keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Tunnel and track building

Another pretty good night this week, as the girls used various recycled bits and pieces (plus a raid of the cupboards!) to build tracks for a little matchbox-style car, as part of our wheels badge.

We set it up as an inter-patrol challenge, with one single car, so the challenge was to build a track that kept the car running for the longest time – the aim being to have as long a track as possible, with enough of an incline to keep it going but not so little that it slowed and stopped or got stuck.

It ended up being a really fun night, and the girls all got really competitive – constantly testing and refining their ideas, really focused. We only gave them about 30 minutes to work together, before testing (and timing – the longest journey of the little car was only 2.8 seconds!!). We then got the various tracks put together, getting the whole group to cooperate (well, in theory), with the aim of achieving a longer run time than any one group had managed. The eventual longer track did get a bit better – I think the final time was just on 3 seconds – so I’m not sure that the idea of more minds being better necessarily was true!!

Overall, a good evening – it was great seeing them all so invested in building and constructing and thinking through how the pieces could go together!

1 Comment »

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…


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.


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. 🙂



Growing little leaders

Simple night tonight, with lots of games – but with a simple twist: the girls had to lead the activities. Each one of the girls was in charge for a short activity, and I think that for the younger and quieter ones in particular, that it was a good chance to ‘be in charge’ for a while.

We started with a group chat about what a good leader needed (“Not to be a big mean bossy boots”) (yep, pretty accurate!), and we also spoke about using an authoritative voice and attitude. I had a bit of fun showing how it was pretty hard to listen to someone mumbling and twirling their hair and chewing their nails and scuffing their feet, and that you need instead to speak clearly, and project your voice, and stand up straight!

A couple of the activities we did included:

  • getting your patrol ‘across the river’ using two pieces of paper (some intriguingly creative responses including throwing the papers back, and ripping them into multiple shoe sized bits)
  • organising your patrol into tallest-shortest, oldest-youngest, time in guides – all in silence
  • leading your patrol around the hall and out and around a pillar and back again – while they’re all blindfolded (moral of the game: don’t leave anyone behind!)
  • tunnel ball and captain’s ball, again in silence (ish!)

And a few other games, including Not Fruit Salad, Shield Tiggy, and Secret Circle.

Overall, I think it was a pretty good evening – as AwesomeCoLeader said, it was probably a night which was more of a stretch for some of the younger and newer girls, rather than our old hands, but that’s okay every now and then.

We also had the re-worked Seniors patrols choose new patrol emblems – so we’ll be welcoming Dolphin and Bluebell patrols in place of Brumby and Blue Wren 🙂

After Guides, I helped out with the (only two!) Rangers – glad we didn’t cancel despite the sad turn up, as we had a bunch of fun trying to make a box oven (my first attempt!) – and it kind of worked… although next time, I think it will be worth investing in the heavy duty caterer’s foil, as we ended up catching the box on fire which was a bit dramatic!! Fun though 🙂


The Big Box Patrol Challenge!

New Patrols, new patrol names, new PLs and Seconds… what better way to make it mesh than giving them a bunch of cardboard boxes and saying “go for it”?!

To be fair, there was slightly more structure than that… kids all brought some cardboard boxes from home… and co-leader and I bought a couple of extras (woohoo, finally got rid of some moving boxes!) – so they had about 40 minutes to work together using only the boxes, scissors, and a roll of packing tape to make WHATEVER. We gave examples of creating a game, an obstacle course, making a doll house, a cubby, a robot, doing a play… anything they liked! The only catches were:
* They had to work as a patrol – all members of the patrol had to agree with what they were doing, no one was allowed to feel left out!
* They had to ‘present’ their work to the unit at the end of the 40 minutes – explain what they’d made and show it off.
* While they were building, they had to consider patrol emblems and agree (as a whole group!) on their preferences for new patrol names.

All in all – quite a success! Our new patrols seem to be working well (although we had a couple of girls away, so I guess we’ll see if the dynamic changes when everyone is there), we have agreed new patrol names (Blue Wren; Brumby; Kingfisher, Possum), and a cheap, interesting, good-for-the-earth (and the bank balance!) activity which let them use their creativity and really work in groups with limited adult “management” – true patrol time!

In other good news – two of our Ranger girls are going to try being Guide Helpers! We might have some assistants coming up!

Sunday takes us out for an adventure in the city – we’ve got 13 from my unit/s, 2 Rangers, and 2 to 4 from sister unit – will be quite a crowd!

Leave a comment »