guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Yes more please! Nah it was boring!

So, what did the kids actually think about whatever night?

Interestingly, the feedback seemed broadly split into two camps of opinions, and those two camps mapped almost exactly to our Juniors and Seniors groups!

The Juniors (ages 6-9) LOVED it, and begged to have more nights where there is “so much STUFF”. I think that for those girls, rummaging through a giant box of crafty bits and pieces was incredibly exciting, and they found the more relaxed interactions with the leaders (who were mostly also just playing with the crafty things, or having casual chats with the kids) to be really novel. I suspect they felt quite grown up having that freedom.

The Seniors (ages 10-13) however, had a much more mixed feeling. Comments included “there wasn’t much point” “It didn’t seem like there was something to really aim for…” “it didn’t really feel like Guides…”

Which, to be perfectly honest, was exactly the reaction we’d hoped for. The opening and closing ceremonies may occasionally seem a little boring, but they nicely bookend the evening. And having clear plans for the evening does mean that it feels like there is a reason for being away from the tv for the night 🙂

So, I think we’ll call it a success, but keep in mind the fun of entirely unstructured crafting time. Perhaps we can have a session or two a year to use up all the odds and sods and save us having to keep *quite* so much stuff in the shed!

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Future focused

An interesting night this week, as we wriggled our planned program to account for the weather (oh Melbourne how you taunt us!) and also to fit in some activities designed to feed into the national program review.

The program review team had come up with a full night’s worth of programming, but we didn’t have space for the whole kit and caboodle, so we modified and tried to get to “the guts” of what is being asked – namely, what is good (and not good!) about Guiding currently, and where would you like it to go?

We had the girls work in small groups (different to their patrols – based roughly on ages and on ‘time in guiding’), and had them spend about 5 minutes per question on “What do you like about Guides now?”, “What do you NOT like about Guides now?”, “What would you like [Unit] to do in future?” and “What would you like included in Guides Australia in future?”

Satisfyingly, the responses were nearly all positive – lots of requests for more cooking, more games, more wide games, more camps… And less rules and less traditions! While we can be a bit strict about some things, I don’t think looking across the world of Guiding that my unit is particularly rule-heavy, so I suspect the girl who made that comment may get a little shock if ever she moves units 🙂

And as far as traditions go – really, apart from our Promise ceremonies and opening/closings, I don’t think we are particularly tradition heavy… but perhaps she was reflecting on some of the heavy going work required last term around Thinking Day which certainly did drag a little. So, I think I’m pretty happy with the general tone of the comments. Especially ones like “Guides is Awesome!” and “I love girl guides because we all have lots of friends” 🙂

After that was completed, we had our campfire – sadly changed from a proper one to an indoor candles fire, as heavy, steady rain is just no fun – nor really possible to do an outdoor one! In the end, we had about 30 minutes of singing, including the introduction of a new song from one of our Guides working towards her JBP Award, and that was almost the perfect length. I think in previous sessions we’ve had about 45-50 minutes of songs, and it gets a bit exhausting after a while!

This weekend – a sleepover just for juniors, and then next week, a wide game for Juniors/Seniors, and Paper Cut Art for Rangers!

 

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As ever, the challenge is retaining

Noodling about the ‘back end’ of the blog reminded me of a post from a while ago, https://guideydiary.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/what-is-good-retention/

So one year on, how are we going, and has anything changed?

The differentiation between Juniors and Seniors does certainly seem to help – you can definitely tell when a kid is getting too old for Juniors, they seem to be decidedly ratty for a term or two before going up to Seniors, when all of a sudden they calm down again and are just thrilled to be there. Its to the point that I almost wonder if our hardline about not moving up to Seniors until you are 10 is appropriate (Australian Guiding is very flexible on ages, and each unit makes its own decisions about such things), but on the other hand, at least having a clear line means that we are on ‘solid ground’ with the kids in setting the rules. They do tend to respond better to an arbitrary but consistent rule, than a flexible one.

