I’ll always be grateful for the lovely blogger Kelloggsville who is a Ranger leader. Her blog helped me a ton in those first months of panic when I was trying to support the five girls in our original group get our unit established and going.
We have had a fair few of our older members moving on in the last year, and a chunk of newbies joining. The last couple of terms have been hard going, mainly due to the new Scottish Secondary School curriculum which involves constant tests, exams and coursework that ends up having to be done at home as there isn’t enough class time (and that’s with some of our girls only doing 6 subjects as opposed to the 8 that was the norm for as long as I can remember for the O Grade/Standard Grade/Int 2/GCSE level of study).
Several of our new girls are not yet familiar with Look Wider, older members seem too tired to come up with and follow through on new ideas. So I decided that for the first nights back both groups would do a variation of the Octant Beetle.
First was finding sweets to fit dietary requirements that could be used for parts of the beetle. Because gluten free foods tend to be more expensive, I did do some that had two options.
Body = Gluten Free Brownie or Malted Milk Biscuit
Head = Jaffa Cake or Coconut macaroon
Eyes = Dolly mixtures or jelly beans
Legs = Strawberry laces or Strawberry Fruit yoyos (these are vegan & gluten free)
Feet = Cola bottles
Antennae = Strawberry pencils or Mango fruit yoyos and strawberry bonbons
Spots = Chocolate buttons
The Girls and leaders took turns in throwing the dice. I had a poster on the wall of what the beetle should look like, and what each number on the dice could contribute to, and what you could make it with. We played by the rules that you needed to start with a body or head, and you couldn’t add anything that would be ‘floating’ (ie you can’t add a foot before you have a leg for it)
1 = Body and Head
2 = Eyes
3 = Antennae
4 = Legs
5 = Feet
6 = Spots
I decided not to complicate things by having 8 things represent each octant. Instead, I had a blank Look Wider chart on the wall with sections to represent Phase 1, 2 and 3 of each of the octants. Any time someone got something to contribute to their beetle, they had to go up and add an idea for something they could do for Phase 1, 2 or 3 of one of the octants. Once the chart was full, we just added extra ideas until everyone had completed their beetles.
We also made it a new rule that if your turn came while you were still standing up trying to come with an idea, the next available person in the circle took a roll of the dice for their turn. This kept the game flowing better so that everyone had a completed sweetie beetle (or an almost completed one) by the end of the meeting.
At the end of the beetle game we had a bit of a sugar high and played pass the parcel (as there were birthdays, plus the prize inside was to help start an idea one of the groups had last year that we hope to act upon this term). But we also now have a two pieces of paper filled with ideas for how to complete Look Wider.
And yes, it has been long established that drawing (or anything that comes under the ‘arts and crafts’ bracket really) is not my strong suit. Please don’t judge my circle/octagon being more ovalish. Luckily the girls were able to follow it regardless.
The girls in the first group told me that ‘This was a great idea’. I was relieved that they thought that, and it went much better. It was a bit more challenging on the second night as we had as many Rangers as Leaders.
I totally recommend doing this as a pre-term planning activity or if you find your unit struggling to get into Look Wider. It was good having girls who have already completed (or almost completed) the Chief Guide Challenge there as they were able to share ideas from what they or past members had done.