How we celebrate the big awards…

When a big award is achieved, we celebrate with a fun party at the units I help out at. It’s a big deal, and in the five years I’ve been back volunteering (oh wait, no it’s six now!!) we’ve only had 3 Baden-Powells and 3 Chief Guides. This is mainly because we don’t push or force girls into doing either. They are encouraged, they are told the option is there, reminded the option is there…but unless they come to us saying “yes, sign me up” they don’t get put through it.

When someone does complete it, we have a party. With SPECIAL cake. The other girls in the unit are invited to come early to the hall to decorate it. We play party games. Parents and friends of our guest of honour are invited to join us for the fun. With that has come traditions that the girls now request when they know a party is in the offing, and I know that these parties have been memories the girls have treasured years later. A friend of our Senior Section who was in my Guide unit told her she still remembers the BP party we had for two of our girls while she was a Guide and it’s one of her favourite Guiding moments.

A request now at every party is ‘the paper chain game’. The first time we did this the family members of our 2 BP Guides got very competitive as one team. Basically we give each team some paper, scissors, glue sticks and they have about 10 minutes to make the longest paper chain they possibly can.

If you do this at the start of the party, you’ve got some extra decorations! 🙂

Other favourites have included the polo mint on a straw (where you do need a packet of polos handy for each team as polo, after polo, ends up on the floor. The idea is that the team stands in a line, holding a straw in their mouth and has to pass the polo mint from their straw to the next person’s straw without touching the polo. Umpires for each team to assure no cheating (and to quickly replace polo mints) are essential. 🙂 I’ve got some good pics, but unfortunately none I can use for this blog!

The other one we did at our first BP party that was held close to Christmas is the reindeer antlers. Now you know where this picture came from, as one team place their antlers on my head and everyone thought it was hilarious and took lots of photos. As you can see one of my Guides is doubled up laughing. (I did laugh too!).

Each team had got a pair of cheap women’s tights (fairly thick denier, otherwise tights will be ripped to shreds) and a packet of balloons. And well…you get the idea! Balloon antlers abound.

We’ve done musical chairs, corners and other games. And at the last BP party we did pass the parcel. Grateful to our Young Leaders who finished wrapping two parcels each with a layer than contained a glow bracelet and a packet of haribo for all the guests.

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And of course, the cake. We get local commissioners to present the girl(s) with their award and then take pictures of them cutting the cake. I always joke with them they’ll be well practised if they ever get married for the obligatory cake cutting picture. Cake is eaten, grown ups drink tea and then we’ve often ended with a promise ceremony. Sometimes the BP Guides have got enrolled as members of Senior Section with their Ranger/Young Leader pals alongside them who have come along to support them. Other times our Guides have asked if they can make their promise. Sometimes we’ve had both.

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Our Ranger unit and a local Guide unit hosted a party for me, the Assistant Leader and the Guide leader when we all got our ALQs. Two LQ trainees and 4 Rangers made their promise that night.

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New members of Senior Section make their promise

Our most recent BP Party was held the week of Thinking Day, so we had a candle ceremony at the end and some of the new Guides made their promise.

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Essentially, all we want to do is make the night different, informal, fun and different from a ‘normal’ night of Guides. We want to make the person(s) getting the award feel special and celebrate their hard work, dedication and achievement. And we hope (and know it has in the past) inspired younger members to think of taking up on the opportunities offered to them in Girlguiding.

It does cost more money than our normal meetings, and we’re a unit that doesn’t have a ton of extra cash and we don’t have big parties for Christmas where all the girls get gifts like I know some Rainbow and Brownie units have. Normally us leaders put in some money to get a small gift for the award person too. Last time,  thanks to my paparazzi leader tendencies, I was able to put together a small photo album of our ‘graduated’ Guide’s time as a Guide with us. I hope I can continue that as a tradition too, because I think it’s a nice memento for them to have.

Anyway…that’s what we do. Do your Guide or Ranger units have traditions for celebrating the ‘big’ awards?

Proud Guider moment alert!

In the Summer of 2014, I had my first member of Senior Section to complete Phases 1 and 2 of all the Look Wider octants. I signed her book off, emailed County, she had to leave our group due to cutting down on commitments, and so we never got to celebrate. And that kinda sucked.

This summer, two more of our unit completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of everything, and as our County Secretary had left, I got put through to Girlguiding Scotland who gave me the forms and went into the Guide Shop to have an envelope pushed towards me containing this:
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Other members of the unit decided we should have a celebration with an ‘Afternoon tea’ theme, I got in contact with the lady who had made us a cake for our first Baden-Powell party at Guides back in 2013, and our Leadership Qualification ‘Oscar’ party back in March to see if she’d make a Chief Guide cake!

