guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Fire safety shenanigans

Simple evening at Guides, focusing on fire safety.

The younger girls brainstormed fire safety rules, then read through some statements about fire safety to decide which ones were correct, and then did fire safety ‘relay’ – with the hope that The Power Of Three would help at least *some* of it stick!

They then practiced lighting matches to light a tealight candle each, and toast a marshmallow over the top. My co-leaders report that as per usual, there were a few kids very apprehensive about lighting matches, but that with a lot of coaxing, they all got there – one of the littlies was so pleased and proud she had to show her mum once mum arrived 🙂

Meanwhile, the older girls did maps of their homes and found the logical escape routes in the event of a fire, and did a scavenger hunt of sorts around the hall and grounds to find the fire blanket, extinguisher, hydrant, maps of evacuation points, and external taps. They got surprisingly into it – anything with an element of inter-patrol competition seems to get them excited!

We then had a quick fire drill, and I discovered exactly how little the girls actually listen, and how much they follow the crowd – I’d given instructions firstly to the Seniors that we would shortly be having a drill, and the seniors would be going to the carpark evacuation point, and the juniors to the front lawn point. Then when all the kids were together, I told all the girls that they were to do as they’d been instructed, and if they were unsure, to follow their patrol leader.

Well, I waited in the carpark with (most of) one of the three seniors patrols, plus a stray from another patrol… but well under half. It took a further five minutes of them running back and forth trying to convince their fellow guides to come! It seems a) their short-term memory is pretty poor and is quickly over-ridden by ‘the crowd’ and b) that some of them can’t even remember who their patrol leader is, so *that* is interesting!!

Anyway, we closed out the night with a Promise ceremony for two teeny 6 year olds, and a renewal for one of our long standing guides moving up to Seniors. Lovely as always 🙂

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Wide game – Hunt for the Jinn

This is a wide game put together last year for a sleepover. The original tale is here – https://guideydiary.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/sleepover-survived/

This wide game takes about 3-4 hours, and was a total hit with the kids – many still say “oh do you mean like the Jinn?!” when I talk about wide games!

The central theme of this wide game is about finding the Jinn, which is a cheeky Arabian fire spirit, a bit like a genie. Enjoy!

Hunt for the Jinn

[Leader: look into ‘magic lamp’]

[Leader say: Oh no! The Jinn has escaped!

Jinns are fire spirits from the middle east, similar to Genies. Unlike Genies, Jinns don’t usually grant you wishes. Instead, they usually cause a bit of trouble!

Jinns take the form of smokeless flame, and they can be tricky, so be very careful!

To hunt down the Jinn, you’ll need to look carefully, face challenges, and be brave. Jinns can be summoned and calmed down with kind words and delicious food, and they often disappear when people are tested and shown to have courage.

Each patrol will need to follow a separate path to attempt to find the Jinn and banish it – we don’t want a tricksy Jinn ruining our sleepover, so you’d better find it!! This Jinn is especially tricky – its left several different trails, so be careful to follow the right one!]

[give each patrol a Jinn-hunting kit] [different colour for each patrol]

[Leader: First, you’ll need to disguise yourselves, so you have the best possible chance of getting close to the Jinn. When everyone in the patrol is disguised, you can open your first clue. ]

[decorate masks with sequins etc] [in hall]

Envelope one:

I AM THE JINN! CATCH ME IF YOU CAN! FOLLOW MY TRAIL FROM OUT THE FRONT… BE SURE TO COLLECT ANYTHING THAT SEEMS IMPORTANT ON THE TRAIL… YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED SUPPLIES…

[include copy of tracking signs]

[trail with tracking signs – some pieces of wood etc to be in relevant patrol colours]

[trail to go in 3 different directions]

[on trail – find buckets, blindfolds, water pistols, large foil tray, matches] [mark with patrol colours]

[end of trail – coded message and a rope with 3 knots in it]

Code says:

HAHA! WELL DONE ON FOLLOWING SO FAR!

