keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Bandages and slings and Promises, oh my!

Fun times tonight, as I took the Senior guides for first aid!

We only had about 40 minutes (between opening and Promise ceremony), so I decided to go with a couple of really practical skills, and had one patrol using crepe bandages to practice treating sprained ankles and wrists, while the other patrol used triangular bandages to practice slings, each had about 15 minutes on the activity, before switching.

I’d had the (rather brilliant if I say so myself) idea a while ago that if we were going to do first aid, we should have a box of bandages and bits, separate to the actual first aid kit!! So they could play around to their hearts content, and I didn’t need to stress 🙂

I think they all learned a bit more technique, and we had a good chat about what you’re aiming to do when you bandage a sprain or use a sling. They all agreed that they’d learnt something, and seemed excited to teach it on next term (we’ll see!). Even our girl with a mild intellectual disability managed to improve her sling technique, and her bandage rolling, although her ankle wrapping left something to be desired! All in all, a really good close out to our Be Prepared badge, I feel confident that they’ve genuinely learnt new skills, and it was lovely to have a session where they were all really engaged with something that was so explicitly being taught, rather than something which had the learning buried in the fun set up.

Meanwhile, the Juniors and co-leader were making apricot and coconut balls in the kitchen (finishing off the food badge), which went very well (I had the pleasure of tasting the evidence!) – co-leader reported that the girls were absolutely brilliant: quiet, engaged, focused, and all producing edible food! Apparently the trick is the quantity of activity: if they each essentially reproduce the recipe themselves (rather than working as patrols for example), then they are each focused and don’t have the time/inclination to either disrupt others or complain about being bored, or end up arguing for whose turn it is to chop/stir/put something in/read the recipe… etc!

In other news, I ended up having the Seniors vote for seconders for their patrols – interestingly, the result was exactly what I would have nominated! But much better that it comes from them, not only is that more traditional, but it also underlines that they’re considered more responsible in Seniors than Juniors, where the leaders select the patrol leaders and seconders.

Finally, to close out the night, we had a lovely little Promise ceremony for two of our newbies, both SUPER enthusiastic, and really lovely additions to the group.

… and then after the kids all left, co-leader and I completely raided the shed and cupboard of anything and everything we could POSSIBLY need for this weekend’s camp! I hope we’ve packed everything!

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Cooking in the cold

Last night’s activities for the food badge (for Juniors) and the be prepared badge (for Seniors) dovetailed nicely into an outdoor cooking evening!

While I usually work with the Seniors while co-leader wrangles the Juniors, last night we swapped about, as when it comes to cooking skills and creativity, I’m decidedly better suited to working with the under-tens! Luckily, co-leader has a bit of culinary flair 🙂

So I had the Juniors cooking “camp donuts”, to a reasonable degree of success, and a high level of independence!

For those of you unfamiliar with the haute cuisine that is the camp donut, allow me to enlighten you: jam sandwiches, drowned in pancake batter, and then fried. Surprisingly tasty! I suppose it’s a bit similar to French toast, really.

We used our handy little gas stoves, and had the girls working in their patrols, which worked quite well. It was a good activity to have the girls working with low supervision – I pretty much kept out of their way, just closely watching them using the stoves. They were able to make the sandwiches alone, mix the batter without any help, and do all the ‘dunking’ by themselves. Overall, they did really well, and all managed to get a turn, get all the “bits” done, and even get (some!) of the clean-up sorted! Overall, quite a success!

Meanwhile, co-leader worked with the Seniors to do some more advanced cooking, making chicken (and tofu) skewers from scratch, and even using a mortar and pestle to make a proper satay sauce! They cooked the skewers on our little metal grill, building a small fire underneath. The girls seemed to have a great time – apparently one even asked where you can buy mortar and pestles so she could do it at home!

Overall, it was a good night, teaching some core useful guide skills, and really helping with drawing a line between Juniors and Seniors, which I do hope will help with longer term retention, as girls feel like there is a reason to stick around, that the program will change and grow as they move through the sections. Interestingly, I spoke to one of our older Juniors, about her moving up to Seniors toward the end of this term, rather than early next term, and she was really excited, which I think is a good sign that the overall strategy is correct… it will also have her spending less time with her two years younger sister, which I’m sure will go down well!

Next week, foot pampering! Should be fun!

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Be prepared to escape the zombies!

Tonight I put together a wide game for my senior guides to help them try out their ‘be prepared’ skills.

After much pondering around an underlying theme for the wide game, I finally asked my mister what my Guides might need to be prepared for… he suggested a zombie apocalypse! Genius!

So, the wide game!

They were given notice that zombies were on the loose, looking for brains. So they had to:

  1. Choose ten items from a pile of options that they thought would help them be prepared (in addition to the bag, torches, map, and matches they’d already been given). (Both patrols chose a tarp, and some occy straps. One patrol added to their pile with a sit-upon, a first aid kit, and an umbrella, while the other took two different bandages… amongst other bits and bobs!)
  2. Follow the map & open up challenges as they reached certain points
  3. Build a shelter using items they’d brought with them & found around (both patrols ended up partly using a large tree to support their shelter)
  4. Find their ‘cache’ – a bucket with biscuits, candles, and marshmallows
  5. Attend to an ‘injured knee’ on their second-oldest patrol member
  6. Cook s’mores in their shelter, and eat at least 2 each 🙂
  7. Find their way across the ‘river’ (made of flour) without getting wet or leaving footprints (word to the wise – make your flour river on dirt, not pavers… MUCH easier to clean up. Now I know!)
  8. Get back to the hall and ‘safety’.

