile phones.

As calling Triple 0 for practice purposes is not exactly encouraged, I decided to go with a different approach – part of what we were aiming to learn was how to give and receive information on the phone. So patrols were allocated two organisations/companies each to call for information. The patrols had their questions pre-approved by me (things like opening hours, price of tickets, group discounts etc), and then one kid from each patrol was allowed to call and ask the questions, using my phone on speaker function so the whole group could hear. It actually worked really well, and the girls doing the calls were stressed but excited and proud that they’d done it, and it was really great how encouraging the other guides were of their efforts. And now I know that a group of guides would get the schools-rate discount at ice-skating… 🙂

I had intended that we’d also take a walk up the street to a local payphone and get them to try that out, but with all the gossiping and mucking about, we ran out of time!! Ah well. The guts of what we needed to do was achieved, and I think they generally had fun!

Next week: fire safety (merging the two badge requirements helpfully!) and a promise ceremony 🙂

Leave a comment »

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS!

There are two versions of this wide game, one aimed at 6-9 year olds, one aimed at 10-13 year olds. Both took a little over an hour for the fastest patrols to complete, so are ideal for during a unit meeting time.

We simply said ‘where’ the various regions were (e.g. ‘Africa is on the front lawn’) but you could add flourishes by putting up signs or creating a map to show where the regions are located. This wide game operated by patrols returning to base at the end of each task and being given another region to tackle – this was to reduce the number of patrols attempting tasks in the same area at the same time. However, it could also be set up so that there are multiple copies of equipment at each station, and patrols could then follow a set order.

At the completion of each task, the patrols earned the corresponding letter. We just had them written on colourful post-it notes, but you could go for anything!

To run both versions you will need the following items:

Equipment

Jelly worms/sour worms; Streamers; Paint brushes; Calligraphy pens; Ink/black paint; Grain (oats/corn/etc); Safari animals; Tarps, first aid, rope, buckets, assorted objects (for be prepared); 2 long ropes (to form river); Pipe cleaners/craft materials for crown; Paper; Atlas.


 

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS – version one

[Read out to patrols before commencing]:

Last year (2014), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held the world conference in Hong Kong. After the conference was concluded, it was realised that the W, A, G, G, G, and S were misplaced, and somehow got scattered around the world by delegates returning home.

Your patrols have been asked to find the missing letters, and get them to Tunisia ahead of the next world conference. Planning for the conference is already underway, so you’ll need to hurry!

Everyone will start in Hong Kong, before spreading around the world to find the letters.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people generally eat using chopsticks. Practice your chopsticks skills by transferring some jelly worms between two bowls.

Each patrol member needs to transfer 2 worms each to earn ‘W’

Western Hemisphere region

While your patrol was climbing up to see the fabulous lost city of Macchu Picchu, the youngest patrol member twisted their ankle!

Using instructions in the Green Handbook and the first aid equipment provided, bandage and treat the ankle correctly to earn ‘A’ [for non-Australian groups – just print out instructions (preferably pictorial) of how to correctly bandage a twisted ankle]

Many Pacific nations use dance to tell stories.

Using the streamers and your imagination, make a grass skirt for each of your patrol members, and do a patrol hula dance to earn ‘G’.  [you will need about two or three rolls of steamers per patrol]

Europe region

Europe has a rich history of Kings and Queens. Queen Elizabeth the Second was even a Girl Guide!

Your patrol needs to use the pipe cleaners to make a crown fit for a Queen (just one per patrol) to earn ‘G’ [this task could be done using any type of craft stuff, even just putting out a table full of odds and ends would be fine!]

Africa region

Many people travel to Africa to go on safari and see the amazing animals!

Your patrol needs to find (and bring back!) three safari animals hidden in the grounds to earn G [Note: safari animals could be small plastic animals, soft toys, pictures… whatever is easiest]

Arab region

Across the Arab region, Arabic script is used in writing and in art. Each partol member needs to practice by writing ‘girl guides’ in Arabic. Choose the best one from your patrol to show the leaders to earn ‘S’ [we used calligraphy pens with angled nibs and ink which worked well and was a little different to what the girls usually write with]

girl guides in arabic

‘girl guides’ in Arabic.. according to Google Translate!

Tunisia

Find Tunisia in the atlas, and show the leaders.

The first patrol to do this AND present all the letters from across the regions will win!

 


 

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS – version two

[Read out to patrols before commencing]:

Last year (2014), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held the world conference in Hong Kong. After the conference was concluded, it was realised that the W, A, G, G, G, and S were misplaced, and somehow got scattered around the world by delegates returning home.

Your patrols have been asked to find the missing letters, and get them to Tunisia ahead of the next world conference. Planning for the conference is already underway, so you’ll need to hurry!

Everyone will start in Hong Kong, before spreading around the world to find the letters.

At the end of each task, your patrol will need to identify the KEYWORD in order to be awarded a letter and move onto the next task. The keyword will usually be related in some way to the task, but it won’t be obvious!

[Some of the keywords the girls took a while and needed hints to get there, but they all managed to figure things out without too much help!]

 

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people generally eat using chopsticks. Practice your chopsticks skills by transferring the items between two bowls.

Identify the clue to receive your piece.

[KEYWORD: Worms] [Receive a W]

Western Hemisphere region

Using only two pieces of paper as your boat, get all your patrol across the river, avoiding the water as it is full of piranhas.

