guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Sewing, science, and skyscrapers

Fun and delightfully planned-by-others night at Guides this week, as we split the girls up into three groups (rather than the usual two), separating out our high schoolers (who we refer to as ‘upper seniors’)  from our seniors, and having separate programs for them, and separate again for the juniors.

The Upper Seniors had fun in the kitchen, doing crazy masterchef style ‘molecular gastronomy’ experiments – making ‘cordial caviar’, ‘fruit fettucinni’ and various other concoctions! It was basically science via food, and they all seemed to really get into it.

Meanwhile, the Seniors were working in patrols to tackle a series of skyscraper challenges, building towers out of skewers and marshmallows, legos, straws (strong enough to hold a tennis ball), and various games based on towers, like jenga. I peeked in a couple of times and they were all really engaged, with lots of giggling, plus a bunch of gentle of teasing the opposing patrols.

I was mainly working with the Juniors for the night, doing sewing. Newest co-leader (leader #6, yes, we’re super lucky!!) had arranged for the girls to sew little echidna shapes out of a stretchy fabric, which was then filled with dirt and grass seed, with the idea that with a bit of love, care, and water, will end up having echidna ‘spikes’ of grass in a week or two!

Once again, the juniors were fantastic at the sewing, really engaged, and quietly focused. They all did both hand-sewing of two button eyes (and even our littlest 6 year olds managed this just fine), plus at least some of the machine sewing of the pieces together. We did have a few sneaky cheats to help progress – a mum helper got a production line going of pre-threaded and knotted sewing needles, so we didn’t have to fuss about that, and our new junior leader (well… not yet official, as she’s not *quite* 14) was fabulous at wrangling the filling of the echidnas with dirt, and generally trouble-shooting. Anyway, a great night, and one where all of the girls seemed happy and settled.

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Exploring in the rain

Fun, if somewhat wet night at Guides this week, as we took the Seniors girls out around the local streets to come up with a bit of a treasure hunt for a different patrol to follow next week.

It was dark and cold and raining, but that just made it all a bit more exciting and interesting, and you get a different perspective on an area you’ve seen many times.

It was quite nice just to be out with one patrol (other leaders took other patrols, yay for lots of adults!), and just being able to chat a bit to them in a relaxed way without having to keep an eye on 20+ kids at once! Nice too for the group to have some time to bond a little bit, and relaxed, quiet walking around made it a really low pressure evening. The purpose of the activity (which will be completed next week) was to observe the local area, and draw a map or create map-like instructions for another to follow – both elements of the World Explore A Challenge badge!

Meanwhile, the Juniors managed to squeeze 15 kids into the kitchen (lucky they’re little!) to make and decorate cupcakes to look like cats and dogs for their Pets badge (any cooking can be made relevant to the badge du jour with a bit of thinking!). Unfortunately the picture examples were forgotten, but luckily not needed as the super creative kids all just figured it out brilliantly themselves, yay 🙂

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Service, supermarkets, and speedy strolling!

A fun, if somewhat not-quite-to-plan evening at Guides this week, as we took the entire group to the local supermarket!

The Church where our hall is based has an annual food drive, which for the past two or three years I’ve been thinking we should assist with as part of our broader service to community… but each year it sneaks up on me and by the time I realise “oh yeah the food drive” its over and done with, agggh!

BUT NOT THIS YEAR! I finally, finally managed to actually have the idea in time for our term planning, and even managed to find and get in touch with the organiser to confirm our participation and signal our willingness to be involved in future! Yay me and remembering in time!

So rather than just collect from the families (although we did put out a note encouraging donations from families too, and got quite a few bags worth of goodies), we decided to take the girls to the local supermarket, and have them work with a defined budget in small groups to purchase suitable items.

So the whole group – travel cards in hand! – walked up to the local tramstop, caught the tram into the main part of town, and we then let them loose on the supermarket (after reading the behaviour riot act of course!). We had the girls split up into their patrols, and then into half again, with the PL and PS each heading up a half-patrol. Each of these half patrols was given $5, and told to do their level best to come in on budget.

