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.

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Exploring in the rain

Fun, if somewhat wet night at Guides this week, as we took the Seniors girls out around the local streets to come up with a bit of a treasure hunt for a different patrol to follow next week.

It was dark and cold and raining, but that just made it all a bit more exciting and interesting, and you get a different perspective on an area you’ve seen many times.

It was quite nice just to be out with one patrol (other leaders took other patrols, yay for lots of adults!), and just being able to chat a bit to them in a relaxed way without having to keep an eye on 20+ kids at once! Nice too for the group to have some time to bond a little bit, and relaxed, quiet walking around made it a really low pressure evening. The purpose of the activity (which will be completed next week) was to observe the local area, and draw a map or create map-like instructions for another to follow – both elements of the World Explore A Challenge badge!

Meanwhile, the Juniors managed to squeeze 15 kids into the kitchen (lucky they’re little!) to make and decorate cupcakes to look like cats and dogs for their Pets badge (any cooking can be made relevant to the badge du jour with a bit of thinking!). Unfortunately the picture examples were forgotten, but luckily not needed as the super creative kids all just figured it out brilliantly themselves, yay 🙂

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Sangam & pets & relaxed fun

A lovely evening this week, as one of my co-leaders ran a brilliant program based on Sangam and India for our Seniors, while another co-leader worked with the Juniors on their pets badge, doing skits and learning about animal care.

Firstly, the amazing program put together about Sangam! Co-leader’s family is from India, so she was able to draw on a lot of practical personal knowledge – including being able to bring along and demonstrate the sitar! We had six stations set up around the room, and the girls moved around the various activities roughly in patrols.

The activities were playing the sitar, learning various traditional dance moves (yay for a laptop and youtube clips!), using dyed rice to do rangoli patterns (mainly of trefoils, of course!), trying on saris (which they just adored!), mehendi patterns on their hands (using eyeliner), and writing out hindi/Sanskrit letters.

Unfortunately for such a great program, we were low on numbers (our oldest girls were doing rangers activities off site, and several had school events so were away), but it kind of worked out well as the smaller numbers gave everything a lovely chilled out vibe, and our shyest and youngest girls were able to have a really comfortable night, and really engaged in a way that they don’t always seem to.

Meanwhile, the younger girls worked in patrols on skits about animal care. I formed part of the audience for the final products, and they were surprisingly good! We have quite a set of little dramatists, and they were mostly revelling in the silliness of the activity, all playing with props of leashes and cat toys, and fish food and pooper scoopers etc etc!! It was a good opportunity for the younger girls to work in their patrols, which are still in the settling down stage since a bit of a rejig at the start of term.

Overall, a brilliant night, pitched perfectly at the different age groups!

 

 

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Patrols and Promises

Good but unusual sort of an evening –

For the first half, we finished off our pets badge with a series of activities aimed at enhancing patrol work, with the central aim of getting through a series of challenges while protecting an egg. The original plan was for each patrol to have a blown egg, but time got away from me! Luckily, an emergency trip to the craft shop (which is conveniently 2 minutes walk from my bus stop!) yielded Styrofoam eggs, which worked quite well.

So the series of activities (pretty much made up on the spot by me and co-leader!) for each patrol were as follows:

  • Human knots – get out of, and then back into – a human knot, while protecting the egg
  • Get from the corner to the main driveway, transferring the egg person to person, without using your hands.
  • Get from the main driveway to the next corner, again transferring person to person, without using your hands or arms.
  • Using things you can find in the garden, make a nest for your egg that you can transport to show the leaders.
  • Do Scouts pace one by one up the other footpath, keeping the egg safely tucked into the back of your collar
  • With your egg on a spoon, walk to point one, hop to point two, then skip to point three.

Overall, it worked pretty well, with a couple of the girls commenting that it was a bit like a wide game, with working through a series of challenges in their patrol. Given the group loooooooooooooooooove wide games, I’m going to call that as high praise 🙂

After the girls had mostly got through the activities (some of the patrols didn’t quite complete the final task, but close enough), we quickly got set up for our final Promise ceremony of the year. Three lovely newbies made their Promise for the first time, and two of our Juniors moved up to Seniors.

I say it every time, but gee I love Promise ceremonies. The girls are all so serious and solemn, and the girls making their Promise are both excited and nervous… and so many parents come up afterwards and say “oh I was so proud! I was just about in tears!”. Our very traditional ceremony is, I think, a lovely way to impress on the girls that in being part of Guiding, that they’re part of something special. It also seems to move parents from “oh its a club that little Suzie does because her friend Sally does it too…” to feeling like being a Guide is something different, and something to be proud of. So yes, I love our little ceremonies, with marching in, colour party, and lots of candles!

