keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Catching up

Well, this has been a poor neglected little blog these last few weeks. Suffice to say life has been a bit full of late with both work and personal life a little busy, and guiding and the blog has had to take a back seat!

So, lets catch up the last few weeks.

Firstly, we had a ‘codetastic’ sleepover with 14 kids from our unit, and 7 from sister unit. It was awful cold and rainy day which made things a bit of a challenge – the intended plan of having each of four patrols light fires to cook their afternoon tea didn’t happen! But we did manage to get one fire going, although it took so long (it really had rained hard, and the wood was soaked through!), that we ended up having the ‘apple crisps’ as dessert instead of afternoon tea!

The wide game for the sleepover was unfortunately not as successful as previous ones, mainly as the slightly more free-form concept of ‘do the activities in any order’ seemed to confuse the girls – they couldn’t keep up with what they were up to. I think if I did that kind of strategy again, I would add a checklist for them to tick off as they went, so they could keep track. The activities themselves seemed quite successful – they included making a shelter, following compass instructions, decoding some fairly complicated codes, and doing puzzles.

Overall, it was reasonably successful (despite the rain), and the girls all seemed to have fun – it was also great to see the girls from both our unit and sister unit blending together so well – by the end, they’d all meshed in together 🙂 Also realised that one of the girls from Sister Unit is old enough for Rangers (although wants to wait until next year), so that is exciting.

Back to normal Guides – last week I (and three lovely mums who responded to our pleas for extra adults!) took the Senior Guides to the local supermarket on the tram to purchase ingredients for the final night’s cooking. It was part of the Lifeskills badge, with the girls having planned the recipes the week before (including budgeting), and then travelling via public transport to get the groceries, and then this week cooking the food.

The girls were all pretty good, although I suspect a bit more cheeky than they would usually be if their mums were not around!!

Finally, this week (final night of term), the Junior Guides had a ‘bathroom’ night as part of their Homes badge, which included a towel turban relay (quite hilarious!), and a bathroom themed version of The Chocolate Game, which had the girls dressing up in a bathrobe and shower cap when they rolled a six.

The Seniors, meanwhile, did their planned cooking – chocolate balls for one patrol, and chocolate cake for the other (bit of a chocolate theme for the last night of term!). Unfortunately for the chocolate cake girls, the oven was broken – the pilot light was out, and we could not get it restarted! So we attempted a bit of alternative cooking methodology, doing some in cupcake cases in the microwave (which looked like it worked, but actually resulted in burnt cupcakes), and some in a slice tray floating in a larger tray full of water, which we boiled on the stove, bain-marie style. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, and it didn’t quite cook, but I think given an extra 30 minutes or so it would have worked, perhaps with a bit of foil over the top to seal in the steam and cook from above as well as below. It was rather fun though, trying to figure out emergency cooking alternatives!

Finally to close out the term we had a Promise ceremony for two girls who joined us towards the end of first term, and a Promise renewal for three girls moving up to Senior Guides, which is always lovely. One of the girls moving up has been with us for more than three years in Juniors, and has been a really fabulous an enthusiastic Guide right from the start – it will be fantastic to have her in Seniors, although it does make me feel old!

And finally finally we had Rangers – four of the five girls came along for ‘Christmas in June’ which was meant to be both crafts and cooking but ended up all cooking as they futzed about and ran out of time! Still, the ginger cookies (which had to be emergency ‘baked’ on the bbq due to the same oven issues the Senior Guides had) turned out edible (although much more like ‘ginger crumbles’ than ‘ginger cookies’), and the non-alcoholic mulled wine was a great success. They all had fun, and seemed keen to be back next term, so all is well.

Non-alcoholic mulled wine:

1 litre orange juice

1 bottle sparkling grape juice

2 cinnamon sticks

5-10 cloves

1 cup of sugar

peel of one orange

flesh of one orange cut finely


Put all ingredients in a large pot or kettle, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain and serve into glasses or mugs. Enjoy!


Team guiding

Quiet night for me last night, as my two excellent co-leaders ran the main activities without me. Its lovely to occasionally take a back step 🙂

We also had two very excellent helpers – a Mum who offered to stick around and help out (and who is also happy to help next week when we’ll be down on numbers, yay!), and one of our Rangers who emailed me late in the day to ask if she could come and help, even though it wasn’t a Rangers night! Excellent stuff, looks like we may have a junior leader on our hands.

Awesome CoLeader took the Juniors upstairs for a night of “tv skits”, for the ‘lounge room’ portion of the Homes badge. Apparently the girls had a marvellous time playing with the dress ups several of them brought along, although I gather the intended ‘world guiding’ theme didn’t *quite* come through. Perhaps the younger ones just aren’t quite there in terms of their ‘world view’ yet – some of them seem to struggle even with the concept that there are other Guides in our district, never mind further afield! Ah well, a project for another day 🙂

Meanwhile, YoungCoLeader had the Seniors re-learning tracking signs, using glow sticks to make trails for each other to followin the dark. It worked brilliantly, and the girls had a great time, I think in a weird way enhanced by the fact that it was raining a little, so there was a slight element of  ‘ooh I don’t usually get to be out in the dark in the rain’ added to the activity.