In the end, two of the patrols were about 70 cents over budget, but the other came in between 5 cents and 60 cents under budget, so overall, we were pretty close on expenditure, and ended up putting about a dollar worth of change in the little charity collection.

The girls all seemed to really get a kick out of being allowed to wander the supermarket with only ‘light touch’ supervision (the leaders were wandering the aisles and keeping a general eye, but didn’t go around with the girls) and they seemed to enjoy the intellectual puzzle of figuring out how to get the best value for their money… I do hope the food drive recipients like canned corn though – when we looked over what the various groups had bought, it featured unusually heavily in the purchases! Must have been a sale on that I missed!

Unfortunately, our best laid plans came unstuck as we went to catch the tram home, only to have the tram take off just as the first of our group got to the tramstop. We thought the driver would have seen us and waited while the slower girls caught up, but nope, just took off. Usually trams along that route are every 10 minutes or so, but when we checked our handy little tramtracker apps, the next one wasn’t for 25 minutes! agggh! And the meeting was meant to finish with parents picking up in 25 minutes!

So, quick change of plans, we decided to walk back to the hall! 2.3kms of luckily quite straight and flat and well-lit footpath… and as it turned out, we made it back to the hall only five minutes after our scheduled closing time, and without the tram passing us so it was definitely the right call rather than trying to keep 30+ kids safe and occupied waiting for the tram next to a main road!

Next week: candle-y stuff for littlies, knotting stuff for middlies, marshmallows for biggies!

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Fire safety shenanigans

Simple evening at Guides, focusing on fire safety.

The younger girls brainstormed fire safety rules, then read through some statements about fire safety to decide which ones were correct, and then did fire safety ‘relay’ – with the hope that The Power Of Three would help at least *some* of it stick!

They then practiced lighting matches to light a tealight candle each, and toast a marshmallow over the top. My co-leaders report that as per usual, there were a few kids very apprehensive about lighting matches, but that with a lot of coaxing, they all got there – one of the littlies was so pleased and proud she had to show her mum once mum arrived 🙂

Meanwhile, the older girls did maps of their homes and found the logical escape routes in the event of a fire, and did a scavenger hunt of sorts around the hall and grounds to find the fire blanket, extinguisher, hydrant, maps of evacuation points, and external taps. They got surprisingly into it – anything with an element of inter-patrol competition seems to get them excited!

We then had a quick fire drill, and I discovered exactly how little the girls actually listen, and how much they follow the crowd – I’d given instructions firstly to the Seniors that we would shortly be having a drill, and the seniors would be going to the carpark evacuation point, and the juniors to the front lawn point. Then when all the kids were together, I told all the girls that they were to do as they’d been instructed, and if they were unsure, to follow their patrol leader.

Well, I waited in the carpark with (most of) one of the three seniors patrols, plus a stray from another patrol… but well under half. It took a further five minutes of them running back and forth trying to convince their fellow guides to come! It seems a) their short-term memory is pretty poor and is quickly over-ridden by ‘the crowd’ and b) that some of them can’t even remember who their patrol leader is, so *that* is interesting!!

Anyway, we closed out the night with a Promise ceremony for two teeny 6 year olds, and a renewal for one of our long standing guides moving up to Seniors. Lovely as always 🙂

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Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS!

There are two versions of this wide game, one aimed at 6-9 year olds, one aimed at 10-13 year olds. Both took a little over an hour for the fastest patrols to complete, so are ideal for during a unit meeting time.

We simply said ‘where’ the various regions were (e.g. ‘Africa is on the front lawn’) but you could add flourishes by putting up signs or creating a map to show where the regions are located. This wide game operated by patrols returning to base at the end of each task and being given another region to tackle – this was to reduce the number of patrols attempting tasks in the same area at the same time. However, it could also be set up so that there are multiple copies of equipment at each station, and patrols could then follow a set order.

