guideydiary

keeping track of my adventures in guiding!

Not quite working!

This evening we were again overwhelmed with little ones – and the two tinies who didn’t return last week are back again, and planning on paying etc next week. So, since the term began we have gained six juniors and two seniors. While this is great, it has seriously skewed our usual processes for accepting new members. Usually kids come in ones and twos, so we have a chance to teach them how the unit runs, and get them to accept certain patterns of behaviour etc. Usually, they’re a bit overwhelmed the first few weeks, but not this group – with so many new ones at once, they don’t feel shy, or that they have to fit in – the new ones are dominating in a way that’s really quite unusual.

So, not yet sure how to handle this. Two of my co-leaders and I had a chat after the evening, we think our options are either to create another mixed-age juniors patrol, or perhaps to separate out the littlest ones into their own ‘pre-juniors’ patrol. We’re also going to have to really start focusing again on uniform, appropriate behaviours, and start really managing the way the kids interact with the leaders – less interrupting etc, as we’re just not getting through the activities that we should.

Regardless, we’re now attempting to run a program that somehow takes into account the interests, skills and abilities of kids ranging from preppies through to year nine. Yikes.

Oh well, hopefully we’ll get it all in hand in the next few weeks!!

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Week one post Easter holidays

Term two started this week just gone.

Over Easter, we lost a couple of kids. One of these I expected (patchy attendance, several friends had left over the summer…), but two of them were quite a surprise. And they’re just the ones I actually KNOW have left. Another couple I’m very unsure about, and were not there in week one (but we often have patchy attendance on week one, so this may not mean anything)… Even as I understand there are millions of reasons for kids to change their minds, it feels like such a rejection… was our program not fun enough? Were we not catering to the middle kids and older kids properly? What could we do different? What is it about our program in term two that wasn’t exciting enough to want to come back for?

Despite these worries, we did have a good first night back. One of our potential newbies from late last term returned (yay!), and another little one came for a ‘try and see’. She seemed to have a good time, so hopefully…

We did outdoor cooking, using our new little gas stoves to make popcorn, and cooking pikelets on tin can cookers.  While it was a great activity for patrols, it was difficult to keep the little ones as engaged as they needed to be when playing with fire!! Possibly the activity needed to be shorter for the younger ones, with more games time before and after the cooking. The Juniors sure are results-focused, and can’t handle the concentration required to really enjoy the tin-can cookers in particular. 

The challenge will be in the coming weeks to not seem ‘panicked’ by the small drop in numbers, to consolidate the enjoyment of the kids we still have, and ensure that the current re-orienting of numbers towards the little ones doesn’t result in the middles or big kids feeling left out or like its uncool. Luckily, my co-leader particularly likes working with the older kids, so it should suit her to really focus on them, and give them heaps of attention.

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