guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Catching up!

Whoops, poor little neglected blog!

So, a quick update on the last two weeks of term:

Our little ones did campfire cooking, doing bananas with chocolate – and very successfully I might add! One fire per patrol, and one adult per patrol, made for a smooth experience. Their work over the term in developing confidence with matches, and the fact that many of them had attended our Juniors sleepover a few weeks ago where they also had to build fires, meant that they’d actually developed and consolidated their skills and were quite competent to set and light and maintain the fires. Go littlies!

Meanwhile, I and NewestCo-Leader (we have a crew now… I need to do some re-blog-naming of my excellent leaders!) led the older girls in ’emergency out of the box’ – we provided a bunch of *stuff* (tarps, ropes, blankets, first aid equipment, clothes, chairs, tables, gadget wood, wool….) in a pile and in patrols they had to respond to various scenarios pulled ‘out of the hat’. Scenarios were things like “there’s been a car crash out the front of the building” “there’s a fire in the kitchen” “you’ve got home and realised you’ve lost your keys and no-one is due home for two hours…”

I’d kind of envisaged they’d pretty much use the bits and pieces to create a vignette of how they’d respond, but it seems we have quite a few dramatic little souls in the group, and so somehow we ended up with these elaborate mini-plays, complete with characters and backstories and HIGH DRAMA! We finished on a silly scenario (“oh my god, the party is in an hour and I have NOTHING to wear!!”) which was a bit of fun 🙂

Our final week of term was a bit ‘bitsy’ – the Seniors did a version of the mini-meal done by the Juniors a few weeks ago (cooking a tiny 3 course dinner over candles), but with the added complication of working with only torchlight – they seemed to enjoy it, but interesting “haaaaate soup” (noted for future camps etc), and got through the task faster than expected. Luckily we were able to fill the time with a bit of “so, what do you want to do next term?”

Meanwhile, the Juniors had a games night, with a bit of leadership worked in – each of the girls had the chance to take the lead in running a game for the group, and it worked really well. We didn’t have a set list of games or of kids, but made it clear initially that we wanted each of them to have a try running things, even if it was only for a round or two of a well known game. They all really stepped up and embraced the task, and it was lovely to see, not to mention, fabulously run by YoungCoLeader, who really does enjoy working with our youngest girls.

Finally finally we had another session of our limping along Rangers group, pulling out our Upper Seniors for the night – they were doing “mini gadgets” (hmm quite a mini theme for the evening, didn’t realise at the time!), using tiny twigs and twine to make doll-house sized camp gadgets. It was… hmm… of mixed success. Still, they enjoyed the time as a separate older group, and have begged for extra sessions next term, so that’s a good sign 🙂

Speaking of next term, our leadership team got together last week for planning term three, and it should be a bunch of fun – we’ll be working on the ‘Girls’ and ‘Other People’ badges for Juniors and Seniors respectively, and I think it should be a lovely relaxed sort of term… at this stage it doesn’t look like we’re attempting to crazily over-program, but I’m sure as each week approaches we’ll somehow find ways to add absurd flourishes to the proceedings!

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First aid fabulous

Fun night this week, as the Seniors group did first aid with much laughter, happy yelling, and general chaos… and hopefully a bit of learning!

One of our oldest Guides, when reminded that the program had us doing first aid said “ohhhhhh… is it going to be boring?”, so of course I looked her straight in the eye and said “Yes. Yes, it’s as boring and terrible a program as ever we’ve done, you’re going to go home tonight saying Guides is THE MOST BORING”. Luckily most of them laughed, so we got off on the right foot 😉

We started with a bit of a run through basic first aid procedures, talking through what they already knew, and helping them to think through the basic logic of what first aid is trying to achieve (i.e. treat minor things, stabilise major things to enable the patient to reach help), and go over the criteria of skills they needed to learn as part of their badge work.

