keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Exploring in the rain

Fun, if somewhat wet night at Guides this week, as we took the Seniors girls out around the local streets to come up with a bit of a treasure hunt for a different patrol to follow next week.

It was dark and cold and raining, but that just made it all a bit more exciting and interesting, and you get a different perspective on an area you’ve seen many times.

It was quite nice just to be out with one patrol (other leaders took other patrols, yay for lots of adults!), and just being able to chat a bit to them in a relaxed way without having to keep an eye on 20+ kids at once! Nice too for the group to have some time to bond a little bit, and relaxed, quiet walking around made it a really low pressure evening. The purpose of the activity (which will be completed next week) was to observe the local area, and draw a map or create map-like instructions for another to follow – both elements of the World Explore A Challenge badge!

Meanwhile, the Juniors managed to squeeze 15 kids into the kitchen (lucky they’re little!) to make and decorate cupcakes to look like cats and dogs for their Pets badge (any cooking can be made relevant to the badge du jour with a bit of thinking!). Unfortunately the picture examples were forgotten, but luckily not needed as the super creative kids all just figured it out brilliantly themselves, yay 🙂

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Be prepared to escape the zombies!

Tonight I put together a wide game for my senior guides to help them try out their ‘be prepared’ skills.

After much pondering around an underlying theme for the wide game, I finally asked my mister what my Guides might need to be prepared for… he suggested a zombie apocalypse! Genius!

So, the wide game!

They were given notice that zombies were on the loose, looking for brains. So they had to:

  1. Choose ten items from a pile of options that they thought would help them be prepared (in addition to the bag, torches, map, and matches they’d already been given). (Both patrols chose a tarp, and some occy straps. One patrol added to their pile with a sit-upon, a first aid kit, and an umbrella, while the other took two different bandages… amongst other bits and bobs!)
  2. Follow the map & open up challenges as they reached certain points
  3. Build a shelter using items they’d brought with them & found around (both patrols ended up partly using a large tree to support their shelter)
  4. Find their ‘cache’ – a bucket with biscuits, candles, and marshmallows
  5. Attend to an ‘injured knee’ on their second-oldest patrol member
  6. Cook s’mores in their shelter, and eat at least 2 each 🙂
  7. Find their way across the ‘river’ (made of flour) without getting wet or leaving footprints (word to the wise – make your flour river on dirt, not pavers… MUCH easier to clean up. Now I know!)
  8. Get back to the hall and ‘safety’.

My original idea had them being blocked from getting back to the hall by our rangers turning up dressed as zombies and chasing them about, but that didn’t happen… ah well.

They all finished much quicker than I expected (drat!!), so we did a bit of a ‘de brief’ about the activity (all agreed that next time they would READ THE MAP properly, as they took quite a few ‘short cuts’ and had to back track!). And then we had a bit of a chat about the upcoming camp – I think the remaining seniors who have not yet signed up will decide to come along :). Finally, we had a bit of a brainstorm about activities for next term.

Meanwhile, the juniors were in the kitchen with co-leader, cooking up a storm, as part of their “sumptuous savouries” evening – they made savoury tarts (with onion, cheese, tomato, egg, capsicum), and rice paper rolls. They all seemed to have a brilliant time, although in contrast to my under-programming, co-leader over-programmed and barely managed to fit everything in! Ah well, one day we’ll get the balance right!

Next week – off to trampoline for our feet badge!



Cupcakes and cold walks

A quiet evening tonight, as the older girls (Seniors and Upper Seniors) went on a torchlight penny hike, and the Juniors made cupcakes.

The cupcake making went surprisingly well – we divided the girls up into their patrols, and had each patrol on a separate table, and a separate . Each group then collected their own equipment from the kitchen, and had to come up to the ‘shop’ to request their ingredients, in the particular order and amounts that they were needed. The girls worked well together, and were generally pretty quietly engaged. Our patrol leaders seem to be working well, and our youngest PL – who we were originally concerned might be a bit flighty – is working out just brilliantly! Yay!

