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!

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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.

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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.

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Whodunnit?

Recently some unexpected absences led to a panic about what we were going to do at Guides as we had to quickly change what we had planned. Cue our unit helper, Penny coming to the rescue by borrowing an idea from her daughter to play a large Guide themed game of cluedo!img_8679

As you can see we used some masking tape, and equipment we’ve collected over the years from Active Kids (training poles, throw down feet and bean bags) to set up our ‘Cluedo Board’. The Guides loved this so much they insisted on playing it three times, and we are using this year’s vouchers to get a few more things (like a giant foam dice) to make playing this game a more frequent activity and a bit easier to set up.

Penny has kindly sent me the instructions after a Guide leader asked me if I could share how the game works. They are in the PDF document below (click on Guide Cluedo).

I believe it was Professor Laurie Plum, in the kitchen, with the hot chocolate! 😉

Guide Cluedo

Old School Guiding Night

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!

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Our unit helper helping one of our Guides practise morse code with a torch. We had the girls flash the light against the wall.

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.

Helpful links:

Morse Code

Semaphore

Thinking Day Candle Ceremony

One of the things I remember doing as a Brownie, but less so as a Guide was celebrating Thinking Day. I shared recently how I was shocked at how many of my Guides and Senior Section had never heard of it and didn’t know what it was, despite having been members of Girlguiding for many years.

This year Thinking Day fell during term time (so often it has been during the half-term holiday) and we were able to do something significant to celebrate. As the Guides have been navigating their G-Files and asking questions, I’ve been telling them more about the history of Guides and the things I did as a Guide. Four new Guides were due to make their promise, as well as our two new Young Leaders so we wanted to do something to make the night special.

I had looked up Thinking Day Candle Ceremonies, and found this one. But for me it didn’t quite sit right. I found some great stuff produced by Girl Scouts in Canada and USA too, and in the end decided to use some of the ideas from each of them and create a “new” candle ceremony.

I managed to get four pillar candles (White, Blue, Red and a yellow-y one – apparently no one sells Gold candles when it’s not Christmas time, so I’m going to nab a gold candle for next Thinking Day next winter!!) and three candles of different colours (scented) that were on sale in my local supermarket. They weren’t quite the colours I was hoping for, but C’est la vie!

Our amazing unit leader spent the weekend making candle holders from cereal boxes so that each Guide (and parents and sisters who came along to join us who wanted to join in) could hold a candle.

I asked our five oldest Guides and our two young leaders if they would light the big candles that we had on a table at the opening of our horseshoe, then from the friendship candle I lit my candle and then with my candle lit the other two leaders next to me and then around the horseshoe each person shared their ‘guiding light’ with the Guide next to them.

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This is how our ceremony went…feel free to use or adapt. I based it on the World Flag and this Thinking Day candle ceremony that I found online, I assume it was made by someone in the Girl Scouts of the USA.

 

For 90 years, on 22nd February, the birthday of our founder and first World Chief Guide we have observed Thinking Day, where we celebrate the international friendship with our sisters in Guiding all around the world.

These candles symbolise what unite us as the World Guiding family  and help us to remember our sisters around the globe.

BLUE: We light this candle to represent the sky and sun that shines over children around the world. We share the same sky and sun whether we are richer or poorer, taller or smaller, older or younger, worship different Gods or no god, come from different countries and have different abilities.

RED: We light this candle to remember our founder, Robert Baden-Powell, and his wife Olave Baden-Powell, our first World Chief Guide. Together they showed young girls and women the way of Guiding and Scouting to ‘Be Prepared’ and do a good turn every day.

GOLD: We light this candle to represent the Promise and Law that we all pledged to keep with the hope that it will become a way of life for all who make that promise.

WHITE: We light this candle in the hope of peace in every country and territory around the world. We remember our sisters who have been affected by war.

PURPLE: We light this candle to remind ourselves to always stay true to our beliefs even when it is not easy.

GREEN: We light this candle to represent our readiness to serve, and to help other people  as expressed in the Guide and Scout motto to always “Be Prepared”.

PINK: We light this candle in honour of friendship, remembering our sister Guides and Girl Scouts wherever they may be – in homes, churches, meeting halls, refugee camps, hospitals and shelters.

We will now each light our own candle from the candle of friendship. Each of these candles are symbols of the Guiding light of friendship and peace we carry wherever we go in our communities and around the world.

It went better than I thought it would, no one set themselves or the hall (or anyone else) on fire with the candles. The girls who spoke did really well, especially considering we had no time to do a practice run. We later re-lit the candles for the girls to make their Promises!

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Other highlights of the night were many of our Guides running a bake sale to raise money for the Guide Friendship Fund – they made £60. Many made friendship bracelets, and had created wordsearches and games about World Guiding. It was all a bit chaotic, and we had to encourage them to reach out to parents and family members they’d invited along for the evening to join in! I hope it gave the parents an idea of what they get up to when they leave them under our supervision.

World Thinking Day 2016

So World Thinking Day is coming up. I was shocked to discover that none of our Guides knew about World Thinking Day, many didn’t know who Baden-Powell was and one Guide said in shock to me ‘Lord Baden-Powell was a real person?!’ when we sat on the floor in a circle ‘Brownie Pow-wow’ style to talk about the World Guiding badge which we are doing as a unit.