The girls moved through a series of ‘stations’, learning different uses for triangular bandages (a simple sling, and a ‘donut’ to support a foreign body that has pierced a hand), bandaging techniques for various wounds, splinting for snakebite, and learning how to move a patient into recovery position. It was one of those nights where the blogging about it sounds utterly tedious, but the actual experience was great fun, and there was a brilliant happy vibe for the whole night 🙂

Meanwhile, the Junior Guides had a “mini meal” evening, where they each made a teeny-tiny three course meal over tealights, cooking soup (using cup-of-soup mixes) in tin foil tart cases, followed by tiny skewers of cheese and veggies to ‘grill’ for main, and finally toasting marshmallows to put between mini guide biscuits for little s’mores. They were all super excited about it and had a lovely time, and it was so cute to hear one of the girls gleefully reporting to her mum at the end “we made mini soup!”.

So a great night with a great vibe with all the kids, and all the leaders. Loved it 🙂

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Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS!

There are two versions of this wide game, one aimed at 6-9 year olds, one aimed at 10-13 year olds. Both took a little over an hour for the fastest patrols to complete, so are ideal for during a unit meeting time.

We simply said ‘where’ the various regions were (e.g. ‘Africa is on the front lawn’) but you could add flourishes by putting up signs or creating a map to show where the regions are located. This wide game operated by patrols returning to base at the end of each task and being given another region to tackle – this was to reduce the number of patrols attempting tasks in the same area at the same time. However, it could also be set up so that there are multiple copies of equipment at each station, and patrols could then follow a set order.

At the completion of each task, the patrols earned the corresponding letter. We just had them written on colourful post-it notes, but you could go for anything!

To run both versions you will need the following items:

Equipment

Jelly worms/sour worms; Streamers; Paint brushes; Calligraphy pens; Ink/black paint; Grain (oats/corn/etc); Safari animals; Tarps, first aid, rope, buckets, assorted objects (for be prepared); 2 long ropes (to form river); Pipe cleaners/craft materials for crown; Paper; Atlas.


 

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS – version one

[Read out to patrols before commencing]:

Last year (2014), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held the world conference in Hong Kong. After the conference was concluded, it was realised that the W, A, G, G, G, and S were misplaced, and somehow got scattered around the world by delegates returning home.

Your patrols have been asked to find the missing letters, and get them to Tunisia ahead of the next world conference. Planning for the conference is already underway, so you’ll need to hurry!

Everyone will start in Hong Kong, before spreading around the world to find the letters.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people generally eat using chopsticks. Practice your chopsticks skills by transferring some jelly worms between two bowls.

Each patrol member needs to transfer 2 worms each to earn ‘W’

Western Hemisphere region

While your patrol was climbing up to see the fabulous lost city of Macchu Picchu, the youngest patrol member twisted their ankle!

Using instructions in the Green Handbook and the first aid equipment provided, bandage and treat the ankle correctly to earn ‘A’ [for non-Australian groups – just print out instructions (preferably pictorial) of how to correctly bandage a twisted ankle]

Many Pacific nations use dance to tell stories.

Using the streamers and your imagination, make a grass skirt for each of your patrol members, and do a patrol hula dance to earn ‘G’.  [you will need about two or three rolls of steamers per patrol]

Europe region

Europe has a rich history of Kings and Queens. Queen Elizabeth the Second was even a Girl Guide!

Your patrol needs to use the pipe cleaners to make a crown fit for a Queen (just one per patrol) to earn ‘G’ [this task could be done using any type of craft stuff, even just putting out a table full of odds and ends would be fine!]

Africa region

Many people travel to Africa to go on safari and see the amazing animals!

Your patrol needs to find (and bring back!) three safari animals hidden in the grounds to earn G [Note: safari animals could be small plastic animals, soft toys, pictures… whatever is easiest]

Arab region

Across the Arab region, Arabic script is used in writing and in art. Each partol member needs to practice by writing ‘girl guides’ in Arabic. Choose the best one from your patrol to show the leaders to earn ‘S’ [we used calligraphy pens with angled nibs and ink which worked well and was a little different to what the girls usually write with]

girl guides in arabic

‘girl guides’ in Arabic.. according to Google Translate!

Tunisia

Find Tunisia in the atlas, and show the leaders.

The first patrol to do this AND present all the letters from across the regions will win!