At the completion of each task, the patrols earned the corresponding letter. We just had them written on colourful post-it notes, but you could go for anything!

To run both versions you will need the following items:

Equipment

Jelly worms/sour worms; Streamers; Paint brushes; Calligraphy pens; Ink/black paint; Grain (oats/corn/etc); Safari animals; Tarps, first aid, rope, buckets, assorted objects (for be prepared); 2 long ropes (to form river); Pipe cleaners/craft materials for crown; Paper; Atlas.


 

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS – version one

[Read out to patrols before commencing]:

Last year (2014), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held the world conference in Hong Kong. After the conference was concluded, it was realised that the W, A, G, G, G, and S were misplaced, and somehow got scattered around the world by delegates returning home.

Your patrols have been asked to find the missing letters, and get them to Tunisia ahead of the next world conference. Planning for the conference is already underway, so you’ll need to hurry!

Everyone will start in Hong Kong, before spreading around the world to find the letters.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people generally eat using chopsticks. Practice your chopsticks skills by transferring some jelly worms between two bowls.

Each patrol member needs to transfer 2 worms each to earn ‘W’

Western Hemisphere region

While your patrol was climbing up to see the fabulous lost city of Macchu Picchu, the youngest patrol member twisted their ankle!

Using instructions in the Green Handbook and the first aid equipment provided, bandage and treat the ankle correctly to earn ‘A’ [for non-Australian groups – just print out instructions (preferably pictorial) of how to correctly bandage a twisted ankle]

Many Pacific nations use dance to tell stories.

Using the streamers and your imagination, make a grass skirt for each of your patrol members, and do a patrol hula dance to earn ‘G’.  [you will need about two or three rolls of steamers per patrol]

Europe region

Europe has a rich history of Kings and Queens. Queen Elizabeth the Second was even a Girl Guide!

Your patrol needs to use the pipe cleaners to make a crown fit for a Queen (just one per patrol) to earn ‘G’ [this task could be done using any type of craft stuff, even just putting out a table full of odds and ends would be fine!]

Africa region

Many people travel to Africa to go on safari and see the amazing animals!

Your patrol needs to find (and bring back!) three safari animals hidden in the grounds to earn G [Note: safari animals could be small plastic animals, soft toys, pictures… whatever is easiest]

Arab region

Across the Arab region, Arabic script is used in writing and in art. Each partol member needs to practice by writing ‘girl guides’ in Arabic. Choose the best one from your patrol to show the leaders to earn ‘S’ [we used calligraphy pens with angled nibs and ink which worked well and was a little different to what the girls usually write with]

girl guides in arabic

‘girl guides’ in Arabic.. according to Google Translate!

Tunisia

Find Tunisia in the atlas, and show the leaders.

The first patrol to do this AND present all the letters from across the regions will win!

 


 

Race to Tunisia with WAGGGS – version two

[Read out to patrols before commencing]:

Last year (2014), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts held the world conference in Hong Kong. After the conference was concluded, it was realised that the W, A, G, G, G, and S were misplaced, and somehow got scattered around the world by delegates returning home.

Your patrols have been asked to find the missing letters, and get them to Tunisia ahead of the next world conference. Planning for the conference is already underway, so you’ll need to hurry!

Everyone will start in Hong Kong, before spreading around the world to find the letters.

At the end of each task, your patrol will need to identify the KEYWORD in order to be awarded a letter and move onto the next task. The keyword will usually be related in some way to the task, but it won’t be obvious!

[Some of the keywords the girls took a while and needed hints to get there, but they all managed to figure things out without too much help!]

 

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, people generally eat using chopsticks. Practice your chopsticks skills by transferring the items between two bowls.

Identify the clue to receive your piece.

[KEYWORD: Worms] [Receive a W]

Western Hemisphere region

Using only two pieces of paper as your boat, get all your patrol across the river, avoiding the water as it is full of piranhas.

