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! ūüėČ

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 ‚ÄúBe Prepared‚ÄĚ.

PINK: We light this candle in honour of friendship, remembering our sister Guides and Girl Scouts wherever they may be ‚Äď 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.

Minion Mayhem with the Guides

At the start of term, after we did a couple ¬†of weeks of ‘Getting to Know You’ and teamwork games, we asked the Guides if they wanted to go straight into doing a Go For It in their patrols, or if they’d like to do a badge as a unit. We had a few options of Challenge Badges created by Girlguiding units that we had noticed that had been posted on the Challenge Pack facebook page recently and asked the unit to vote on it.

We secretly hoped they’d vote for the Super Sock Challenge, but Minion Mayhem got the most votes.

The challenge is split into five sections: Teamwork, Warning, Goggle Eyes, Banana and Bright Ideas.

Over the next few weeks the girls learned about Hazards helping our Assistant Leader in training do a risk assessment of the meeting place for her LQ. And created some posters that at closer examination after the meeting had us cracking up with the giggles

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They created some ‘mocktails’, our new Young Leader set up an obstacle course which they led each other through while blindfolded (thank you Active Kids vouchers for the blindfolds!), did a teamwork game which she investigated and led all on her own

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and the finale was everyone dressing up as minions. The girls faces when we opened the door to the hall and they realised we had dressed up too was quite funny. Let me tell you finding adult sized blue denim dungarees was a challenge in itself. As was finding a yellow shirt to wear! Though on my search, I ended up doing some volunteer recruitment with a shop assistant.

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We didn’t just dress up ourselves that night either. No we were also¬†dressing up bananas. It was meant to be a competition but we genuinely loved all of them so much. Why am I still so shocked by the girls’ creativity and imagination? You’d think that I wouldn’t be by now (especially after everything they did for their Free Being Me exhibition). But yep, these all made me smile in their different ways. Sorry you can’t see every single banana, but these are the only pics that don’t have the girls’ faces in them.

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All in all, we’ve had a blast doing the badge and with 9 new Guides to add to our 7 Guides that have been with us for 1-4 years it’s been a really fun first half of the term. After the Tattie Holidays (October Half-term to the non-Scottish folk!) the newbies will be spending a couple of weeks looking at the Guide promise, the oldies will be updating their patrol scrapbooks to document the past year (since we forgot to make time for it last year – oops!) and then they’ll be getting into work in their new Patrols and two of our oldest Guides will be getting stuck into their Baden Powell work.

Thanks Lesmahagow Guides for putting this badge pack together! ūüôā