keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Paper planes!

Fun night this week, as I mucked about with the Juniors, helping them make all manner of creative paper planes, thanks to Fun Paper Airplanes!

When I did this activity a few years ago, it was with the older group of girls (mainly 10 and 11 year olds), and so I wasn’t quite sure how the 6-9s would go, but it worked brilliantly. I stuck to just the beginners and intermediate level planes, and those were plenty complicated enough for the younger group.

Initially there was some confusion about how the templates worked, with several of the kids going straight for the scissors to cut along dotted lines, rather than read the instructions carefully and use those as fold marks! Still, once they’d got the hang of one of them, and the way the instructions worked, they all did really well! Even one of our girls who is notoriously impatient with anything which requires being methodical got on board with it all, and ended up doing some quite complicated designs.

We had lots of fun flying them all around our little hall, and then went outside to see how far they could go – and even though it was a bit more windy than you’d prefer for that sort of activity, they all had a lovely time running about and challenging each other – after testing outside they were keen to run back in and do an extra one or two for further trials! So we managed to fill the whole hour, and I think it was pitched pretty much perfectly in terms of complexity. Having the range of templates was great, as it let the girls set their own level of challenge, and work up or down from where they’d chosen as they felt necessary.

Meanwhile, the seniors were doing a bit of girl-led Guiding, with two of the girls working towards their Junior BP Award running a ‘masterchef’ night, and doing it so competently that the two leaders helping out with that activity felt quite un-needed!

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Leading, following, teaming, promising.

A bit of a bitsy night last week, as I and NewCoLeader2 worked with the Seniors to develop their leadership (and follower-ship!) skills.

We started off with a fill-in-the-blanks worksheet, which was talking about the good qualities of a leader. Interestingly, 9 times out of 10, they had all chosen exactly the same word. I don’t know if the sheets were written in such a way that there was only one realistic answer, or if they don’t have large vocabularies, or if they were trying to be ‘right’ rather than ‘creative’, but it was interesting. I thought that going through everyone’s answers together would give us some interesting discussions, but it turned out instead to be more of an echo chamber! Perhaps next time I’ll have to offer lollies in exchange for the most creative-but-sensible word choice!

We then decided to enjoy the gorgeous summery weather, and played a bunch of teamwork/leading/cooperating games- a series of 3-legged races, and blindfolded leading about races. I insisted on the girls pairing up with someone they didn’t know well (had to do a little enforcing of this “but we don’t go to school together, and she’s not in my patrol!” “yeah but you’ve both been Guides for three years – find someone else!”) – in the end they all had a lot of fun, and particularly in the leading-a-blindfolded-team activity, it was lovely to give some of the newer and shyer girls the opportunity to be in charge. One of our most socially awkward newbies was the leader of her little group, and she was just sooooooo chuffed, especially after having been paired with one of the “cooler” girls earlier on. I think she got a real boost in confidence, and felt like she was part of the in crowd, rather than watching from the sides… not that she was ever excluded (we are lucky in that all our unit members are excellent about including everyone), but there is a difference between being formally included and feeling like you are really part of the team!

Meanwhile, the younger girls were doing some weather experiments as part of their Air badge, making mini tornadoes in glass jars, practicing making thunder out of paper bags, and creating static electricity with balloons rubbed against their hair! Not really my cup of tea, but several of the girls were very excitedly reporting the goings-on to their parents at the end, so it seems it was well-aimed at the younger girls!

Finally, to round out the night we had a Promise ceremony for two of our girls moving up to Seniors, a ‘moving up’ ceremony for our oldest girl moving properly to our Rangers group, and (first for many years for me!) a Promise Ceremony for our two new Leaders, which was super lovely. It was really great for the girls to see that the leaders also make the same Promise, and get the same Promise and World badges!

Next week: cooking for the older girls, paper planes for the littlies.


Goodbye 2012

Our final night for the year this evening, always bitter-sweet. We’ve had some lovely girls join during the year, a few sadly leave us, lots of fun nights, and the odd dud.

