While we were doing our First Aid badge, we had one week where about half of our Guide unit who are all from the same year group in the same school were off to P7 camp. In the end Stefan suggested we take a week off from the badge so they didn’t miss out, and we were grateful! With a much smaller group, we decided to have a night teaching some ‘Old School’ Guiding skills – learning morse code and semaphore!
I thankfully still have my Guide Handbook from the 90s, which was full of great information. It helped me pack for my backpacking trips to Morocco, Western Europe (and Australia…but by then I didn’t need to refer to it – packing a rucksack is second nature now). It taught me how to do my bedding roll when I’d forgotten. It gave me recipes. It gave me exercises that helped with periods. It helped me learn some sign language. It is covered in scribbles from doing my Trefoils (now replaced with the annual challenge badges), my emblems, my Baden-Powell, my Pre-Promise challenges and more. I was able to photocopy the pages which show morse code and semaphore – skills that my Mum and our unit helper learned as Guides. I learned morse code, but not semaphore as a Guide.
I brought along torches, and other leaders brought along garden stick things (what are those things called that hold up plants?!) which the girls used to make their own semaphore flags with paper, sticky tape and felt pens.
After some practice, the girls were split into two teams each supervised by one of our young leaders and came up with a message which they relayed to the other team via semaphore. Then the teams went outside (in the dark!) to flash the message back using morse code back to them to see if they got it right.
The girls really got into it, and did struggle but kept persevering and had a lot of giggles doing it.