YOU MUST MATCH THE KNOTS TO GET THE NEXT CLUE! ENVELOPE 2 WILL HELP YOU!

[envelope 2 to include a sheet with knot instructions & a note to show results to the leaders]

 [if correct – leaders to give envelope 3]

Envelope 3 says:

HAHA! WELL DONE SO FAR! BUT LOOK!

I SNUCK UP AND BURNT YOUR PATROL LEADER ON THE HAND! BET YOU CAN’T HELP HER!

 [envelope 3 to contain note that says: You must perform correct first aid to treat a minor burn on your patrol leader’s hand, and show one of the leaders]

[leader to approve, give envelope 4]

Envelope 4 says:

SO! YOU STILL CONTINUE TO HUNT ME!

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO FIND A JINN, PERHAPS YOU SHOULD BUILD A FIRE!

[envelope 4 to contain note that says: As a patrol, use the equipment you have already gathered, plus wood etc from around the hall to build a fire in your tray. It will need to be a big strong fire, and make sure you have considered safety! Ask for help if you need it, and take out envelope 5 from your kit when you have the fire going well. ]

Envelope 5 says:

SO, YOU’VE SUMMONED ME WITH THE FIRE!

PERHAPS IF YOU DO SOMETHING NICE FOR ME I WON’T CAUSE SO MUCH TROUBLE!

I LIKE SWEET THINGS. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD MAKE ME SOME AFTERNOON TEA?

[envelope 5 to contain note that says: In the kitchen is an afternoon tea kit for your patrol]

[Afternoon tea kit: bananas, chocolate, foil, knife, instructions – note each patrol to make one extra banana ‘for the jinn’ (for the leaders!)]  

Envelope 6 says:

THAT WAS DELICIOUS!

BUT YOU STILL HAVEN’T FOUND ME! I ONLY REVEAL MYSELF TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE SHOWN TRUE COURAGE!

YOU WILL NEED TO HUNT FOR YOUR NEXT CLUE BEFORE A FINAL CHALLENGE, AND THEN I WILL SHOW MYSELF!

[note in envelope 6: envelope number seven is hidden somewhere in the hall… good luck!]

Envelope 7 says:

HAHA! NEARLY THE FINAL CHALLENGE!

YOU WILL NEED TO FACE THE ROPE CHALLENGE BEFORE I WILL REVEAL MYSELF!

[note in envelope 7: go out to [LOCATION], where a leader will be waiting to give you instructions.]

Instructions for rope challenge-

Leader:

[All patrol members must be blindfolded, and must make their way along the rope trail by touch only. You will know you’re at the end of the trail when you feel two large knots in a row. Be careful.]

[envelope 8 – placed prominently at the end of the rope challenge]

[note in envelope 8: Jinns can be calmed with nice words, so you’ll need to learn to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in Arabic.

Hello is ‘A-Salaam Aliekum’ (Ah-Sal-aaam All-ee-koom)

Thank you is ‘Shukran’ (Shook-raan)

As a patrol, practice the words until you can shout them out as a group. Then you can move onto the final task, banishing the Jinn. Instructions are in envelope 9. ]

Envelope 9 (in the kit) says:

SO! FINALLY WE MEET! ONLY PEOPLE WHO FEED ME SWEETS, SHOW COURAGE, AND TAKE THE TIME TO BE NICE ARE WORTHY TO SEE ME AS A FLAME.

HAVING PROVEN YOURSEVLES WORTHY, I ASK YOU EXTINGUISH MY FLAME AND SET ME FREE!

[note in envelope 9: The youngest member of your patrol should use the water pistol to put out the flame. So the Jinn can return home, the second oldest person in the patrol needs to take a single match and put it inside the magic lamp. CONGATULATIONS! YOU’RE DONE!]

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Campfire’s burning, draw nearer, draw nearer…

Final night of our fire-themed term, time for school holidays.

