keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Journey through the Solar System Wide Game

This is a wide game put together for our “Outer Space” sleepover. It took about 3 hours, and the girls had a lot of fun.

The overall aim was meant to be to complete all the challenges, as well as find puzzle pieces (different colour for each patrol), which would result in different aliens. unfortunately puzzle pieces were cut a bit too small, so that part didn’t quite work!

To set up the space, place a picture of each planet where you’ve decided the relevant activity should take place, so they can figure where each ‘station’ is.

At each planet, instructions for each patrol were put in colour-coded envelopes for them to collect, but you could easily just have them written once for everyone, or included in their ‘kit’ at the beginning with instructions to only open/read at specific locations.

Opening instructions: read by leader
Guides! We’ve had a top-secret message from NASA! Aliens have been spotted in our solar system, and brave people are needed to try and discover them, to see if the rumours are true!
Are you ready to have a huge adventure and find the aliens?
Each patrol will have a separate path to follow at various points on your journey – so be sure to be following your own clues, not other patrols!

As your first assignment, using the materials provided, you will need to build your patrol a small rocket from the materials provided. It will need to be compact enough to be easily carried through your journey across the solar system! Be quick, lift off will be in 10 minutes!
When your rocket is ready to launch, collect your flight instructions and solar system map from the launch pad to begin.

[provide crafty/recycling materials in big pile]

Begin your journey through the solar system by travelling to the Sun, using Scouts Pace.
Scouts Pace is a way of travelling quickly without getting too tired – walk twenty steps, then run twenty steps, then walk twenty steps, then run twenty steps. Keep repeating the pattern until you get to the Sun!

At the ‘Sun’ location:
Careful, the Sun is super-hot!
Uh-oh, the youngest member of your patrol is overwhelmed by the heat! Find them a cool place to rest, fan them down, and make sure they have a drink of cool water before you travel to the first planet in our Solar System: Mercury!

At the ‘Mercury’ location:
Mercury is named after the Roman messenger god.
Figure out the message you’ve been left, using the code.
[create a code using windings or similar. Be sure to also provide the key to decode the message!]
Code should read:
[leave some puzzle pieces roughly between Mercury and Venus – aim to have these quite a distance apart]

At ‘Venus’ location:
Venus is also known as the “morning star”, as you can often spot it in the early morning, looking like the brightest star in the sky.
Use the materials provided to construct a five-pointed star, before making your way to Earth. Remember to keep an eye out for alien evidence along the way.
[provide beads and pipe cleaners or other suitable craft materials]

At ‘Earth’ location:
On your return to Earth, before striking out for the next part of the solar system, be sure to re-fuel.
Collect your fuelling equipment and instructions from the kitchen. When you have finished refuelling, it will be time to set off for Mars!
[Provide materials for lunch or a snack – we cooked biscuits on the campfire, which took about 40 minutes or so including getting small fires going, but you could cook anything you liked]

At ‘Mars’ location:
Mars is known as the Red Planet. It is named after the Roman god of war.
Using the ropes provided, play Tug Of War. Try and figure out which people in your patrol need to be grouped together to get the closest contest!
When you’ve had enough, it is time to attempt to move through the Asteroid Belt.
[Provide a large rope suitable for tug-of-war. If possible, also provide cotton gardening gloves to protect hands from rope burn]

At ‘Asteroid Belt’ location:
As a patrol, you will need to make your way through the Asteroid Belt. You must stay together as a group, and be sure to have everyone in contact with at least one other member of the patrol.
If any patrol members get separated from the group, you all must return to the beginning of the Asteroid Belt and begin again.
[Set up lots of ropes criss-crossing all over each other as an obstacle course. We used lots of trees and strung the ropes between them. Our rules included the requirement that the trees at each of the corners of the space needed to be touched by all patrol members, but you’ll need to modify the instructions depending on how your rope maze is set up]

At the end of the Asteroid Belt:
Your next stop in your journey through the solar system is the largest planet – Jupiter!
To get to Jupiter, you’ll need to travel by skipping! Be quick, and key an eye out for alien clues!

At ‘Jupiter’ location:
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system – its so large that all the other planets could fit inside it!
Using the gadget wood and rope provided, (and using correct knots and lashings if possible – share the knot book!), build the tallest, biggest structure you can, and try and fit inside all the members of your patrol.
When everyone has managed to get inside, head onto Saturn!
[Provide gadget wood and rope/string for lashing. A tarp or a sheet is handy to throw over the top of the shelter to see if everyone fits ‘inside’]

At ‘Saturn’ location:
Saturn is known as the ringed planet. Use the rings provided to each hula-hoop between two and twenty rings each (remember to do your best!)
When you’re finished, get ready to head towards the outer edges of the solar system – next stop, Uranus!
[provide several hula hoops]

At ‘Uranus’ location:
Uranus is the only planet to have a Greek name – Uranus means “strange axis”.
In honour of Uranus’ Greek name, gather small branches of leaves and vines, and make a laurel wreath for each member of your patrol to wear as you hunt for the final alien clues, and make your way to the final planet: Neptune!