Next week – more ceremonies as we present our first JBP Award in two years, and first BP Award in three! Woohoo!

One of the ‘nests’ for the eggs – pretty creative!

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Doggies and bunnies and games, oh my!

Thanks to the unreliability of Melbourne’s weather, tonight’s plans of pets in the park had to be abandoned at the last minute, in a flurry of last second emails and text messages!

So instead, we were back in the usual hall – but visited by two bunnies and nine dogs!

The girls had fun showing off their pets, and meeting the pets of others – and they were all fabulously well behaved! Only one dog was a bit ‘over enthusiastic’, but that was okay!

After the last of the pets had headed home with families, we played a few games – first one called “A What?” – which was a bit of a variation on Chinese Whispers, which was quite funny, as multiple pet-related “items” went around the circle… turns out the girls are very unfamiliar with the word “budgerigars”! (Storms of protest: why didn’t you just say bird if its a bird?!) (Because I have to amuse myself as well!)

Followed up with a game of Monkey Tiggy, which was quite funny to watch, and then I put them in pairs and gave each a plastic animal. One of each pair hid the animal, then the other was guided to it with “hotter/colder”. My next suggestion of Duck Duck Goose was vetoed (girl lead guiding!) and they organised themselves into a game of Run the Gauntlet instead, keeping it in theme by using the little animals as objects to collect at one end of the gauntlet.

Finally, we had 15-20 minutes left, and I was over the noisiness, so decided I’d give them a quick first aid challenge. A bit of whinging ensued “we KNOW how to wrap ankles already!” “Excellent, you won’t need the book then and can show me that you can get it right first time” “Okay!” Heh. Anyway, despite the whinging, the whole group ended up practicing, and even those who thought they didn’t need the book ended up learning a bit and improving. So glad I invested in a set of bandages just for practice a while ago!

Next week we’ve got games outdoors, followed by a Promise ceremony for 3 newbies. And in other excellent news, awesome co-leader will be back, and we had a third visit from another newbie, so I think we’ll be signing her up properly next week 🙂

 

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Pets escape wide game

Here’s the wide game I put together as part of the pets badge. There were two patrols looking for scruffy, two looking for mittens. I had the younger girls looking for mittens, so the tasks were slightly easier. The wide game took about an hour and a quarter.

The story:

Scruffy and Mittens have escaped! We’re going to need all hands on deck to find them! Juniors – could you please do your best to find Mittens? Seniors – we’ll need you on the look out for Scruffy! When you’re looking for our fluffy friends, you’ll need to follow the clues, complete the challenges, and DO YOUR BEST.

Order of activities:

1. Make a ‘missing’ poster

 Equipment – paper, pens etc.

  1. Decode a clue

The clue was done using an English-to-webdings font, and read something like “please help find me, my paw prints look like this:” with a clip art picture of dog or cat paws.

  1. Paw prints trail

 Leading from the hall in different directions were paw print trails with different coloured backgrounds to indicate which patrol should follow which trail. The trails eventually lead to the next task.

  1. Gather water for bowl

 Equipment – buckets, bowls, spoons and/or cups. Buckets full of water were set up in a line, one for each patrol. Bowls for filling were set up opposite, about three meters away. Beside the buckets for the older girls (hunting scruffy) were tablespoons, and beside the bowls for the younger girls (hunting mittens) were plastic cups.

  1. Make a long lead

 A pile of ropes of all different lengths were provided. You could also use string or wool or fabric or grass or…

  1. Make a mini shelter

 A pile of balls of wool and paddle pop sticks were provided. This didn’t work as well as I imagined, perhaps pipecleaners or something else might be more useful. Or just pop a box of crafty bits where you want this activity to happen, and see what they come up with!

  1. Find a bone or fish

 This was just a clip art picture cut up and hidden.

  1. Scout’s  pace

 Always a good addition to a wide game!

  1. Ball/wool toss

 Provide tennis balls for the scruffy teams, and balls of wool for the mittens teams. I just had them aim for an area, but you could set up targets of some sort if you wanted to add complexity.

  1. Mud trail/wool trail

My fabulous junior leader set up these trails – for ‘mud’ she coloured in bits of paper brown and ran a trail about, while for wool, she used a whole ball of wool and ran it all around the grounds, ending up with poor mittens in a tree!

Here are the instructions for the teams – I had them printed & in envelopes and numbered. Guides were instructed only to open a clue when they’d completed the task prior.

Enjoy!

