guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Leading, following, teaming, promising.

A bit of a bitsy night last week, as I and NewCoLeader2 worked with the Seniors to develop their leadership (and follower-ship!) skills.

We started off with a fill-in-the-blanks worksheet, which was talking about the good qualities of a leader. Interestingly, 9 times out of 10, they had all chosen exactly the same word. I don’t know if the sheets were written in such a way that there was only one realistic answer, or if they don’t have large vocabularies, or if they were trying to be ‘right’ rather than ‘creative’, but it was interesting. I thought that going through everyone’s answers together would give us some interesting discussions, but it turned out instead to be more of an echo chamber! Perhaps next time I’ll have to offer lollies in exchange for the most creative-but-sensible word choice!

We then decided to enjoy the gorgeous summery weather, and played a bunch of teamwork/leading/cooperating games- a series of 3-legged races, and blindfolded leading about races. I insisted on the girls pairing up with someone they didn’t know well (had to do a little enforcing of this “but we don’t go to school together, and she’s not in my patrol!” “yeah but you’ve both been Guides for three years – find someone else!”) – in the end they all had a lot of fun, and particularly in the leading-a-blindfolded-team activity, it was lovely to give some of the newer and shyer girls the opportunity to be in charge. One of our most socially awkward newbies was the leader of her little group, and she was just sooooooo chuffed, especially after having been paired with one of the “cooler” girls earlier on. I think she got a real boost in confidence, and felt like she was part of the in crowd, rather than watching from the sides… not that she was ever excluded (we are lucky in that all our unit members are excellent about including everyone), but there is a difference between being formally included and feeling like you are really part of the team!

Meanwhile, the younger girls were doing some weather experiments as part of their Air badge, making mini tornadoes in glass jars, practicing making thunder out of paper bags, and creating static electricity with balloons rubbed against their hair! Not really my cup of tea, but several of the girls were very excitedly reporting the goings-on to their parents at the end, so it seems it was well-aimed at the younger girls!

Finally, to round out the night we had a Promise ceremony for two of our girls moving up to Seniors, a ‘moving up’ ceremony for our oldest girl moving properly to our Rangers group, and (first for many years for me!) a Promise Ceremony for our two new Leaders, which was super lovely. It was really great for the girls to see that the leaders also make the same Promise, and get the same Promise and World badges!

Next week: cooking for the older girls, paper planes for the littlies.

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Edible earth and experimenting

This week at Guides I took a step back and let my very talented co-leaders run the show, as indeed they’ll be doing for the rest of the year!

We had another night focused on the Science and Technology badge, and it ended up being a good night for all.

AwesomeCoLeader worked with the Senior Guides in the kitchen, and had them modify an activity she first ran a few years ago as “edible gardens”, morphing it into “edible earth science”. The guts of the concept was to build a model of the earth, with rock layers, sub soil, top soil, grass, etc. The catch was doing this with food, including making chocolate pudding from scratch for the subsoil, crushing biscuits for the topsoil, dying coconut for the grass, etc.

They turned out fabulously, as you can see!

IMG_2119

The girls worked in groups of 3-4 to do various parts of the process, and it worked just brilliantly. Currently patrols in our Seniors group are 8 girls a piece, and they’re just too big to be properly functional, so its good to split things up a little, and it was nice to let the girls form their own groups. We’re quite lucky in that we don’t have a huge number of “out of Guides” friendship groups in our unit (we have something like 10 schools represented across 30 kids), so even when they choose their own groups, they’re not *too* ‘cliquey’.

(We haven’t bothered with splitting the patrols for this term as at the turn of terms we had 2 patrols of 7, which was borderline, and given only a few weeks left in the year, easier not to disrupt things – since then of course, we’ve had 2 newbies join, which has put us to 8 a piece but at this point, its pretty much just a job for next year, especially with another two juniors due to move up at the end of term).

