guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Bringing friends, growing guiding… perhaps!

Two weeks of ‘bring a friend’ nights, which will hopefully (maybe?) grow our units. We’re not struggling for members (woohoo!), but the extra leaders, and a bit of time for us to get used to the current numbers, and we think we could comfortably go up an extra patrol worth in the Juniors, and an extra few in Seniors would be handy, as several are due to head up to Rangers in the next term or two.

We decided to split the  bring a friend activities over two weeks, as there is always added complexity when you have newbies around. Week one, the Juniors brought friends for a Swiss themed night (world guiding: tick!) – we started off with some newspaper skiing races and games, followed by three stations for the patrols + pals to move around. One was a raclette station – co-leader brought long her special tiny little raclette grill pans, and the girls chopped veggies and cheese for grilling. Properly Swiss, and something they certainly hadn’t done before! Another station was chocolate fondue – we had marshmallows and fruit for the girls to dip in the fondue, which of course went down a treat! The final station had three different crafty options – a tapestry-ish bookmark (sewn with wool), a little woven heart shape, and a papercut.

Finally, to bring them all back together and add a touch more ‘play’, we had several rounds of a giants treasure style game, with the object to catch being a small cow figure.

It all went well, I think. But no returns the following week, so who knows??

To be fair, the following week was a bit of a challenge – owing to our landlords letting us know only a few days in advance that they’d double-booked our hall (and had over 400 people coming!!), we had to do some quick work to move for the night. Luckily, we were able to move to another hall in the district, but we did have a drop off in numbers, as the location really wasn’t as convenient for many of our families.

Anyhoo, for the second bring-a-friend we had our Seniors girls inviting their mates for a zombie wide game. I’d done this years ago to some success, and decided to revamp and update it, adding in a de-coding element, which required the girls to travel as zombies (with the limping, lumbering walk, lolling heads and outstretched arms) to their next destination, which added probably an extra 10 minutes, which was enough. They all seemed to have fun, and luckily, although it was reasonably chilly, it was a dry night so we were able to have them all outside for the whole time, so, I’m counting that as a ‘tick’ in the “outdoors” fundamentals column!!

I suppose the next few weeks will show if these efforts lead to any extra friends joining us… but to some extent, I suppose it doesn’t matter: the two nights went well, and our existing members had a fun night to show off to their friends – nothing too earnest to be embarrassed about, but also proper showcases of guiding activities, the mix of cooking, crafting, outdoors, and fun that we try to aim for. So, we’ll see!

 

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Sangam & pets & relaxed fun

A lovely evening this week, as one of my co-leaders ran a brilliant program based on Sangam and India for our Seniors, while another co-leader worked with the Juniors on their pets badge, doing skits and learning about animal care.

Firstly, the amazing program put together about Sangam! Co-leader’s family is from India, so she was able to draw on a lot of practical personal knowledge – including being able to bring along and demonstrate the sitar! We had six stations set up around the room, and the girls moved around the various activities roughly in patrols.

The activities were playing the sitar, learning various traditional dance moves (yay for a laptop and youtube clips!), using dyed rice to do rangoli patterns (mainly of trefoils, of course!), trying on saris (which they just adored!), mehendi patterns on their hands (using eyeliner), and writing out hindi/Sanskrit letters.

Unfortunately for such a great program, we were low on numbers (our oldest girls were doing rangers activities off site, and several had school events so were away), but it kind of worked out well as the smaller numbers gave everything a lovely chilled out vibe, and our shyest and youngest girls were able to have a really comfortable night, and really engaged in a way that they don’t always seem to.

Meanwhile, the younger girls worked in patrols on skits about animal care. I formed part of the audience for the final products, and they were surprisingly good! We have quite a set of little dramatists, and they were mostly revelling in the silliness of the activity, all playing with props of leashes and cat toys, and fish food and pooper scoopers etc etc!! It was a good opportunity for the younger girls to work in their patrols, which are still in the settling down stage since a bit of a rejig at the start of term.

Overall, a brilliant night, pitched perfectly at the different age groups!

 

 

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Catching up

Two weeks to catch up on!

