keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Get to Guides! Girls around the world wide game

This is a wide game developed as part of our term on the ‘Girls’ and ‘Other People’ Create-A-Challenge badges. The game took a little over an hour, although this was with leaders providing a reasonable amount of direct instruction/assistance, and having several things semi-prepared – for example, the vegetables for the cooking were mostly pre-cut to size so the girls only had to do minor trimming.

The story:

Leaders note: the various characters were colourful clip-art girls on a piece of paper – if you have the time/resources, a small doll for each patrol to take with them on their adventures would be ideal.

Melanie, Mary, Marta, Molly, and Mia are super excited about getting to Guides tonight. They hear that badges are being handed out at the end of the night, and really really hope that they’re going to get one!

Each patrol will take one of Melanie, Mary, Marta, Molly or Mia around with them throughout the challenges, and try to help them be the first back!

Each patrol has a different order of activities, so don’t follow the others – run your own game! Envelopes are colour-coded and numbered – pay attention and only ever grab your own!

Leader’s note: the various patrols had their instructions in numbered, coloured envelopes, but you could just as easily run this as a ‘back to base’ style game and reduce the amount of pre-prep required!

The activities:

Activity: Get dressed

Every girl needs to get dressed to face the day. Different countries have different styles of dress – some are easier than others!

You’ll need to use the long fabric and instructions to dress up each of your patrol members (one at a time) in a sari – be sure to use the correct pleating! Once she’s dressed up, the patrol member needs to do scouts pace (20 steps walking, 20 steps running, 20 steps walking etc etc) along the footpath from the big tree to the entrance to the car park and back. When she’s returned, she needs to pass on the fabric and dress up the next girl!

You can only proceed to the next activity when all patrol members have successfully completed the sari scouts pace.

Note: you will need a 5-to-6 meter length piece of fabric, plus instructions on how to wrap a sari for this activity. 

Activity: Cook the meal

In many countries, girls and women are responsible for getting the meals ready.

Your patrol needs to use the ingredients and equipment provided to cook a simple vegetable and noodle stir-fry. Remember to cut the vegetables to be a similar size and shape. Add the vegetables that need the longest cooking first.

Once it’s cooked, share out the meal between the patrol, enjoy it, and then be sure to clean up properly before moving on to the next activity!

Note: be sure to have your vegetables portioned out for each patrol so you don’t end up with one patrol with a huge serve and another with hardly any!

Activity: Pass on a message

Arrange your patrol in a long line down the centre of the hall. The person nearest to the stage, should collect the message card marked with your patrol’s colour.

Give the person nearest to the far end the message card.

Pass the message Chinese-whispers style from one end of the hall to the other (stand at least finger-tips apart). When the message reaches the end, the message-receiver needs to run up to the stage end, and explain what she thinks the message is. The message-giver should say “yes, correct” or “not quite” or “not at all”. If it’s “not quite” or “not at all”, keep going until you get it right!

When the full message has been passed on correctly, you may continue.

Note: our note said “The pink pig and the pesky donkey flew a kite at night, said the grinning girl guide” – this was based on a bunch of ‘difficult’ phrases for Chinese Whispers, but you could use any message!

 Activity: Who do you know?

Use the stack of memory cards provided to match the famous women’s pictures and description.

Patrol members should take it in turns to try and match the cards.

Once all the cards have been correctly paired up, shuffle the cards and leave them re-stacked for the next group before moving on to the next activity.

Note: The memory cards featured one card with a photo and name, and the matching card with the name and a brief description. People featured included Julia Gillard, first female PM of Australia; Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund; Indra Nooyi, head of PepsiCo, and Valentina Tereskova, the first woman in space. The aim was to provide a diversity of names and faces from across the world.

Activity: Food gathering

In ancient times (and still in some more traditional societies!), finding food was way more complicated than going to the supermarket. You had to either hunt or gather your food if you wanted to eat!

Look carefully around the hall and grounds to find the following foods:

Potatoes, Onions, Asparagus, Beans, Wheat, Eggs

Draw a map of the hall and grounds and mark on the map the location of each item. Take careful note, as you will need to return later to collect one of these items… and you don’t know which it will be! Once your map is complete, you may move on.


Activity: Scrub up!

In many places around the world, getting clean takes a lot more effort than just stepping into the shower!

Working as a patrol and using the cups supplied, transport water from the tap in the [location] to the washing up basin in [other location]. When the basin is half-full, each patrol member needs to use the water to wash her hands thoroughly.

