Sparklers and Poppies…

As this week was Guy Fawkes Night, we had Sparklers at Senior Section. There is a Guide unit that meets at the same time as us, and they were also doing sparklers (thankfully not in the same place – that could have been carnage!)

Already I’m seeing the girls looking more exhausted and struggling to make meetings. The Scottish education system has changed a lot (it seems to change radically every ten years) and the current changes are just awful. It means the pupils have to fit much more in less time – so they get so much homework. I feel so bad for them, and angry that our government expects schools to cover so much, which means young people end up missing out in reality. And poor teachers get stressed.

So this week we kept it simple. We had sparklers in the end but most of the meeting was spent with the girls updating their Look Wider folders and our unit scrapbook, doing some decoupage, eating popcorn and then ending with sparklers.

Thankfully Jenny had checked the deal on the Girlguiding policy on sparklers to discover the girls had to wear gloves, and I have several pairs the girls who had forgotten to bring some could borrow.

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I’m also super grateful to the three Rangers who are making the effort to join in with the memorial services in our area for Remembrance Sunday. This year Girlguiding will be laying a poppy wreath at our village’s cenotaph, and we’ll also have our Division banner as part of the War Memorial Colour Party (we don’t really parade, unless you count walking from the church hall and standing at the cenotaph which is essentially the border of the church graveyard – it takes all of 30 seconds). All the armed forces, community organisations, schools and public sector services are invited to attend and lay poppy wreaths. This year will be the first time the uniformed youth organisations in the area will do it too. Our Guides were excited when we told them, only for them to go home with letters and say they couldn’t come or wouldn’t be coming.

And then you’ve got girls who are having sleepovers the night before and making the effort to be there anyway – even if it means leaving fun things early or bringing a friend with them.

Trying organise who is doing what is stressful, as everyone involved is a volunteer – the organisers of the youth church service who decide on seating, the people who organise the community service at the war memorial. And of course you’re dealing with teenagers who (generally) haven’t mastered the concept of knowing their own diary yet! 🙂

For some reason I decided that we would carry on our tradition of gathering leaders from our different units to go to a local cake cafe afterwards that we started last year too. So there’s been that to organise as well (what was I thinking? Oh yeah, building friendship amongst the unit teams!).

Despite all of the stress, I know it  will be worth it. It means a lot to people in the community, I believe it’s an important tradition to teach about and ensure it is kept for the right reasons (lest we forget), and that it is one of the few times that the different sections of local Guiding and Scouting come together.

I’m hoping for a nice pot of peppermint tea and some yummy cheesecake as my reward at the end of it – alongside some of my fellow leaders.

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