Week one we had a brilliant night with a local women’s circus organisation coming in and running a circus skills workshop. The girls all got to do some basic acrobatics (mainly balancing), as well as plate spinning, hula hoop tricks, and juggling. They all had a lovely time, and it was great to connect with another organisation focused on girls and women, and give the girls a different experience. For our juniors, the activity counted towards their ‘body’ badge, for the seniors, it was just something fun and different!

Week two was a night where I focused on the rangers group, rather than the Juniors or Seniors, which was rather lovely. On the program was international games, which of course led Rangers Co-Leader and I madly googling the night before… and hurrah for the internet, we had a bunch of easy and fun games to play!

The resources we used were: http://www.girlguides.org.au/public/attach/go_girl_final_web.pdf
http://www.girlguides.ca/web/documents/ns/6/pa-int-booklet.pdf
http://guidinguk.freeservers.com/internationalgames.html

Games played include sleeping lions (because rangers girls are indeed overgrown tiny people!), big snake (essentially chain tiggy), and moon and morning stars – using a footpath in place of a tree shadow. We were joined by a prospective new ranger (super exciting!), and for about 20 minutes, the upper seniors group, about half of whom are nearly ready to move up. If they all end up making the transition up (and the current ones continue!), we should end up with around 10-12 rangers, which would be brilliant. Still, that’s a little way in the future, and I should *never* count guides before they’re promised 😉

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Get to Guides! Girls around the world wide game

This is a wide game developed as part of our term on the ‘Girls’ and ‘Other People’ Create-A-Challenge badges. The game took a little over an hour, although this was with leaders providing a reasonable amount of direct instruction/assistance, and having several things semi-prepared – for example, the vegetables for the cooking were mostly pre-cut to size so the girls only had to do minor trimming.

The story:

Leaders note: the various characters were colourful clip-art girls on a piece of paper – if you have the time/resources, a small doll for each patrol to take with them on their adventures would be ideal.

Melanie, Mary, Marta, Molly, and Mia are super excited about getting to Guides tonight. They hear that badges are being handed out at the end of the night, and really really hope that they’re going to get one!

Each patrol will take one of Melanie, Mary, Marta, Molly or Mia around with them throughout the challenges, and try to help them be the first back!

Each patrol has a different order of activities, so don’t follow the others – run your own game! Envelopes are colour-coded and numbered – pay attention and only ever grab your own!

Leader’s note: the various patrols had their instructions in numbered, coloured envelopes, but you could just as easily run this as a ‘back to base’ style game and reduce the amount of pre-prep required!

The activities:

Activity: Get dressed

Every girl needs to get dressed to face the day. Different countries have different styles of dress – some are easier than others!

You’ll need to use the long fabric and instructions to dress up each of your patrol members (one at a time) in a sari – be sure to use the correct pleating! Once she’s dressed up, the patrol member needs to do scouts pace (20 steps walking, 20 steps running, 20 steps walking etc etc) along the footpath from the big tree to the entrance to the car park and back. When she’s returned, she needs to pass on the fabric and dress up the next girl!

You can only proceed to the next activity when all patrol members have successfully completed the sari scouts pace.

Note: you will need a 5-to-6 meter length piece of fabric, plus instructions on how to wrap a sari for this activity. 

Activity: Cook the meal

In many countries, girls and women are responsible for getting the meals ready.

Your patrol needs to use the ingredients and equipment provided to cook a simple vegetable and noodle stir-fry. Remember to cut the vegetables to be a similar size and shape. Add the vegetables that need the longest cooking first.

Once it’s cooked, share out the meal between the patrol, enjoy it, and then be sure to clean up properly before moving on to the next activity!

Note: be sure to have your vegetables portioned out for each patrol so you don’t end up with one patrol with a huge serve and another with hardly any!

Activity: Pass on a message

Arrange your patrol in a long line down the centre of the hall. The person nearest to the stage, should collect the message card marked with your patrol’s colour.

Give the person nearest to the far end the message card.

Pass the message Chinese-whispers style from one end of the hall to the other (stand at least finger-tips apart). When the message reaches the end, the message-receiver needs to run up to the stage end, and explain what she thinks the message is. The message-giver should say “yes, correct” or “not quite” or “not at all”. If it’s “not quite” or “not at all”, keep going until you get it right!