Once everyone has cleaned up, carefully empty the basin of water into the garden, put everything back where it started, and then move onto the next activity.

Note: make sure you place tap and washing up basin far enough apart to make it a challenge, but not so far that they get too frustrated!

Activity: Nursing

Traditionally, one of the few ‘respectable’ careers open to women was nursing. Even today, many nurses are women, although that is changing quickly!

Practice your nursing skills by using a triangular bandage to fit the oldest member of the patrol with a sling. Your patrol member will need to manage for the next two activities like this!

Once the sling is firmly in place, you can move onto the next activity.

 Note: you will need multiple bandages available for this if you wish to have them in use for the next activities. Alternatively, the bandages could be removed immediately after the activity.

Activity: Finally!

Pick an envelope out of the bowl – it will show you what you need to gather to finish!

Note: the envelopes all contained a different picture of one of the ingredients from the ‘gathering’ activity – using the map they’d created they had to quickly retrieve the specific ingredient. The advantage of an accurate map was knowing exactly where to go and not having to re-find the ingredient!

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Relationship building

Last week, we had planned to have a night of the girls using mainly pipecleaners to make little human shapes – for the younger girls, a free choice of design, for the older girls, they were to base their people on Guides from the Asia-Pacific region uniforms.

But looking over the course of the term, we’ve had an unusually high number of crafty type nights – ones that when we first did the program didn’t seem particularly craft-y (e.g. the International Year of Light evening, and our Whatever night) ended up being craft-dominated.

So instead of spending the whole night doing the pipecleaner people, we decided to do a bit of a round-robin of activities – yes the pipecleaners, but also team-building-y type games, and a torchlight scavenger hunt.

We’ve also noticed in recent weeks that our group has got quite large (and with a wide age range), and quite a few of the kids don’t even know each other’s name, yet alone anything about them. So we decided to pair up our Juniors and Seniors patrols for the night, and have those pairs move through the activities as a group. I was running the ‘games’ ‘station’, and made sure that at the start of each of three sessions, that the girls in the paired patrols had all shared names, and were chatting a bit. Interestingly, even when the third set of patrols came through, they had not taken the initiative themselves to introduce each other… perhaps they were a little embarrassed to admit that they couldn’t remember each other’s names and needed introductions??

As for the games, we did:

human knots – stand in a circle, reach across and grab the hands of two different people, attempt to un-tangle the knot without breaking the chains

circle sit – stand really close together, all facing one way, then sloooooowly sit down on each other’s knees – in theory the circle should balance so the weight is distributed and not heavy

Mexican wave chain – hold hands in a long line, and raise hands in a row Mexican-wave style, while also bobbing up and down (to get the wave really moving), AND walk around the room.

For one of the groups, we also did wheelbarrow races, and a kind of crawling conga line.

It was lots of fun, and for the human knots and circle sit, NewCoLeader and I got in there with the kids and fully participated, which they found hilarious! I’m often in a “directing” rather than “participating” role with the kids these days, and it was nice and novel (for both me and the kids!) to be more actively involved. I think I used to be more a participant, but as the group has grown, the directing type role seems more necessary…? Or perhaps I’m just changing in my leadership style gradually. Regardless, its nice to mix things up every now and then.

The other activities – the pipecleaner people and the scavenger hunt – seemed to go fairly well. Unfortunately, the pipecleaner people probably did need a bit of a longer session (at least for some kids), as a few were getting frustrated that they didn’t have time to complete to the standard they wanted, as it was time to move ahead to the next activity. Ah well, you can’t get everything right!

Overall, I think it was a good session, and I think it was good to get the older and younger girls to interact with each other. There is no point having a large group of possible friends, mentors, peers… if you don’t even know each other’s name!!

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More stiches, more baking… and some decidedly unsuccessful campfire cooking

Following on from our lovely night of sewing and baking for the little ones, we did it all again, swapping the girls over, so they each did both activity.

This second time around was both more and less successful than the first. In the sewing side of things, we had an easier run second time as the parent helpers and I knew what we were doing, but that did mean that rather than the activity perfectly filling the time, we ran a little early and a few of the kids were getting a little bored. That said, I did have a lovely experience working quite one-on-one with one of the girls who I would have expected to struggle with the activity. She’s one of those kids who is always on the go, rarely pays attention to instructions, always chatting and mucking about… (one of the ones whose name you learn QUICKLY as you’re using it in a warning tone a lot!!)… so I would have thought sewing was not her cup of tea. And indeed, her initial response to the activity was “do I HAVE to?!” but she ended up loving it. Her doll ended up being one of the wonkiest ones produced, but it was very clearly one that she had made with only the most minimal of instruction, and she was pretty chuffed.