Meanwhile, YoungCoLeader and a GrandparentHelper were outside with the Junior Guides – originally the plan was for the Juniors to just make volcanoes, and when we’ve done this previously (as part of our Fire badge, I think?), the leader at the time had an elaborate process including making a salt dough to go around the volcano (to make it volcano-shaped), and colouring the water red etc, to look like lava. YoungCoLeader went a different way, which better fitted with the science and technology bent, focusing on the chemistry and process of creating the mixture, and then following up with two further experiments – one using milk and cola (I can’t remember to do what with!!), and the other using cola to clean dirty coins. My usual reaction to the coin-cleaning properties of cola is “eew, that must be doing bad stuff to my insides if it can clean coins!”, but apparently the main reaction from the Junior Guides was “awesome, and do we get to drink the cola?!?”. Different priorities I guess!!

Finally, the most of the girls (barring one small group of Seniors who were finishing off their creations) went out to play camouflage, AGAIN. Oh well, at least its not Not Fruit Salad!!

And now the little blog will be on a wee hiatus for a while as I’ll be away from Guides awaiting the hopefully imminent arrival of a little one, and then we’ll have the long summer holidays. Barring any random posts on plotting and planning, the blog should (in theory!) be back in February. See you then!

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Evil Doctor Greyzone and the Great Colour Hunt (Wide game)

Here’s a short (approx. 1 hour or so) wide game developed recently as part of our Science and Technology term.  This was tackled by Guides aged 6-12 in mixed aged patrols – there is quite a bit of reading required, so its not one you’d want Guides under 10 doing without support from older girls.

Read to the unit:

I hope all Guides are very Prepared this evening, as we have quite a difficult challenge for you.

It seems that the Guide hall area has been transported to another dimension, and we have been trapped in a giant grey bubble by the Evil Doctor Greyzone!

Doctor Greyzone works by slowly leaching away all the colours, leaving no light, and no hope.

However, Doctor Greyzone has clearly chosen the wrong group to target tonight, because we are going to FIGHT BACK and rescue the colours!

As always, to defeat the Evil Doctor, everyone will need to be alert, pay attention, and FOCUS on working through the challenges. There are eight challenges. Most of the challenges need to be tackled in a different order by different patrols, so DON’T FOLLOW other patrols, follow your own instructions!

Opening activity: (all patrols complete at once)

Using the periodic table provided, decode the message from Doctor Greyzone:

53 74 13 10 81 22 8 62 52 63 33 71 13 57 103 17 76 3 76 92 75 51
     

Periodic-table

Note: I just found a periodic table on Wikipedia – you can probably get a clearer version than this. The numbers in the table correspond with an element, which the Guides then write down the symbol for. The trick is that only capital letters are required, not the lower case ones. I only provided this hint to the patrols that were struggling, but most figured it out independently. When a patrol thought they had the message correct (which is “I want to steal all colours”) they came up and told me the message, if correct, I provided them with the next instructions.

 

Main section:

Each patrol was provided with a little list, which had their six colour-themed activities in a certain order. Each patrol’s order was different, but all ended up doing the same activities.

Instructions for each activity (one per patrol) was put in a small envelope with the relevant colour written on top (in the relevant colour, naturally! So there was a pile of green clues with ‘green’ written in green texta, a pile of ‘blue’ written in blue texta, etc).  The envelopes were left in a central location for the girls to collect as they needed them.

Patrols were instructed to do the activities in the order assigned, and when they had completed the activities included in each envelope, to move onto the next on their list.  

Envelopes had both the activity instructions and a short “science” fact/information slip in them to explain why the activity was included in the wide game.

Activity: Yellow

Locate the yellow edible items, and put them away for safekeeping for now. Rumour has it that Doctor Greyzone hides food items in the kitchen.

You may take up to two per person.

DO NOT eat them yet!

Yellow science:

Marshmallows are originally made by mixing together various ingredients and baking them. All types of cooking, but especially baking, involve chemistry to get the right mix of flavours and textures. So each time you cook, you’re also doing science!