If you fall in, you will lose an arm or a leg to the piranhas, and have to go back to the far side and attempt again, minus a limb.

Once all patrol members have safely crossed the river, identify the river to gain your next piece.

[Set up two long ropes a good distance apart to create a ‘river’]

[KEYWORD: Amazon] [Receive an A]

 

Europe region

Use the code to find the message:

Greekish code[This code uses ‘Greek’ letters (‘symbols’ font in word) to create a code. The code reads ‘Greece and girls and guides start with G’. Using actual Greek words would not work unless your Guides already speak Greek, in which case, it wouldn’t be a code!]

[KEYWORD: ‘G’ or ‘Greek’] [Receive a G]

Asia Pacific region

Copy the character (one each), and identify the clue, to earn your next piece.

[This is a ‘year of the goat’ character. You might prefer to use ‘happy new year’ or similar. The girls copied the character using paint brushes and black paint]

goat symbol

[KEYWORD: Goat] [Receive a G]

Africa region

Use the fabric and bowl to transport the items on your head. Each patrol member must transfer at least one cup of the item from point A to B.

Identify the clue to receive your next piece.

[The ‘items’ should be oats, corn, rice, wheat… anything that is a ‘grain’. The fabric should be used to create a headwrap to stabilise the bowl the grains are being carried in]

[KEYWORD: Grain] [Receive a G]

Arab region

Use the pile of equipment to put together a Be Prepared kit suitable for crossing a major desert in the region.

When you are prepared (and have explained your choices), identify the clue to gain your next piece.

[For the equipment pile – do a raid of your shed or cupboard and just put a pile of stuff out!]

[KEYWORD: Sahara] [Receive an S]

Tunisia

Find Tunisia in the atlas, and show the leaders.

The first patrol to do this AND present all the letters from across the regions will win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lazy leading… or girl-led guiding?

Why not both?!

This week the Senior Guides took charge of the program, with each of the three patrols organising and running a World Centre themed activity. This was the result of two weeks of preparation – two weeks ago they were allocated their World Centre, and given five minutes to brainstorm the sorts of equipment/information/ideas that they would need to bring the following week. One week ago, they had 15 minutes as a patrol to look over their materials and discuss ideas and agree as a group what activity they were going to run. And then this week, they actually did it!

The three groups all had 10 minutes to set up, followed by the activities in order. The ‘Pax Lodge’ patrol ran a scavenger hunt, where they had a bunch of pictures of UK sites and items scattered around the grounds, as well as non-UK relevant pictures. The competing teams of 3 girls a piece got points for collecting relevant pictures, and lost points if they collected an incorrect picture. In addition, 4 members of the organising patrol dressed up (two as Queens Guards in ‘bearskin hats’, one as a ‘British Bulldog’, one as ‘The Queen’) (none of their costumes looked at all correct, but it was a lot of fun!), and the competing groups got additional points if they managed to find one of the characters. Very clever set up, and all the girls really loved the activity!

Next up was the Our Cabana patrol, who had organised to make and bring in various bits and pieces to make soft tacos – all the girls put together their own combo, and I think most of them even tried something a bit different to their usual. Even WhiteFoodGuide gave it a decent try, and discovered she quite enjoys spicy meat and beans! This patrol also had a poncho based activity organised, but very few girls had remembered to bring an old blanket or sheet or whatever, and we had limited time, so it ended up just being the food activity. Still, they did very well in all remembering everything, and having appropriate off site and on site preparation!

Finally, the Sangam patrol put together a ‘display’ with bits and pieces about India, and dressed up in saris and shalwar kameez to present a few facts and figures about India. The patrol’s original plan was to put on a skit, but they had several girls away ill and decided to go with a cut down version. Not quite as successful as the other patrol’s activities, but still well organised.

To close out the night, I did a very quick “okay, what do we remember about World Guiding from the last few weeks?” – collectively they could easily remember all of the WAGGGS regions, what WAGGGS stands for, where the world centres are, listed about 15 Asia Pacific region countries without struggle, and were aware that each country had a slightly different Promise and Law. Not bad!! Looks like a fair bit of what we’ve been doing has indeed stuck!