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We had Grannies, Mums, Dads and brothers, most of our Senior Section girls, the leaders of units the girls volunteer with as Young Leaders and our Division Commissioner. Sadly our two Assistant Leaders ended up not being able to make the evening, but was so grateful to our Guide leader who came along early and stayed late to help with set up and clear up.

Some of the Senior Section had made a ‘Pin the cherry on the cupcake for the occasion, and by request during our Penny Hike, I made up a Disney themed quiz. Our Division Commissioner baked scones, myself, several girls and one of the Brownie leaders made cakes and provided teapots and cake stands.

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Even though it didn’t run exactly as planned due to a lack of help to set up (which was due to circumstances outwith our control), it was still (I hope) a good night, and an opportunity for the girls’ parents to see what they do as Senior Section members and for the girls to feel special and their accomplishments valued and celebrated. At least that was the aim!

They both got to go to the County reception for all the awards receivers (Baden Powell, Young Leadership, Chief Guide, Queen’s Guide etc) and once again our unit had the only Chief Guide receivers at the reception in our whole county. I’m hoping as other Senior Section units in Edinburgh are popping up and developing that our girls will be meeting other Senior Section members also receiving the same awards at the awards receptions soon!

 

 

Chinese Raffle

I love when other leaders blog details on the activities they do in their meetings. It is SO HELPFUL! Kelloggsville was the first ‘Girlguiding’ blogs I found,  and one of the few Senior Section ones (most seem to be Brownie ones). She had posted about doing a ‘Chinese Raffle’ a month or two ago which is something I had never heard of. The girls hadn’t really planned much of this term – they were too preoccupied with exams in April, so aside from telling me they wanted to start a blog, hula hoop and yes they’d like a campfire…there have been gaps to be filled.

I posted Jenny the link and we set off for B&M stores to find some random things to wrap one Sunday afternoon before some of the Guide leaders met at her house for a potluck tea and then we quickly wrapped them before the other leaders arrived!

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Our plan was to keep the idea as a surprise fun activity for the last meeting of term, because the girls have been exhausted lately from exams and also they’ve come so far this last year in all sorts of ways. We ended up with only a handful of the girls coming – three were away, but also had a visitor in the form of a Leader in training who is about to set up a Senior Section unit in another Division. Myself, Jenny and our Adult Leader in Training at Guides (also a member of Senior Section) had met her at First Response training back in April.

Our first 45 minutes of the meeting was spent being inundated with folders, record books and apologetically explaining the Leadership Qualification fiasco. We also had the leftovers from the Brownie Birthday tea party (we regularly end up being handed leftovers from Brownies, Guides and even Church elders meetings that meet just before or at the same time as us!) and popcorn to make. And I had laid out felt pens and a huge sheet of paper to get ideas from the girls about activities we can do next year as part of the Look Wider programme. Once we’d done that it was Chinese Raffle time!

The rules of Chinese Raffle are…no one knows what the gifts are. You sit in a circle and take turns rolling the dice. All the presents are put in the middle in a big pile. You can only have 3 wrapped gifts in your possession at any one time. Once you have unwrapped a gift you keep that gift and any remaining wrapped gifts in your possession go back in the centre pile and you stay out of the game until everyone else as unwrapped a gift as well. After everyone has wrapped one gift, everyone is back in play. You keep repeating this until you have no gifts left.

If you roll the dice and it lands on…

1 = put a gift back in the centre pile

2 = unwrap a gift you have in your possession

3 = steal an unwrapped gift from someone else

4 = pass one of your gifts to the right

5 = pass one of your gifts to the left

6 = take a gift from the centre pile

The girls had a laugh as sometimes they oohed at a gift someone unwrapped (like a cool journal or a nail art kit) and other times we were laughing (like a tin of Baked Beans or a Dolly the Princess washing up brush).

All in all, I think the girls enjoyed this activity (when the visiting Leader was asking them for suggestions about things she should do with her new group they said “things like this” and “popcorn*”).So it will likely be an activity we bring  back for a party or celebration in the future. I reckon it would also work well for Guides too. Especially as we’ve got our first member who has completed her Chief Guide Challenge! 🙂

*If you haven’t already worked out from previous posts about our Senior Section group, popcorn seems to have become an important factor of their meetings. When a couple of our girls visited a group of Guides to tell them about Senior Section and the Guides asked what Senior Section do, our girls replied “We eat popcorn”. It also seemed to be the main activity talked about to our newest member by two of our girls when they were encouraging her  to come along to our unit once she turned 14. If anyone from Girlguiding HQ or any parents are reading this, I promise you that we do more than just eat popcorn.