Activity: Orange

To find orange, each patrol member will need to (safely and sensibly!) light a candle and toast your marshmallow.

Note: I splashed out and bought orange coloured tea lights to add to the ‘orange-ness’ of the activity, but the flames are pretty much orange anyway!

Orange science:

The tips of matches are made up of sulphur and potassium chlorate. When the matches are struck firmly against the ignition strip on the matchbox, which includes red phosphorus, the ingredients combine to make a brief flame. The wood and wax in the matches then keep the flame going long enough for you to use the match.

Activity: Red 

To find red, you will need to hunt around the grounds for a red butterfly. Your patrol will need to find and retrieve one butterfly, and keep it safe.

Note: the red butterflies were small (about the size of a 50 cent piece) paper butterflies purchased from a $2 shop. You could also use stickers, or paper cut outs, or whatever. They looked semi-realistic, but it was quite clear to girls when they found them that they were what they were looking for. The butterflies were hidden at roughly eye-height (for the girls!) around the garden.

Red Science:

The study of living things is known as “biology”, while the more specific study of insects, like butterflies, is known as “entomology”. Biologists try to understand creatures and plants of all types.

Activity: Purple

To rescue purple, your patrol will need to blow up one purple balloon, and then using the purple straws provided, blow the balloon from one end of the hall to the other. Be sure to keep the balloon safe!

Note: I purchased purple balloons and oversized purple straws (the type used for bubble tea), which helped theme this one

Purple Science: 

When you blow into a balloon, the air (oxygen and carbon dioxide) you send out is ‘trapped’ in the balloon, and so it stretches out the rubber and expands.

Activity: Blue

The youngest member of your patrol has twisted her ankle. Administer appropriate first aid, remembering RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

To recover blue you will need to make an icepack and treat your injured team member properly.

 Ingredients

  • Citric Acid
  • Baking Soda
  • Tap Water
  • Zip lock bag
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic teaspoons

What to do:

  1. Put one level teaspoon of citric acid in a zip lock bag.
  2. Put one teaspoon of baking soda in the same zip lock bag. And shake the bag gently to mix the two chemicals.
  3. Fill up the measuring cup with cold tap water (about 30ml).
  4. Here’s where you have to be quick! Pour the water into the zip lock bag and snap it shut fast. Not only does the bag blow up, it also becomes super cold! So don’t forget to feel its temperature.

Treat your patrol member properly before proceeding.

Note: in addition to the ingredients for the cold packs, you will also need a set of crepe/compression bandages for the girls to use. If I were to do this again, I’d also add a couple of drops of blue food dye to the acid and soda before adding the water, so it was actually ‘blue’

Blue science:

Citric acid and baking soda (with the water) form an “endothermic chemical reaction”, which is a type of reaction where heat is absorbed, resulting in something very cold – at least for a while.

Activity: Green

To save green, you will need to make green slime.

Ingredients

  • PVA glue
  • food colouring
  • water
  • Borax
  • 2 plastic cups
  • a sealable plastic bag
  • some paper towels
  • Paddle Pop stick for stirring
  • at least two plastic spoons

 What to do

  1. Measure 3 teaspoons of PVA glue into the a cup.
  2. Add 3 teaspoons of water and stir.
  3. Add a few drops of dye to make green.
  4. Place approximately 1 cup of water into the other plastic cup.
  5. Stir in 1 heaped teaspoon of Borax powder. Once the mixture has been stirred thoroughly you have made a Borax solution.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of Borax solution to your cup of paste and stir. As you stir the slime should start to form. You might need to add a little more Borax solution. Be careful when you are adding the Borax solution, too much and your slime will go hard.
  7. If your slime feels very wet and slippery (but is not still runny), remove it from the container and kneed it in your hands. In a few minutes, any extra Borax solution will evaporate or be absorbed.
  8. Place the slime into a sealable plastic bag and it should keep for a while.

Make sure you wash your hands after playing with the slime.