The upshot of all of these patrol activities was that I pretty much sat and supervised, only needing to do the occasional “you need to clean up X, Y, and Z” “this is how you use the industrial dishwasher” “the cloths are on the sink”. EASY!

Meanwhile, AwesomeCoLeader and YoungCoLeader were Juniors-wrangling. AwesomeCoLeader was running the show, which was part of their Eyes badge, and focused on ways to convey information without seeing. The majority of this was focussed on Braille, and she used a very clever way of introducing the Braille code system – six cup muffin pans! Using the muffin pans as the ‘base’ for the six-dot basic braille system, the girls used a giant stash of jelly beans to practice the alphabet, and then did some de-coding of braille dots. As it was an ‘Eyes’ night, they also played The Postcard Game (which involves matching postcard halves scattered around the gardens), as well as a quick game of Camouflage.

So, all in all, a really good night.

With our larger numbers, we’ve lately been running the two groups semi-separately, almost as proper “Guide” and “Brownie” units. The next three weeks, however, we’ve got everyone back together. It will be interesting to see how we manage that, as the numbers of kids if everyone turns up is getting pretty large (34, I think?), and the age range (and more importantly, capacity range) is also getting pretty huge – from 6 year olds in prep to 12 year olds in year seven! I suspect we may need to have an excellent cup of tea waiting at home after those nights!!

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Making World Guiding facts fun and fabulous!

Want to strike fear of a boring night into a group of Guides?

Tell them you’ll be working through the criteria for the “World Guiding” Achieve A Challenge badge. The clauses include such scintillating requirements as “know what WAGGGS stands for and who can become a member”, “Name all of the WAGGGS countries of the Asia Pacific Region”, “locate the four World Centres on a map”.

Guaranteed snoozearama, right?

At any rate, certainly the type of information which could very easily be reduced to “read this” “list this” and “memorise this”.

I’m sure I speak for 10 year olds everywhere when I say BORRRRR-ING!!

BUT!

After much pondering, I came up with what I thought might be a way to get this info into a fun package – and WOOHOO! – it actually worked!

So how do you make boring into fun? Add competition, speed, and prizes!

Essentially, we ended up with a quiz night, with four rounds of activities, with patrols competing for points/markers (as indicated by coloured paddlepop sticks) at each stage, and the overall winning patrol getting a prize.

Round one: World Centres

Each patrol was given an atlas, and I read out the address (broadly) of the world centres. The first patrol to find the location, raise their hands, and point it correctly out on the map won a marker.

We started off easy with “Pax Lodge, London, United Kingdom”, then progressed to Sangam, Our Cabana, and Our Chalet in the same format. Then as a bonus round, there were five points up for grabs as I read out the five countries which have been involved in the Fifth World Centre project (Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria) – all they had to do was find the country.

Round two: WAGGGS member countries

Using the atlases again (although we switched them around, as each patrol had a different format atlas, and each had good and bad points), the girls competed to correctly name WAGGGS countries in each region.

Firstly, I put out a map of the regions, and got them to have a proper look at it – the WAGGGS regions don’t match directly with continents, which was going to make things a bit of a challenge!

Then, I had a list (broken up by region) of all of the member countries. The girls’ task was to use the atlases to identify and name WAGGGS countries in the various regions. The trick was, they had to pick a country which was a member, and not repeat one already said by another patrol, and not hesitate for more than five seconds!

Each patrol had 10 markers (in a different colour to the ‘points’ markers) – for every incorrect/repeat/hesitation answer, they lost a marker. The winner would be the last patrol left with markers.