 


 

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS – version two

[Read out to patrols before commencing]:

Last year (2014), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held the world conference in Hong Kong. After the conference was concluded, it was realised that the W, A, G, G, G, and S were misplaced, and somehow got scattered around the world by delegates returning home.

Your patrols have been asked to find the missing letters, and get them to Tunisia ahead of the next world conference. Planning for the conference is already underway, so you’ll need to hurry!

Everyone will start in Hong Kong, before spreading around the world to find the letters.

At the end of each task, your patrol will need to identify the KEYWORD in order to be awarded a letter and move onto the next task. The keyword will usually be related in some way to the task, but it won’t be obvious!

[Some of the keywords the girls took a while and needed hints to get there, but they all managed to figure things out without too much help!]

 

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people generally eat using chopsticks. Practice your chopsticks skills by transferring the items between two bowls.

Identify the clue to receive your piece.

[KEYWORD: Worms] [Receive a W]

Western Hemisphere region

Using only two pieces of paper as your boat, get all your patrol across the river, avoiding the water as it is full of piranhas.

If you fall in, you will lose an arm or a leg to the piranhas, and have to go back to the far side and attempt again, minus a limb.

Once all patrol members have safely crossed the river, identify the river to gain your next piece.

[Set up two long ropes a good distance apart to create a ‘river’]

[KEYWORD: Amazon] [Receive an A]

 

Europe region

Use the code to find the message:

Greekish code[This code uses ‘Greek’ letters (‘symbols’ font in word) to create a code. The code reads ‘Greece and girls and guides start with G’. Using actual Greek words would not work unless your Guides already speak Greek, in which case, it wouldn’t be a code!]

[KEYWORD: ‘G’ or ‘Greek’] [Receive a G]

Asia Pacific region

Copy the character (one each), and identify the clue, to earn your next piece.

[This is a ‘year of the goat’ character. You might prefer to use ‘happy new year’ or similar. The girls copied the character using paint brushes and black paint]

goat symbol

[KEYWORD: Goat] [Receive a G]

Africa region

Use the fabric and bowl to transport the items on your head. Each patrol member must transfer at least one cup of the item from point A to B.

Identify the clue to receive your next piece.

[The ‘items’ should be oats, corn, rice, wheat… anything that is a ‘grain’. The fabric should be used to create a headwrap to stabilise the bowl the grains are being carried in]

[KEYWORD: Grain] [Receive a G]

Arab region

Use the pile of equipment to put together a Be Prepared kit suitable for crossing a major desert in the region.

When you are prepared (and have explained your choices), identify the clue to gain your next piece.

[For the equipment pile – do a raid of your shed or cupboard and just put a pile of stuff out!]

[KEYWORD: Sahara] [Receive an S]

Tunisia

Find Tunisia in the atlas, and show the leaders.

The first patrol to do this AND present all the letters from across the regions will win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The best laid plans…

…sadly very rarely actually work!

Generally, nights at Guides for me are roughly planned out – unless its something like a wide game, where I will have had to have everything done in advance, then usually, I have just a rough sketch in my head of how we might pull together the various elements.

Last night, however, realising that over this week and the next two that I need to ensure my older girls are meeting quite specific badge criteria for their Achieve A Challenge World Guiding badges, I actually sat down an wrote a proper program, complete with timings, instructions for different activities, and allocating leaders and girls to different parts as required.

And the result?

We ran late on all activities, very few of them translated from the “ooh that will be a fun twist on boring Traditions/Thinking Day/World Guiding” idea into reality, and the girls were generally a bit ratty!!

All in all, a bit of an epic fail! Hopefully my plans for next week – which essentially will be teaching World Guiding via a series of quizzes and games (with prizes to the winning patrol!) will prove more successful!

Still, there were a few positive notes – the Senior Guides’ patrol leader elections were finalised, and the three new patrol leaders were thrilled, and the girls they asked to be their Seconders were delighted to accept (I didn’t even need to properly ask if they had accepted, they were grinning so wide!), and I think my hastily re-arranged patrols around the new PLs/PSs will work out quite well. We’ve moved to three patrols of 5-6 girls in the Seniors/Upper Seniors section, which I hope will be sustainable. We don’t have many girls due to move up from Juniors over the next year (I think maybe three?), so hopefully they’ll all have long enough to start properly working as patrols, as that has traditionally been a bit of a weak spot for our unit.

