keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

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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Camp – the full story!

So, camp!

We had five leaders for the full time (and one extra from Saturday arvo), and twenty-one kids. The youngest was juuuuuuuust seven, the oldest fourteen and a half. The girls were drawn from my unit, sister unit, and another unit, who I hadn’t really had anything to do with before (not in our District or anything).

And we had a great time!

Friday night ended up going a little astray, as the original plans to have dinner ready when the kids got there simply didn’t happen, so we didn’t get the girls fed until well after 8pm, which probably wasn’t ideal… by the time we’d then cleaned up etc, we didn’t even have the kids in their rooms until 10pm, so it wasn’t entirely surprising that the leaders didn’t get to bed until after midnight, what with wrangling the last of the kids into quiet, if not actual sleep. Naturally it was the tiniest ones who stayed up the latest!!

Saturday started well enough, but I managed to throw out the timelines for the wide game hugely by not having brought along any ropes! I’d consciously chosen not to, as where we were staying usually has heaps of that sort of equipment, and I was already bringing heaps of stuff. But unfortunately, we chose the one weekend where the caretakers were away, and so we had no keys to access the equipment sheds!! So I spent a solid 30 minutes (with assistance from some others) making ‘ropes’ out of twine, because (of course), the ropes were needed for one of the core activities that formed part of the badge the wide game was supposed to work towards!

So we got started late.

And then all but the eldest kids managed to get themselves entirely off-course, lost, and out of whack within about 30 minutes! So an activity that should have taken maybe 30-40 minutes took about an hour and 30 minutes…. which pushed back all the other activities. And then setting the fire to cook lunch took longer than anticipated (damp wood will do that)… so lunch, instead of being at about 1pm as originally planned, ended up being at about 3pm! On the upside, hunger is a marvellous flavour enhancer, so lunch was most tasty!

Anyway, they got through the final challenges, and by the end of the day, they’d all bonded in patrols, completed the activities, and apparently had a brilliant time, so I guess it doesn’t matter that the timings were out, and that they all seem to need some serious map-reading classes (personally, I blame GPSs, but then, I don’t like them at the best of times!).

Saturday night we had tacos for dinner, and then went outside for a proper campfire, complete with singing and toasting marshmallows, which all went really quite well. Co-leader had organised the program, and had a good mix of songs, including enough new ones to keep things interesting! After the campfire, we gave the girls a hot milo, then sent them off to bed – MUCH easier on the second night, as they were all utterly exhausted – still had to get SCARY LEADER out a couple of times though, particularly with the older girls. At one point, I’d opened up the door to their room, told them to shoosh, and then closed the door. I was still standing outside five seconds later when they started talking again!! So I opened up the door again and said “SERIOUSLY?! I was still outside the door!! How stupid do you think I am? SHOOSH AND SLEEP!”

Sunday morning, and the girls were definitely fading – we had to actually wake them (apart from the tiny ones who chirped “I KNEW it was morning!” when I went in to tell them it was time to get up!), and they were pretty quiet at breakfast. Luckily, the second leader from sister unit had prepared a reasonably quiet program for the morning’s activities (although to be honest, some of it was toooo quiet and long, and had them sitting there a bit bored, which was unfortunate). The younger girls had definitely lost resilience by this stage though, minor injuries/incidents (of a scale that would usually be laughed off) were resulting in major tears and freak outs – oh well, luckily I’ve been doing this for a while now, and know not to take the number of tears as indicative of severity! Finally, to close out the program, we had a fairly simple Guides Own, which was a bit more religiously based than I generally prefer (I usually like the more thankful/generally spiritual/nature ones), but did include a nice little bit where each girl said the thing she enjoyed most about camp – which for a lot of them was making new friends, and also ‘getting lost in the wide game’. Heh.

By 3pm, all the girls were off, and by 3.30, the leaders were gone too. I finally got home a bit after 5pm (the campsite is a fair way away from home, plus we had to stop for coffee, and I had to drop off co-leader), and when I got home, all I wanted was a long, hot shower, some wine, and pizza. Luckily I got all three, and so ended up a chirpy Guide leader, who might even consider doing it all again!

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All camped out!

Returned from camp this evening exhausted, aching, headachey, grumpy. Thankfully though, it was nothing a long hot shower, a bit of rest, and some pizza and wine couldn’t fix!

Our camp seemed to be pretty successful, with (reasonably) limited tears, lots of laughs, the girls making lots of new friends, and generally getting into the activities with enthusiasm and good grace!

Still, now is not the time for a full deconstruction – that can wait for tomorrow when I’ve had plenty of rest and recuperation.

For now, all I’ll say is – thank goodness for lots of leaders (many of whom put in far more hours than me!), and yay for girls learning to adapt and cope! And for a tiny taste of freedom- apparently the highlight for them all was getting lost during the wide game!

Details tomorrow when I’ve had enough sleep to think straight and type properly!

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