keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Faith and service: exploring the serious side of Guiding

A fantastic day out yesterday, helping around 12 Guides to give service and explore their understanding of faith, and explore the serious side of Guiding in a fun way.

We started the day with an hour and a half of helping out at National Tree Day in a local park, digging holes (with a cool pogo-stick-esq digger) and planting some native grasses along a river bed. The girls all got really into the activity, and luckily the weather was on our side, all bright blue skies which always makes things easier!

The girls really worked well together, with groups of three working on the digging (the digger really needed two to hold steady and one to jump), and being a bit creative in their problem solving around how to get the stakes into the ground (thump it with a stray rock being vastly more efficient than other possibly less injury-prone strategies) (no fingers were harmed in the thumping of stakes!).

After our time planting, we had a mini-change of the guard, with three girls heading off, and two others joining us for the second part of the day, which was exploring places of faith.

Following much wrangling of public transport (train stations are ALWAYS further on foot than they appear on a map!) (especially with 8 year olds busy gossiping rather than moving quick smart!) we made it up to the inner northern suburb of Coburg, where we visited a local mosque, and were given a tour and a brief overview of Islam by some of the mosque’s volunteers, who were all so lovely to the girls – just delighted to show off their mosque and de-mystify their faith. The girls were all facinated by the beautifully decorated Qurans, and were decidedly taken by the lovely dense carpet (many patterns were drawn on the thick pile while listening!). But of course, the thing that really caught their eye? The fact that the mosque had a table tennis table set up in the community room! Heh.

We then had a short break for lunch at  Lebanese restaurant, where the girls feasted on pita bread, dips, salads, and meat. Even FussyEaterGuide managed to find things she enjoyed (pita, hummous, chicken), and for all her fussy eater status, she did have a tiny try of everything, and even agreed that tabouli was “not tooooo bad”. Success! A few more years in Guides and she may even branch out into non-white-food options!

After lunch, we headed back to the city to visit a synagogue. In what turned out to be a stroke of luck, we missed the opening hours of the synagogue by five minutes, but the door was still open. So I went in and apologised profusely for our tardiness and wondered if the girls might have a quick two minute look and then head off? Well, it turned out the Rabbi was still around, and was DELIGHTED to give the girls a private tour and talk (and even show off blowing the new year’s horn), so rather than be in a big group with other people for the open day, they had all their questions answered and tailored attention! Super lucky!

Finally, we had half an hour to check out Melbourne’s Catholic cathedral, which despite being only a five minute walk from my work I’d never been inside – well, it was beautiful, all soaring vaults and stained glass, just gorgeous.

So all in all, we had a great day, giving the girls a wider understanding of faiths in their city, and hopefully giving them a chance to see that there are people of good will and friendliness from many backgrounds. If only we’d had time to fit in a visits to Buddhist and Hindu temples as well to really broaden the experience… perhaps that can be on the agenda for next year!

Overall, I think the day helped our girls meet their Australian Girl Guides Promise to “serve my community and Australia” and “be true to myself and develop my beliefs”… and tick off a couple of clauses in a few badges as well!


structured chaos and chia pets

Bit of disjointed night this evening, but the girls seemed to have fun, so it can’t have been too bad!
I was mainly with the Seniors, and we started with the chia pets, which they didn’t find difficult, but they all had fun, and were happily chatting with each other as they constructed their pets.

They also found it completely hilarious that some of the grass seed from two weeks ago had somehow got into the bag of potting mix and had sprouted! But of course it had been in the dark, so it was all this very pale and weak little threads of grass!

After the grass heads were done (only about 40 minutes), I took the girls back inside, and split the group into two (not patrols, for once – split on age), and gave each group a handbook, and said “find an activity” – the younger group ended up making morse code ‘bracelets’ (very creatively, actually, especially given we didn’t have all the equipment suggested by the book!), while the older group ended up splitting into two, with 3 of them practicing a dance, and two building little mini-rafts out of straws and paddle pop sticks.

Meanwhile, the Juniors worked on the bird feeders activity (apparently to more success than the older girls a couple of weeks ago!), and then coloured in the very excellent ‘brownies colouring sheets’ from Guiding With Jewels. (Here! ) – they were all really engaged, and its lovely to slip a bit of stealthy world guiding into the program!

And that was pretty much it, apart from a quick game of ‘fruit salad’, and a very quick voting for a new PL for one of the patrols. The PL was as I would have guessed (but good that they voted), but I was surprised by her choice of seconder – very sensibly chose a girl who has been a Guide for a while, and really goes along to all activities, and is working well on her JBP, but who has quite a “pushy” personality, so I would not have thought she’d be chosen… So, I was very pleased that the new PL has chosen a girl who deserves the role, rather than just choosing her particular friend 🙂

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Earthy adventures

Last night was a brilliant night of Guiding! Three separate activities (one per section – Juniors, Seniors, Upper Seniors), which were ALL successful, which all the girls seemed to enjoy, and all of which were fun, something new, and fitted into the badge program!

Our littlies made volcanoes, which they seemed to really enjoy – we had them make a dough to shape the volcano shape around a bottle, which they seemed to enjoy – they really like it when we give them a recipe or similar and let them get on with it. I’m guessing for girls aged six to nine, there probably aren’t many times where they get to self-manage an activity, and follow the instructions with minimal adult involvement! Once again, that tiny taste of freedom and responsiblity really seems to work for the younger ones. Younger co-leader ran the activity, and did really well – but she did say for sure afterwards that she prefers the older girls! Fair enough!

Meanwhile, other co-leader ran a brilliant ‘edible gardens’ activity with the Upper Seniors, which had them use various forms of lollies and chocolate to build the layers involved in soil and gardens! So clever, and so much fun – dyed coconut for grass, sour worm lollies for earth worms, made-from-scratch chocolate pudding for the sub-soil… The girls had lots of fun, and were completely surprised by the activity, which was great!

And thirdly, I helped the Seniors out with making terrariums! They turned out really well, each girl got a *teeny* parlour palm, a wee little fern, and various combinations of moss, baby’s breath, and teeny violet plants. They all got really absorbed in the task, and were very excited when I suggested we could also add some beads and things – and very luckily found a box of gorgeous flat glass ‘marble’ type things, which made for brilliant ‘ponds’.

So, three fabulous activities, absorbed kids, and THEY EVEN ALL CLEANED UP WITH MINIMAL WHINGING!! Woohoo!!

Not only all of that, but two newbies! One who came to last week’s bring-a-friend with the younger girls, who dragged mum over at the end, and insisted mum take the forms (cute!), and another who came for the first time last night – apparently she’d seen an ad about Guides, checked us out online, and ended up with us! Got a call from her mum today saying that daughter loved Guides, and she’d pick up the forms next week!

Next week – ‘jumping snakes’ for the juniors, pottery for everyone else. Should be great!

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