Unfortunately, after an encounter with cupcake-making, three of our (luckily very cheap!) plastic table cloths had to be thrown out – one got covered in egg after one of the tables partly collapsed (eek!), and the other two had sticky cupcake dough all over them!

We also had a prospective new girl come and try – 13 years old, year eight. Fingers crossed she enjoyed it! Also has a younger sister aged 11, so, maybe….!! The older girls did all seem to be getting on well, and do seem to be enjoying having more time separate from the little ones.

Overall, it was a good night, with the Junior girls genuinely working in patrols, and the older girls apparently having fun out for a walk, even though it has been SO COLD!

We also handed out next term’s program, which seemed to get a bit of interest – fingers crossed they all stay as excited about it as they seem to be now!

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The Secret to Quiet Guides (at least Junior ones!)

We’ve finally cracked the secret of how to keep the Juniors quiet as tiny little obedient mice – sewing! 13 of our 15 Juniors were there tonight, and all but two remembered their equipment (although, I suspect that is a bit of a generous interpretation, as the newest girls didn’t actually have anything to bring), so, it was broadly a success!

It was about eighteen months ago when we realised that although we kept encouraging the kids to bring along a blanket to sew their badges onto, it just wasn’t sticking, and probably only one kid in 15 or so had anything even close to a blanket. So, Ikea to the rescue, we decided to purchase each kid a pale blue polar fleece (about $4 each), and slowly, they’re starting to look like proper blankets! My usually anti-Juniors co-leader was helping out (if you don’t get in early on facebook with the task allocations, you miss out!), but she was pleasantly surprised, as the girls were engaged, focused, reasonably independent… just brilliant! We’ll convert her to the tiny ones eventually!

It was honestly one of the easiest and most satisfying nights working with just the littlies for a while, as they all developed their skills, and really helped each other out, not just relied on the leaders when stuck. One of our PLs had forgotten her blanket, so we particuarly asked her to help out, and she did an absolutely brilliant job, going around and actively asking the other girls if she could help, showing a couple how to do stiches, and generally *helping*, not being at all bossy. It was just great.

Meanwhile, we split up the Seniors and Upper Seniors (we’re trying to keep it clear that there is a difference between the two groups, and give the oldest girls a reason to continue… success has been mixed, but hey, the kids we do have are pretty engaged). Anyway, the Upper Seniors went with younger co-leader out on a scavenger hunt around the local streets (worryingly, apparently they’re NOT so great at map reading, so I’ve rather glad I made the boundaries reasonably small – and didn’t go with my initial idea of letting them out without an adult!) – and they apparently had a marvellous time, running about, getting lost, and arguing about what they were seeing.  I suspect we’ve had a pretty tight rein on some of the girls for a while though, as one of them asked during the opening circle ‘so, its just in the grounds, right?’ ‘nope’ ‘really?! cooooooool!’ – its amazing what enthusiasm a tiny bit of freedom will do!

Also meanwhile, the Seniors were playing MasterChef in the kitchen, with a bit of a mystery box challenge – I was asked to be the independent judge at the end. And well… hmmm. We ended up with hot chips with marshmallow dip (eeew), and ‘bubblegum cake’ (a flatish cake with a marshmallow and sprinkles topping), with a marshmallow pyramid side dish which had to be finished just prior to consumption with a hot chocolate (milo) sauce! None of the dishes were really my cup of tea, but they all seemed to have had fun, and hey, sometimes its fun not to have to follow a recipe too closely!

In other developments:

  • We’ve decided to draw a line under two of our patrols – no more Brumby or Kangaroo for the moment. In a move to try and re-establish the mix of  Upper Seniors as a single patrol, they are are now Galah, and have elected a PL and Second. So, progress in that department, no crying over lost girls, moving onward and upward!
  • I’m wondering if we may have been premature in splitting the Juniors into three patrols – two of the girls (who were MEANT to be becoming seconders) have had appalling attendance (very strange – both seem to love it when they’re there…), and two of our tiniest ones will only be around until mid to late August, as they’re going overseas to live for a while. Oh well, we’ll just have to recruit a couple more – and the old patrols really were far too large to be manageable.