Scruffy Mittens
With Scruffy missing, you’ll   need to make up some posters to go around the local area!

Each guide will need one piece   of folded paper.

Everyone should do one third,   then refold to hide the top third and swap posters and do another third, then   swap again.

1)      On   the top third, write Missing and Scruffy’s name

2)      On   the middle third, draw the Scruffy’s head

3)      On   the bottom third, draw Scruffy’s body and some imaginary contact details for   anyone who finds Scruffy!

When everyone has done a   poster, stick them up on the wall near the stairs, and then move onto your   next task.

 

With Mittens missing, you’ll   need to make up some posters to go around the local area!

Each guide will need one piece   of folded paper.

Everyone should do one third,   then refold to hide the top third and swap posters and do another third, then   swap again.

1)      On   the top third, write Missing and Mittens’ name

2)      On   the middle third, draw the Mittens’ head

3)      On   the bottom third, draw Mittens’ body and some imaginary contact details for   anyone who finds Mittens!

When everyone has done a   poster, stick them up on the wall near the stairs, and then move onto your   next task.

 

Decode the information to find   your next task!

 

Decode the information to find   your next task!

 

Paw prints trail Paw prints trail
Pets always need plenty of   fresh water. Scruffy is sure to be thirsty when he is found, so make sure   there is plenty of water in his dish!

Out in the main courtyard, using   the spoon provided, transfer enough water from the bucket to fill the water   dish.

Take it in turns, and remember   you cannot move either the bucket or the dish.

When you’ve filled the dish, go   back to the hall for your next task!

 

Pets always need plenty of fresh water. Mittens is sure to be thirsty when she is found, so make sure there is plenty of water in her dish!

Out in the main courtyard, using   the cup provided, transfer enough water from the bucket to fill the water   dish.

Take it in turns, and remember   you cannot move either the bucket or the dish.

When you’ve filled the dish, go   back to the hall for your next task!

 

Scruffy will need a nice long   lead for walks when he returns.

Using three of the ropes   provided, work as a patrol to make the longest possible plaited lead.

 

Mittens will need a nice long   lead for walks when she returns.

Using three of the ropes   provided, work as a patrol to make the longest possible plaited lead.

 

Using the paddle pop sticks and   wool, build a mini kennel for Scruffy, thinking about what a dog would need   to be comfortable and secure.

Show a leader when you’re   finished to get your next clue.

 

Using the paddle pop sticks and   wool, build a mini basket for Mittens, thinking about what a cat would need   to be comfortable and secure.

Show a leader when you’re   finished to get your next clue.

 

Scruffy will need his bone when   he comes home. He’s probably buried it in the front garden…

 

Mittens will be looking for her   little fish toy when she gets home. She probably lost it in the front garden…

 

Dogs like to run, but if you go   too quick, Scruffy will get tired! As a patrol, practice your Scout’s pace   (20 steps walking, 20 steps running), going one at a time along the footpath   from the entrance to the carpark, down and around the corner to the front   door of the hall, and back again.

Remember to keep to the paths!

 

Cats like to run around, but if   you go too quick, Mittens will get tired! As a patrol, practice your Scout’s   pace (20 steps walking, 20 steps running), going one at a time along the   footpath from the entrance to the carpark, down and around the corner to the   front door of the hall, and back again.

Remember to keep to the paths!

 

Dogs like to play with balls,   and play catch! So you’re in practice for when Scruffy gets back, work with   your patrol to throw a tennis ball from the curb near the big tree out the   front all the way into the little circle of seats.

Be accurate!

When you’re done, find the   barbeque to begin your final hunt for Scruffy!

 

Cats like to play with wool! So   you’re in practice for when Mittens gets back, work with your patrol to throw   a ball of wool across the hall, from one set of windows to the other.

Be accurate!

When you’re done, find the   barbeque to begin your final hunt for Mittens!

 

Scruffy left a trail of mud   when he ran away… chances are good that following the mud will lead to   Scruffy…

 

Mittens left a trail of wool   when she ran away… chances are good that following the wool will lead to   Mittens…

 

 

Scruffy Mittens
With Scruffy missing, you’ll   need to make up some posters to go around the local area!

Each guide will need one piece   of folded paper.

Everyone should do one third,   then refold to hide the top third and swap posters and do another third, then   swap again.

4)      On   the top third, write Missing and Scruffy’s name

5)      On   the middle third, draw the Scruffy’s head

6)      On   the bottom third, draw Scruffy’s body and some imaginary contact details for   anyone who finds Scruffy!

When everyone has done a   poster, stick them up on the wall near the stairs, and then move onto your   next task.