My original idea had them being blocked from getting back to the hall by our rangers turning up dressed as zombies and chasing them about, but that didn’t happen… ah well.

They all finished much quicker than I expected (drat!!), so we did a bit of a ‘de brief’ about the activity (all agreed that next time they would READ THE MAP properly, as they took quite a few ‘short cuts’ and had to back track!). And then we had a bit of a chat about the upcoming camp – I think the remaining seniors who have not yet signed up will decide to come along :). Finally, we had a bit of a brainstorm about activities for next term.

Meanwhile, the juniors were in the kitchen with co-leader, cooking up a storm, as part of their “sumptuous savouries” evening – they made savoury tarts (with onion, cheese, tomato, egg, capsicum), and rice paper rolls. They all seemed to have a brilliant time, although in contrast to my under-programming, co-leader over-programmed and barely managed to fit everything in! Ah well, one day we’ll get the balance right!

Next week – off to trampoline for our feet badge!



Be Prepared: But never boring!

This evening’s Guiding success was brought to you by the letters B, P, and the grand people over at!

The Senior Guides are working this term on their “Be Prepared” badge, and I’m determined to make this most basic of Guiding principles FUN!

So after a bit of inspiration from some clever folks online, our Be Prepared Kit night was fun, chaotic, teambuilding, and I hope at least a teeny bit educational!

First up: I’ve just got back from overseas, so I made a virtue of my not-yet-quite-unpacking status, and brought along the little day pack I’d schlepped all over.

I then took out the items one by one, and explained what they were, and we had a bit of a chat about why certain things might be helpful to have around. I think (I hope!) that this exercise showed them that a “Be Prepared Kit” doesn’t have to be a little box marked be prepared, its more about being ready for life.

They were particularly interested in:

  • My passport (I was pronounced “pretty” with a fair degree of surprise… if my passport photo is pretty, I really MUST look a wreck at Guides!!)
  • My seabands (I suspect a few girls will be hunting those down in the coming days!)
  • My money pouch – I demonstrated how it goes on, and they were very impressed at the sneakyness of it!
  • The various medications I had – just panadol, sleeping tablets, and anti-malarials, but they were very curious about them!
  • My tampons! I was very matter-of-fact about them being a useful thing to pack, and the older girls at least seemed relieved that a teacher-type person was being nonchalant about such things! The younger ones were a bit puzzled though! Oh well, they’re all in at least Grade 5, if health class hasn’t yet told them what’s going on, it soon will!

So that set the scene for being prepared for all sorts of adventures.

We then got out STUFF, and spread it over two large tables. The STUFF included:

  • An umbrella
  • A tarp
  • A guide blanket
  • Matches
  • Torches
  • A first aid kit
  • Rubber gloves
  • A warm hat
  • A ruler
  • A small Australian flag
  • Map of Singapore
  • Pens
  • Sticky tape
  • Batteries
  • An ice pack
  • A set of occy straps
  • Bandages
  • A teddy bear
  • Bouncy balls
  • Skipping rope

Aaaaand a bunch of other stuff!! I can’t remember it all!

They then took turns in pulling a ‘scenario’ out of the hat, which the two patrols had to then compete to respond, and figure out what they needed to be prepared!

Scenarios included:

  • Sun’s shining!
  • The patrol member with the first name (alphabetically) is going to the ball. Get her ready!
  • Aaaaggh! There’s a snake!
  • Oh no, your bag just broke!
  • Quick! Blend into the parade!
  • The oldest member of your patrol is very upset. She’s crying and shaking. Can you help?

Anyway, they ran around having a marvellous time, being very creative with their problem solving! They certainly enjoyed it more than the “ohhh its Kim’s Game” (said with a semi-whine) they were expecting when they saw a bunch of items laid out on the tables 🙂

Meanwhile, awesome co-leader was out in the foyer with the Juniors, starting work on their Food badge. She had them do a taste test to explore sour, sweet, salty, and bitter. They then had to do a ‘map’ of their toungues, identifying which parts tasted each sensation!

The comparisons were: Sour – lemon versus vinegar; Sweet – marshmallows versus sprinkles; Bitter – dark chocolate versus coffee grains; and Salty – capers versus chips! What a brilliant idea!

Co-leader is quite a foodie herself, so I suspect her Food badge programming is going to be very impressive!

Finally to round out the night, we had a Promise ceremony for four girls who joined us last term, which was lovely as always 🙂

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Be Prepared for Food and Feet!

During the week I got together with my co-leaders, the leader from our Rangers unit, and the leader from our sister unit to plan term two.

Possibly not the most productive of planning meetings ever (I think we were not as focused as usual with cross-unit things to discuss as well as the term), but we came out of the night with some good plans, a few that will need a bit of further development closer to the date, and the makings of what I hope will be a pretty fun program!

We’ve got a badge-heavy term planned, with eight out of eleven weeks including badge activities… and a further night left available for girls to present/do JBP Award activities, so I guess you could say nine out of eleven badge nights!

Still, its a good way of ensuring diversity in the program, and it has given our terms in recent times a bit more structure than they might have otherwise have had… and certainly this term is going to involve more messy activities than I would usually put in!!

So, our badges are… (drumroll please…):

Feet Create-a-Challenge for all guides

Food Create-a-Challenge for the Juniors

Be Prepared Explore-a-Challenge for the Seniors/Upper Seniors!

I think it will be a fun, broad term, with lots of cooking (which the girls have been desperate for!), lots of games, and a lot of mucky feet activities like painting with toes, ‘porridge diving’, foot pampering. And for the older girls, a bit of first aid, making up a be prepared kit, and possibly doing a mini wide-game. And of course, two separate Promise ceremonies for our newest Guides! Should be fun!

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