Our utilisation of Patrol leaders and seconders is still not as strong as it should be, and its probably not helping retention of the girls who might be in line for such roles, particularly at the Seniors age group where the stability of the group (and the fact that the girls elect, rather than the leaders appoint) has meant that the number of kids able to access formal leadership roles is limited. Perhaps this will open up a little next year though, as a we will create at least one but possibly two additional seniors patrols to cope with anticipated numbers, and we should also have a couple of the oldest girls looking to move up to Rangers towards the end of the year, which should create some change in the kids holding positions.

We are still struggling to do ‘girl-led guiding’ in a way which is useful, although we are definitely being more “there’s the instructions, now sort yourselves out”, particularly with the Senior Guides. I’ve found myself being less directive in recent months with the older girls, and more willing to let them just go for it, which they seem to appreciate, even as initially they protest that “but you didn’t SAY!” No, indeed, I didn’t, but given you’ve been a Guide for three years, I expect you to figure out you’ll need lots of small wood to keep that fire going…! I have noticed that once they twig onto the fact that the adults are stepping back, that they do manage to fill the gaps themselves, so that will certainly be an area to continue with, especially as a few of our Seniors start getting ready to move up further. Ideally, if numbers can keep relatively steady, but the end of next year we would have a functioning system of girls three years of Juniors, followed by three years of Seniors, before moving up to Rangers at 13ish. But we shall see – in our eagerness to maintain a Rangers group, we shall have to be wary of poaching the oldest Seniors too early, and undermining the concept.

Looking back over our member lists for the year, I’m surprised to see how few we’ve lost to other activities – of course there are some, but nowhere near the numbers recent years have taught me to expect. Not sure if we’re doing something in particular that’s improved retention, or if its just luck. Probably just luck!! Of course, having several girls having been with us for years creates its own challenge, of being sure to not repeat things too often (apart from things that have become Unit Traditions which give a rhythm to the year), and it also has the added complication of nostalgia “ohhh but when we did X badge it was waaaaaaaaaaay more fun”.

Anyway, shortly it will be the long summer break, and we shall see if this year’s excellent retention holds up. My gut feeling is that we’ll lose 2-3 kids over the summer, but at this stage, I’m not taking bets on which ones. Sometimes you just know, sometimes its not clear. This year: Clear As Mud!

 

 

 

 

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Butterflies + Dragonflies + Worms + Ants = critters camp!

Combine 16 Guides, 3 leaders, 1 parent helper, an activity day, a bunch of insects and critters great and small and what do you get? A happy and (mostly!) successful camp!

‘Crazy Critters’ was our theme, so bugs and insects wove in and out of the activities, decorations, patrols, and food. It probably wasn’t a theme our girls would have chosen (we planned the camp so far ahead they had no say this time!), but they all really got into it, and it was a great one for helping the leaders be creative!

So, the details –

Friday night I got up to camp early and set up as much as I could – I’d found some fake ivy in a $2 shop, so that plus some little lady bug clips formed our table centrepieces, on top of a luridly lime green plastic table cloth – I haven’t done the table cloth/centrepiece thing much before, but I really liked it – it themed the main room for the whole weekend, and made it look a bit special, while being really easy to clean up!!

The table decorations:

IMG_1597

The girls all arrived on the bus at about 7pm, unfortunately this was only 5 minutes behind my QM (SisterUnitLeader) who had got caught at work! So much for our plan to have dinner on the table when they arrived! But it didn’t matter – by the time I’d welcomed them all to Crazy Critters Camp, presented them all with their themed scarves (thank you quilting sale pile!), sorted them firstly into patrols, and then secondly into rooms, and then got them AND ALL THEIR STUFF into their rooms, SisterUnitLeader and Parent Helper had platters of chopped up veggie sticks and dips ready, which they all just gobbled down! Luckily the main meal was just sausages in bread, so that didn’t take too long to sort out. After we’d cleaned up from dinner, we went for a night walk around the campsite, which was both exciting (Ooh spooky bush sounds! Being out after dark!) and also useful – as we were able to point out some of the main landmarks which they’d need to know the next day!