Green science:

You are blending together different types of materials to form a non-Newtonian fluid. The borax and glue (in particular) bond together at lots of different points (at a chemical level), to create a flexible, different type of material.

 

Final activity

Note: This section was read out to patrols who reported that they had done all six activities successfully.

To defeat Evil Doctor Greyzone, your patrol will need to have collected each of the six colours, and now, bring them together into a single rainbow to ensure colour is returned to the world.

Mix together in a bowl:

Water, dishwashing liquid, and 2-3 spoons worth of glycerine

Using your hands, try to send rainbow bubbles into the air to show Doctor Greyzone that he is defeated once and for all, and that the colours are safe once more! Once each member of your patrol has successfully created a rainbow bubble, you will have defeated the Evil Doctor!

 

Notes: Overall, this wide game was a lot of fun, and was just the right length for a standard unit meeting. If you wanted to add some additional time, the yellow and orange activities could be combined into one, and another activity added, potentially some sort of trail to follow or puzzle to solve.

Hope you have fun defeating Doctor Greyzone! Let me know if you try it out!

 

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Science + story = wide game!

A great night last night, which required a lot of preparation, but was well rewarded with a bunch of very happy and engaged Guides of all ages!

We were joined by a couple of girls from SisterUnit, which was fun – their youngest newbie was SO EXCITED and kept saying “This is the first time I’ve done this! And its so much fun! I love it!”

I’ll write up the wide game in full shortly, but essentially the story was that the Evil Doctor Greyzone had stolen the colours, and the patrols were in a race to find all six colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) (I gave up on Indigo, finding six relevant activities was hard enough!!), and then had to bring them together in a rainbow (via bubbles).

To even up the challenge – and to give a little twist to proceedings – I split up the unit into different patrols from usual, and made them mixed-ages. Given some of the challenges (like making slime and making ice-packs) were quite technical, it didn’t seem fair to have patrols of 11 and 12 year olds competing against patrols of 7 and 8 year olds! I also appointed different people to usual to be patrol leaders – it was interesting to see which ones embraced the role, and which ones really just didn’t… and I have to say, a couple of my guesses around who would do well were off the mark. Just because a kid is assertive and popular doesn’t mean she’s necessarily able to bring a group together and get them to cooperate!

Anyway, a good night, lots of fun, and I’ll certainly be having them make ice-packs again (using citric acid and baking soda), as that is probably the most brilliant trick I’ve found on the internet for a while, and the girls were enthralled 🙂

 

 

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Paying it forward

As regular readers will know, I have often spoken about the necessity of maintaining a reasonable life/guiding balance, and not letting the guide leaders natural tendency to say “of course!” overwhelm me.

Well, lately I have failed miserably at that, with this last month involving Guiding commitments on three weekends in a row (Sunday, then Saturday and Sunday, then Sunday again…), plus a Thursday night out with a group of seniors, plus running my unit, and Rangers (although only one meeting so far), and helping out at Sister Unit for the last three weeks! Luckily these extra sessions all ended up being with other crazy overcommitted leaders, so at least I was in good company!

So how did I end up in this Guides overload pickle?

Well, firstly, a bunch of the Senior Guides wanted to try going to a local competitive outdoor camp. *In theory* the preparation for this camp shouldn’t be too onerous, as girls should gradually learn the skills required over their years in Guiding, and only need a bit of time to refine their menus and theme.

*In reality* (at least the reality of my quite-urban-not-very-outdoorsy-unit) the girls required a crash course in old-school camp skills, including cooking A Proper Meal over the campfire, putting up and taking down tents (without the leaders closely directing things!), making wood-and-string gadgets, first aid, camp hygiene… et cetera!!

So the journey started last term with a pre-meeting for potentially interested guides and parents to let them know what they might be in for, followed by a short meeting to confirm who would be attending, elect the patrol leader and second, choose the patrol name, and agree to a basic schedule of training.

