guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

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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Get ready, get set…

Nearly ready for the start of the new Guiding year!

We’ve had our planning afternoon (much cake was consumed), and have decided that the Juniors will work on their “Eyes” badge this term, while the Seniors (and newly revived Upper Seniors!) work on their “World Guiding” badge. The girls do seem to enjoy it when they’re working on separate badges, and we think that we’ll be able to integrate the two badges reasonably well, with two nights that include wide-game-ish activities focused on both WAGGGS and observation skills!

So the letters to the families are written, the programs are decorated brightly (I do love a bit of clip art and fancy fonts!), and today they’ll be printed and posted, ahead of next week’s first night back!

Exciting times ahead!

Hope you’re all also geared up for the new Guiding year and full of fabulous plans!

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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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Camp survived!

Over the weekend our long-planned Secret Island Camp was held!

There were many girls (27!), lots of fun, little sleep, limited rain, and lovely co-leaders!

Friday night’s bus went well, it really is an easier way to get camp started to have everyone arrive together than coming in bits and bobs (and getting lost along the way!), and I know many of the parents were positively gleeful at saying goodbye to their darlings at 5pm… especially those with only two daughters, both who came on camp!! One of our long-time mums (her elder daughter has been in Guiding 7 years now) barely said goodbye, she was so excited to hand them over and enjoy her weekend! The newer parents were a touch more apprehensive, which was quite cute 🙂

The only major drama on Friday was one of our little ones was quite sick – vomited all over herself, the table, the chair, the floor… poor kid. By the time she was cleaned up etc, it was nearly 10pm, so we decided to see how she went overnight rather than try and get her picked up. This turned out to be the right call, as she was fine overnight (although I was waking up at every sound expecting it to be her!!), and was 100% in the morning, just crazy hungry, as of course you would be after losing all your dinner!

Saturday had the epic wide game I’ve been planning for weeks, which ended up going really well. All the clues and instructions made sense, even the little ones were able to figure what they were meant to do with only the smallest of hints, and they pretty much spent the day working their way through the challenges!

The big hits of the day were using ropes to build a ‘bridge’ over the ‘river’ (extra kudos to the oldest patrol who even took the time to attempt proper knots!); hunting down the butterflies I’d carefully scattered across the campsite; cooking lunch over the fire (we did pizza pockets and chocolate cake in oranges), and finding Princess Rimi. Actually, the poor old Princess was quite the hit, especially with the younger Guides! They tried to love her to death, poor girl, so she had to be re-rescued by me and put back together… I think I’ll have to do some work to restore her skirts, as they were put quite askew!!

In the evening we had an indoor campfire as it had started to rain quite a bit, and given the trouble we had lighting the fires to cook our lunches on (when it was blue skies!)…

Before the singing began, we had the girls do their skits – some were just awful, but others were completely hilarious! The highlight was a bunch of girls dressed in grass skirts and leis who started doing hula dancing which then morphed into an ’emergency’, where they quickly whipped out the slings they’d prepared earlier, before continuing to hula!

Saturday night the majority of the older girls slept outside in tents, with the little girls and a couple of less-keen older kids indoors. MUCH QUIETER indoors without 3 noisy Rangers keeping the tiny ones awake!!

Sunday, usual co-leader and I had just the Juniors, while sister units two leaders took the older girls on a hike into the local state forest.

To keep the Juniors entertained co-leader did a shorter wide game (based on one I did years ago with a spy theme), which they all loved! I think they enjoyed competing against themselves, as they could see quite early in the larger wide game that even with some activities modified to be harder for the older girls that they were waaaaaaaaaaaaay behind the eight ball, whereas with the little wide game, they felt they had a solid chance of winning 🙂

After a quick outdoor lunch of baked potatoes (baked in the oven!!), it was time to say goodbye. It was a fabulous weekend, one almost enough to make me reconsider my generally anti-camp sentiments 🙂

It really does make a difference when you mesh well with your co-leaders. Last year’s camp I had no real issue with 2 of the other leaders, but also just didn’t really *get* them. This year I felt that all four of us were broadly on the same page in terms of our views about what the girls should be getting out of the weekend, and how we related to the kids. It also seemed like the four of us were much more in tune and consistent in how we chatted with the kids, and the rules we put down. So much less stressful!

Here’s a picture of the “beautiful” Princess Rimi, for your viewing pleasure!

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