It was also useful in that a bit of physical activity seemed to calm them down a touch, and we had an easier bedtime than at recent camps – we put the lights out at about 10.20ish, and I think the last time I SHOOSH’d a kid was at about 11pm, which is decidedly better than two years ago when I had to go and find poor AwesomeCoLeader who was sitting in the cold outside one of the rooms to force them to shut up at 1am!!

Saturday we had the most elaborate hot breakfast I’ve ever had at Guide camp – SisterUnitLeader took everyone’s breakfast orders the night before and then provided everyone with their own tailored breakfast – I had mushrooms, ‘hash browns’ (potato gems), fried eggs, baked beans, and butterfly toast (toast with a butterfly cut out using a cookie cutter) (the other option was dragonfly). Other people had boiled eggs or scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, spinach… honestly, I’ve never seen such a diverse breakfast – usually we just do a big pot of something and serve it up!!

We then had a brief Guides Own, not one of my most successful ones, but oh well. I was running a bit short on inspiration when I put it together, but the girls did at least all have a part to play, and all managed to read out their bit reasonably well. For the record, I’m thinking that mid-morning Guides Owns just are not as effective as ones in the dark or twilight. I’m sure dawn would also be fabulous, but unless we start camping mid-winter when dawn is at a suitable hour for me to be nice to small children, that’s not going to happen anytime soon!

For the main part of the Saturday, we had the patrols move through four different activities. To manage this, the patrol leaders were all given a watch, and wrote down the times and activities that they had to be at. We were camping at Britannia Park, which is a fabulous, but GIANT Guide campsite, so they were all under STRICT instructions to never lose their patrol, and that people had to be in at least pairs at all times. I brought the seconders in at that point and reminded them that they were also responsible for ensuring timing and not losing their patrol!! (Can you tell I was a little obsessed on this point? To be fair, its about 20acres or so, and they were going to be without direct adult supervision, so this was not entirely unreasonable…)

The four activities were: Making and eating their lunch at the cabin, Making a bug-themed dessert at the cabin for everyone to try at dinner time, going on the open day activities (which included a jumping castle, circus skills, making damper etc) while hunting for 10 bugs that we’d hidden all over the campsite, and helping out with taking tickets etc at the jumping castle, which was our assigned activity.

Lunch and helping out generally took less than their appointed hour, so they were free in that time to continue bug hunting and activity-day-ing, which they did with gusto. The bugs, as I’m sure you’re curious, were brightly coloured plastic bugs (e.g. an orange millipede, a blue beetle, a yellow scorpion), which we put in small glass jars about the place. Their general location was marked on a map given to each patrol, but they definitely took some hunting, and some very careful observation! By the end of the day, the two older patrols had managed to find all 10, but the two younger patrols gave up after finding about 5 each!

On the program we intended to do a hike after the activity day, but they were all whiney about the prospect, and the weather looked to be coming in… so a bit of a re-think, and we decided to use the ‘Challenge Valley’ obstacle course equipment instead, which was conveniently just across from the cabin, and which they all really got into. Interestingly, several of the girls really struggled with the concept of having to wait before your whole patrol had completed a challenge before moving on… I suppose there aren’t many times where they’re reliant on other people’s capacity to complete something.