At ‘Neptune’ location:
Neptune is the final planet in our solar system! Neptune is known as the blue planet, and is covered in ice.
Using the salt and string provided, try to remove the icecubes from the water without touching the ice cube. When you’ve removed the icecube, its time to return to Earth!
[provide string, salt, and ice cubes – in theory, sprinkling salt onto the icecube will let you put the string onto it, and have it refreeze enough that you’ll be able to lift out the icecube… but none of my girls had any success! The day was a bit warm, so it may be that it just wasn’t re-freezing properly]

Once you’ve got to Earth, make sure you’ve identified your alien properly before taking it to NASA officials for identification!

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Adventures in Outer Space!

Finally, the space sleepover!

15 girls attended, forming a very neat three patrols of five – named Comets, Stars, and Asteroids – and all seemed to have a good time! The group included our four newest Guides, which was lovely – gave us a chance to get to know them all a bit better with the extra time, and give them time to begin to tell the difference between the various leaders!

First up, activities wise, was a wide game tour of the solar system!

The activities were:

1) Make a rocket per patrol to take them on their journey, using silver card, silver foil, straws, coloured paddlepop sticks, jewel stickers… then blasting off into the solar system…

The stops on the journey were:

2) The Sun – patrols had to sit their youngest patrol member in the shade, who had been “overcome with the heat of the sun”, and fan her down and have her drink a cup of cool water, before moving on to

3) Mercury – as the messenger of the gods, at Mercury, they had to decode a message written in Wingdings (which game them some extra info about  looking for clues to the aliens along the journey) (a butterfly puzzle)

4) Venus – make a pipecleaner star, as Venus is the Morning Star

5) Earth – they had to return to Earth to ‘refuel’ – which involved setting a small fire per patrol, and cooking ‘camp biscuits’ – awesome co-leader had pre-made the dough, but the girls added a scatter of ‘stars’ (hundreds and thousands). The biscuits were baked similar to damper, being wrapped around a stick, and then wrapped in several layers of foil to protect the dough as it baked. Most of the kids ended up with biscuits that were half raw and half burnt, but they had fun doing it!

6) Mars – in honour of the God of War, the Mars activity was a Tug of War – luckily we found small gardening gloves for the girls to wear as they played, so they could really get into it, and reduce our risk of rope burn!!

7) Asteroid Belt – I’d set up a crisscrossed rope arrangement between a series of trees – the girls were instructed to make their way to touch each tree (and each member of the patrol had to touch each spot), while all staying linked as a patrol, and not touching any of the ropes! If any ropes were touched, it was back to the start for everyone! A good activity to have them being cooperative, and talk through their problem solving.

8) Jupiter – at the largest planet, they were provided with a bunch of gadget wood and string (and an easy knots book), and told to build a structure big enough to fit their patrol. The Asteroids patrol (oldest girls) did the most “correct” job with the knots (helped, no doubt, by two of their member having attended a gadget training day a few months back), but all the groups did really well! Even the Comets patrol, full of our tiniest girls (who haven’t done ANY knotting or gadgets) managed to get a reasonable structure, with only minimal assistance.

9) Saturn – ringed planet – a hula-hooping challenge

10) Uranus – only planet with a Greek name – they had to create ‘olive’ wreaths for each member of their patrol from leaves etc around the area.

11) Neptune – ice planet – attempted a challenge where you try to remove an ice-cube from water using salt and string, without touching the ice-cube directly. The idea was good, but the execution left something to be desired!

12) In theory, they were meant to be collecting alien pieces as they went along… but not so much! Unfortunately they were probably cut up a bit too small, and were a bit too hard to find. Oh well!

Still, they had fun, and when discussing it all later, the most popular activities were the asteroid belt, the cooking, and the gadget making… so it seems we’ve got a bunch of proper Guides who like the traditional activities!

For the rest of the evening, we made dinner (the eldest group), planned a guides own (middlies), and did some quiet games (littlies). After tea, we went for a very short walk locally (the weather turned a little, so we didn’t bother with a long stroll), and then settled in for a small semi-outdoor campfire (half sheltered, so the girls wouldn’t get wet if the rain started up again). The campfire worked beautifully, and second co-leader’s singing program was good – introduced some new songs, as well as touched on most of the favourites of the unit!

Anyway, after marshmallows (of course), we sent the girls to bed (waaaaaaaaaaaaay after most of their usual bedtimes!), but sheesh, it took a while for them to go to sleep! Both co-leaders and I ended up sitting and just watching/waiting for them to drift off – no point us getting comfy in our own beds, as we’d just be up saying shoosh!! Finally, at about midnight, us leaders went to get our beauty rest (hah!).

