keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

The Wishing Tree

Tonight Rangers-leader and I took some of the older girl via tram to the local shopping centre to purchase gifts for the Kmart Wishing Tree, which go to disadvantaged people.

The girls seemed to have a good time, and it was kind of fun to include the travel (certainly made it fill the whole hour and a half), but I’m not sure that they got as much out of it as I would have hoped… Not sure. Ranger leader and I let them wander about Kmart in pairs/threes which I think they enjoyed – they always like that little bit of freedom, and they did seem to work reasonably well together in choosing which items they wished to purchase for the tree.

Meanwhile, the littlies were at the hall with co-leader, doing a couple of very cute Christmas crafts – most fabulously, a santa that ‘climbed the chimney’! Very clever!

It seems my concerns re retention may be well founded – Senior who I was figuring was unlikely to return attended this evening and said she won’t be back next year as she’s doing Gym instead… and interestingly, gossip from other girls with the Juniors tonight suggested that CryingMissSix and her older sister may not be returning… which would be very disappointing, they haven’t been with us for that long, but certainly seemed to be enjoying it and getting a lot out of it. I hope its an incorrect rumour, but the kids are sadly often on the mark with such things…

*Sigh* well, I guess we’ll see how everything pans out. Next week, Christmas carols, and a party in the park to close out the Guiding year.

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Earthy adventures

Last night was a brilliant night of Guiding! Three separate activities (one per section – Juniors, Seniors, Upper Seniors), which were ALL successful, which all the girls seemed to enjoy, and all of which were fun, something new, and fitted into the badge program!

Our littlies made volcanoes, which they seemed to really enjoy – we had them make a dough to shape the volcano shape around a bottle, which they seemed to enjoy – they really like it when we give them a recipe or similar and let them get on with it. I’m guessing for girls aged six to nine, there probably aren’t many times where they get to self-manage an activity, and follow the instructions with minimal adult involvement! Once again, that tiny taste of freedom and responsiblity really seems to work for the younger ones. Younger co-leader ran the activity, and did really well – but she did say for sure afterwards that she prefers the older girls! Fair enough!

Meanwhile, other co-leader ran a brilliant ‘edible gardens’ activity with the Upper Seniors, which had them use various forms of lollies and chocolate to build the layers involved in soil and gardens! So clever, and so much fun – dyed coconut for grass, sour worm lollies for earth worms, made-from-scratch chocolate pudding for the sub-soil… The girls had lots of fun, and were completely surprised by the activity, which was great!

And thirdly, I helped the Seniors out with making terrariums! They turned out really well, each girl got a *teeny* parlour palm, a wee little fern, and various combinations of moss, baby’s breath, and teeny violet plants. They all got really absorbed in the task, and were very excited when I suggested we could also add some beads and things – and very luckily found a box of gorgeous flat glass ‘marble’ type things, which made for brilliant ‘ponds’.

So, three fabulous activities, absorbed kids, and THEY EVEN ALL CLEANED UP WITH MINIMAL WHINGING!! Woohoo!!

Not only all of that, but two newbies! One who came to last week’s bring-a-friend with the younger girls, who dragged mum over at the end, and insisted mum take the forms (cute!), and another who came for the first time last night – apparently she’d seen an ad about Guides, checked us out online, and ended up with us! Got a call from her mum today saying that daughter loved Guides, and she’d pick up the forms next week!

Next week – ‘jumping snakes’ for the juniors, pottery for everyone else. Should be great!

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Camp – the full story!

So, camp!

We had five leaders for the full time (and one extra from Saturday arvo), and twenty-one kids. The youngest was juuuuuuuust seven, the oldest fourteen and a half. The girls were drawn from my unit, sister unit, and another unit, who I hadn’t really had anything to do with before (not in our District or anything).

And we had a great time!

Friday night ended up going a little astray, as the original plans to have dinner ready when the kids got there simply didn’t happen, so we didn’t get the girls fed until well after 8pm, which probably wasn’t ideal… by the time we’d then cleaned up etc, we didn’t even have the kids in their rooms until 10pm, so it wasn’t entirely surprising that the leaders didn’t get to bed until after midnight, what with wrangling the last of the kids into quiet, if not actual sleep. Naturally it was the tiniest ones who stayed up the latest!!

