Our wooden anniversary

This week on the 12th September, our Ranger group turned 5 years old! It’s hard to believe that it was 5 years ago I wandered into an unfamiliar church hall with no real idea of who was going to turn up. 6 girls from 3 different Guide units did, and 5 of those girls founded the 1st Turnhouse Senior Section. Most of them have now all grown up and moved away to uni (two will be graduating at the end of this school year – whattt?!) img_9245

I took one of those decorate your own cakes down, and two of the girls did this. If you’re wondering about the name, this was a joke the girls made up when the first name survey popped in some of their inboxes back in February. So appalled were they at the idea that anyone thought they should be renamed ‘Skylarks’ or ‘Kites’ or ‘Jets’ they decided if Girlguiding was going to dictate to them their name, they would be the ‘Turnhouse Dictators’ and renamed their what’s app group to reflect this in some kind of teenage rebellion? They forgot about it until recently when they realised the group is still called this. Hence the cake decoration. I’ve been told the reason for the snail is just because one girl likes drawing snails. Yes, my Rangers are a bit weird. But I like them just the way they are!

Incidentally, they’ve all voted now in the more recent survey, which they were still bemused by but seem to be a lot more happy with. I don’t know how they voted. I’m just glad they’ve had their say.

Anyway…

We looked up what ‘anniversary’ this was, and discovered that 5 years you are meant to gift ‘wood’. They asked if I’d we could do something related. We have a really tight budget this year due to census being really hiked up, and girls not always paying subs and being a lot more sporadic in appearing at meetings. But what I did find was some small wooden boxes for £1 each at The Works, and we used some acrylic paints to decorate them. It would have been cool to do some kind of wood carving craft, but in the time/budget I had to prepare it simply wasn’t doable. I already had some paintbrushes for use with acrylic paints at home, so I brought them in for the girls to use.

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Happy 3rd birthday to our Senior Section!

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Yes, this past week, our unit turned 3 years old. We are officially old enough to get a free nursery place now. 😉

Lying on my bed after work, I was scrolling through photos of the antics of our unit over the last three years. Although it seems ‘just like it was yesterday’, at the same time it feels so long ago since our first meeting. Our third founding member started university this week. Number four is now attending open days as she begins the process of applying to university and is raising funds for the gap year she’ll be spending teaching science in Guyana. Two more girls have completed their Chief Guide Challenge this summer, and several are close to finishing their Young Leadership Qualifications and (adult) Leadership Qualifications.

Our teeny splinter group is starting to get it’s foundations now, they have decided that they want to learn First Aid skills so we have a guy coming in who does First Aid and courses in uses Defibrillators for the Scottish Ambulance Service for their next three meetings. After that they are hoping to learn how to knit – so I’m calling in some local experts for that one too.

Our big ‘original’ group is mostly 15 year olds (or about to be 15 year olds) and they have a few things planned – to run a Hallowe’en Party for the local Brownie unit, planning some kind of hunt/trail in teams to do at one of our meeting nights. They’ve also got a few different ideas of things they’d like to do – it’s a matter of where/when we will do them. Going to Ikea is one of them. Making jewellery is another.

Outside of the unit, I’m starting to see that Guides are beginning to take an interest in what comes after. They have watched one of our girls transition from a Guide to an already very capable Young Leader. One of our 11 year old Guides came up to me at our last meeting and asked me what you had to do to be a leader, and a Young Leader. Several of our Guides are now wanting to be Rainbow and Brownie Helpers and already looking ahead to what they might do once they move on from Guides. It definitely makes a difference when they are getting to see and observe other sections of Girlguiding and aren’t just in their own unit bubble.

The last three years have been worth the hard work, and I hope years from now there’ll be some fun Senior Section reunions…

 

Happy birthday to us!

It’s tough to believe, but two years ago today was our first meeting of our Senior Section unit. I worried that only two people might turn up, or that perhaps they’d think it was so rubbish after the first night they would never come back. Six girls came to that first meeting, and together we began to put some plans in place for our first term as we painted our nails with Jenny’s extensive nail varnish collection!

Five girls remained for the whole of that first term, and we were joined by a sixth member from my Guide unit after she finished her Baden Powell Award in the January.

I have great memories of the last two years – I hope our girls do too! It’s funny to think a week before the Scottish Independence referendum that it was one of our first ‘big’ discussions as we were looking at the Guide Promise. It all stemmed from looking at what it meant to keep the promise and we got to the line about serving our ‘Queen and country’. All of the girls (mostly under 16 at that point) suddenly realised they’d be eligible to vote in the referendum and were quite panicked about the prospect. There was a lot of chat about their opinions on whether they should be allowed to vote when they wouldn’t be 18, how to find information to make an informed choice on voting and so on.

The girls still admire their Promise Tree fondly. They decided to make their Promise on the ferris wheel at the Edinburgh Christmas Market (it was a rickety open air affair that involved a lot of screaming). Several of the girls were not happy with the wording of the promise and to be honest, I wasn’t either. I allowed them to change the line about loving God to something that kept the priniciple but that wouldn’t be a lie for them. I know at the time that may have been frowned upon, but honesty is a personal value of mine that I couldn’t forgo (and as I’ve said before – the first line of the Guide Law is that ‘A Guide is honest and can be trusted’). We were convinced GHQ had been bugging our meetings when we came back after Christmas to be told there was to be a Promise Consultation. We all participated, made sure our Guides all had their say too and I posted their surveys to London.

We have rock climbed, hula hooped, painted glass jars, toasted marshmallows on campfires, raged against the moments it seems like Senior Section gets glossed over or forgotten about and at times been hurt  and angered by people in the media slating Girlguiding.

We have started our traditions – cake and candles for every birthday we celebrate, and of course our meetings are accompanied by popcorn. We even went on the new less rickety Christmas Market ferris wheel to remake our Promise – this time with the new wording.

We are waiting for our girls to get mentors for their leadership qualifications, and one of our group has finished her Chief Guide Challenge already (we’re still waiting for the badge though – as no one seemed to know the process to get it).

We have ten girls that came to our first meeting this year, and word is spreading around the Division. Many Guides who would have just dropped out because they felt too old are now investigating staying on to join our Senior Section. It’s wonderful, and we have such an amazing group of girls that have done great things and I’m sure are going to do so much more to make this world a better place.

Happy 2nd birthday to us (may there be many more to come!!)