5 years of Look Wider…

…what have we done? I know a lot of Senior Section leaders say they “don’t get it” or aren’t sure how to plan a programme. It is hard work, but once your girls get it, you will find that they come up with so many ideas.

The great thing about Look Wider is that it is so flexible. I think that can be intimidating for members who have been used to a fairly firm structure (both unit members and their leaders). But it doesn’t need to be intimidating. If your members are really struggling for ideas, then go seek around the world loads of examples of what others have done – they might like the ideas, it might inspire somehing else. Do a game like the one Kelloggsville invented to get more ideas. Ask the girls pertinent questions and give them time and space to think on them. Then support them to use their answers to base your programme on over a longer period.

Over the last 5 years our group has been running we’ve done a range of things.At times we have been limited by the availability of the girls, and the fact that I don’t always have access to a car. Some activities have become traditions that the girls want to do over and over. And some nights it’s just been about chilling and having fun – especially when the girls are on exam leave. These are just things we have done together in our meetings. This does not include what individuals have done as Young Leaders/Adult leaders in training, or during their own time outside of Girlguiding/School/Work/University/College which they can also count as part of Look Wider.

Activities for Look Wider Octants

All of these activities we have done during our meeting times, with the exception of a few things (such as Remembrance Sunday, Color Me Rad 5k, opening of Parliament and the Build A Bear Party which we did on a Sunday morning before the shop opened). Some were away from our regular meeting place, but done during our meeting time.

Community Action

  • Painting glass jars to be filled with sweets & sold for Bake A Little Love
  • Participating in local service of remembrance
  • Inviting a volunteer from the local Food Bank to talk about their work
  • Doing a collection for the local Food Bank
  • Creating a Community Map with photos identifying needs and focal points for the local area.
  • Raising awareness and campaigning for War on Want
  • Learning about voting
  • Raising funds for local community centre doing a Colour Run
  • Inviting volunteer/staff from Refugee Survival Trust
  • Participating in the opening of Parliament
  • Volunteering at local fair to raise money for Division
  • Helping Leaders do the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for MND Scotland

Creativity

  • Nail Painting
  • Hallowe’en Party – fancy dress and creative games
  • Painting glass jars
  • Unit Scrapbooking (we have kept scrapbooks of all our activities as a unit since the beginning).
  • Theatre Trip to support fellow members in Gang Show
  • Designing our own mugs with Sharpie Markers
  • Charity Shop Fashion Show
  • Learning how to knit
  • Mood Boards
  • Easter Baking – making easter egg nests
  • Creating a Timeline of Women’s History
  • Designing T-shirts for their Senior Section Spectacular bears with fabric paints

Fit for Life

  • Rock climbing and abseiling
  • Invent your own smoothie night
  • Pilates for Dummies
  • Color Me Rad 5k
  • Inviting a local Hula Hooping instructor to give us a class
  • Walk around local nature reserve
  • Rest and Relaxation Night (healthy foods, spa treatments)
  • British Heart Foundation Heart to Start Course
  • Learning First Aid
  • Trying a Taekwondo class

Independent Living

  • Invent your own smoothie night
  • Charity Shop Challenge – finding an outfit for £10 or under
  • Money Management – making Spend/Save/Give Jars
  • Making Pancakes for Pancake Day
  • Hosting a Swap Shop Night
  • Learning how to make non-alcoholic mulled wine
  • Learning how to knit
  • Bake Off Night
  • Building Ikea furniture
  • Learning how to do laundry
  • Learning how to boil potatoes and eggs
  • Make your own pizza night

International

  • World Thinking Day Badge Pack from WAGGGS
  • Researching and celebrating Diwali (everyone brought an activity for group relating to Diwali)
  • Writing letters to Rangers in other countries
  • Ready, Steady, Glasgow Challenge Badge
  • Learning about ethics of behind the scenes of how clothes are made by retailers
  • Hawaiian Night
  • Chinese Food Night
  • Celebrating World Thinking Day
  • Learning about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers

