keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Journey to Japan (while still in a Guide hall)

Journeying to Japan was the theme for this week, and so our full kit and caboodle of kids, both Juniors and Seniors, progressively worked their way through a bunch of Japanese themed activities!

Once again, my splendid team of co-leaders had mostly taken the reigns, so I had minimal organising or wrangling to do! Its still a little shock to me how many nights I’ve been able to not be in charge this term – and I admit, its a little disconcerting! But it is genuinely wonderful to feel able to let go and let others take responsibility, and I’m absolutely sure its a better long term plan than having one or two people feeling like they can’t really have time away, or that the group would be at risk of closure if they had to move. Teams are definitely more sustainable than individuals!

The activities we had running for the girls included:

Origami – the traditional cranes, as well as a couple of simpler designs

Peg dolls – dressed up in little pieces of fabric and pipecleaners to look like they were wearing kimonos

Bookmarks – these were a design that sort of used origami type techniques

Hiragana – writing out Japanese Hiragana letters, and using these to roughly write the girls names (while knowing that technically names would be translated into Katakana, but my skills in Katakana are even rustier than my Hiragana, so…!)

Sushi and gyoza – making both reasonably from scratch – the girls had great fun perfecting their sushi rolling!

With seven patrols, but only five activities, we decided it was easiest to just have the girls move between activities as they chose, in whatever groupings they wished. We’ve done that sort of thing a few times lately, and it does seem to work well, and result in quite a nice relaxed vibe, as the girls can move as they’re ready, rather than having to wait for the slowest members of their patrol to finish. In the end, not all the girls got to do all the activities, but they all seemed happy! Our original grand plans for the night included some sort of ‘flying’ to Japan, and having passports and setting up the different activities as various cities… etc etc etc. But time got away from us, and seeing as the girls didn’t know how elaborate our original ideas were, they didn’t miss the extra flourishes!

This week: a campfire, with the program being planned by a couple of our rangers girls. Lets hope the weather clears up, or we’ll be doing panic buying of red and yellow glow sticks to create an indoor campfire! Not that we need to be entirely sheltered from the weather, but in tiny campfire versus driving rain, I suspect the campfire won’t end up being very festive!

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Team guiding

Quiet night for me last night, as my two excellent co-leaders ran the main activities without me. Its lovely to occasionally take a back step 🙂

We also had two very excellent helpers – a Mum who offered to stick around and help out (and who is also happy to help next week when we’ll be down on numbers, yay!), and one of our Rangers who emailed me late in the day to ask if she could come and help, even though it wasn’t a Rangers night! Excellent stuff, looks like we may have a junior leader on our hands.

Awesome CoLeader took the Juniors upstairs for a night of “tv skits”, for the ‘lounge room’ portion of the Homes badge. Apparently the girls had a marvellous time playing with the dress ups several of them brought along, although I gather the intended ‘world guiding’ theme didn’t *quite* come through. Perhaps the younger ones just aren’t quite there in terms of their ‘world view’ yet – some of them seem to struggle even with the concept that there are other Guides in our district, never mind further afield! Ah well, a project for another day 🙂

Meanwhile, YoungCoLeader had the Seniors re-learning tracking signs, using glow sticks to make trails for each other to followin the dark. It worked brilliantly, and the girls had a great time, I think in a weird way enhanced by the fact that it was raining a little, so there was a slight element of  ‘ooh I don’t usually get to be out in the dark in the rain’ added to the activity.

While each of the patrols was laying trails, I chatted to the ‘other’ patrol about possible options for next term, and had a bit of a look through the badge books for things that interested them. Seems like the badge best aligned to their interests is the Explore A Challenge: The Arts, so I guess us leaders will need to take a closer look at that one in the next few weeks and see if its viable.

Finally, to round out the night we had an extra Promise ceremony for our teeniest Guide, who was ill at the start of term when she was due to make her Promise, and will be at a school event at our next scheduled ceremony! She’s such a littlie that to pin on her badge and shake hands properly, I had to kneel down 🙂

Next week – I’m not going to usual Guides, as I’m having a night focused on the Rangers, doing a wide game at our local IKEA – should be fun!

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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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