If you fall in, you will lose an arm or a leg to the piranhas, and have to go back to the far side and attempt again, minus a limb.

Once all patrol members have safely crossed the river, identify the river to gain your next piece.

[Set up two long ropes a good distance apart to create a ‘river’]

[KEYWORD: Amazon] [Receive an A]

 

Europe region

Use the code to find the message:

Greekish code[This code uses ‘Greek’ letters (‘symbols’ font in word) to create a code. The code reads ‘Greece and girls and guides start with G’. Using actual Greek words would not work unless your Guides already speak Greek, in which case, it wouldn’t be a code!]

[KEYWORD: ‘G’ or ‘Greek’] [Receive a G]

Asia Pacific region

Copy the character (one each), and identify the clue, to earn your next piece.

[This is a ‘year of the goat’ character. You might prefer to use ‘happy new year’ or similar. The girls copied the character using paint brushes and black paint]

goat symbol

[KEYWORD: Goat] [Receive a G]

Africa region

Use the fabric and bowl to transport the items on your head. Each patrol member must transfer at least one cup of the item from point A to B.

Identify the clue to receive your next piece.

[The ‘items’ should be oats, corn, rice, wheat… anything that is a ‘grain’. The fabric should be used to create a headwrap to stabilise the bowl the grains are being carried in]

[KEYWORD: Grain] [Receive a G]

Arab region

Use the pile of equipment to put together a Be Prepared kit suitable for crossing a major desert in the region.

When you are prepared (and have explained your choices), identify the clue to gain your next piece.

[For the equipment pile – do a raid of your shed or cupboard and just put a pile of stuff out!]

[KEYWORD: Sahara] [Receive an S]

Tunisia

Find Tunisia in the atlas, and show the leaders.

The first patrol to do this AND present all the letters from across the regions will win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Lazy leading… or girl-led guiding?

Why not both?!

This week the Senior Guides took charge of the program, with each of the three patrols organising and running a World Centre themed activity. This was the result of two weeks of preparation – two weeks ago they were allocated their World Centre, and given five minutes to brainstorm the sorts of equipment/information/ideas that they would need to bring the following week. One week ago, they had 15 minutes as a patrol to look over their materials and discuss ideas and agree as a group what activity they were going to run. And then this week, they actually did it!

The three groups all had 10 minutes to set up, followed by the activities in order. The ‘Pax Lodge’ patrol ran a scavenger hunt, where they had a bunch of pictures of UK sites and items scattered around the grounds, as well as non-UK relevant pictures. The competing teams of 3 girls a piece got points for collecting relevant pictures, and lost points if they collected an incorrect picture. In addition, 4 members of the organising patrol dressed up (two as Queens Guards in ‘bearskin hats’, one as a ‘British Bulldog’, one as ‘The Queen’) (none of their costumes looked at all correct, but it was a lot of fun!), and the competing groups got additional points if they managed to find one of the characters. Very clever set up, and all the girls really loved the activity!

Next up was the Our Cabana patrol, who had organised to make and bring in various bits and pieces to make soft tacos – all the girls put together their own combo, and I think most of them even tried something a bit different to their usual. Even WhiteFoodGuide gave it a decent try, and discovered she quite enjoys spicy meat and beans! This patrol also had a poncho based activity organised, but very few girls had remembered to bring an old blanket or sheet or whatever, and we had limited time, so it ended up just being the food activity. Still, they did very well in all remembering everything, and having appropriate off site and on site preparation!

Finally, the Sangam patrol put together a ‘display’ with bits and pieces about India, and dressed up in saris and shalwar kameez to present a few facts and figures about India. The patrol’s original plan was to put on a skit, but they had several girls away ill and decided to go with a cut down version. Not quite as successful as the other patrol’s activities, but still well organised.

To close out the night, I did a very quick “okay, what do we remember about World Guiding from the last few weeks?” – collectively they could easily remember all of the WAGGGS regions, what WAGGGS stands for, where the world centres are, listed about 15 Asia Pacific region countries without struggle, and were aware that each country had a slightly different Promise and Law. Not bad!! Looks like a fair bit of what we’ve been doing has indeed stuck!

The upshot of all of these patrol activities was that I pretty much sat and supervised, only needing to do the occasional “you need to clean up X, Y, and Z” “this is how you use the industrial dishwasher” “the cloths are on the sink”. EASY!

Meanwhile, AwesomeCoLeader and YoungCoLeader were Juniors-wrangling. AwesomeCoLeader was running the show, which was part of their Eyes badge, and focused on ways to convey information without seeing. The majority of this was focussed on Braille, and she used a very clever way of introducing the Braille code system – six cup muffin pans! Using the muffin pans as the ‘base’ for the six-dot basic braille system, the girls used a giant stash of jelly beans to practice the alphabet, and then did some de-coding of braille dots. As it was an ‘Eyes’ night, they also played The Postcard Game (which involves matching postcard halves scattered around the gardens), as well as a quick game of Camouflage.

So, all in all, a really good night.

With our larger numbers, we’ve lately been running the two groups semi-separately, almost as proper “Guide” and “Brownie” units. The next three weeks, however, we’ve got everyone back together. It will be interesting to see how we manage that, as the numbers of kids if everyone turns up is getting pretty large (34, I think?), and the age range (and more importantly, capacity range) is also getting pretty huge – from 6 year olds in prep to 12 year olds in year seven! I suspect we may need to have an excellent cup of tea waiting at home after those nights!!

Leave a comment »