keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Patrols and planning

A reasonably low key evening this week, with the main activity for the night being the girls working in patrols to plan an activity to run for the rest of the unit next week.

We started off with a whole unit chat about what it means to work as Good Patrol, and how each person should behave to make the patrol work. This was particuarly targetted at our mildly disfunctional junior patrol, although they can all do with a reminder every so often that just because you say something loudly, doesn’t mean others agree with you!

Why do we have a disfunctional patrol? Because over the holidays when re-jigging the juniors, we decided to put all the disruptive girls together, in an effort to quarantine the chaos! So far (and to be fair, this was only week three), I’m not yet sure if it was a good idea. On the one hand, it does mean the other two patrols have a decent chance of getting on with things, and that some of our shyer girls are not intimidated. But its a lot of work for the (very calm) patrol leader of Chaos Patrol, and I’m not yet sure if its the right call for the three particuarly disruptive girls to be with each other – on the one hand, they may realise how frustrating it is to be with people intent on grabbing attention, but on the other, perhaps they’ll just learn to be louder and more difficult to one-up each other?! Time will tell.

Still, none of that was my particular problem, as I had the pleasure of leaving the juniors to my lovely co-leaders, while I went upstairs and lightly supervised the two seniors patrols, who were both excellently functional and needed minimal input or direction. I had twice the number of kids of the other leaders, but I looked decidely less rattled by the end of the evening!! I definately prefer the more independent older girls, as charming as the littlies can be 🙂

In terms of actual planning, we asked each patrol to plan an activity of 15 minutes duration, suitable for the rest of the unit to do. It also had to have an ‘Australia’ theme, as sadly, next week we will be losing AmericanCoLeader, and the Aussie theme will be part of her farewell.

The girls generally started with doing a bit of brainstorming around the sorts of games/activities they like to do, and then giving it an ‘Australia’ twist. I think we’ll end up with a good mix of games and challenges, and hopefully the girls will get into running the activities, as its not an aspect of Guiding that we tend to focus on terribly often, and is a little bit of a gap in our programming. Its challenging though, especially with the significant age range we have.

Finally, to round out the evening, we had three new girls (the ones I *still* struggle to tell apart) make their Promise. A bit trickier in our current small room than in our usual hall, but we made it work – a bit of dim lighting and candles can make anything feel special 🙂


Trying to build confidence for a shy little one

One of our newer girls is almost painfully shy. She barely speaks above a whisper, when arriving late (which is pretty regular as mum is a bit scatty) is scared to enter the hall in case anyone notices her too much, and she doesn’t seem to know how to break into a game already happening.

For example, following our penny hike this week (which was done in patrols), the various groups got back to the hall at different times. ShyGirl’s patrol was the last to arrive, so a game of secret circle (a pattern-matching game) was already in full swing.

The other girls in her patrol just pushed into the circle, with no worry about breaking in – they know that joining in a game like that mid-way through is no big deal… but ShyGirl stood back, very uncertain, and looking quite stressed by the situation. I suspect its not helping that she’s a homeschooled kid, so not as familiar as the others with dealing with crowds on a regular basis.

She does get properly involved in things when they’re fully explained, and particularly seems to enjoy crafts and quieter activities. But we can’t build a program wholly around quiet activities – our majority boisterous girls would be highly unimpressed!

So I’m not quite sure how to handle the situation. She does seem to have bonded with one of the younger girls in her patrol, and there are at least two quieter, fairly sensible kids in her patrol for her to bond with. She’s certainly not with our super noisy girls!

I’m thinking we might try:
* having a word with mum about trying to get her to Guides on time – no need for her to start the night distressed

* try and make sure we have at least some time each night with quieter activities, particularly at the start (which has the sideline benefit of calming them all down!!)

* perhaps try and do a couple of activities in pairs/threes, and ensure she’s with the younger girl she’s made friends with, and perhaps one of the quieter ones in her patrol – try and build her a little supportive team

* have a word to her PL and an ex-PL in her patrol who are lovely girls, and ask them to try and keep an eye out for her, and make sure they’re really warm and welcoming.

Well, fingers crossed. She’s only been with us a term and a bit, so perhaps we just need to look at this as a long-term project!

Any readers have any hot tips on building the confidence of a shy little one?


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