Baden Powell Sports Night

One of the challenges of our summer term is that it’s pretty short in Scotland. There are several bank holiday weekends, most of June is taken up with end of year concerts, prize givings or school trips where the girls will be away. And then just as the longest day hits, it’s the summer holidays. By the time the schools go back the nights are dark again for Guides.

We try to be outside as much as possible during this two month period where the nights are light and the weather is hopefully a little bit milder.

The Guides asked for a campfire again this year. We lost our local campfire site as Girlguiding Edinburgh sold it off a few years ago, so we now have to go to the Scout one. It’s a lot more fancy and we do miss the rustic feel of Trefoil (and it’s excellent wood pile). But we’ve got a bunch of Guides doing Baden Powell and so there were several nights that they needed to do things and one of those tasks some of the girls had chosen was to run a sports night.

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Our night at the campsite was perfect. The girls were good at letting the leaders know what from our stash of Active Kids donated equipment we needed so we could pack it in our cars for the following week and had everything planned really well to keep the unit well occupied, even taking into account getting groups to mix a bit at the same time as keeping certain clashing personalities apart. We were super impressed. They were well organised, got everything sorted themselves under the eye of two leaders while the other leaders got the campfire ready to go for when the Guides finished*.

*usually we would get the Guides involved in lighting it, but due to time constraints it made more sense to get it built and started while they were doing the sports activities.

We are racing against the clock this year to get a whole cohort of girls completed their Baden Powell before the old programme completely goes away.  The girls who are of age to do BP are of course the group that came up to Guides when we went from a unit of 9 to a unit of 21 in the space of a couple of weeks. Baden Powell Adventure weekends only take 2 girls per unit, so I’m not entirely sure how we are going to swing that one. I am glad to see that change in the new programme that the ‘adventure’ part in the Gold Award doesn’t have to be a BP specific one which will make life easier!

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We of course ended the night toasting marshmallows, followed by a bunch of our Guides enrolling after a long wait (they had planned to do it on our end of term trip before Easter on a roller rink, only for the roller rink to change their opening hours so we couldn’t go there for our trip). Promises were made, and we were glad none of their promise badges ended up on the campfire this year (and yes, that HAS happened).

Schools are back now, but due to leaders being away for holidays and work, we are delaying our start back date. Plus the Autumn/Winter term is incredibly long. Two of our young leaders we have farewelled off to university (sob!) but there are rumours of a previous trainee leader returning to our leadership team after a two year break from Guiding while she was completing her honours degree.

And yes, we have been looking at the new Guiding programme and are planning to incorporate that into this term. More on that soon…!

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The Guides glow in the dark…

You may remember that earlier this term I shared about how our Guides decided they wanted to do a Little Lights Walk for Bliss, a charity that supports babies born premature or sick. Well, World Prematurity Day was last Friday so we have now completed the walk…23434715_137168853604184_4314540086205780748_n

…Olave was of course on the walk as well, proudly carried by one of the Guides and she has since been taking on the arduous job of collecting in the sponsorship money that has been handed in ‘offline’ in addition to everything that has come in through the unit’s JustGiving page.

The week before the Little Lights walk we had booked volunteer from Bliss come to chat to the girls about the work the charity does, but sadly the volunteer got sick and had to cancel last minute. I cobbled something together and did my best to try and answer questions…but we definitely needed the volunteer.

The night we did the walk we were blessed with mild, dry weather. The route we chose was darker than I expected – my car became a lit up Christmas tree where girls popped flasks of hot drinks for after the walk, consent forms and a long Bliss banner that the charity sent in our pack. The girls were decked out in light up trainers and we gave them glow stick bracelets and for those allowed it UV face paint. One of our Young Leaders had even bejewelled her woolly hat with some fairy lights which proved very useful on our return as quite a few Guides almost walked right past the steps back to our meeting point. Our helpful Young Leader then stayed at the stairs to ‘light’ the way!

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We had a few parents tag along too, and the walk was a lovely way of bonding with each other. A lot of Guides who don’t normally chat to me as much did that night, and talked a lot about memories of Guides so far, what they’d like to do in future and just life outside Guides too.

After we got home, our unit leader got message after message from parents saying how much their daughters had enjoyed the experience. And to top it off, a picture I snapped of the girls at the end of the night made it into the local paper. (It’s better than the one below!)

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I believe the Little Lights Walks are running through until February, and I would say they are so much fun, and I thoroughly recommend it. We got a great wee pack of stuff to organise the walk, and when I requested more sponsorship forms we got sent them so the girls didn’t have to register themselves. The girls are already asking me if we can take part in their spring time event “Bake for Bliss”.