While each of the patrols was laying trails, I chatted to the ‘other’ patrol about possible options for next term, and had a bit of a look through the badge books for things that interested them. Seems like the badge best aligned to their interests is the Explore A Challenge: The Arts, so I guess us leaders will need to take a closer look at that one in the next few weeks and see if its viable.

Finally, to round out the night we had an extra Promise ceremony for our teeniest Guide, who was ill at the start of term when she was due to make her Promise, and will be at a school event at our next scheduled ceremony! She’s such a littlie that to pin on her badge and shake hands properly, I had to kneel down 🙂

Next week – I’m not going to usual Guides, as I’m having a night focused on the Rangers, doing a wide game at our local IKEA – should be fun!

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Buttons and blooms

Interesting night this week, as the Seniors took on almost a Rangers sort of vibe, while the Juniors built their ‘dining room’ skills.

Firstly, the Seniors. We were down a bit on numbers this week (3 away, which makes a real dent in the group), but given we were doing sewing, this wasn’t a real problem. We went upstairs into the little room I’ve been using as the Rangers room, which is quite cosy, and gave a nice vibe to sitting about and sewing. The girls had been asked to bring an item of clothing which required repair – buttons replaced, hems fixed, that sort of thing, which they mostly did (two brought badges to sew instead, which… wasn’t quite the point but oh well). We had a quick chat about why the planned task might fit into the Lifeskills badge they’re working towards (they all agreed replacing buttons and sewing in general was a pretty useful skill), and also agreed with a little prompting that repairing rather than throwing out also fits into the law to “make choices for a better world”.

Meanwhile, AwesomeCoLeader and YoungCoLeader (NewCoLeader is probably no longer appropriate a term or so in!) had the girls learning some very traditional skills to set up the dining room – including setting knives, spoons, and forks in proper order, making floral centrepieces, and polishing silver! Polishing silver is one of those activities that our very modern Guides turn their noses up at, and then end up totally adoring – I guess there is something satisfying and a little magical about seeing the bright silver emerge from the tarnish!


Here’s one of the Juniors patrols’ very beautifully set tables:



Creative careers… and a quorum for Rangers

Fun night tonight, as the Senior Guides and I explored career options, and the Rangers group actually worked!

Firstly, Senior Guides – as part of their Lifeskills Explore-A-Challenge badge, one of the activities was to explore future career options. Well, I’d umm’d and ahh’d about ways to do this that were age appropriate (they’re 10 and 11 and 12, and in primary school – no need to choose subjects just yet!), and pretty much all my ideas were BORING.

Luckily (or slackly…), I hadn’t managed to make any of those ideas actually come together in time, so I pretty much winged it – and it worked brilliantly! Firstly, I asked them all to think about the various adults they knew, and to say who had the most interesting job out of those people – the examples weren’t hugely exciting, but it did at least get them thinking broader than just jobs they usually know.

Next, we did a ‘celebrity heads’ style game, where they had to try and figure out what career was on a post-it on their forehead, which they all surprisingly really got into! Careers included librarian, doctor, vet, scientist, artist, teacher, lawyer, paramedic, police…

After that, I broke them off into patrols, and gave each patrol three slips of paper with careers on them, which they could choose from and then act out, charades-style, for the other patrol to guess. They LOVED IT. All the girls got totally into it, and they begged to do a second, and then third round! One patrol had computer scientist, chef, and nurse; while the other had waiter, dancer, and fire-fighter.

Finally, we had a bit of a chat about whether people were introverts or extroverts, and what they’re good at, and then a bit of a think about what careers might suit those traits.

Overall, a really excellent night!

Meanwhile, AwesomeCoLeader, NewCoLeader and AmericanCoLeader (and yes, it needed all three!) were wrangling the Juniors over in the kitchen making lemon slice, as part of their Homes Create-A-Challenge badge.

After Guides wrapped up, I went up to join the Rangers (who had commandeered a small room above the hall) – we actually had five girls! They were all getting along really well, and the crayon art activity actually worked! It involved gluing crayons to small art canvases, and then using hair dryers to slowly melt the crayons and create interesting patterns with the dripping wax. They all looked really effective, and the girls were pretty excited about how they came together.

The little room upstairs worked fantastically – not only was it the right scale for the size of the group, but it was warm and cozy, and one of the girls set up her ipod to give them some background music… it had a great vibe, and I hope we can continue to get that happy atmosphere in the weeks to come 🙂



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Ready to return (nearly!)

Term two is about to begin (tomorrow!), and so the co-leaders and I got together last week for an evening of planning and lasagne.

After much umm’ing and ahh’ing, we’ve decided to again do separate but linked badges for the Juniors and Seniors – the Juniors will work on their Homes Create-A-Challenge, while the Seniors will hopefully get their Lifeskills Explore-A-Challenge.

For the first time in a long time, both Juniors and Seniors will have homework to get their badges!!

Juniors will need to keep their room tidy for a week (more of a challenge for some I suspect!), while the Seniors will need to learn how to use various home appliances properly – things like microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines… I suspect by the end of term we are going to be rather popular with the parents!!

The girls will also all have the opportunity to earn their Numbers Create-A-Challenge badge – I’ve been keen on it for a while but the girls were very MEH, SOUNDS LIKE SCHOOL when I suggested it… so instead, it will be the base of a sleepover, where the wide game taking shape in my head will provide the entertainment 🙂

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