As someone who grew up in Girlguiding, I find it really sad that the girls – who have pretty much all been growing up in Guiding since they were old enough to join Rainbows – had no clue about World Thinking Day.

Thinking Day in our county used to be a big deal. I remember as a Brownie every year going to a big event with Brownies from all over the county where we played games and then sang songs together. On the meeting closest to Thinking Day we would collect our subs and donations and put them in the shape of the Trefoil and send them to the Thinking Day Fund/Guide Friendship Fund (whatever it was called back then!)

As a Guide, to do your Baden Powell you had to have done your World Guiding badge and I still have the badges on my camp blanket that I exchanged with Guides from other countries as part of this.

This year I’m determined to give our girls the opportunity to celebrate Thinking Day.

Here is how I’m try to help create awareness of the day

1. Wearing promise badge/uniform on 22nd February.

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Wearing badge on Thinking Day

We have written to the local primary schools to ask if they will allow members of Girlguiding to either wear all/or part of their uniform on 22nd February. Two out of the three primary schools have replied back with a yes – one we haven’t heard back from.

2. Changing cover photo and profile picture on Twitter/Facebook to include the World Thinking Day 2016 ‘Connect’ banner.

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You can do this too by going to the Twibbon website. I’ve also added the banner as our cover photo for our Senior Section unit’s facebook group.

3. Our Guide unit is doing the World Guiding badge in the lead up to Thinking Day.

There are also activities (some of which we are using to complete the badge) in the Connect resource produced for World Thinking Day by WAGGGS, and there is a Brownie version of the World Guiding badge. And Activity Village has some sheets that you can download and print, as well as craft ideas that you can use for Thinking Day.

4. Giving an opportunity to add badges to camp blankets.

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On Thinking Day I have a Sale or Return order from Girlguiding Scotland shop which includes camp blankets and the World Thinking Day badge so if the girls want to, they can start their own camp blanket to collect badges. As part of the badge, the girls are going to be running a bake sale to raise money for the Guide Friendship Fund. We are inviting parents to come along to celebrate Thinking Day with us.

5. Sharing our Guiding light.

I’m currently trying to come up with a doable idea for a Thinking Day/Promise ceremony using candles or torches!! Thankfully there’s lot of ideas been shared online, and I think I’ll be meshing them somehow.

 

 

A year of Guiding: 2015

So the calendar year is almost over, my Guiding is done (in terms of unit meetings) for 2015. Here’s a wee look back at all that I got up to as a Girlguiding volunteer this past year…

 

Neckerchiefs & Remembrance

After my Mum and my neighbour’s comments asking why the girls weren’t in uniform when they were, this year we wondered about getting unit neckerchiefs. Another unit in our area had got some for their whole unit and that leader passed on the email address of her contact so we could get something similar.

I e-mailed Steph from One Stop Scouting and within two days she had sent me a set of swatches and idea of how long our order would take. I then took the swatch samples and held a bit of a ‘Pow-wow’ (yes I know that’s a Brownie thing!) with our Guides. I suggested that the main necker colour should be some shade of blue as that’s the colour associated most with Guides (Red for Rainbows, Yellow for Brownies, Blue for Guides, Turquoise for Senior Section), but that they could pick any colour they liked for the border. With 16 Guides we worried that it would be a nightmare to get consensus, but they very quickly as a whole group chose two colour options to vote on for the border and two for the main colour. I always say on things like this they can vote more than once, so we can get an idea of majority that will be happy with what is decided on. They decided on Marine Blue neckers with a Grape border.

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The girls seemed to forget about the order until a few weeks later when they began to ask what had happened with the neckers and when they would arrive. In the end they came about a week before Remembrance Sunday but as we didn’t want them get lost or forgotten between our meeting day and Sunday we decided just to wait til the Sunday to give the girls their neckers. And they seemed to like them. They most certainly looked smart with them on, and we quickly realised their benefits in a crowd.

They also wore them to Gang Show (a night of the year that fills me with a lot of anxiety and stress) as crowds of kids and teens all looking the same.From years of joint trips to help with leader:child ratios now two of our Guide units and the Senior Section have the same meeting point, and the two Guide units have grown a fair bit in the last year. So it was wonderful to be able to immediately recognise who was one of ‘mine’ at a glance due to that purple (sorry, grape) border.

The Senior Section also have got unit neckers, which some of the girls are pleased with, and others are not impressed with. They chose grey neckers with a turquoise border to match the current uniform. It did make them look smart, and several people commented to me how well turned out the girls were looking this year and well…noticed that the girls were in attendance. Previous years some people haven’t even realised that there were members of Girlguiding in attendance at the War Memorial.

Unforunately I can’t share the photo I got of all the Brownies, Guides and Senior Section that I snapped after the church’s youth service for remembrance with their flags, but a photographer for the local heritage trust made a video of the War Memorial Service.

You can get the neckerchiefs in two sizes (Adult and Youth), and you will definitely need the Adult size for Senior Section. I think they were £4.95 each, and your minimum order is 25 (this can include both sizes).

We hope in future to have a deposit scheme where Guides can pay £5 deposit for a necker, then at the end of their time at Guides they can either keep it, or give it back and if it’s still in decent condition we will give them their £5 back.