Now I have the fun task of counting all the money so we can bank it and send a cheque to Bliss…

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.

Toasting marshmallows on the beach…

There’s a constant challenge with Rangers, trying to keep it girl-led, flexible but also trying to still do something to make it worth coming to. I always feel like I’m not doing a good enough job of providing opportunities to them through Girlguiding.

Due to my job changes, and so many of the girls doing school trips abroad, one off to Camp America and a few on Duke of Edinburgh, we have had to do away with trips we wanted to do…like our end of year campfire. We used to be able to use a Girlguiding campsite that was 10 minutes away, and backed on to our Assistant Leader’s garden (handy if we ever forgot anything!) but it was sold off last year.  We also have several of the girls who have commitments right before our meeting time so often arrive late. Going on a trip is even more difficult because of this.

We did manage one though – we headed down to beach area not too far away in the North West of the city, disposable barbecue in hand so we could toast some marshmallows.

It was wonderfully dry but got very chilly by the end of the night as the barbecue died down and the wind blew! It was a very brisk walk back to the car park, where many of the Rangers hid in my car to keep warm while they waited for parents to arrive to pick them up. They also spotted that someone had tossed rubbish all over a section of the car park and decided to use some Guiding spirit to go pick it up and put it in the nearest bin (as a Surfers Against Sewage supporter, I wholly approved of this initiative). And as the sun started to set, I fully appreciated a night outdoors!

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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. 🙂

When Rangers become Rainbows…

After last year’s Colour Run, the first thing that went on their wish list of activities for this year was ‘COLOR ME RAD’. And so we were on the ball ready to register for the best discount in January. Unfortunately most of the girls who said they wanted to do it, didn’t end up signing up, so I opened it up to other Senior Section members in the division who are not Rangers. We ended up with two Young Leaders and two of their friends from school (one also a Girlguiding Young Leader from a neighbouring division, the other not a member of Girlguiding), as well as three Rangers signing up. It was also going to be the last day of volunteering for our newest Assistant Leader in training, who sadly has had to move away.IMG_6880

The most important part is the before and after shots. The idea is you wear as much white as possible so the colour has the most effect.

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This year there were a lot less people doing Colour Run – I think perhaps because they had it scheduled on the same weekend as the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. This meant the start area was much closer to the registration tent, there weren’t the portaloos this year and our meeting point was much more crowded than usual. I was thankful I had decided to wear some blue fairy wings and quickly messaged the girls to tell them so they could find me.

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After I did a backward roll through the yellow colour station one of the girls told me I looked like a ‘Rainbow Pixie Fairy’ as all the colour floated off my wings as I was jogging away. She snapped this picture for me (Thanks A!)

We also had the Mum of two of the girls running in our team stay to watch and she snapped some lovely photos of us at a few of the colour stations and at the end. It was super kind of her. I do believe she had hosted a sleepover for a few of the girls at her house the night before too.

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they were starting to run out of colour by the end, and so folks were running back into the startions to try and get as much colour on them as possible. Somewhere in that cloud is our team! (the two folks at the front are just participants of that we don’t know).

All in all, it was a great way to start a Saturday, and if the girls want to do it again next year we will hopefully be able to all sign up again. Especially as the Aunt of one of our Rangers has alerted us to the wonderous invention of T-Shirt pens. Something for next year! 🙂

We’re going on a penny hike…

This term one of the Senior Section groups wanted to do a scavenger hunt/treasure hunt. The only problem was that the girls who suggested it weren’t at the following meetings. Add a whole pile of schoolwork, exhausted, tired Rangers came who weren’t sure what the other girls meant and ended up chatting about other things…and nothing got planned. The following meeting, not many girls showed up, but I figured if they weren’t going to do a scavenger hunt, we were going outside so I suggested a short penny hike. IMG_6009

The idea is that you go outside, take a penny, decide if heads means left or right, and flip the coin…and you follow that direction. We actually had a lot of fun doing it. Everyone took turns flipping the coin, and groaned when the coin suggested turning a direction that meant walking further up the hill (most of Edinburgh sits on it’s seven hills, if you’ve visited our fair Auld Reekie, you’ll know that you find yourself walking up and down hills a lot!). Most of the units I’ve seen do this seem to be in more rural areas, we are in an urban setting. However there was a scream when one Ranger almost stepped on this guy…

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He’s either a long way from the river or from someone’s garden pond!! We also spotted cats and a fox.

It was a good way to get the girls moving and us leaders too, and would love to do this in the summer months a bit further from our meeting place.