For our final night, we had an extended evening – meeting at 5.30 instead of the usual 6.30, starting off with singing Christmas carols at the local hospital. It went reasonably well, although I’d forgotten to include Silent Night on the carols sheets! Oops! We had about 12 girls there for the singing. We only sang for about 30 minutes, but they were getting decidedly fidgetty towards the end!

We then walked back to the usual hall, and joined about a further five girls who weren’t able to make the carols, before heading over to the local park for cordial, biscuits and lollies; playing on the playground; having a bit of a run-around (and a bit of a chat), playing one of their old favourites (“camouflage”, a version of hide-and-seek), and finally, to round out the air term – another go at giant bubbles, just using their hands – worked quite well as I’d actually managed to find proper glycerine this time, which worked much better than glucose syrup!

Two interesting things – we had a newbie come for a try (unusual to come on the final night, but she had fun and mum is very keen), and we also had some of the parents asking if we were doing a summer adventure again… we weren’t going to (our original plan was a retention strategy, and of the 7 that attended, only 2 really stuck with us!!), but perhaps its worth considering… it was a fun day out!

Overall, after feeling a bit down with a few kiddies leaving, I’m feeling like we’re ending the term on a positive note, and I’m hopeful that we’re going to have a good 2013.

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Bubbly boo

Last night we *attempted* to make Giant Bubbles. Our mix was 1 part glucose syrup, 3 parts morning fresh dishwashing liquid, and 7 parts water.

I think the problem may have been the glucose syrup – although the internet told me it was roughly a substitute for the recommended glycerine, I suspect that wasn’t meant to be a one-for-one  substitution. Regardless, we did end up with some decent sized bubbles (largest was about 20cms across), but it wasn’t quite the giant bubble fest I’d envisaged. Maybe one to try again when we’ve got more time (perhaps at a camp or sleepover), as the various recipes I read did suggest the mixture needs to ‘brew’ for a while, and the 20 minutes we gave it were probably less than ideal.

Last night also saw us having three girls make their Promise, two for the first time, and one as a renewal (although she is new to our group). As always, its lovely seeing the girls so excited, and it was particularly good timing as we’ve had four newbies formally sign up in the last week, so it was timely for them to be witness to a Promise ceremony – get them excited for next year when they’ll do their Promise!

We also handed out a bunch of badges last night – most of the younger girls had met the requirements for the Air badge, so we were able to present them which was great. A couple of our Junior guides in particular who have had good attendance this year have now got sashes starting to look quite respectable and badge-filled! By the end of the year, girls will have been able to earn up to 6 Create-A-Challenge badges (Water, Fire, World, Nature, Air, Outer Space), one Achieve-A-Challenge (Camping Trefoil 1), and one Explore-A-Challenge (Outdoors), even without doing additional activities at home. I think its really adding something extra to our programing (and to the girls’ engagement with the program) to work within the structures of a theme, but also show them that there is an underlying pattern to our (sometimes bitsy) activities.

Okay, that’s all for now, off to gear up for our Outer Space Sleepover!

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Kites of fun

Tonight extended our air theme further, with kite construction!

Our Juniors made sled kites (, which worked really well! Most exciting was our little six year old being utterly delighted with being able to make her own kite – she proceeded to spend the final 30 minutes of the meeting running in and out of the hall testing it out, completely thrilled with her own craftiness and competence! Given that this was the blog-famous CryingMissSix, this is going to be filed under “awesome” from a leaders perspective!

Meanwhile, the Seniors (and a lone Upper Senior!) tackled a more complex kite ( which actually worked really well! Unlike the instructions, given the time constraints, I decided to run with doing a quick demo (luckily I’d tried it the night before!!), which seemed to get things off on the right note – of the seven girls we had working on the project, three completely finished, one was about five minutes off (just needed to put the cells together), and three had at least completed the straw cells, so it shouldn’t take too long to finish off next week!

In other news, eight kids have RSVP’d for the sleepover (not a great response rate, given this week was the due date!), but I suspect we’ll have a few more bring in their papers next week, so fingers crossed, it will be successful… after all, when have my kids ever managed to get their paperwork in on time?!