So we started with Africa Region, and the girls pored over the maps, yelling out countries, while I ticked their answers off the list. A fast game is a good game, so we raced through, and when about half the countries in the region had been successfully named, I then read out the other possible correct answers, before we went on to Arab region, Western Hemisphere, Europe, and finally Asia Pacific. For each region, I moved on once we’d ticked off about half – much more fun than insisting on finding *every* WAGGGS country – it would take ages, and would get really boring through repeats. But possibly you could aim for the full list if sticking to one region? The winning patrol was then awarded two markers towards their total.

Round three: WAGGGS membership

This round took an “open book test” approach. Each patrol was given a copy of the WAGGGS membership requirements (http://www.wagggs.org/en/about/About/membership) and given two minutes to read it through.

I then sat with my copy, and asked a series of questions – for example “what are joint organisations?” “what do full members need to pay?” “what name rules are there for full members?” etc etc. For each question, the patrols quickly glanced through their sheet, and once they’d located the answer put up their hands – the first correct response then earned a marker! We only did about 6 questions, but it was enough to focus their minds, and I’m sure the first time any of them had even considered that WAGGGS might have membership rules!

Round four: Asia Pacific Region

Our final round was essentially a game of “memory” – the classic “match two cards” game. Patrols took it in turns to attempt to match the cards. The winning patrol was the one with the most pairs at the end.

I’d made up special Asia Pacific Region cards – one half of the pair was the name of the country, the other half was a picture of the guides from that country, which worked really well. Sometimes World Guiding is so remote from our girls, so having pictures of the guides – proper “having fun” photos, rather than drawings of their uniforms or logo or flag, made it all seem a bit more real. Most of the pictures were from the WAGGGS site (http://asia.wagggs.org/en/organisations), some from their individual organisation websites.

IMG_0234Some of the memory cards

The girls were also super excited when they realised that the photo of “Australia” Guides was a picture of them engaged in an activity from last year 🙂

All in all, it was a huge success, and I’m super thrilled at how it turned out – not something I expected to say when I first turned my mind to meeting the badge criteria!!

Finally, we rounded out the night with 15 minutes as patrols to plan their World Guiding/World Centres activities for next week. The planning actually seemed to go well, so hopefully we’ll end up with a good program of guide-led patrol activities… but I might just have some back up activities *just in case*!

Eagle-eyed readers will realise that I’ve not even mentioned the Juniors yet – I was so engaged with the Seniors that I hardly noticed them (also helped by us splitting the physical space – the Juniors were in the hall, the Seniors were in the foyer area), but they were working on their Eyes badge, making glasses out of pipecleaners and cellophane, and then putting different bits of paper over the glasses ‘lenses’ to simulate different types of vision problems – like cataracts, or retinopathy etc. It seemed to go fairly well, but I suspect it was a bit too intricate for some of the younger ones – we seem to have had a sudden influx of 6 and barely-7 year olds, and I’m not sure we’ve yet adjusted the program to account for their more limited fine motor skills, and smaller attention span.

Speaking of influx, we seem to be suddenly bursting at the seams, to the point that I’m seriously considering if we need to move to a waiting list type situation. Unless we get another leader soon (hi universe, are you listening??), we’re probably going to need a parent roster, and to close the books – if the newbies all sign up (which it looks like they will…) then we’re at 18 in the Seniors/Uppers, and 16 in the Juniors, which I think is the biggest we’ve been in my 6 years with the unit. No doubt now I’ve said that we’ll have a massive drop off after Easter and I’ll be wondering what on earth just happened!

Well, we can only take it “one week at a time” as they say on the football shows, so I guess all there is to do is gear up for patrol-led World Guiding, and ‘Reading Without Seeing’ activities focused on Braille, audiobooks, and other marvellous things!

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Dramarama

A night of drama at Guides and Rangers this week, in a number of senses of the word!

Firstly, the theme for the night was ‘skits and plays’, with patrols working together to come up with a short play which aimed to “show off Guides”. We ended up with both seniors patrols showing off first aid skills (decidedly dubious first aid skills in one case – I certainly wouldn’t want them treating my broken leg!!), two juniors patrols doing some general ‘games and being friends’ sort of stories, and one juniors patrol ‘teaching new kids to build a fire’.