Meanwhile, the baking was a little more challenging than the week before – slightly more girls in the kitchen, and an interesting problem we hadn’t dealt with before – several girls too short to comfortably reach the benches! The one little step stool was in high demand, and meant things took longer than expected!

Maybe time to hunt down some extra step stools to add to our equipment stash!

For the older girls, they were doing outdoor cooking – which was meant to be a camp version of croque monsieur. It… didn’t go well. The leaders we had outside didn’t have much experience with outdoor cooking, the kids for whatever reason were a bit ratty, and all just didn’t quite go as expected. Still, the fires got built properly and quickly, and they are all definitely getting better at the whole fire concept, so that was good. And I guess the odd fail is okay!

We’ll just call it a learning experience, and decide that the activity was all about building resilience. Yep, that was it! Lalalalala… 🙂

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Stitches and stuffings

For me, this week just gone was an easy and simple affair – I was in charge of a mere seven girls, and had three adult helpers with me!

The reason for these odd numbers? We were playing with sewing machines, where you really do need to keep things to a very high helper-to-kid ratio, especially when those kids are all the under-nine set.

Of course, this wasn’t all the unit was doing – our Senior group was out in the foyer area with two of my lovely co-leaders, making “swaps” for three of our girls to take to an upcoming interstate camp (with, I gather, decidedly mixed results… oh well), and the other half of the Juniors group was in the kitchen making gingerbread girls.

So anyway, back to the sewing. AwesomeCoLeader had found a great fabric recently which had this oversized print of stylized paper-doll style girls, and bought it “as I’m sure we’ll think of something to do with it!” – well, we did. Each Guide cut out one of these ‘dollies’ with a reasonably generous seam allowance, and then cut out a matching shape from our stash of bright fabrics left over from various previous projects. They then sewed the two sides together using the sewing machine (leaving a gap at the feet), stuffed them with cushion stuffing (of which I now realise I insanely over-purchased, in fear of not having enough… so need to come up with at least three more projects using stuffing…), and then the girls could choose whether to sew up the feet using the machine, or by hand.

It was a lovely, peaceful, chilled out evening, and all the girls were just delighted with how their cushion/dolls turned out (they looked a  bit like matroyshka dolls), and it was lovely to have three helpers (two mums and a grandma). I don’t often like to call on the parent cohort for help (I know there are mixed views out there on this, but I don’t generally think that just because I enjoy volunteering that others should be made to sign up!) but it was nice to have help for a discrete task like this, and two of our three helpers were ex-costume makers, so this was right up their alley!

Next week- the Juniors are doing the same again (but switching, so those who baked last week sew this week and vice versa), and the Seniors will be cooking outside on the campfire. Fingers crossed its not too rainy!!


A little festival of light

Lovely and lively evening at Guides this week, where despite not getting through all the planned activities, we had a great time with happy girls, a little bit of culture, and a little bit of learning!

Our theme for the evening was “International Year of Light”, and we decided to slant this towards a multi-cultural sort of thing, given our badges for the term are “girls” and “other people”. Our main activities for the night then was making krathongs (Juniors) and diyas (Seniors) as part of learning about Loi Krathong (Thai festival of light) and Diwali (Hindu festival of light). The two crafts went really well, and the girls were all very engaged. I was mainly working with the Seniors making diyas using air-drying clay, and while at first there was some “meh I do ceramics at school” sort of comments, once we started rubbing ghee into cotton strings to make wicks and then lighting them, suddenly they realised this was actually pretty great 🙂


Some of our diyas 

Meanwhile the krathongs were made not out of the traditional banana leaves, but by making origami water lilies!

We also had a brief whole group chat at the beginning of the night about how we use lights in celebration, and got the girls to add in examples- we had Hannukah, Christmas, fireworks, birthday candles, candles at promise ceremonies all come up as ways we use light. Sometimes the “group chat” thing works, sometimes not, but this time it really worked well and was a good example of valuing the views and knowledge of all the girls- good examples came from both 7 year olds and 12 year olds!

We had also planned a true/false game about what technologies use light, and skits to be based on Indigenous sun myths, but ran out of time!

I was so pleased to have a good, well balanced and fun night. For whatever reason I’ve felt a little off my game with guides in recent weeks, and I was beginning to wonder if it might be time to move on, but I think my thematically appropriate Guiding Light might just have re-lit 🙂