Next week – a different approach – a chicken and egg night!

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Yeesh, what a mess!

This evening we again split the juniors into one set of activities, and the seniors & upper seniors into a different set.

The Juniors had a ‘weather night’ – finding pictures of cloud formations hidden around the hall and gardens (naturally some went entirely missing!), doing an experiment with warming and dying water to show air currents, and toasting marshmallows (“clouds”, of course!).

Meanwhile, the Seniors & Uppers were attempting to ‘air paint’ – I imagined this as a lovely arty project with gorgeous jewel colours, the kids learning how to manipulate the paint gently… well, clearly I was entirely mad as it ended up with paint everywhere!! With no real discernible patterns or point… oh well… I guess abstract is okay?!

Still, they seemed to have a marvellous time, and I’ve never been more pleased that I had the forethought to purchase some $1 white plastic tablecloths from Big W, and that the weather was clear enough that we were able to be out in the courtyard! CERTAINLY NOT an activity for in the hall with the lovely polished floorboards!!

In recruitment news, the two newbies from week one are going to join, and will be bringing forms etc next week, and we had a further two newbies come for a try out. They seemed to have a good night, so hopefully! We also handed out info about the upcoming sleepover, which seems like it might be a clincher – cheap babysitting rules again!

Sadly though, one of our lovely little ones also announced that her family is moving to Adelaide over Christmas, so we’ll be losing her. Its never the trouble makers that leave, is it?!

Next week – halloween bring a friend night, which we’ve also got advertised in the local paper (I hope!)… it will be interesting to see what kind of turn up we get, as it appears a few of our usuals won’t be there as they’ll be trick-or-treating instead… which surprises me greatly, clearly Australia is embracing halloween faster than I thought. Regardless, we’ll have fun with zombie tiggy!

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Ballooning around

Balloonfest! Well, that’s what the program said anyway… the reality was somewhat less festive!

Las night was the first night of our new trial Rangers group, which meant that for the usual unit, we had a night with only the Juniors and Seniors, as most of the Upper Seniors were going to participate in the Rangers trial.

And actually, it was lovely! I’d forgotten how much younger the Seniors were than the Upper Seniors – there really is something about the break between grade six and year seven that makes them grow up in a hurry. So having all our primary school kiddies together certainly made things easier!

We played a bunch of ball games using balloons instead – captain’s ball, tunnel ball, over-under. It quickly became apparent that the better motor skills of the older girls needed compensating for, so they had to run through their patrols twice instead of once – that evened it up! Interestingly, the little ones had a clear advantage when playing over-under – they’re all about the same height, so didn’t have to bend and stretch the way the older girls (a more diverse bunch) had to!

After these games, we played a new one, which we’re calling “Kangaroos in the Paddock” – we put about 30 or so blown up balloons in a pile in the middle of the hall, and each patrol had a hula hoop on the floor, which was their ‘paddock’ – they then had to try and herd as many balloons into their own paddock as possible. Complicating factors: feet only (hands had to be behind their backs at all times), only one person per patrol could guard their paddock, and other teams could raid their paddocks.

Well, they had fun, but very little success – they all figured out quickly that it was more efficient to scatter other group’s collection than try and build and defend their own! Not really sure that we had them living up to their Promise there! Naturally, several balloons popped during the game, always accompanied by a collective AGH!! on about a one-second delay. Quite hilarious for the watching adults!!

Finally, to round out the night, co-leader combined internet trawling with Guide-leader genius and had them all make little balloon guides – they each chose a balloon, drew on a face and other guidey details (like a watch to make “good use of her time”), and then used various stickers and tissue paper to make a ‘sash’ for their guide. ADORABLE, and kept them well busy for 30 minutes.

So, it all worked well! And even better THEY ALL CLEANED UP! AND IN TIME! We had all kids exited and all stuff GONE by 10 past 8, a new record!

…Oh, and about Rangers? Well, I actually can’t tell you much about that, as other co-leader and younger co-leader both materialised at the last minute to take Rangers! YAY! I hear though, that the brownie-in-a-mug went brilliantly, and that they all worked well together and have a program for the four remaining nights of the Rangers trial!