Its been a really good term, we’ve had pretty good attendance from all sections, all the newbies who visited at the start of term have formally joined and have become well integrated into the group, and after a night or two where we were a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of Juniors, we seem to have settled into a good rhythm, and a nice vibe in the group.

Tonight to ‘close off’ the fire theme, we had a campfire – the first one we’ve had at the hall, where we actually had a proper fire, rather than candles in the hall. We set a small fire in a foil tray, out in the courtyard, and although it was a cold night, it was clear and still, so we were reasonably comfortable. We had the Seniors and Upper Seniors assist two of the leaders to put the fire together (which they did very quickly and well!), as we had the Juniors playing a quick game or two inside. One of the girls came up with a variation on ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ – ‘Girl, Girl, Guides’! Very cute.

Once the fire was going, we had all the girls and leaders together, and started the singing, which included a few ones that we taught girls earlier in the term or at the sleepover (Thunderation, Old Lady Leary, Eppo), and some firm favourites of the unit – My Name is Joe, Three Little Angels, This Little Guiding Light. We also did ‘edelweiss’, with the clapping pattern, which they are starting to get quite good at. As is traditional, we began with ‘Campfire’s Burning’, and ended with Canadian Vespers.

Of course, you can’t have a campfire without marshmallows – so we had a bit of a roasting, and got out some chocolate Guide biscuits to introduce girls to s’mores – most tasty!

Our visitor from last week (a prospective Upper Senior) returned, and her dad was querying the process to become a member, so hopefully she’ll return next term 🙂

We also had the girls do a quick evaluation of the term – I wrote up a list of the main activities we’d done during the term, and then had options for girls to rate them as brilliant, good, okay or boring. Each girl had a limit of four ‘ticks’, so had to choose whether to be all positive or negative or a mix… luckily most chose to be positive! The best results were for the sleepover, and for the mystery box cooking and fire experiments. No activities had multiple negative ratings, so they must have been reasonably happy!

So, onwards to term three!

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Inspiring a new generation of firefighters!

This week we visited the Melbourne Fire Museum – and after an initial slow start, the kids had a fabulous time! We had 16 of our girls, and 3 from our sister unit, who offered the activity as an ‘extra’ on their program (as compared to us, where it was our standard unit night).

The Museum is usually open on weekends, but they agreed to open up for us at our usual meeting time – 6.30 to 8.00 on a Wednesday, which was just brilliant – it meant we had the place to ourselves, and didn’t need to worry about losing the kids in any crowds! At $6 per kid (and no charge for leaders, although they do usually charge for adults… possibly a ‘youth group’ type arrangement?), it was really a good value night out.

First we started by being guided through the Museum by the elderly volunteer guide – and I feared that perhaps we had gone off track when he started telling ghost stories! – but we got back on topic when it came time to look at the old fire engines, and the girls were allowed to climb over one of the replica ones, and put on fire hats, and dress up in an old captains outfit.

But the highlight of the night came when the guide went and asked the firefighters in the proper fire station next door if the girls could have a tour – and two guys came down and showed the girls all over and through the fire engines, showed off sliding down the pole, and put over a test on the PA system greeting the two units, which gave the kids a thrill.

The girls were shown all the parts of the vehicles (they were particularly fascinated by the massive axe and other tools), got to see one of the big ladders pulled out, and then at the very end – in a way that almost seemed choreographed – the actual alarms went off, and the girls got to watch two engines get crewed up, and pull out with sirens flashing!

I rather think we might end up having a few girls desperately wanting to be firefighters now!

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Sleepover survived

The sleepover is done and dusted!

Despite my apprehension about having my first sleepover as truly ‘leader in charge’, especially with lots of newbies in attendance, it all went reasonably smoothly.

It began concerningly – the youngest one in tears (again… at first I was worried – what are we doing to cause tears each time we see this kid? – but now it just seems like her ‘thing’, and she seems to perk up quite quickly afterwards!), several other kids late, those who were on time getting antsy, and the first part of the wide game – a set trail – was not set! aggh!!

