Baden Powell Sports Night

One of the challenges of our summer term is that it’s pretty short in Scotland. There are several bank holiday weekends, most of June is taken up with end of year concerts, prize givings or school trips where the girls will be away. And then just as the longest day hits, it’s the summer holidays. By the time the schools go back the nights are dark again for Guides.

We try to be outside as much as possible during this two month period where the nights are light and the weather is hopefully a little bit milder.

The Guides asked for a campfire again this year. We lost our local campfire site as Girlguiding Edinburgh sold it off a few years ago, so we now have to go to the Scout one. It’s a lot more fancy and we do miss the rustic feel of Trefoil (and it’s excellent wood pile). But we’ve got a bunch of Guides doing Baden Powell and so there were several nights that they needed to do things and one of those tasks some of the girls had chosen was to run a sports night.

IMG_5712

Our night at the campsite was perfect. The girls were good at letting the leaders know what from our stash of Active Kids donated equipment we needed so we could pack it in our cars for the following week and had everything planned really well to keep the unit well occupied, even taking into account getting groups to mix a bit at the same time as keeping certain clashing personalities apart. We were super impressed. They were well organised, got everything sorted themselves under the eye of two leaders while the other leaders got the campfire ready to go for when the Guides finished*.

*usually we would get the Guides involved in lighting it, but due to time constraints it made more sense to get it built and started while they were doing the sports activities.

We are racing against the clock this year to get a whole cohort of girls completed their Baden Powell before the old programme completely goes away.  The girls who are of age to do BP are of course the group that came up to Guides when we went from a unit of 9 to a unit of 21 in the space of a couple of weeks. Baden Powell Adventure weekends only take 2 girls per unit, so I’m not entirely sure how we are going to swing that one. I am glad to see that change in the new programme that the ‘adventure’ part in the Gold Award doesn’t have to be a BP specific one which will make life easier!

img_5748.jpg

We of course ended the night toasting marshmallows, followed by a bunch of our Guides enrolling after a long wait (they had planned to do it on our end of term trip before Easter on a roller rink, only for the roller rink to change their opening hours so we couldn’t go there for our trip). Promises were made, and we were glad none of their promise badges ended up on the campfire this year (and yes, that HAS happened).

Schools are back now, but due to leaders being away for holidays and work, we are delaying our start back date. Plus the Autumn/Winter term is incredibly long. Two of our young leaders we have farewelled off to university (sob!) but there are rumours of a previous trainee leader returning to our leadership team after a two year break from Guiding while she was completing her honours degree.

And yes, we have been looking at the new Guiding programme and are planning to incorporate that into this term. More on that soon…!

Advertisements

Anti-Stress Putty

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to blog, as I’ve been working a couple of jobs at the same time as well as trying to keep up volunteering with Girlguiding. One of those jobs was developing youth services, particularly for  young women of high school age, and there were quite a few activities and things I did that can crossover into the Girlguiding programme. This activity could work well for Guides and Senior Section in particular, and would definitely fit into the Think Resilient badge or Me in Mind. With many of our girls on exam leave, this is a great activity for a stress reliever.

Equipment needed
-Jug
-Kettle
-Measuring cups
-Measuring spoons
-Bowl
-Spoon

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
3 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. oil (we used vegetable oil, but I suspect almond oil would work better)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tsp purple or blue food colouring
5-10 drops of lavender essential oil
Glitter (optional)

Instructions:
1. Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil in a large bowl.
2. Add boiling water and stir to combine.
3. Add food colouring and lavender oil.
4. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency (adding more water or flour as needed). You may need to use your hands to get it to mix together.
5. If you want to add glitter, add a tablespoon and roll it into the mixture.

To keep the putty from drying out, you may want to wrap in cling film.

The Guides glow in the dark…

You may remember that earlier this term I shared about how our Guides decided they wanted to do a Little Lights Walk for Bliss, a charity that supports babies born premature or sick. Well, World Prematurity Day was last Friday so we have now completed the walk…23434715_137168853604184_4314540086205780748_n

…Olave was of course on the walk as well, proudly carried by one of the Guides and she has since been taking on the arduous job of collecting in the sponsorship money that has been handed in ‘offline’ in addition to everything that has come in through the unit’s JustGiving page.

The week before the Little Lights walk we had booked volunteer from Bliss come to chat to the girls about the work the charity does, but sadly the volunteer got sick and had to cancel last minute. I cobbled something together and did my best to try and answer questions…but we definitely needed the volunteer.

The night we did the walk we were blessed with mild, dry weather. The route we chose was darker than I expected – my car became a lit up Christmas tree where girls popped flasks of hot drinks for after the walk, consent forms and a long Bliss banner that the charity sent in our pack. The girls were decked out in light up trainers and we gave them glow stick bracelets and for those allowed it UV face paint. One of our Young Leaders had even bejewelled her woolly hat with some fairy lights which proved very useful on our return as quite a few Guides almost walked right past the steps back to our meeting point. Our helpful Young Leader then stayed at the stairs to ‘light’ the way!

img_9446

We had a few parents tag along too, and the walk was a lovely way of bonding with each other. A lot of Guides who don’t normally chat to me as much did that night, and talked a lot about memories of Guides so far, what they’d like to do in future and just life outside Guides too.

After we got home, our unit leader got message after message from parents saying how much their daughters had enjoyed the experience. And to top it off, a picture I snapped of the girls at the end of the night made it into the local paper. (It’s better than the one below!)

img_9447

I believe the Little Lights Walks are running through until February, and I would say they are so much fun, and I thoroughly recommend it. We got a great wee pack of stuff to organise the walk, and when I requested more sponsorship forms we got sent them so the girls didn’t have to register themselves. The girls are already asking me if we can take part in their spring time event “Bake for Bliss”.