This weekend – off to camp. Not thrilled about it (I am NOT a tent-camper!!) but it will certainly keep me busy!

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New term!

Guides is back for term four!

Tonight was the first night back, and the start of our ‘Air’ term.

We started off with the Juniors making windmills/pinwheels, and the Seniors & Upper Seniors making paper planes.

The paper planes worked really well! I used the various templates found here: and just printed off one copy of each of the instructions, and several copies of the templates proper. Each girl then got an individual ‘set’ of templates, and made up the planes in whatever order they liked! Each kid ended up making about six or seven airplanes each, which was just brilliant – they were all really quiet and engaged for the full hour we had for the activity, and if we hadn’t had to stop for a promise ceremony they probably would have kept at it for another 30 minutes quite happily! definitely more successful than I thought it might be, and I think more fun than they expected to have when they saw ‘paper planes’ on the program!

Co-leader and a mum helper worked with the Juniors on the windmills, which all turned out really well. Unfortunately they got through the activity a bit quick, so we had to come up with a spontaneous activity! Luckily I was inspired looking in the cupboard and seeing some brightly coloured paddlepop sticks – we gave each patrol a stick which matched their patrol colour (yellow, orange and red respectively), and then sent them out into the grounds of the hall to find as many items as they could in their patrol colour (i.e. flowers, posters, equipment around the place…) – and that kept them occupied for the spare 15 minutes! Phew!

The promise ceremony went well, which was lovely as always – I really like that we’ve got a quite formal and standard ceremony – it seems to give a lovely sense of continuity to the group, and gives each kid her own moment in the sun.

In related news, we had two newbies (sisters) come along spontaneously, which was brilliant! They seemed to have a great time and will be back to try again next week, yay! The younger one is 7, the older *nearly* 10. Perfect ages for our group!

All in all, an excellent start back for the new term, hopefully it all continues on this happy path!


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Its a habit…

Yes, its school holidays.

Yes, I’m still updating my guidey blog.

Yes, its because I’m still doing guidey things!

I suspect I have crossed the line into “fully obsessed leader” (in honestly, it was probably a while ago) – even on my two weeks off I find myself drafting ‘start of term’ letters, pulling together notices for the planned bring-a-friend night (which will be halloween, which will be awesome!) (we’re also advertising it as an open night in the local “what’s on”… it will be interesting to see if that generates any interest), and drafting the wide game for the sleepover! I also posted out term programs to girls who were away in the final two weeks of term (and so missed out on a pretty blue paper copy, they’ll only get boring white!) – as we’ve got a Promise ceremony scheduled for the first week back, and activities to count towards the Air badge, I figure they will need the program to be sure which week it starts back. It seems some of the local schools don’t quite follow the standard school term, so attendance is always a bit hit and miss on the first and last week of term.

The Space themed sleepover is occupying my plotting lately… I think its going to take the form of a ‘journey through the solar system’, with activities at each of the planets… at this stage ideas include some form of message coding for Mercury (messenger to the gods!), and perhaps giant quoits for Saturn (the rings!)… I’m looking forward to nutting it all out! So yes, the holidays will continue, and so will the plotting. It appears its become a habit I just can’t break!

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Planning and pancakes

On Sunday morning, co-leaders and I met to plan term four, over a most civilised and leisurely brunch! Planning with pancakes is not quite as exciting as planning with wine, but still rather nice!

For term four, we’ll be focusing on an ‘Air’ theme, with activities including kite making, giant bubbles, paper planes, balloon-y games… and we’re also mixing it up with Halloween, Christmas shenanigans, and a night with games all based around ‘chicken and egg’, which should be interesting!

We’ll also be having a sleepover, with a space theme! I’m very excited about this, we should be able to come up with a completely brilliant wide game with such a fun theme!

We’re also starting up a Rangers group, initially with an every-second-week trial, so there will be five weeks to trial the concept, and see if it has real potential.

Should be a good term!

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