Dinner was reasonably standard camp fare – spaghetti bolognaise – but they all ate it enthusiastically. SisterUnitLeader did give the meal a bit of extra pizzazz by serving “bug juice” – green cordial with sour worms in ice-cubes, which the kids thought was just the most brilliant thing! I think at this camp we were a bit more minimalist with the food than last time – we had food available for morning tea and afternoon tea, but it was more just platters of cut fruit or a few savoury biscuits, rather than anything substantial. I think this was actually the right call – no one went hungry, but they were all more enthusiastic about the main meals, and we didn’t have so much food left over, as the kids were actually having the planned second serves of pasta etc, rather than just one as they’d filled up at snack time. Mind you… we did follow up standard spaghetti bolognaise with the four ‘bug desserts’ the girls had made earlier in the day – firstly apples and cheese cut up to look like The Very Hungry Caterpillar (shared between two), followed by individual ‘tasting plates’ of honeycomb, butterfly cakes (with cream and jam), and spider chocolate crackles (crackles with liquorice legs and eyes). They looked great, and were all delicious, and the girls were all pretty chuffed to share their hard work.

Finally, after dinner, we had an indoor ‘campfire’, as the rain was absolutely bucketing down. In place of fire, each girl had a glowstick in a jar at their feet, and we had a bunch of the jars in the middle, which was very effective. Kids were in bed and quiet a bit earlier – I think the last SHHHH was at about 10.20pm 🙂

Sunday we got up a tiny bit later (a princely 7.30am!), and insisted on the girls packing and cleaning their rooms prior to breakfasting – which worked quite well with two of the rooms, but one was soooooo scatty and soooooo disorganised, that they ended up delaying the start of the wide game beginning as it took them one and a half hours to get to breakfast!!

The main part of the day was spent on a brilliant wide game put together by AwesomeCoLeader (I’ll see if I can convince her to do a Guest Post with the details!), the central concept of which was: the Professor of Entomology from the local university has been kidnapped, and as uni students are on holidays, the Guides have been asked to track her down!

Challenges included in the game included building a shelter facing north (like termites), doing a dance to share a message (like honeybees), building a spiders web, using a compass to walk in a certain direction and observe what sounds and critters were around, and collect some bugs from the site, and of course, cook lunch over the fire. Naturally, it finished with hunting down the kidnapped professor 🙂

After that, we pretty much just packed up, had a short closing ceremony, and then sent the kids home! The last girls left at about 3.20pm (so much for the 2.30-3.00pm pick up!), and us leaders left at about 4.00pm, which wasn’t too bad.

Overall, a pretty good camp – the girls seemed happy (and 16 was a lovely number!), the leadership team worked really well, and even the parent helper was great, really happy to pitch in wherever, always asking if there was anything extra she could do to help. So, all in all, I think I’d be willing to do it again, and after chats with the girls and AwesomeCoLeader, I think we’ve got themes for the next two already sorted! Titanic Camp and Dinosaurs Camp, here we come!

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Let the plotting and planning begin!

Okay, so its not yet 2014, and I probably *should* have better things to do with my few days of holidays before starting The Great Plotting, but, well, I’ve got an hour or so, and ideas have been swirling in my head in recent days, so what better way to preserve them than blogging?!

Firstly: Rangers. I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do about the Rangers group. Since the Rangers leader left very unexpectedly – and with no notice – at the beginning of term three, co-leader and I have managed to keep the group limping along. But how we’ve been going is simply not sustainable. Both of us have been taking it in turns to take the fortnightly Rangers meetings in addition to our weekly Guide meetings. There’s a half-hour overlap between the groups (Junior & Senior Guides from 6.30 to 8.00; Rangers from 7.30 to 9.00), and by the time we tidy up after Guides, whichever leader is helping with Rangers only joins the girls from about 8.15, meaning they have 45 minutes effectively unsupervised. Which isn’t terrible – they’re teenagers (13-16 year olds), we’re in the next room, its hardly like they’re being left alone, but it seems that unless they’re doing something planned by the leaders, or using the kitchen, that they are a bit directionless.

In theory, the Rangers plan their own program, and implement it. But the reality is, without a leader there to keep them on track, they tend to drift. And I’ve noticed that they’re re-enforcing that drift by having poor attendance on non-cooking nights. I think also with growing homework pressure, if what is planned is just ‘games night’ or similar, which they have to prepare, then it becomes easy to just not go.