When the full message has been passed on correctly, you may continue.

Note: our note said “The pink pig and the pesky donkey flew a kite at night, said the grinning girl guide” – this was based on a bunch of ‘difficult’ phrases for Chinese Whispers, but you could use any message!

 Activity: Who do you know?

Use the stack of memory cards provided to match the famous women’s pictures and description.

Patrol members should take it in turns to try and match the cards.

Once all the cards have been correctly paired up, shuffle the cards and leave them re-stacked for the next group before moving on to the next activity.

Note: The memory cards featured one card with a photo and name, and the matching card with the name and a brief description. People featured included Julia Gillard, first female PM of Australia; Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund; Indra Nooyi, head of PepsiCo, and Valentina Tereskova, the first woman in space. The aim was to provide a diversity of names and faces from across the world.

Activity: Food gathering

In ancient times (and still in some more traditional societies!), finding food was way more complicated than going to the supermarket. You had to either hunt or gather your food if you wanted to eat!

Look carefully around the hall and grounds to find the following foods:

Potatoes, Onions, Asparagus, Beans, Wheat, Eggs

Draw a map of the hall and grounds and mark on the map the location of each item. Take careful note, as you will need to return later to collect one of these items… and you don’t know which it will be! Once your map is complete, you may move on.

 

Activity: Scrub up!

In many places around the world, getting clean takes a lot more effort than just stepping into the shower!

Working as a patrol and using the cups supplied, transport water from the tap in the [location] to the washing up basin in [other location]. When the basin is half-full, each patrol member needs to use the water to wash her hands thoroughly.

Once everyone has cleaned up, carefully empty the basin of water into the garden, put everything back where it started, and then move onto the next activity.

Note: make sure you place tap and washing up basin far enough apart to make it a challenge, but not so far that they get too frustrated!

Activity: Nursing

Traditionally, one of the few ‘respectable’ careers open to women was nursing. Even today, many nurses are women, although that is changing quickly!

Practice your nursing skills by using a triangular bandage to fit the oldest member of the patrol with a sling. Your patrol member will need to manage for the next two activities like this!

Once the sling is firmly in place, you can move onto the next activity.

 Note: you will need multiple bandages available for this if you wish to have them in use for the next activities. Alternatively, the bandages could be removed immediately after the activity.

Activity: Finally!

Pick an envelope out of the bowl – it will show you what you need to gather to finish!

Note: the envelopes all contained a different picture of one of the ingredients from the ‘gathering’ activity – using the map they’d created they had to quickly retrieve the specific ingredient. The advantage of an accurate map was knowing exactly where to go and not having to re-find the ingredient!

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Taking a back seat

Our first week back for the term this week, and I did basically nothing.

I’m not quite sure how I wrangled it, but I did no planning, no running of activities, and barely even any parent-wrangling! So hurrah for co-leaders!

So what was I doing for two and a half hours (Guides plus overlapping Rangers)? I had the thrilling (?!) task of sorting out our cupboards in the hall! This followed on from an absurdly long and freezing cold (but very satisfying) afternoon last week with AwesomeCoLeader when we COMPLETELY sorted out the shed. We were utterly ruthless, it was glorious! Sometimes you really need to just admit that if a particular resource has survived 5 clean outs “because we might use it…” but has NEVER been used in the 6+ years you’ve been with a unit then it is only taking up space and it is time to move on. Sorry little paw print tracking cards in the overly large old fashioned wooden box that takes up 3x as much space as it should, but the love just isn’t there!

So all I can say about the activities was that Juniors and Seniors did a bunch of activities broadly around a theme of ‘the developing world’ – all a bit Worthy and Appropriate and Sensible, of course mixed up with some games. Meanwhile the Upper Seniors skived off to Rangers for the night and used Proper Recipes to make a lovely and hearty vegetable soup and chocolate cake.

Next week: I’m on holidays! Yes, I am abandoning my fabulous team for a week of (hopefully) sunshine, so little blog will be having a rest until the following week 🙂

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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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Wander around the world with WAGGGS

A great – if somewhat complicated! – night last night, as we finished off the term with two parallel wide games!

