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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Make new friends…

As one of my favourite campfire songs goes:

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold. A circle is round. It has no end. That’s how long I want to be your friend.

So in honour of the ‘International Day Of Friendship’ (which was apparently today), we had a ‘friendship’ themed night, which mainly focused on getting the girls to learn a bit more about each other, and particularly, get to know a bit more about someone they don’t usually spend much time with.

We started out with a game of musical chairs (I’m sure when we did the program that had a particular purpose, but for the life of me I could not remember what it was tonight so… we just played musical chairs. It did work nicely as an icebreaker!), and then had a game of ‘stacks’, where everyone has a chair in a circle, and as certain things are called out, if you fit the criteria, you have to move the assigned number of seats, and if someone is already sitting there, just sit on top of them! So ‘criteria’ were things like “if you have a brother, move five spots to the right”, “if you like spaghetti bolognaise, move 3 spots to the left”, “if you are a Junior Guide, move 2 spots left” etc etc. Our tallest stack was five kids deep at one point, which caused much hilarity 🙂

Next we had the girls all choose a partner – with the stipulation that it had to be someone they didn’t know well, didn’t see outside of Guides, didn’t go to school with, and preferably was from the other section (i.e. prefer Juniors paired with Seniors, rather than two Juniors in a pair). The pairs then had three minutes to find three things they had in common, and then share one of those things with the group as a whole.

Those pairs then became part of the next game, which had the smaller of the two pair members in an inner circle, and the taller in an outer circle, each going in a different direction when instructed, before having to suddenly find each other and have the little one sit on the bigger one’s knee, with the last pair to find each other being eliminated. Again, not a lot of *point*, but a lot of fun, and it did get them out of their usual cosy pairs of “besties”.

Finally, we had a little craft/experiment activity, which AwesomeCoLeader had found online, where the girls each had a little flower template to cut out (about five cms across in total), and wrote in the centre one quality that makes a good friend. The petals were then decorated, and folded in, before all being dropped into a dish of water, to, we hoped, open up gently to reveal their words of wisdom. And score, it actually worked! Which had the girls all very excited, as they tried to read what each other had written, and then made a few extra suggestions of words that should be on the list.

So, a good night. We even had two newbies join us who seemed to have a lovely time – one an older sister of a current Guide (unusual, we often get little sisters joining, but big sisters are usually far too cool to want to do their baby sister’s activity!), and one a friend of TinyGuide, who joined in even though TinyGuide was away sick, and was super keen to come back next week and order uniform!

Floating friendship flowers:




Constructing Guides

If anyone ever tells you that girls don’t like to build things, well, they’re wrong.

Tonight we had a brilliant night, possibly one of my favourites for quite a while, as I spent some time with the Juniors as they used sticks and rope and tarpaulins to construct small pup tents/shelters.

My role was pretty much just supervising (with the occasional advice/comment) as they all worked brilliantly in their allocated small groups (not their usual patrols), and started to get really creative in their approach to problem solving. Gratifyingly (in terms of our term structure), several of them remembered how they’d got their tripod tents to stay up several weeks ago, and were able to apply that thinking, and explain it to the newer members of the group.

It was particularly impressive that the night went so well, given that we had visitors from Sister Unit (always lovely), plus two girls “brought a friend” (which… that’s great, but a heads up is always nice… and *technically* the Juniors are full…), plus four of the girls are so new they can’t yet remember which patrol they’re usually in, or hardly anyone’s name, so the challenges were potentially substantial! (True confessions time its not just kids having trouble with names: of four newbies this term, there are three girls (sisters and their friend) who look SO ALIKE that I have NO CLUE which is which… I wonder if there’s a way I can work in nametags next week…??)

All in all, a really great activity. Filled nearly an hour, including them gleefully destroying their creations, and then helping (quite well actually) to wrap up the ropes neatly and put everything away.

While all this was going on, AwesomeCoLeader supervised the Seniors (a flip to our usual ways) as they put up and took down little 3 person tents in patrols. Putting them up the challenge was to do so in silence, while taking them down ended up with one of the funniest sights I’ve seen for a while – 4 patrol members blindfolded, one not, and supposedly providing instructions. The results seemed decidedly mixed when I peeked in, but my little tent was returned to me fitting better inside its case than I’d sent it off to them, so I can only assume it at least partly worked!

And of course you’re reading the blog closely (of course), and noticed we’ve only got an hour of programing there – what happened to the extra half hour? Well, that went on a couple of activities and presentations run by a couple of girls for their Junior BP Award, plus a bit of futzing about, and your basic chaos of trying to wrangle 25+ kids!

Followed all that with decoupage at Rangers, and then panic raiding of the shed and cupboards for anything and everything we could possibly need for this weekend’s camp! Fingers crossed all goes to plan (or near enough!) so that I’m not scared off planning others in future! 🙂


Growing the Guiding Glow

Last night we had a bring-a-friend/open night.

The open night was meant to be advertised in our local monthly paper, but I’m not entirely convinced it happened – I know at my house for whatever reason we had the “July” edition delivered, rather than the “August” edition, which was very odd! I suppose it will be interesting to see if we get any enquiries in September when/if the August edition is delivered!

Still, it didn’t matter, as we had lots of friends come to visit for the night! Its always gratifying to see a crowd on these evenings, as I remember the awkwardness of bring-a-friend nights at my Guides group when I was a kid, when there were hardly any new kids along, but we all went to heaps of effort “just in case”… a bit weird! Nice too that a decent proportion of the friends were from our Seniors girls, not just the littlies.

In terms of program, we pinched a lot of ideas from Quolls’ Guiding’s Glow Stick Olympics:

If you decide to go down this path, BUY A LOT OF GLOW STICKS!! We used 100 during the course of the evening!

The activities we did were a tiggy game, with glow sticks tucked into waist bands, limbo, tug-of-war, pass-the-glow stick (not terribly successful actually), discus and javelin.

The discus and javelin activities worked really well – we gave each ‘patrol’ (glow stick colour groups!) 10 glow sticks, some paper and some sticky tape, and let them figure out the best approach.

We also did a little bit of ten pin bowling (ish) as a fill in at the end.

Overall, I think it was a reasonably successful evening – apparently about 4 of the friends asked co-leader for extra information at the end – but honestly, the night didn’t quite have the flow that marks a great evening. We seemed to spend a lot of time trying to quiet and focus fidgetty kids, both co-leader and I were tired and not as ‘with it’ as we’d like to be…

And also, as I think I’ve discussed previously, co-leader and I seem to be better at making boring things fun, than in just making fun things fun! Pure games nights don’t really seem to be our forte!

Well, we’ll see if next week brings some newbies, as that is the true marker of success!

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