The other highlight was a spontaneous newbie joined us (I’d received a call just two hours ahead of the meeting, from someone looking at our poster in the hall area!), and she seemed to have a great time, despite what I regarded as a bit of a dud evening! If she liked that night, one of our good nights is going to totally blow her mind 🙂

And we also had a promise ceremony for 3 girls that joined us late last year. Ceremony nights are always lovely, so we did at least finish on a high note!

So, I guess we chalk the night up to experience… and realise the take-home message is not to be toooooooo Be Prepared!

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Paying it forward

As regular readers will know, I have often spoken about the necessity of maintaining a reasonable life/guiding balance, and not letting the guide leaders natural tendency to say “of course!” overwhelm me.

Well, lately I have failed miserably at that, with this last month involving Guiding commitments on three weekends in a row (Sunday, then Saturday and Sunday, then Sunday again…), plus a Thursday night out with a group of seniors, plus running my unit, and Rangers (although only one meeting so far), and helping out at Sister Unit for the last three weeks! Luckily these extra sessions all ended up being with other crazy overcommitted leaders, so at least I was in good company!

So how did I end up in this Guides overload pickle?

Well, firstly, a bunch of the Senior Guides wanted to try going to a local competitive outdoor camp. *In theory* the preparation for this camp shouldn’t be too onerous, as girls should gradually learn the skills required over their years in Guiding, and only need a bit of time to refine their menus and theme.

*In reality* (at least the reality of my quite-urban-not-very-outdoorsy-unit) the girls required a crash course in old-school camp skills, including cooking A Proper Meal over the campfire, putting up and taking down tents (without the leaders closely directing things!), making wood-and-string gadgets, first aid, camp hygiene… et cetera!!

So the journey started last term with a pre-meeting for potentially interested guides and parents to let them know what they might be in for, followed by a short meeting to confirm who would be attending, elect the patrol leader and second, choose the patrol name, and agree to a basic schedule of training.

This term, we then met at a local pizza/pasta place for planning – the girls had to agree as a group what they would cook (being sure to manage the food desires of each of them with the required menu balance), and the broader menu and thematic elements – and try and negotiate what “bits” they would all organise! It went quite well, and I think it was easier to do an extra night than to try and tack it onto a usual Guides night, especially as the group was a mix of girls from my unit and Sister Unit. Next up, we had two full days of training – the first day was campfire cooking, followed by tents, and a bit of “campsite planning”, which involved the CUTEST little set of campsite/dolls furniture which SisterUnitLeader had found through the magic of ebay. The second day involved cooking on campstoves, gadget making, and drilling in first aid and food/campsite hygiene and safe practices. Both days were long and exhausting, but the girls did seem to learn a lot, and hey, given the kids had to learn to do it all independently, there were also substantial periods where myself, SisterUnitLeader and RangersLeader were all able to sit in camp chairs in the sunshine and merely supervise, which if you’re giving up a Sunday, isn’t such a bad deal! The camp they were preparing for was this weekend, and apparently they did very well, woohoo!

I also managed to get myself talked into helping out for a few hours on two separate Saturdays this month for district shenanigans – once at a sausage sizzle at a local hardware store, and once at a farmers market where we had a (vastly unsuccessful!) promotional stall. Phew!

Annnnd of course I’ve also signed up to help at SisterUnit for a few weeks, as poor SisterUnitLeader doesn’t really have any backup at the moment. I’m just doing the “assistant leader” type role of turning up and being an extra pair of hands and eyes, but I know how much of a difference that makes compared to having to be THE responsible adult. I’m in constant awe of SisterUnitLeader, she’s managed to keep her wee little unit going through thick and thin (even managing to keep the unit going while she was working several hundred kilometres away!!), and is always happy to pitch in and help our unit whenever needed, so a bit of share and share about is only fair!