 

With Mittens missing, you’ll   need to make up some posters to go around the local area!

Each guide will need one piece   of folded paper.

Everyone should do one third,   then refold to hide the top third and swap posters and do another third, then   swap again.

4)      On   the top third, write Missing and Mittens’ name

5)      On   the middle third, draw the Mittens’ head

6)      On   the bottom third, draw Mittens’ body and some imaginary contact details for   anyone who finds Mittens!

When everyone has done a   poster, stick them up on the wall near the stairs, and then move onto your   next task.

 

Decode the information to find   your next task!

 

Decode the information to find   your next task!

 

Paw prints trail Paw prints trail
Pets always need plenty of   fresh water. Scruffy is sure to be thirsty when he is found, so make sure   there is plenty of water in his dish!

Out in the main courtyard,   using the spoon provided, transfer enough water from the bucket to fill the   water dish.

Take it in turns, and remember   you cannot move either the bucket or the dish.

When you’ve filled the dish, go   back to the hall for your next task!

 

Pets always need plenty of   fresh water. Mittens is sure to be thirsty when she is found, so make sure   there is plenty of water in her dish!

Out in the main courtyard,   using the cup provided, transfer enough water from the bucket to fill the   water dish.

Take it in turns, and remember   you cannot move either the bucket or the dish.

When you’ve filled the dish, go   back to the hall for your next task!

 

Scruffy will need a nice long   lead for walks when he returns.

Using three of the ropes   provided, work as a patrol to make the longest possible plaited lead.

 

Mittens will need a nice long   lead for walks when she returns.

Using three of the ropes   provided, work as a patrol to make the longest possible plaited lead.

 

Using the paddle pop sticks and   wool, build a mini kennel for Scruffy, thinking about what a dog would need   to be comfortable and secure.

Show a leader when you’re   finished to get your next clue.

 

Using the paddle pop sticks and   wool, build a mini basket for Mittens, thinking about what a cat would need   to be comfortable and secure.

Show a leader when you’re   finished to get your next clue.

 

Scruffy will need his bone when   he comes home. He’s probably buried it in the front garden…

 

Mittens will be looking for her   little fish toy when she gets home. She probably lost it in the front garden…

 

Dogs like to run, but if you go   too quick, Scruffy will get tired! As a patrol, practice your Scout’s pace   (20 steps walking, 20 steps running), going one at a time along the footpath   from the entrance to the carpark, down and around the corner to the front   door of the hall, and back again.

Remember to keep to the paths!

 

Cats like to run around, but if   you go too quick, Mittens will get tired! As a patrol, practice your Scout’s   pace (20 steps walking, 20 steps running), going one at a time along the   footpath from the entrance to the carpark, down and around the corner to the   front door of the hall, and back again.

Remember to keep to the paths!

 

Dogs like to play with balls,   and play catch! So you’re in practice for when Scruffy gets back, work with   your patrol to throw a tennis ball from the curb near the big tree out the   front all the way into the little circle of seats.

Be accurate!

When you’re done, find the   barbeque to begin your final hunt for Scruffy!

 

Cats like to play with wool! So   you’re in practice for when Mittens gets back, work with your patrol to throw   a ball of wool across the hall, from one set of windows to the other.

Be accurate!

When you’re done, find the   barbeque to begin your final hunt for Mittens!

 

Scruffy left a trail of mud   when he ran away… chances are good that following the mud will lead to   Scruffy…

 

Mittens left a trail of wool   when she ran away… chances are good that following the wool will lead to   Mittens…

 


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Pet skits!

Fun (and easy for me!) night tonight as the girls put on pet-themed plays. Three out of the four patrols did really well – one… somehow missed the point almost entirely, but oh well, they seemed to have fun!

What did work quite well is that we asked the girls to bring along any ‘pet care items’ they had – leads, brushes, food, feeding bowls etc, and probably about a quarter of them brought at least something, which meant that they had some fun props for the plays.

After the rehearsals and then the show, we still had about 40 minutes to go, so I decided to play ‘ladders’, but with a pets/animals theme – this meant that instead of numbering off the pairs, they were given animal names – dog, cat, fish, horse, donkey, piglet etc. Probably half the girls had never played before, so we had to go over the rules, and have a ‘walking’ practice or two before they were allowed to run, but they did have fun!

After that, we tried cat and mouse (the ‘streets and lanes’ version), to… hmm… varying degrees of success, and then their old favourite of no-fruit ‘fruit salad’, which started out pet themed, and ended up just normal as I ran out of ideas!