Both games involved the same premise: that at the last World Conference in Hong Kong, that the letters of WAGGGS had gone missing, and needed to be retrieved and delivered to Tunisia for the next conference in two years’ time!

So starting from “Hong Kong”, the patrols made their way through the five world regions, collecting letters as they completed challenges successfully, before finishing up by finding Tunisia in an atlas and delivering their collected letters!

I really love wide games, but they are a lot of work, and you never quite know how the various instructions will be interpreted… for example, a task which was meant to have the older girls walking with bowls on their heads full of rice and/or oats (for “grain” being transported in Africa Region) using fabric scarves to form a base on their head was somehow interpreted as filling the bowls with the scarves… no wonder they had trouble figuring the clue…

I think a couple of the dramas arose as we had the stations kind of set up for the girls to wrangle themselves, rather than having leaders providing instructions and correcting interpretations… or possibly my instructions were just too brief, and not prescriptive enough! I think I also under-estimated the amount of set up time required – although I got to the hall 30 minutes before the meeting started, that’s not really enough time to set up 12 different activities, even though I did have pretty much everything ‘ready to go’ – the moment the kids start coming in, and parents start asking “just a quick question”, the 30 minutes prep/set up time rapidly shrinks!!

Still, the girls all had fun, they got through the activities, we had a bit of world guiding fun, and the method of having totally separate activities for the older girls and younger girls worked really well, so I’m pretty happy with it! I’ll post a copy of the wide game instructions in the next few days 🙂

Eagle-eyed readers will note a gap in posting last week – Guides did happen, and I did attend, but I was pretty sick and ended up nursing a cup of tea most of the night! We did however have a night of working on badges, and I mainly was with a group of five 8 and 9 year olds, who decided to learn how to make a proper cup of tea for one of their badge challenges, so that was decidedly convenient given my poorly state!

Next week: no guides, but co-leaders and I will probably get together and plot next term, so that will be fun… a winter term… we’ll definitely need to include playing with fire at some point!!

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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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The best laid plans…

…sadly very rarely actually work!

Generally, nights at Guides for me are roughly planned out – unless its something like a wide game, where I will have had to have everything done in advance, then usually, I have just a rough sketch in my head of how we might pull together the various elements.

Last night, however, realising that over this week and the next two that I need to ensure my older girls are meeting quite specific badge criteria for their Achieve A Challenge World Guiding badges, I actually sat down an wrote a proper program, complete with timings, instructions for different activities, and allocating leaders and girls to different parts as required.

And the result?

We ran late on all activities, very few of them translated from the “ooh that will be a fun twist on boring Traditions/Thinking Day/World Guiding” idea into reality, and the girls were generally a bit ratty!!

All in all, a bit of an epic fail! Hopefully my plans for next week – which essentially will be teaching World Guiding via a series of quizzes and games (with prizes to the winning patrol!) will prove more successful!

Still, there were a few positive notes – the Senior Guides’ patrol leader elections were finalised, and the three new patrol leaders were thrilled, and the girls they asked to be their Seconders were delighted to accept (I didn’t even need to properly ask if they had accepted, they were grinning so wide!), and I think my hastily re-arranged patrols around the new PLs/PSs will work out quite well. We’ve moved to three patrols of 5-6 girls in the Seniors/Upper Seniors section, which I hope will be sustainable. We don’t have many girls due to move up from Juniors over the next year (I think maybe three?), so hopefully they’ll all have long enough to start properly working as patrols, as that has traditionally been a bit of a weak spot for our unit.

The other highlight was a spontaneous newbie joined us (I’d received a call just two hours ahead of the meeting, from someone looking at our poster in the hall area!), and she seemed to have a great time, despite what I regarded as a bit of a dud evening! If she liked that night, one of our good nights is going to totally blow her mind 🙂

And we also had a promise ceremony for 3 girls that joined us late last year. Ceremony nights are always lovely, so we did at least finish on a high note!

So, I guess we chalk the night up to experience… and realise the take-home message is not to be toooooooo Be Prepared!

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