Now I have the fun task of counting all the money so we can bank it and send a cheque to Bliss…

We will remember them…

…and as I remind the girls every year, I don’t just mean the young men who lost their lives. The civilians too. The Girlguiding members whose childhoods were taken by war. The ones who died trying to save the lives of others. The ones who continued Guiding in secret when their organisation was banned. The ones who kept people’s spirits up and used all they’d learned to help each other survive while interred in prisoner of war camps in the Far East.

img_9489.jpg

I will continue to teach about how Olave Baden-Powell urged girls to work for peace rather than war. How Robert Baden-Powell tried to encourage international friendship to prevent hate against one nationality to another.

There’s a fantastic book written by Janie Hampton called How The Girl Guides Won The War that I highly recommend. I’ve had to buy a new copy as mine has been borrowed so often I don’t know who has it anymore.

Lest we forget.

 

The Rangers learn about Guyana

Last year a couple of our Rangers graduated high school, and we’ve really missed the ones who left our fair city. One of them spent a year teaching science through Project Trust in Guyana, and we were really happy to have her back for a couple of meetings between her return from Guyana and departure to university.

img_9329

She very kindly offered to run a meeting giving a presentation about what she got up to, everything she had learned about Guyana, the culture and more. With two of our Rangers about to live abroad for a year, and the rest all at the very least leaving high school to as yet unknown destinations – it was a great night for the girls to learn from one of their peers about how she handled herself in a new situation, dealt with challenges and how to be a good friend to those in need of one when your usual support systems are far away.

img_9331

Also, me not having to do anything except show up with the keys for the hall and our cupboard gave me the chance to sit with girls and their Look Wider record books. As a result we now have 4 Rangers who have completed their Chief Guide Challenge Award, and two Young Leaders who have completed their Young Leadership Qualification.

Soon after this came the news that yes, we’ll OFFICIALLY be called Rangers again, but that the age cut-off will soon be in force. All of the girls in our unit are unhappy about the age cut-off. The reality is a lot of them when they get to 17/18/19 stop being able to make regular meetings, but many of them try to stay connected. It is not unusual for one of my ‘ex’ Senior Section to message me (usually on facebook) to ask for advice or tell me what they’ve been getting up to, or how much they enjoyed being part of Girlguiding.

Reflecting on this night, I wonder how to navigate the change, and wonder about having the girls stay connected with the unit by coming back as ‘guests’ for the night or having some reunion parties. Definitely something to think about and discuss with members current and old…

 

 

Planning our Little Lights Walk…

I mentioned at the start of term how our Guide unit has decided to raise money for Bliss Scotland, a charity that champions the right for every baby born premature or sick to receive the best neonatal care. We know that there are Bliss volunteers who work in the two maternity hospitals closest to us, and as our previous Assistant Leader in training as well as a few Guides were born premature themselves, it was a cause that we felt we had a connection with.

Bliss run three events that people can organise in their own communities throughout the year – Bake for Bliss, Little Heroes and Little Lights. Little Lights runs through the winter, with Bliss holding their own Little Lights Walk close to World Prematurity Day (17th November). So as a way to get the Guides outdoors this winter, we are organising our own Little Lights Walk this November!

We were able to register our walk very easily through the Bliss website (if you click on link above you’ll find the online form to register interest). Within a day or so, someone contacted us by e-mail and had posted us a pack of goodies to use for organising our walk.

We got a poster too but I forgot to take a picture before I added our contact details etc to it, so for obvious reasons I’m not going to plaster that on the internet! 🙂

The Guides decided that they would have a fundraising page on JustGiving which is easy to set up. This way we can give the girls a letter with the web address for them to share with relatives that they maybe don’t see all the time who wish to sponsor them. We are going to get the girls to write what they’d like to put on the page about why they are doing the walk and how it helps at the next meeting. We don’t have internet access in our meeting place, so one of the leaders will copy and paste what they write onto the page later. We were only given one sponsorship form, as usually Bliss asks for people to register to take part individually. However I’ve asked Bliss if we can get sent sponsorship forms – if we don’t, I will likely make up a sponsorship form of our own to print off and give to each of the Guides. We know that there are always people who find doing the ‘old fashioned way’ of paper and handing over cash easier. We will then send in these forms and the money handed in as a unit, and save on postage (and make it easier for parents).

As leaders we gave a few options of locations to the girls. Because the walk is done in the dark, we took into consideration safety – particularly as we’ve discovered from previous activities that our girls are not very road safety aware, especially when in a big group and are busy excitedly chatting to one another. We wanted paths that took us away from roads but were well lit. The girls almost unanimously voted on a route, so that was thankfully settled quickly!

img_9350

The Guides also plan to decorate themselves as ‘little lights’. We were able to get glow in the dark bracelets from Poundworld (18 for £1) and I got some UV glow in the dark face paint from Amazon.

img_9349

Bliss has also sent us certificates that we can award to each of our walk participants after they’ve done the walk which is lovely! And of course, all the Guides plan to count this as the ‘Community Action’ part of their challenge badge for the year.

I will let you know how the walk goes, we are also really lucky that a local Brownie’s Mum is a Bliss volunteer and is coming to chat to the Guides about the work Bliss do after the Tattie Holidays. I know Bliss also have Community Ambassadors who sometimes give talks to groups too, so it might be worth finding out if there’s one in your local area.