Co-leader has also commented that she doesn’t really like the late nights – and I know her natural inclination is towards the brownie-aged Juniors anyway, so Rangers isn’t her natural cup of tea.

So, my current thinking is as follows – still to be discussed with co-leader, mind you!:

I’ll take on Rangers as a default, at least for two terms. For ‘week A’, I’ll do as we’ve been doing so far – spending the full night with the Guides, and when that’s finished, moving into ‘lightly’ supervise the Rangers. For ‘week B’ though, I’ll spend the first hour with the Guides, and when the Rangers arrive at 7.30, I’ll join them for the full hour and a half, with the idea that I will run the activities that week – so they only need to turn up and engage. That will leave co-leader ‘alone’ for 30 minutes at the end of the meeting, but if we structure the program reasonably well, that should be fine. We also have a mum who has been helping occasionally, and I *think* she would be willing to commit to helping out on those nights specifically.

I’m also thinking that rather than going back on week two of term one, I’ll see if the Rangers are willing to start week one – perhaps we can have an outing and plan the term – maybe even two terms at once – over noodles?

So, that’s my Rangers thinking. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

As for Guides – well, we’ve already got a camp booked and planned, and 10 girls signed up with deposits (two have actually already fully paid!) (there are 24 spaces available, so 10 already is pretty great!), so that is exciting! It will be the ‘Crazy Critters Camp’, with a nature/insects/bugs theme. I’ll be getting assessed for my indoor camp qualification, which is scary/awesome. 🙂

In terms of programming – I’m thinking we’ll try and get the Seniors to aim for at least one patrol attending Lady Stradbroke Cup camp, which is a competitive, very traditional patrol outdoor camp – we’ll need to increase their outdoor cooking skills, and do lots of knotting and gadget work. I saw some fabulous fun ideas for making mini-gadgets recently, using twigs and fine string, rather than sticks and rope, which looked like a lot of intricate fun – you essentially end up with dollhouse sized camp gadgets! For the Juniors, I know co-leader wants them to work towards the ‘homes’ badge, using the old brownies ‘hostess’ syllabus, which I think they’d really love… and finally, I have an odd hankering to do the ‘numbers’ badge at some point (perhaps in the winter terms), as I’ve had a bunch of ideas around codes, number patterns, counting in other languages, games based on numbers, etc. I think there’s a fabulous wide game in there somewhere too!

So, much to consider. We always lose girls over the long summer break, but I think retention this year should be reasonable – I think of our 24 girls enrolled, we should have about 20 of them return in February… fingers crossed!!

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End of the year!

Final night of Guides for the year. Always a mixed feeling – its been a long term, so I’ll be glad of some time away from planning and doing Guides, but I know in about three weeks time I’ll be wondering what to do with myself! We don’t go back until the first week of February, so its quite a break!

We were meant to have a longer meeting than usual tonight, starting off with Christmas carols at the local hospital. Unfortunately, they’ve had an outbreak of gastro, so some last minute emails and text messages flew around cancelling – don’t want the kids getting sick!

So we just met for our usual hour and half, and had some games and a bit of a party – I put up streamers in the hall, we played some games outside, had some ‘party’ games inside with ‘stick the star on the star’ (a bit like pin the tail on the donkey), and musical chairs. We also ate some munchies, did a little brainstorming for next year, and handed out a bunch of badges. We also gave the girls each a tiny Chrissy present – a ‘Merry Christmas’ badge and a chocolate Santa 🙂

The very cute Merry Christmas badge we gave the girls:

Christmas Guide badge

After Guides I joined the Rangers – all two of them (??) – and we played some Guiding Snap and ‘Cheat’, using the playing cards designed by Super Keen Badge Guide, and then had quite a detailed chat about how Rangers might work next year, and a long discussion about which girls we thought were likely to stick with the group. With one girl going up to Rangers from Sister Unit, we think there will probably be about 5 girls in the group – the trick will be having them regularly attend, and having things structured enough that they are working towards badges and goals, rather than the gossip club its kind of morphing into.