Finally, had my last day of crazy over commitment to weekend Guiding yesterday, teaming up with AParentHelper, YoungCoLeader and RangersLeader to take a group of kids from my unit and sister unit to Scienceworks, which was actually really fun. We went to the planetarium, and explored lots of exhibits – the ones on town construction and science fiction/space were particularly intriguing. The girls also loved the sports exhibit, which had them testing their balance, strength, speed etc.

So, that should be pretty much it for weekend bits for me for a while. And shortly this little blog will take a wee hiatus too, as I’m soon to be having a break from Guides, even a bit longer than the usual summer pause, as I’ll be on “maternity leave” from Guides (although *really* dedicated leaders tell me there is no such thing!). All going well, I think I’ve got three weeks of Guides left that I’ve committed to, but I guess we’ll see if mother nature agrees with those plans!! 🙂

And that is probably the other reason I’ve been madly saying yes to all requests – paying the karma forward a little so I don’t feel guilty about taking a step back for a while 🙂

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Slimey fun

First night back for term four!

We’re working towards the ‘Science and Technology Explore A Challenge’ badge this term, which I think will be rather fun, although tonight’s first attempt was… hmm… mixed!

ScienceAndTechnology

We started out with a bit of fun, playing “evolution” – an elaborate multi-round paper/scissors/rock game. Everyone starts off as eggs (with hands on heads walking around saying egg egg egg egg), and when they meet another egg, playing paper/scissors/rock. The winner becomes a chicken (flapping their wings and clucking). When they find a chicken, they play paper/scissors/rock. Etc etc. The next stages are dinosaur (t-rex hands and roaring); monkey (cavorting around and going ah ah ah); human (saying hello); Guide (making a salute and saying Be Prepared!); Guide Leader (wagging a finger and saying “Don’t do that!”) (hmmm not sure about the message but they all found it hilarious!), and finally Superwoman (arms in the air ‘flying’). The winner is the first girl to get to Superwoman 🙂

After two rounds of ‘evolution’, we split into Juniors and Seniors.

I was working mainly with the Seniors, while YoungCoLeader and ParentHelper organised the Juniors. The Juniors were looking at “sinking and floating” – YoungCoLeader had a bunch of different objects, and the girls had to try and guess if the objects would sink or float, and then see if there was anything they could do to change its status. I only looked in occasionally, but they did seem to be having fun… and making a shocking mess!

Meanwhile, the Seniors and I attempted to make cornflour slime. Despite my saying “each patrol has only one box of cornflour” and “start with only a very small amount of water”, about 2/3rds of the girls immediately flooded their cornflour and then got grumpy as they had essentially ruined their chance to make slime. I encouraged the girls to work as patrols to deal with the problem (some had gone slowly so still had the capacity to do it properly). Interestingly, one patrol was able to negotiate in such a way that they all ended up having fun, while the other were determinedly working in pairs and did not want to cooperate. It was interesting to observe the different approaches, and also interesting to see how utterly sure they were that I would have back up materials. Indeed, a couple were decidedly put out that I didn’t have extra cornflour, but I have no regrets. I was very clear about the resources available at the beginning, so perhaps next time they’ll listen when I warn them about limits!!

Still all that done, we did end up with a couple of bits of slime to play with (and, similar to the Juniors, a shocking mess to clean up!) – thank goodness we went outside!!

After a quick “reconvene” inside after everyone had washed up (to varying degrees of thorough-ness), the Juniors went to the front yard to play camouflage (a perennial favourite), while I set up the Seniors in the courtyard to do ‘invisible ink’ with lemon juice, and then use lit candles to try and show the messages. Of course, we ended up mainly with various bits of burning paper (rather than messages showing), but nothing that couldn’t be put out with an enthusiastic stomping, which they did with much glee! I think it must be written in some ancient Guide leader manual somewhere “if at wits end, let them play with fire”, as it certainly restored good humour after the trials of slime!

Next week we’ve got a night of girls running activities for their various badges, so we shall see how that goes. Hopefully we’ll get one girl finished her JBP, and another one or two very very close!