Fabulous co-leader was away last night (overseas, lucky gal) but thankfully two mums were able to help out, which was just lovely. One got stuck in, the other pretty much just played with her phone, but that was fine – I just needed an extra pair of hands in the unlikely event of one of the kids injuring themselves!!

Next week should be decidedly interesting as we kick up the pet theme a bit further and let them bring their pets to a night in the park… in theory, the pets only stay as long as the parents do… I certainly hope I don’t end up inadvertently responsible for 24 small people plus their dogs!!!

 

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Hunting for Mittens and Scruffy!

image

Fun night yesterday, as we spent the evening hunting for Scruffy and Mittens in a ‘pets escape’ wide game!

All the activities went off really well, and in the best wide game tradition, once everything was prepared and set up, the girls were able to just get stuck in, and do everything in their patrols with very little intervention from the leaders!

The most successful elements were firstly, splitting the game in two, so the two juniors patrols were looking for Mittens, while the two seniors were finding Scruffy. This meant that I was able to make some simple modifications to even things up, without it being “unfair” – like on the water transfer activity (filling the pet’s water dish), the juniors used cups, while the seniors used spoons.

More generally, I think the “missing” posters, the giant plaited leads, and the paw print trail were the most popular activities!

I’ll put up the whole wide game in the next week or so, for those that are curious 🙂

No Guides next week, as Awesome co-leader and I are both taking some leave, her to go adventuring in South East Asia, and me to go eat my weight in dumplings in Hong Kong 🙂

 

 

 

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structured chaos and chia pets

Bit of disjointed night this evening, but the girls seemed to have fun, so it can’t have been too bad!
I was mainly with the Seniors, and we started with the chia pets, which they didn’t find difficult, but they all had fun, and were happily chatting with each other as they constructed their pets.

They also found it completely hilarious that some of the grass seed from two weeks ago had somehow got into the bag of potting mix and had sprouted! But of course it had been in the dark, so it was all this very pale and weak little threads of grass!

After the grass heads were done (only about 40 minutes), I took the girls back inside, and split the group into two (not patrols, for once – split on age), and gave each group a handbook, and said “find an activity” – the younger group ended up making morse code ‘bracelets’ (very creatively, actually, especially given we didn’t have all the equipment suggested by the book!), while the older group ended up splitting into two, with 3 of them practicing a dance, and two building little mini-rafts out of straws and paddle pop sticks.

Meanwhile, the Juniors worked on the bird feeders activity (apparently to more success than the older girls a couple of weeks ago!), and then coloured in the very excellent ‘brownies colouring sheets’ from Guiding With Jewels. (Here! http://guidingjewels.ca/brownies/handouts/363-brownies-in-other-countries-colouring-sheets ) – they were all really engaged, and its lovely to slip a bit of stealthy world guiding into the program!

And that was pretty much it, apart from a quick game of ‘fruit salad’, and a very quick voting for a new PL for one of the patrols. The PL was as I would have guessed (but good that they voted), but I was surprised by her choice of seconder – very sensibly chose a girl who has been a Guide for a while, and really goes along to all activities, and is working well on her JBP, but who has quite a “pushy” personality, so I would not have thought she’d be chosen… So, I was very pleased that the new PL has chosen a girl who deserves the role, rather than just choosing her particular friend 🙂

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Grass heads

Back for term four, yay!

Full complement of Juniors, but a few Seniors missing – fingers crossed nothing is awry and they’re back next week!

To begin our pets badge, I worked with the Juniors, making chia pets (grass heads), which was reasonably successful, although it seemed to take waaaaaaaaaaaaay less time than I anticipated.

Even with me just very quickly demonstrating what was to be done, they all managed to complete the activity – almost entirely without help – in about half the time originally allocated, INCLUDING tidying up! I’m going to have to add complexity and/or double program for two weeks’ time when the Seniors are meant to do the activity!

Meanwhile, the Seniors worked with co-leader to make bird feeders, using wild bird seed and cookie cutters to sort of make almost christmas-decoration-ish things. That activity also took way less time than expected!

So, we ended up doing games for half the night, playing Golden Child again (which I still don’t 100% understand, but oh well), and then the old favourite Fruit-Salad-That-Has-Nothing-To-Do-With-Fruit.

Closed out the evening with our now settled new version of Brownie Bells:
Time for the end
Our meeting’s passed
Guiding is great
Time flies so fast
Gooooood night.

Given Guiding is non-denominational, the old prayer-heavy Brownie Bells no longer seemed appropriate, so I’m quite happy with this revised approach. Now the girls all know it, it flows just as easily as the old version used to!

Promise ceremony next week for four newbies, yay!

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