keeping track of my adventures in guiding!


Lovely multi-age program this week, as we integrated our Juniors/Seniors and Rangers programs for evening.

Our units meet at a slightly separate time – the Juniors/Seniors together from 6.30 to 8.00pm, the Rangers from 7.00 to 8.30pm. So rather than having a fully integrated program, we went with a slightly staggered approach.

From 6.30 to 7.30 (ish!), our younger girls all worked on making situpons. At a district camp at the start of the year we noticed that another unit had a set of lightweight situpons that they were able to easily stack and carry, and started thinking about how we could do something similar.

Cue leaders pondering!

Our original plan was to use a heavyweight plastic tablecloth, but on pricing it out, it was going to be quite an expensive little project. Which is fine (what are fees for if not to buy cool things?), but I got to pondering. Luckily, on a trip to Ikea, inspiration struck in the form of a whole bunch of their iconic shopping bags being on sale – a slightly smaller size than usual (hence I guess why they were getting rid of them), and only 49 cents each! And we could get two situpons out of each one! BARGAIN OF THE CENTURY.

Anyway, back to the girls. They all worked to do their own interpretation of the one I’d mocked up, cutting out the two pieces from the bags, edging them with heavy packing tape in bright colours, and then doing various designs on them in permanent markers. Our plan is to stash them in our shed and have them as our ‘unit set’ of situpons for as long as they last! And the particularly brilliant thing about them being based on Ikea bags, is that if the unit grows, or we lose a bunch, or they wear out or whatever, we can easily replace them. WOOHOO!


Here’s the example one I did for the girls – its hard to tell the scale here, but they’re about 45 cms long, and about 30 cms wide. Plenty big enough for even a chunky bottom to stay dry on the went ground!

So that’s what was happening from 6.30 to 7.30. Meanwhile, at 7.00 the Rangers group commenced, and they were tasked with setting and starting our campfire outside. I expected a bit of complaining (wood collecting always brings it on!), but they were pretty chirpy and cooperative, which I think was aided by the fact that I’d managed to raid my work’s recycling stash and had come well prepared with heaps of newspaper, so we knew at the very least we’d get some decent flames happening with minimal effort.

At 7.30, the whole unit joined together, putting the new situpons into action, and singing a bunch of campfire songs, using a program put together by one of the Rangers girls as part of her BP Award, and including a few songs led by one of our Juniors as part of her Junior BP Award! We finished up with a Promise Ceremony for two of our littlest members, then said goodbye to our Juniors and Seniors, leaving the Rangers with half an hour to toast some marshmallows (their reward for doing the hard work of the fire prep!) and then douse the fire and clean up.

All in all, a really lovely night, and a good one to bring together the various age groups in a way that used all their individual strengths.

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Close with a campfire

A lovely final night of term this evening, as we had a campfire (sadly switched to indoor with candles due to weather), toasted marshmallows (not quite as good with candles, but still tasty!), and Promise Ceremonies for three new Guides.

We started out with the ‘campfire’, which was quite nice. We had about 7 candles lit in the middle of the circle, and all the lights off, so it was quite atmospheric, even in the hall. We started, of course, with ‘Campfire’s Burning’, and included a bunch of favourites including ‘Yogi Bear’, ‘Edelweiss’, ‘Found a Peanut’, and ‘Everywhere We Go’. We finished up with a lovely quiet and slightly introspective ‘Canadian Vespers’. There is something rather lovely about having had enough of the unit be with us long enough (and for the various songs to be repeated often enough) that we don’t need to teach all the songs each time, that they can just start singing.

We were joined by several newbies – one on ‘week three’ of coming to visit (and in uniform!), another on ‘week two’ and asking about forms, and two sisters who were apparently very keen (co-leader spoke to them), and said they’ll see us next term! Given we’re just about to lose two girls to moving house out of the area, a two-for-one replacement rate isn’t too bad 🙂

We finished off the term and the night with a Promise ceremony for three girls (two juniors, one senior), and one Promise renewal, for a girl moving up to Seniors. There is such a nice continuity with the ceremonies and traditions, it seems to anchor the group, and also highlights to the girls and the families that we are trying to do something more than just fun… even if that is the most important thing!

So, a two week break before we’re back to it – switching from this term’s focus on The Arts, to next term’s topic of Science and Technology 🙂

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Back to it!

And we’re back for term three.

A mixed first night – we were back in our old hall, which has a GORGEOUS new floor, and we can finally use ALL the space again (which we have not had for nearly a year), so the temptation just to run around in glee was pretty strong!

This term we’ll have both Juniors and Seniors working on The Arts Explore-A-Challenge badge, and to start that off we had a night focused on ‘storytelling and singing’. Activities included sharing stories of the holidays (with the introduction “Once Upon A Time, In The Holidays, I…”), followed by some campfire songs with a ‘story’ theme – firstly The Bear, which is a ‘repeat after me’ type song, and then ‘Quartermaster’s Store’, using the variation where you sing a kid’s name, e.g. “There was Jessie, Jessie, being very Messy in the Store, in the Store…” – we asked the kid being sung about to get up and ‘do the action’, which… kinda worked. Unfortunately it all went on too long as I forgot to say “we won’t get to everyone”, so when I tried to wrap it up when they were getting fidgetty, the kids who had not yet been mentioned were all HEY WHAT ABOUT ME?!, so it dragged on well beyond the tolerance point of most. And finally we tried out another ‘story’ song, a variation on ‘Found a Peanut’, where the girls call out variations and the song develops gradually – this time we all ended up dead from the peanut.

Our plans to play ‘fortunately/unfortunately’ (a short story telling game) were waylaid by their getting fidgetty, so a quick change of plans and embracing of the lovely big hall meant games of ‘Fruit Salad’, gang tiggy, and scarecrow tiggy.

Finally, we gave the girls all the program for the term, and explained about the various excursions and camps on offer.

So, we’re back. Not the most AH-MAY-ZING first night ever, but turn up was good, the kids were happy to see us, and our hall is back to its lovely giant old self 🙂

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