Leadership

  • Planning the term programme
  • Planning and organising Hallowe’en Party for unit
  • Organising an Invite A Friend Easter Egg Hunt & Party for the local Brownies
  • Putting on a Charity Shop Fashion Show for Guides
  • Planning a Swap Shop night
  • Planning an Oscar Themed Awards Party for the Guide & Senior Section leaders getting their ALQs
  • Learning how to do a risk assessment for an outdoor walk
  • Planning and running Hallowe’en Party for a Brownie Unit
  • Look Wider Sweetie Beetle
  • Organising a Bake Off night ‘techinical challenge’
  • Organising games for Harry Potter Night

Out of Doors

  • Christmas Market
  • Rock climbing and abseiling
  • Campfire
  • Community Photo Walk
  • Sparklers outdoors for Guy Fawkes Night
  • Walking around local nature reserve
  • Barbecue on an island (crossing a causeway)
  • Penny Hike
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Colour Me Rad 5k
  • Going to outdoor ice rink

Personal Values

  • Activities looking at the Promise from Senior Section CD Rom
  • Collages to celebrate International Women’s Day – women who inspire us
  • Making the Promise
  • Creating a group Promise Tree
  • Making their own individual Promise Tree Booklets
  • Charity Shop Fashion Show
  • Learning about lent and Shrove Tuesday
  • Planning a Scavenger Hunt
  • Personal Collage/Inspiration Boards
  • Debates on social and ethical issues
  • Scottish Parliament Election Manifestos Debate
  • Watching Suffragette film and writing review for their blog
  • Watching He Named Me Malala documentary
  • Creating an inspiration library
  • Creating a timeline of Women’s history

Just for fun/Other

Please feel free to share more ideas that your unit has done below! We are always looking for inspiration too. 🙂

Rangers learn some life skills

You may remember at the start of the year, I asked the lovely ladies of our Senior Section what they would like to learn before they leave their parents home. There were a few skills that they wanted to learn – and one of them was laundry.

There is no washing machine where we meet, so we had to get a little creative…

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And so I brought down a pile of mixed (clean) laundry belonging to members of my family. And yes people, it included some (old) bras. I queried the appropriateness of that, but in the end I figured that the majority of women wear them, and it’s not always obvious how to care for them. Especially if they are underwired or have lace. So yes…we did discuss handwashing and ‘delicates’. Not all the girls arrived at the start of the meeting on time (a current ‘challenge’ this year for me as a leader) otherwise I would have split the girls into teams and had them sort out the laundry into loads, what setting they would put for the washing machine, how much laundry detergent etc.  I also found this helpful print out on Love Your Clothes website about clothing care labels and what each of the symbols mean which all the girls asked if they could keep a copy of.

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Although most of the girls can bake and some can cook, many of the girls confessed to not really knowing or ever having done some basic things they felt all ‘grown ups’ should know. These were boiling potatoes and boiling eggs. So…we got some new potatoes, some saucepans (again our meeting place’s kitchen is not very well equipped for cooking), some eggs and I brought down my old Student Cookbook (which is where I finally learned at the age of 29 how to make scrambled eggs which don’t look like yellowy grey bits of rubber – no one had explained that I needed to cook them on a super low heat!). And I just sat back and made sure no one did anything life threatening.

They’ve also requested to have a night at someone’s house to cook a full proper meal that isn’t pasta. Not going to lie, I’m a terrible cook (I’d like to blame it on the anti social hours of 16 years working in youth work, retail and community education where I usually don’t have time to spend an hour cooking) so I may need to call in some friendly reinforcements to share their skills so I don’t pass on my culinary ineptitude to the girls!

 

Starting the year at Senior Section…

This year I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to blog, as I’m now the only Senior Section leader, and we’re still waiting for a third adult leader for Guides.

I’ve had to stop one of my Senior Section groups, and so now I just have the one group. All the girls bar one are in S5 (for those of you outside of Scotland, that’s the first year of ‘sixth form’), the academic pressures are there and I know from last year that they will struggle to keep on with Girlguiding.

So…how to make Senior Section have a purpose that is going to be helpful to them?