This term, we then met at a local pizza/pasta place for planning – the girls had to agree as a group what they would cook (being sure to manage the food desires of each of them with the required menu balance), and the broader menu and thematic elements – and try and negotiate what “bits” they would all organise! It went quite well, and I think it was easier to do an extra night than to try and tack it onto a usual Guides night, especially as the group was a mix of girls from my unit and Sister Unit. Next up, we had two full days of training – the first day was campfire cooking, followed by tents, and a bit of “campsite planning”, which involved the CUTEST little set of campsite/dolls furniture which SisterUnitLeader had found through the magic of ebay. The second day involved cooking on campstoves, gadget making, and drilling in first aid and food/campsite hygiene and safe practices. Both days were long and exhausting, but the girls did seem to learn a lot, and hey, given the kids had to learn to do it all independently, there were also substantial periods where myself, SisterUnitLeader and RangersLeader were all able to sit in camp chairs in the sunshine and merely supervise, which if you’re giving up a Sunday, isn’t such a bad deal! The camp they were preparing for was this weekend, and apparently they did very well, woohoo!

I also managed to get myself talked into helping out for a few hours on two separate Saturdays this month for district shenanigans – once at a sausage sizzle at a local hardware store, and once at a farmers market where we had a (vastly unsuccessful!) promotional stall. Phew!

Annnnd of course I’ve also signed up to help at SisterUnit for a few weeks, as poor SisterUnitLeader doesn’t really have any backup at the moment. I’m just doing the “assistant leader” type role of turning up and being an extra pair of hands and eyes, but I know how much of a difference that makes compared to having to be THE responsible adult. I’m in constant awe of SisterUnitLeader, she’s managed to keep her wee little unit going through thick and thin (even managing to keep the unit going while she was working several hundred kilometres away!!), and is always happy to pitch in and help our unit whenever needed, so a bit of share and share about is only fair!

Finally, had my last day of crazy over commitment to weekend Guiding yesterday, teaming up with AParentHelper, YoungCoLeader and RangersLeader to take a group of kids from my unit and sister unit to Scienceworks, which was actually really fun. We went to the planetarium, and explored lots of exhibits – the ones on town construction and science fiction/space were particularly intriguing. The girls also loved the sports exhibit, which had them testing their balance, strength, speed etc.

So, that should be pretty much it for weekend bits for me for a while. And shortly this little blog will take a wee hiatus too, as I’m soon to be having a break from Guides, even a bit longer than the usual summer pause, as I’ll be on “maternity leave” from Guides (although *really* dedicated leaders tell me there is no such thing!). All going well, I think I’ve got three weeks of Guides left that I’ve committed to, but I guess we’ll see if mother nature agrees with those plans!! 🙂

And that is probably the other reason I’ve been madly saying yes to all requests – paying the karma forward a little so I don’t feel guilty about taking a step back for a while 🙂

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Slimey fun

First night back for term four!

We’re working towards the ‘Science and Technology Explore A Challenge’ badge this term, which I think will be rather fun, although tonight’s first attempt was… hmm… mixed!

ScienceAndTechnology

We started out with a bit of fun, playing “evolution” – an elaborate multi-round paper/scissors/rock game. Everyone starts off as eggs (with hands on heads walking around saying egg egg egg egg), and when they meet another egg, playing paper/scissors/rock. The winner becomes a chicken (flapping their wings and clucking). When they find a chicken, they play paper/scissors/rock. Etc etc. The next stages are dinosaur (t-rex hands and roaring); monkey (cavorting around and going ah ah ah); human (saying hello); Guide (making a salute and saying Be Prepared!); Guide Leader (wagging a finger and saying “Don’t do that!”) (hmmm not sure about the message but they all found it hilarious!), and finally Superwoman (arms in the air ‘flying’). The winner is the first girl to get to Superwoman 🙂

After two rounds of ‘evolution’, we split into Juniors and Seniors.