Saturday started well enough, but I managed to throw out the timelines for the wide game hugely by not having brought along any ropes! I’d consciously chosen not to, as where we were staying usually has heaps of that sort of equipment, and I was already bringing heaps of stuff. But unfortunately, we chose the one weekend where the caretakers were away, and so we had no keys to access the equipment sheds!! So I spent a solid 30 minutes (with assistance from some others) making ‘ropes’ out of twine, because (of course), the ropes were needed for one of the core activities that formed part of the badge the wide game was supposed to work towards!

So we got started late.

And then all but the eldest kids managed to get themselves entirely off-course, lost, and out of whack within about 30 minutes! So an activity that should have taken maybe 30-40 minutes took about an hour and 30 minutes…. which pushed back all the other activities. And then setting the fire to cook lunch took longer than anticipated (damp wood will do that)… so lunch, instead of being at about 1pm as originally planned, ended up being at about 3pm! On the upside, hunger is a marvellous flavour enhancer, so lunch was most tasty!

Anyway, they got through the final challenges, and by the end of the day, they’d all bonded in patrols, completed the activities, and apparently had a brilliant time, so I guess it doesn’t matter that the timings were out, and that they all seem to need some serious map-reading classes (personally, I blame GPSs, but then, I don’t like them at the best of times!).

Saturday night we had tacos for dinner, and then went outside for a proper campfire, complete with singing and toasting marshmallows, which all went really quite well. Co-leader had organised the program, and had a good mix of songs, including enough new ones to keep things interesting! After the campfire, we gave the girls a hot milo, then sent them off to bed – MUCH easier on the second night, as they were all utterly exhausted – still had to get SCARY LEADER out a couple of times though, particularly with the older girls. At one point, I’d opened up the door to their room, told them to shoosh, and then closed the door. I was still standing outside five seconds later when they started talking again!! So I opened up the door again and said “SERIOUSLY?! I was still outside the door!! How stupid do you think I am? SHOOSH AND SLEEP!”

Sunday morning, and the girls were definitely fading – we had to actually wake them (apart from the tiny ones who chirped “I KNEW it was morning!” when I went in to tell them it was time to get up!), and they were pretty quiet at breakfast. Luckily, the second leader from sister unit had prepared a reasonably quiet program for the morning’s activities (although to be honest, some of it was toooo quiet and long, and had them sitting there a bit bored, which was unfortunate). The younger girls had definitely lost resilience by this stage though, minor injuries/incidents (of a scale that would usually be laughed off) were resulting in major tears and freak outs – oh well, luckily I’ve been doing this for a while now, and know not to take the number of tears as indicative of severity! Finally, to close out the program, we had a fairly simple Guides Own, which was a bit more religiously based than I generally prefer (I usually like the more thankful/generally spiritual/nature ones), but did include a nice little bit where each girl said the thing she enjoyed most about camp – which for a lot of them was making new friends, and also ‘getting lost in the wide game’. Heh.

By 3pm, all the girls were off, and by 3.30, the leaders were gone too. I finally got home a bit after 5pm (the campsite is a fair way away from home, plus we had to stop for coffee, and I had to drop off co-leader), and when I got home, all I wanted was a long, hot shower, some wine, and pizza. Luckily I got all three, and so ended up a chirpy Guide leader, who might even consider doing it all again!

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All camped out!

Returned from camp this evening exhausted, aching, headachey, grumpy. Thankfully though, it was nothing a long hot shower, a bit of rest, and some pizza and wine couldn’t fix!

Our camp seemed to be pretty successful, with (reasonably) limited tears, lots of laughs, the girls making lots of new friends, and generally getting into the activities with enthusiasm and good grace!

Still, now is not the time for a full deconstruction – that can wait for tomorrow when I’ve had plenty of rest and recuperation.

For now, all I’ll say is – thank goodness for lots of leaders (many of whom put in far more hours than me!), and yay for girls learning to adapt and cope! And for a tiny taste of freedom- apparently the highlight for them all was getting lost during the wide game!

Details tomorrow when I’ve had enough sleep to think straight and type properly!

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