In other news, most of the newbies that visited towards the end of last term have returned, one with forms, and another potential newbie (a possible transfer from another unit due to moving house) also came along and seemed to have fun. If all the newbies stick, we’ll be full in Senior Guides for the term, which is pretty exciting! A bit of room in the Juniors though, so I guess we’ll see what happens there. Three of the returning newbies from last term are Juniors, so potentially they’ll end up bringing friends, and I know we have a couple of little sisters *nearly* old enough to join, so we should be close to capacity in the younger girls by the end of the year as well. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens with our retention over the summer holidays, traditionally the time we lose the most kids to other activities. But that’s a looooong way away. Lets get through the term first!!

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Guide-directed Guiding

An easy night this week for the leaders, as the girls working towards their Junior BP and BP Award as took on the challenge of running various activities.

Firstly, a couple of girls formally presented on adventurous outdoor activities they’d done as part of a camp run by another unit in the region – one presented on canoeing, one on raft construction and (semi!) use. After the proper presentation part, the other girls who had attended the camp (7 of them – about a quarter of the group!) all jumped in with their various exciting experiences at the camp, which seems to have been a great success. I think the seven of them would have nattered about the camp all night if we’d let them!

(As an aside: how excellent are Guide leaders who are able and willing to run a camp for more than just their unit?! I’m not really an outdoor adventure camping kind of leader, so its just fantastic that my Guides can still get those experiences because others are willing to open up opportunities!!)

We then split into Juniors and Seniors, with the Juniors heading outside to do two mini wide games as designed and run by two different girls. One had a recycling theme, and the other involved hunting for pictures of a sausage dog. For nine and eight year olds respectively, the preparation and thinking they’d put into their activities were very impressive!

Meanwhile, the Seniors and I were in the hall as one of the girls ran an activity which involved both patrols using a certain mix of the contents of our sports equipment box to design a new game each, and then teach it to the other patrol. It was a reasonable activity, but could have done with a bit more pre-planning – there seemed to be quite a few elements that were added spontaneously! Ah well, as readers of this blog will recognise, I’m hardly in a position to critique people changing plans on the fly!

Next week: final night of term, which will include a ‘proper’ campfire (weather permitting!), and a Promise ceremony for our newbies, including a renewal for one of our keenest Guides to move up from Juniors to Seniors.

 

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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!

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The chaos that is girl-led guiding

So, this week the five patrols each ran an activity for the rest of the unit, following on from last week’s planning session.

And it was constrained chaos.

They were TERRIBLE at providing instructions, and took SOOOOO LONG to even the simplest tasks! Even our supposedly competent seniors patrols were all over the place, the ideas which were so clear to them last week having somehow been 99% forgotten, so we had kids standing outside (in the cold!) waiting around and getting irked as they tried to remember the instructions…

Agggggh!!!

Basically, THIS is my greatest challenge as a leader – finding the patience and the acceptance to recognise that having the girls learn to lead – and learning to fail! – is part and parcel of guiding. It is soooo hard not to jump in and sort it out, and to sit back and let them wrangle each other.

Every unit and every leader has its strengths and weaknesses, and girl led guiding is ours and mine. I really need to work on this, and make sure I’m providing the girls with enough opportunities to really grow their leadership skills, otherwise, I’m missing out on a whole “fundamental” part of the program, and unfairly short-changing the girls.

hairpull

In more positive news – Rangers was also on, and we again had five girls! Fabulous! We did box cooking again, to similar mixed results as last time (and once again managed to catch the box on fire, ooops!), but they all had heaps of fun and were totally engaged. Its fantastic to see the little Rangers unit – which was regular readers will know I was despairing of at the end of last term – suddenly feel like it might actually have a future and a point. 🙂

 

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Super spies save the guiding light! (Wide Game)

A wide game from a few years ago which uses a secret agent theme as a basis for teaching some Guiding traditions. The wide game took a little over an hour for the girls to complete.  The ‘dossiers’ were manila folders with ‘top secret’ printed across the front.