Next week – planning for Term 3 (earth/world) over the weekend with my lovely co-leaders, and then on Wednesday, the Seniors & Upper Seniors are doing a penny hike, and the Juniors are cooking cupcakes (girl led Guiding – its what they SPECIFICALLY requested last term – love it when we can actually deliver!).

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Be prepared… easier for some, apparently!

This evening we continued our new pattern of splitting activities, and breaking off the various sections. The plan was that the Seniors and Upper Seniors would do sewing – in particular updating their blankets and sashes. Which would have worked beautifully… except only one out of the five girls that showed up actually brought their bits and pieces!

So much for Guides being prepared….

Oh well, the Juniors were slightly better organised – most of them remembered to bring their equipment – torches and warm coats, as I was going to take the Juniors to play torchlight games outdoors, while my lovely co-leader wrangled the older girls and sewing.

An earlier googling had suggested that most torchlight games needed plenty of running-around space, so we walked the kids a block or so over to a local oval, where they could run about without needing to worry about steps, and buildings, and plastic garden furniture, et cetera!

We played ‘code pairs’, where the girls were paired off and had to come up with a secret code each, using the torches (so, one pair might have three short flashes as a code, another might have a swirling pattern), and then had to run off in different directions, and then find each other again after the whistle, in the dark, only using their codes.

It ended up working better in small groups of 4 girls than in pairs, with one girl from each group staying behind while the others ran off across the field. When the whistle was blown, the girls running away then had to stay on the spot, and could only do their code signal to help their ‘left behind’ team mate find them.

After that we played ‘firefly’, where one girl had to run away from the group, and had to signal once with her torch after every count to sixty. The other group chased after the firefly, and tried to find her in the dark.

Finally, we played ‘camouflage’, which is similar to ‘forty-forty’, and is rapidly becoming a firm favourite of the little ones. It has a definite advantage in terms of getting the kids to know each other too, as in order for girls to go out, the ‘hunter’ needs to identify the girl by name and hiding location – a strong incentive for knowing who everyone is!

We had two friends join us tonight for a try and see, both seemed like nice girls. I guess we’ll see if they come back, although given they would mean yet more juniors, I’ll be okay if it turns out to have only been a visit!

After the games, we headed back to the hall (actually slightly early for once, I have a bad habit of leaving the walk back from the park too late), and actually had time to sit the girls down to do a little bit of brainstorming about ideas for next term (a world/earth theme). It turned out to be a surprisingly useful exercise (having attempted planning nights with little ones previously I had low expectations), with the kids coming up with some really interesting ideas. To get them on the right track, I first told them the theme, then got them to say all the words they could think of that would fit in the theme – so we had things like soil, animals, oceans, volcanoes, plants, people. I wrote down their ideas as we went, and then read them all back, and asked for what activities we could do at Guides that would fit in some of those ideas – they came up with some good suggestions, like making mini gardens (I’d already thought of terrariums, so that fits perfectly!), some crafty bits, and lots of games.

The older girls also did some thinking during their sewing exploits (which I found out later involved sewing not their own things, but a ‘surprise’, that apparently I’m not allowed to know about… I have a bad feeling I may end up with a “special” blanket….. uh oh), and came up with a list of activities, which, interestingly, seemed pretty close to what the Juniors arrived at. So, planning afternoon tea in a week or so will probably turn out easier than anticipated – so long as we can fit everything in!

Next week we’re off to visit the Fire Museum in the city, which should be an interesting night out. They’re opening up the museum exclusively for us, so it will be a really great experience, I hope!

Moral of tonight’s story: only trust the little ones to bring their equipment!


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