This morning (after several wake ups during the night, but nothing unexpected considering sleeping on a thin mattress on a hard floor), we were up at about 7, which isn’t too horrifying. The girls all packed up really well (we’re getting better at giving quite specific instructions/requests, i.e. “Sally, Suzie is having trouble, could you please help with her sleeping bag”, rather than just “help each other”, which seems to work). Breakfast was Pancakes, made by the middlies, while the older girls helped take down the ropes from the day before, and I took the little ones to a nearby playground and let them muck around for a while.

Finally, to close we had a short Guides Own (very un-serious, but that’s okay!), and then a couple of outdoor games – Aliens and Astronauts (a variation on the vampire infection game played at halloween), camouflage (kind of a hide-and-seek game), and finally sardines. And that was pretty much that!

So, overall, I think it was a success – they all seemed to have fun, no major injuries (a few tiny finger burns, minor scrapes etc), and I think we did a good job of supporting the overall Guide program, and, particularly for the newbies and littlies, setting up their interest in some of the more traditional Guide skills, which we’ll be able to build on over time.

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Yeesh, what a mess!

This evening we again split the juniors into one set of activities, and the seniors & upper seniors into a different set.

The Juniors had a ‘weather night’ – finding pictures of cloud formations hidden around the hall and gardens (naturally some went entirely missing!), doing an experiment with warming and dying water to show air currents, and toasting marshmallows (“clouds”, of course!).

Meanwhile, the Seniors & Uppers were attempting to ‘air paint’ – I imagined this as a lovely arty project with gorgeous jewel colours, the kids learning how to manipulate the paint gently… well, clearly I was entirely mad as it ended up with paint everywhere!! With no real discernible patterns or point… oh well… I guess abstract is okay?!

Still, they seemed to have a marvellous time, and I’ve never been more pleased that I had the forethought to purchase some $1 white plastic tablecloths from Big W, and that the weather was clear enough that we were able to be out in the courtyard! CERTAINLY NOT an activity for in the hall with the lovely polished floorboards!!

In recruitment news, the two newbies from week one are going to join, and will be bringing forms etc next week, and we had a further two newbies come for a try out. They seemed to have a good night, so hopefully! We also handed out info about the upcoming sleepover, which seems like it might be a clincher – cheap babysitting rules again!

Sadly though, one of our lovely little ones also announced that her family is moving to Adelaide over Christmas, so we’ll be losing her. Its never the trouble makers that leave, is it?!

Next week – halloween bring a friend night, which we’ve also got advertised in the local paper (I hope!)… it will be interesting to see what kind of turn up we get, as it appears a few of our usuals won’t be there as they’ll be trick-or-treating instead… which surprises me greatly, clearly Australia is embracing halloween faster than I thought. Regardless, we’ll have fun with zombie tiggy!

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Its a habit…

Yes, its school holidays.

Yes, I’m still updating my guidey blog.

Yes, its because I’m still doing guidey things!

I suspect I have crossed the line into “fully obsessed leader” (in honestly, it was probably a while ago) – even on my two weeks off I find myself drafting ‘start of term’ letters, pulling together notices for the planned bring-a-friend night (which will be halloween, which will be awesome!) (we’re also advertising it as an open night in the local “what’s on”… it will be interesting to see if that generates any interest), and drafting the wide game for the sleepover! I also posted out term programs to girls who were away in the final two weeks of term (and so missed out on a pretty blue paper copy, they’ll only get boring white!) – as we’ve got a Promise ceremony scheduled for the first week back, and activities to count towards the Air badge, I figure they will need the program to be sure which week it starts back. It seems some of the local schools don’t quite follow the standard school term, so attendance is always a bit hit and miss on the first and last week of term.

The Space themed sleepover is occupying my plotting lately… I think its going to take the form of a ‘journey through the solar system’, with activities at each of the planets… at this stage ideas include some form of message coding for Mercury (messenger to the gods!), and perhaps giant quoits for Saturn (the rings!)… I’m looking forward to nutting it all out! So yes, the holidays will continue, and so will the plotting. It appears its become a habit I just can’t break!

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Planning and pancakes

On Sunday morning, co-leaders and I met to plan term four, over a most civilised and leisurely brunch! Planning with pancakes is not quite as exciting as planning with wine, but still rather nice!

For term four, we’ll be focusing on an ‘Air’ theme, with activities including kite making, giant bubbles, paper planes, balloon-y games… and we’re also mixing it up with Halloween, Christmas shenanigans, and a night with games all based around ‘chicken and egg’, which should be interesting!

We’ll also be having a sleepover, with a space theme! I’m very excited about this, we should be able to come up with a completely brilliant wide game with such a fun theme!

We’re also starting up a Rangers group, initially with an every-second-week trial, so there will be five weeks to trial the concept, and see if it has real potential.

Should be a good term!

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