Most of the patrols worked really well together, but one was unfortunately very dysfunctional. The group includes our newest and youngest Guide, (who honestly is probably too young for the group, and who unfortunately has “whine to the leaders” as her go-to problem solving mode), as well as two friends who we had previously separated but who had begged to be in a patrol together, and who unfortunately are proving the wisdom of our prior separation (in other words – they are both having a marvellous time together, but making life very difficult for everyone else), and a patrol leader who is really trying to do the right thing but is overwhelmed by the diverse needs of the patrol, resulting in tears of frustration! Oh, and one poor kid trying to mediate! Oh dear!

So that one patrol ended up taking about 90% of the available leader attention, as we tried to assist without being too directive and reinforcing the idea that they didn’t need to sort themselves out… no idea if we succeeded, but on the upside, all this drama did turn out well with their skit ending up probably the most cohesive and structured out of all of them! Funny how that sometimes happens, but then I guess if they all have enough capacity for drama to have flouncing, yelling, and crying during rehearsals then they might just have a naturally dramatic bent!

After Guides, I joined with the Rangers, who were (reasonably successfully) planning the rest of the year. RangersCoLeader was directing these discussions really well, so I’m sure the program she’ll pop together on the back of it will be great 🙂

In some bad news, one of the girls said she was planning to leave, as the group was too small (irony alert!). No idea what to do about that. Attracting new girls at the older age group is incredibly tricky, and the oldest bunch of girls from the senior guides won’t realistically be ready for Rangers until probably mid next year, and Sister Unit only has one old enough currently (but who wants to wait until the start of next year), and possibly one more mid-next year. Older groups are always difficult – there are just so many competing demands once kids are in high school. Guess we’ll just do what we can. Even if it all falls over, we’ve at least given the current crop of Rangers a few extra terms of guiding!

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Visitors! (And some music)

Exciting times this week, as our little tiny Rangers unit was visited by a group of Canadian Rangers! World Guiding come to life, right in our little hall… or at least, in the kitchen where most of the action was!

But back to the beginning, and usual Guides –

As part of our Arts Explore-A-Challenge badge the girls worked in patrols to make musical instruments out of recycled materials (brought from home by those who remembered) (so not many!), plus a bunch of ‘stuff’ from the stash (pipe cleaners, wooden skewers, plastic straws…), and some dried lentils which proved to be a right pest as of course they ended up everywhere!

During the week, AwesomeCoLeader and I had both ended up watching Life at 9, which included a focus on how some kids struggle with creativity, as so many activities are so structured that they don’t get the chance to practice thinking widely. Not sure our little night of kid-directed creation of instruments would have made a huge difference to their total creativity quotient, but hey, it can’t have hurt! It was also a good opportunity to get in some patrol time, particularly helpful given we have a couple of newbies – all three new kids this term have decided to join, so its great to get them settled 🙂

Anyhoo, I had to leave my very capable co-leaders and duck out early to join our extended Rangers meeting, which included our visitors from Canada! I’d responded to a little blurb in the local leader’s newsletter looking to connect, and two weeks later, TA DA! International Guiding, on our doorstep!

To give a little structure to the evening – and to show what our Rangers girls usually do – we had all the girls – local and visitors – pile into the kitchen and make ANZAC biscuits and simple lamingtons, which worked really well. It gave the girls something to do, which meant then that conversation flowed freely and easily… as well as having the sideline benefit of introducing the Canadian girls to two delicious Australian treats 🙂

We also had the younger Guides put on a performance using their recycled instruments for the visitors, so the younger girls also got ‘proof’ that there was indeed Guides from far away ‘right there’ – which apparently they were rather unconvinced about 😉

Overall, it was a brilliant night, with lots of gossip, lots of swapping of badges, and sharing of what is similar and different about Australian and Canadian Guiding. I hope the visiting girls had as great a time as our girls did 🙂

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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 🙂

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