keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

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!


Thinking about our sisters in guiding (and scouting!)


Postcards, poems, and politeness were some of our themes this week as we marked World Thinking Day. We started the evening off with going through the postcards we had received from the World Thinking Day Postcard Exchange. The girls seemed pretty excited to receive information about Guides/Scouts from America, the UK, Dubai, and South Africa. It definitely provided a more tangible way of talking about the international aspects of guiding than the usual “no, seriously, we’re everywhere!”.

We split the activity into two, with the Juniors going through the postcards while the Seniors voted on Patrol Leaders, followed by the Seniors reading postcards while the Juniors did a treasure hunt, looking for a Promise Badge and a World Badge which had been hidden in the building (surprisingly successful!).

We followed that up with a ‘serious’ interlude, with a short (about 10 minutes) Guides Own that I’d put together, which focused on what it means to be a Guide, what the various parts of the world badge symbolise, the meaning of the salute (the three-part promise), and a poem I found online about guiding sisters around the world, which I cut up into sections and had a couple of the older girls read a stanza each. We also sang ‘Make New Friends’ and ‘This Little Guiding Light’. A fairly successful little ceremony, I think, and the girls seemed engaged throughout, which is the main thing. We finished it quite nicely with “please close your eyes for a moment or two and think about your sisters in guiding across the world, and how they’re thinking about you too… when you’re ready, stand up, salute, and quietly go into the next room”. It was very sweet to see even the three newbies who’d joined us for the night attempting to properly salute, and being very solemn in their exit 🙂

Next, we went for a bit of international fun – learning how to say ‘hello’ in several languages so you could greet your interational sisters (we went with greetings in Mandarin, Arabic, German, French, Hindi, and Swahili), and played a game where everyone stood in a circle and threw the ball across the circle, and named a country where one of those languages were spoken (China, Egypt, Germany, France, India, Kenya), and the girl catching the ball had to say hello in the correct language or get out. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but they seemed to get into it pretty well.

Then to round it all out and add a bit of chaotic fun, NewLeader organised them all into a game of Cat and Mouse, with different rules to how we’ve usually done it (which is generally a version of Streets And Lanes), and this new version was MUCH more successful, so I think we’ll keep that one in the box of tricks! Finally finally we played their old favourite of Not-Fruit-Salad. This weekend – more Thinking Day!