I was working mainly with the Seniors, while YoungCoLeader and ParentHelper organised the Juniors. The Juniors were looking at “sinking and floating” – YoungCoLeader had a bunch of different objects, and the girls had to try and guess if the objects would sink or float, and then see if there was anything they could do to change its status. I only looked in occasionally, but they did seem to be having fun… and making a shocking mess!

Meanwhile, the Seniors and I attempted to make cornflour slime. Despite my saying “each patrol has only one box of cornflour” and “start with only a very small amount of water”, about 2/3rds of the girls immediately flooded their cornflour and then got grumpy as they had essentially ruined their chance to make slime. I encouraged the girls to work as patrols to deal with the problem (some had gone slowly so still had the capacity to do it properly). Interestingly, one patrol was able to negotiate in such a way that they all ended up having fun, while the other were determinedly working in pairs and did not want to cooperate. It was interesting to observe the different approaches, and also interesting to see how utterly sure they were that I would have back up materials. Indeed, a couple were decidedly put out that I didn’t have extra cornflour, but I have no regrets. I was very clear about the resources available at the beginning, so perhaps next time they’ll listen when I warn them about limits!!

Still all that done, we did end up with a couple of bits of slime to play with (and, similar to the Juniors, a shocking mess to clean up!) – thank goodness we went outside!!

After a quick “reconvene” inside after everyone had washed up (to varying degrees of thorough-ness), the Juniors went to the front yard to play camouflage (a perennial favourite), while I set up the Seniors in the courtyard to do ‘invisible ink’ with lemon juice, and then use lit candles to try and show the messages. Of course, we ended up mainly with various bits of burning paper (rather than messages showing), but nothing that couldn’t be put out with an enthusiastic stomping, which they did with much glee! I think it must be written in some ancient Guide leader manual somewhere “if at wits end, let them play with fire”, as it certainly restored good humour after the trials of slime!

Next week we’ve got a night of girls running activities for their various badges, so we shall see how that goes. Hopefully we’ll get one girl finished her JBP, and another one or two very very close!

In other news, most of the newbies that visited towards the end of last term have returned, one with forms, and another potential newbie (a possible transfer from another unit due to moving house) also came along and seemed to have fun. If all the newbies stick, we’ll be full in Senior Guides for the term, which is pretty exciting! A bit of room in the Juniors though, so I guess we’ll see what happens there. Three of the returning newbies from last term are Juniors, so potentially they’ll end up bringing friends, and I know we have a couple of little sisters *nearly* old enough to join, so we should be close to capacity in the younger girls by the end of the year as well. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens with our retention over the summer holidays, traditionally the time we lose the most kids to other activities. But that’s a looooong way away. Lets get through the term first!!

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Bizarro guiding!

Same uniform, same co-leader, same time… different place, and different kids! It was bizarro guides!
bizzaro-world-fb-lg

Tonight co-leader and I helped out at sister unit, while their leader is away interstate.

It was a well organised evening of science-y stuff, starting with a game based around herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores, which went well. Would be fun with a big group and lots of running around room!

We split the girls broadly in junior/senior groupings for a couple of science-y activities (although given numbers, popped a couple of the more sensible 9 year olds in with the older girls) – the little ones did invisible ink writing (which morphed into ‘how to light a match’ rather quickly!), and made colourful bubbles, while the seniors did a series of stuff-in-bottles-which creates gas activities – turns out you get a similar result from water/sugar/yeast as you do from water/vinegar/bicarb soda… perhaps not in baking, but definitely in terms of blowing up balloons!

There was also a short session where one of the older girls spoke to the girls about what they liked about guides, and how they’d found out about it (part of a consultation GGV has been doing with guides aged 11-14).

Overall, it was a pretty easy night, and the girls seemed to have fun! It was also lovely to see a reasonable size group at sister unit – they struggled to be viable for ages, and while they’re still pretty small, its no longer the case that if a girl is away for the week that you struggle to have enough to run the games, which is just fabulous.

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