But it all got settled, and despite starting the wide game about 20 minutes later than anticipated, that proved to be pretty much the only hitch! They were all able to follow the trail, decode the code (although it appears I needed another little instruction in there about that you needed to decode, as they all went ‘uh, what do we do next…?’), and had a marvellous time with each patrol building a proper fire and then cooking banana boats on the fire (bananas with chocolate inside, then baked). The other unexpected success was the rope trail they had to follow blindfolded. When they were looking at the ropes strung across the yard, I heard several comments of ‘eh, that’s easy!’ – but of course things are very different once you’ve been blindfolded and dizzied up, and it ended up being the bit they were most positive about (apart from the fire!).

The aspects that didn’t work so well was copying the knots left by the Jinn – the patrols all decided to try and undo the knots before reading the instructions about having to re-create them (and it turns out even our ‘old’ guides are more than a bit shakey on the old reef knot which worries me!); and I think the ‘close’ needed to be a bit stronger than just putting out a candle with the water pistol.

After the wide game, we got straight into organising dinner, which my fabulous co-leaders sorted with ten junior guides all in the kitchen at once – amazing! Meanwhile, I wimped out and helped the older girls begin planning the Guides Own, for in the morning.

Dinner was mexican wraps, which were pretty successful, but oops, we forgot to do dessert… oh well!! They’d already had ‘dessert’ for afternoon tea, so that was our story, and we were sticking to it! After dinner, we did a quick walk around the block, and a campfire which seemed to go quite well, especially as most of the girls had never sung those songs, or knew how to sing in rounds etc.

This morning we had breakfast (pancakes & rice bubbles), and did the usual packing up wrangling. The older girls ran the Guides Own, which turned out really well (note to self, remember the technique of giving relevant materials and equipment but letting them run with bringing it together!), and then played games etc.

Overall, I think it was a really excellent few hours, and for those girls who attended, it really did extend the Guide program fabulously for them.

Also, despite my hesitation at having so many new girls attend (and having crying miss not-quite-six come along), I think it will prove to have been enormously beneficial in getting those girls to bond with the group who have been around a while, and giving them a good grounding in ‘how we do things at Guides’.

So, no longer feeling overwhelmed by our sudden numbers jump, just excited and pleased to have a new bunch of brilliant kids in the unit. Yay!

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Sleepover plotting and planning

I’ve been having far too much fun – and spending far too much time! – putting together a wide game for our sleepover next week.

At this stage, the game is going to include some of the staples – knotting, first aid, setting a fire and cooking over the fire – as well as some cuter flourishes, including making sparkly masks (for stealthier jinn-hunting), and learning to say hello and thank you in Arabic (because jinns are from the Middle East, and are nicer to people who are polite). Naturally this also means I’ve been busily construcing a magic lamp for the jinn to have escaped from – regrettably,  the lamp currently looks like a mildly deformed teapot… I suspect all the bronze paint in the world is not going to be able to rescue it!!

I’ve also been pottering about finding resources for a fire-theme Guides Own. Initially, I was going to just present the Guides Own to the girls, but a bit of reading reminded me that for it to truly be a Guides Own service, the girls need to have planned it and implemented it themselves. So, latest idea is that I will provide them with a bunch of poems, sayings, and *stuff* which they can use to plan the Guides Own – and I think I’ll limit it to just the older girls doing the planning. I’m sure they’ll come up with something suitable, so long as the ‘raw materials’ are useful enough – afterall, it really is a tough ask to try and come up with something out of nothing, and I think this may be where we’ve gone astray before.

So, here’s hoping.

In all this, I realise I’ve neglected to plan my part in this week’s usual unit activities… and I haven’t heard from any of my co-leaders that they’ve done their planning yet either!! Plans are for first aid, evaculation drills, how to call for help, etc etc. We’ll have to put some thought into how we manage that with our wide age range. Food for thought.

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