Anyway. That’s things to think about over the summer. No doubt there will be bloggy pondering to come! 🙂

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What do we teach? (Part 2)

A while ago, I pondered ‘what do we teach?’ https://guideydiary.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/what-do-we-teach/ inspired by a post at Trefoil Knot.

Today, I noticed a similar post, by a retiring South African leader:  http://mandycollinswriter.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/teach-your-children-well/

It’s a fabulous post, which draws out some of the skills/benefits of Guiding – the focus on games and play which is often not competitive, or is competitive for ‘no reward’, the basic ‘life skills’ which somehow are so novel now – lighting matches, threading sewing needles, etc – and the way that Guiding tends to encourage and enable a certain about of ‘try it yourself’ led failure, which is the only way to figure out how to do it better next time.

Well, at least I hope those skills and qualities are what we are teaching… and that I manage to live up to them myself!

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Treasures!

A big guiding weekend, helping out at the Region’s Treasure Island camp!

There were about 120 kids, aged 5-10, many on their first camp, which was interesting. A few tears and meltdowns, but nothing too drastic – at least, not that I was privy to! As a member of the program team, I had the intriguing experience of a camp where I only dealt with the kids for brief periods of time – helping out on Friday night at the disco, running activities four times over on the Saturday, helping a little at the campfire Saturday night, and then running another activity on the Sunday.

No need to worry about getting the girls to sleep, or cooking their meals, or helping them to pack up… I barely even had to help with tents, only at the very end, helping one of the sub-camps drop a tent and pack it up!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

The activities I ran were of mixed success – the girl I was co-leading with and I had two crafty activities for the Saturday – making treasure maps, and writing secret messages in lemon juice. Both worked well, but I’m not really sure that they were the best activities in terms of “scalability” – both would have worked well with my unit, where we have a bunch of ‘known’ kids, and plenty of time. With only 40 minutes per activity rotation, we were pressed for time, plus using candles to bring out the lemon juice messages was a bit more tricky than anticipated originally – definitely a one-on-one kid-to-leader activity, especially with the five year olds!

That of course meant that the map activity had pretty much zero oversight, which meant that we ended up with glitter EVERYWHERE.

Sunday’s activity was also a bit mixed – just balloon games outside, mainly captain’s ball and keeping up/ keepings off, and a bit of tiggy thrown in – but seeing as the girls really only had time to spend 5-10 minutes at each ‘station’ before moving on, I think it was fine that it wasn’t something HUGELY AMAZING. Although they did love the giant balloons I’d managed to find – about 3 times the size of usual balloons! They were pretty great, and I think my unit might need a stash 🙂

All in all, a good weekend, spent time with some super excellent leaders from the region (most of whom made my 31 years seem ancient… unusual in a guide event!), and more sleep than usually happens at camp – easier to sleep when you’re not on high alert for kids puking in the night!

 

 

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Evaluating, planning, and girl-lead guiding

Our final night of term three had several girls presenting or running activities for their JBP Award, which was pretty great! We’ve got one with only 3 more things to get signed off (one of which she’s already done, just needs to evaluate), and another who has just reached the half way point! Yay!

I’m pretty sure we’ve got a couple more not too far behind either, so super yay! Looks like a big presentation night will need to be planned for term one next year!

JBP activity nights really are the easiest ones on the calendar – the girls do all the planning of the activities they want to run, they organise the games, and really get to demonstrate their skills.

Activities run included a ‘rob the nest’ type game with recycled materials as the objects for robbing (quite fun, although such an arbitrary game!), a morse code activity and quiz, and learning a version of “It’s a Small World” with a guiding bent.