I started the year by getting them to take out a pen and piece of paper and write down the answers to six questions, which I forgot to actually write down myself. They went something along the lines of…

  1. What is something that they are passionate about?
  2. If they could change anything about the world, what would it be?
  3. What would they like to achieve of being part of Senior Section?
  4. What would they like to learn before they leave their parents’ home?
  5. What do they want to do with their lives?
  6. and I can’t remember what the sixth question was…!

It was interesting to see what the girls’ answers were. Pretty much all of them wrote the same thing for question number 2. And this term we are going to focus on achieving the answers to question number 4.

What were the answers to that one? Understanding laundry labels, being able to do their own laundry, being able to boil potatoes, learning how to cook ‘proper’ meals, knowing how to budget and manage their finances, know how to do taxes, know how to pay bills, understand what loans and credit cards involve…oh, and one of my members wants to learn how to rap because like me, she’s been listening to the Hamilton cast recording all summer!

And so…I really need to refresh my adulting skills so I can share them with the Senior Section. Or….I need to find some adultier adults to help me!

The Library needs a home…

You may remember that I mentioned that we had started a library of books and DVDs to inspire discussion and thought on the Personal Values octant. Of course, books need a bookshelf, and so we managed to incorporate a little Independent Living and Creativity octant to our last two meetings.

While a few girls were still decorating their bear’s t-shirts for the Senior Section Spectacular, the rest were getting to grips with an Ikea Flatpack and a fancy screwdriver lent to us by my stepfather (my tools got stolen by one of my tenants many years ago!) that has lots of different ends you can add to suit the job you are doing.

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For most, if not all, the girls this was their first time building flatpack furniture and though it started with a mild look of panic, I stayed out of the way other than to recommend they check everything was there before they started building. A couple of moments of realising bits were in the wrong places happened – but they recognised their errors and rectified them all on their own. As many of them plan to go to university, and I’m sure all of them will eventually move out of their parents’ homes and into their own flats and houses at some point. I’m also sure that this will not be the last time in their lives that they will build Ikea furniture.

They had forgotten about the decorating part, and so once the bookshelf was built they improvised with what they could find in the leftovers from previous craft projects for the rest of the meeting. The result being that this was the bookshelf we left in the church hall next to the Brownie, Guide and Senior Section cupboards

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What you can’t see is that  they got some adhesive backed fabric on the top of the bookcase, and everyone signed their names (they asked me to add mine). At the last meeting the girls all brought magazines and cut out pictures from them to start decoupaging the sides of the bookcase. We will hopefully eventually varnish them once they are finished, which will likely not be until after the summer holidays now.

It has been fun to see them get creative with this, and I can’t wait to see the end product! I’m hoping we can get more funding to get more books and films to add to the library next year.

Now we have just over a week until the summer holidays begin. Some of the unit members are taking part in the Girlguiding Scotland contingent of the riding into Parliament on 2nd July. I’ll sadly not be there as I’ll be at work (boo). Hopefully the girls going will tell the rest of us all about it after!

But that’s it for our fourth year of Senior Section – we will turn 4 on 12th September. Due to a Guide camp in August, losing leaders (hopefully getting more?) and me being on the hunt for full-time work we’ll have two months off meetings and return at the start of September for a new school year. My hope is that I’ll get a job that will allow me to stay in Edinburgh and continue volunteering, but nothing is guaranteed. Fingers crossed though!

Senior Section’s Community Knitting group

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Last term, when I asked our wee Senior Section group what they’d like to do, First Aid and learn to knit were two of the items on their list. Once we got the First Aid down (complete with defibrillator training) my lovely knitting expert friend came in with her newborn, their wool orders, knitting needles and the girls and I learned how to knit scarves.

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Learning to Knit

We got our wool from a website called Wool Warehouse, and my friend deliberately chose thicker wool and needles so the scarves would be quicker to knit and they would see results faster. We got each member a set of needles and three balls of wool to knit a basic scarf.

We had a couple of sessions – one of them with Christmas music, a Division Commissioner visit and chocolates. My friend then returned to teach them how to pearl stitch so they could do something with a mixed texture.

One member in particular has really caught the knitting bug, and I think has completed three scarves already.

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It’s a great thing to learn for part of your Creativity or Independent Living octant.