 

Leader reads out the following to the whole group:

We have just had notice that the Guiding Light is under attack. Crack patrols of secret agent super spies have been assembled to help save Guides. Your mission is to discover the key item that will save the Guiding Light and Girl Guides from disintegration. Firstly, in order to ensure your identities are not discovered, you will need to prepare a disguise of glasses and a moustache. While doing that, you will need to determine who in your patrol made her promise most recently. When all members of the patrol are properly disguised, the girl who made her promise most recently will need to come and collect your top secret dossier of instructions.

All girls:

  • Make glasses from pipe cleaners
  • Draw on moustaches with black eyeliner

Leader to read to patrol reps:

This dossier contains all the information you will need to complete your mission. The information contained in the envelopes is numbered, and should be opened in order as each part of the mission is completed. Some additional information will be available at particular points during the mission. Each patrol’s mission contains the same elements, but in a different order. Do not copy what other patrols are doing, or you will miss vital information. You will need to collect evidence along the way. A small plastic bag is included in your dossier. Use this to store your evidence. Each patrol will need to commence by decoding the information contained in envelope one. This will tell you where you need to start your mission.

Dossier contains:

  • Envelope one – code indicating start point
  • Trail information
  • Envelope – trail instructions – follow trail, collect item at end.
  • Envelope – scout’s pace instructions – relay info, collect items.
  • Envelope – Semaphore construction information – how to, where equipment is available.
  • Envelope – semaphore code word
  • Envelope – semaphore decode information
  • Word search
  • Plastic zip-loc bag
  • Note paper and pen.

Trail info (in envelope)

Using the information sheet provided in your dossier, follow the trail. At the end of the trail you will find a small item for inclusion in your evidence bag.

  • Small item (bright beads?) to be located at end of trail (on top of ‘gone home’ symbol)

Scout’s pace info (in envelope)

Scout’s pace is used so that you can travel a long way without getting exhausted. You run or jog 20 paces, then walk 20 paces. Spies and secret agents often need to travel long distances to carry a message. The whole patrol will need to practice their Scout’s pace before you can move on. What you need to do: One at a time, do Scout’s pace from the starting point (marked with a small flag) to the big tree and back. At the tree, you will find a small item for inclusion in your evidence bag. The next person cannot begin until the first has returned with their evidence.

  •  Starting point to be marked with small flag (old scarf) tied to fence.
  • Small items (coloured feathers?) to be located at base of the Tree.
  • Adult to supervise.

Semaphore info (in envelope)

Semaphore is a form of communicating messages. Flags are displayed in particular shapes to indicate letters. The diagram below shows the different shapes for each letter. What you need to do: Working as a patrol, construct two semaphore flags. An example is provided for you to copy.

When you have constructed the flags: Divide your patrol into two groups – A and B. Group A will take the information sheet and gather at one end of the hall. They will use this information to decode the message that Group B will send. Group B will take the envelope marked ‘semaphore code’ and use the semaphore flags to send the message shown inside to Group A. Group A will write down the secret message. When Group A thinks they have the message correct, they will show it to a leader . If correct, they will receive their next clue.

  •  Equipment – sticks, yellow paper, red paper, glue, string, scissors, example semaphore flags.

Kim’s game (dossier)

Kim’s game is designed to test your memory. Spies and secret agents need to have sharp observation skills. What you need to do: As a patrol, identify each of the items, and write them down. You cannot proceed until all items have been correctly identified.

  •  Equipment – tray, tea towel, items for identification (x10)

Word search (envelope)

Spies and Secret agents often need to be able to find hidden information. Contained within the word search are 24 words associated with Girl Guides. What you need to do: As a patrol, find each of the 24 listed words. Words run horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Words do not run backwards. You cannot proceed until all words have been identified. (words should all have something to do with guiding traditions)

  • Equipment – word search contained in dossier, pens.

Hunt to save the Guiding Light (in envelope)

Hidden in [location] is a small item closely associated with Guides, and the promise each Guide makes. To save the Guiding Light, you must find this item, and bring it to the Leaders. Finding this item will save the Guiding Light, and finish the wide game.

  •  Equipment – promise badges – one for each patrol
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