There were also a bunch of activities the girls evaluated – visiting a synagogue and reporting back (complete with lovely photos done up in a scroll style poster to emulate a Torah roll), abseiling on school camp, running a game for the unit a few weeks ago, and leading songs at last week’s campfire. For JBP activities, we ask for three-way evaluation: evaluation by peers, evaluation by leaders, evaluation by self. As we go on further with JBP bits and pieces, the girls are getting better at understanding what is a suitable standard of effort, and really trying to do their best.

We also handed out super exciting new addition to the “stuff” of Guides – small (A4 size) calico bags, which are the perfect size once closed to fit in a handbook, as well as a place to display and/or store badges! Ahh ebay. You do have cool stuff.

Now, to more girl-led guiding. Well, two weeks ago we had the girls gather some ideas and suggestions of badges and activities they would like to do, and the clear winner for the next badge to work on was the Pets Create-A-Challenge. That is not a badge I would have ever chosen, purely on the level of difficulty of doing it during term time. But we’re meant to follow the girl’s preferences wherever possible, so co-leader and I took a week to ponder and consider, before meeting over dinner, wine, and chocolate to consider our plans.

So, taking the approach of “looking wide” as instructed by BP, our approach to the pets badge will include:
• Making native bird bird-feeders
• Making chia pets
• A ‘pets escape’ wide game
• A night in the park where pets can come for a quick “show off” before being taken home again!
• Pet themed plays/skits.

It’s probably not quite the program the girls originally had in mind when they nominated the pets badge, but it should give a reasonable mix of activities!

Of course, all of that is predicated on a having a hall next term, which isn’t necessarily guaranteed… apparently an engineers report has upgraded next year’s “maybe some minor renovations” to “oh yikes there are fairly major structural issues that you need to fix NOW” (!!) so I guess we’ll see what happens!

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Data and analysis… and some fun!

Yesterday evening was the last night of term. Once again, we had quite poor attendance, but a few years with this group has taught me that the last and first weeks of term tend to have low numbers, as so many of our girls attend private schools with longer holiday breaks than the standard term!

After last week’s low numbers, we’d decided to change the planned program from patrol-led activities, to a second night of JBP activities, as well as a couple of leader-led activities. The JBP activities worked reasonably well – in particular, one of the girls had learnt (and then taught) some basic Auslan (Australian sign language) signs, which was a great idea!

We also got the girls to undertake quite a detailed survey about what they’d enjoyed about the term, and what they’d like to see more of next term. In sum, more cooking, more time with separate Juniors/Seniors activities, LESS singing!

It was very interesting seeing the different capacity of the Juniors and Seniors to handle the complexity of the survey. I think I’ve been dealing mainly with the Seniors over the last couple of terms, and have forgotten just how much simpler things need to be for the 7 and 8 year olds, compared to the 10 and 11 year olds, particularly when it comes to reading and comprehension. Naturally, being a big dork, I’ve translated this all to an excel spreadsheet, and done various calculations and analysis 🙂

We also played a great new game that the kids loved, which was developed by fabulous co-leader – its a sort of memory game, where she raided our badge stash (current and old!) to find pairs. One half of each pair was hidden out in the foyer, and the other half put into a container which she held. The girls were put into pairs, and each given a badge. They then had to run around and find the matching pair of that badge – when found, they could return to get a second half of a pair, and so on and so forth, until all the badges were found. If a pair couldn’t be found, the girls could return their badge to the container and get another one.

It was a fabulous game – the girls were running as fast as they could to find the pairs, super excited when they got a new badge and could remember where they’d already seen the matching pair!

This weekend, we’re doing our term planning for term three… the big decision, whether to offer a sleepover or not… tricky, with our lower than previous numbers of leaders around, we could struggle to get the required ratios, and there’d be nothing worse than offering it, only to not be able to fulfill the promise… so we shall see!

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