So as 2015 begins and we will be meeting as leaders on Monday before school starts back, here’s our year of Guides in pictures!
Continuing with the Commonwealth Games Challenge pack, we moved onto the last section: the Champion’s Challenge. A lot of the activities required getting equipment we simply don’t have access to and a lot of organisation that sadly all of us leaders didn’t have the time for. So we decided to try out some of the activities we could do, adapting some things to the equipment we did have available. Like we created targets for a beanbag throw using coloured sacks we have from a sports day kit, cones and poles from equipment we got last year with our Active Kids Vouchers.
The picture above was of the swimming challenge, which took us a while to understand the instructions for. Even then I’m not sure we did. But how we interpreted it the girls lay head to toe on the floor making a chain and as soon as they were all in position the girl at the end would jump up, run to the other end of the chain and lie in front of it, and the new ‘end person’ would do the same until gradually their chain moved from one side of the room to the other…
It was confusing, then fun, then as some girls lost enthusiasm the effort to do the lengths of the room wained. We tried out several of the activities, and because the girls had spotted some spacehoppers I’d donated to the unit (leftover from a birthday party I hosted recently) they asked if we could use them. So we set up a spacehop relay where teams of girls travelled on spacehoppers from one side of the room around a cone marker and back. They had so much fun doing that because of all the laughs falling off, seeing different techniques for bouncing (it’s surprisingly difficult to bounce to travel in one direction as opposed to just bouncing on the spot) and really got into cheering one another on.
We voted at the end to see what the girls would like to do as a fundraiser, and…
They’ve decided to do a sponsored spacehop relay next week to raise money for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and Girlguiding Edinburgh.
Although it’s not really what is recommended by the pack I’d rather do something that gets them feeling positive about being active rather than making them do something that 1. not everyone has the capability of doing (not all the girls have a bike or are able to swim) or 2. they find boring 3. most of the girls don’t want to do it.
So at the moment, our Guides are doing the Commonwealth Games challenge pack Ready, Steady, Glasgow. You can download it here.
Did I mention that when I first went to university aged 17 it was to do a Geography degree? I figured we should start with a simple exercise, and the fact that I was able to get two large world maps in The Works for £3.99 each was a sign that this was the perfect activity to kick off our badge!
So it was the first week back at university where I sat in the library typing out all the Commonwealth countries and printing them off. One of our kind and generous Senior Section girls cut them out for me so I had packets of the country labels.
We split our unit into two teams, gave them a packet of labels, half a packet of blu tac. They went to one end of the hall, and we laid the maps on the floor at the other end. Rather than set a time for the relay (which I’m sure would have resulted in the girls only doing the ‘easy’ countries like Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa), we decided that we would call out a country, then the team would have to find the right label, run down and find the map. Then the girl would get from us the name of the next country, and the next person would find that label.
It meant the girls had to work as a team. We allowed a girl from the team to come down to the map to help the girl with the label if they were struggling to find the country (and let’s face it…it’s not always easy to find Barbados if you’ve already got labels in other countries in the Carribbean hiding it!). But also the girls got to work as a team – laying out the labels so it was easy to find the one they were looking for, getting them ready by having the blu tac on the back ready to be stuck on the map.
It took most of the meeting though, and I very quickly realised that schools no longer teach geography other than what they need to pass assessments. When I was at school we learned about ALL of geography, but always our teachers spent our first weeks of first year teaching us about the continents, countries of Europe and so on. When we learned about the weather, we also learned about the oceans and what they were called.
It was very clear our Guides have NOT had that from their Geography teachers.
When we called out a country, when the girls came down we would give them a clue where to look.
I got asked
“Where is Africa?“
“What is the Carribbean?“
“Where is the Pacific Ocean?“
(and not just from our younger guides).
I was quite shocked at the time (that might have been my inner Geographer talking), but at the same time it made me realise that this is why I’m so glad girlguiding exists. Because we so often help the girls learn things they won’t get to learn at school.
I have to say though, seeing how much our Guides struggled with the challenge, I would question doing the relay activity with Rainbows and think it would have to be adapted a bit for the Brownies too. The girls got a bit discouraged and we had to help them find some of the countries, and helped show them how the flags at the bottom of the map also gave details of the country and where it could be found (the map has faint rectangles marked, so it would say ‘St Lucia: E4’ telling them they could find it in rectangle E4.
By the end, I think the girls felt quite accomplished and they got quite competitive trying to find the country before the other team did! At the end we allowed them to spend time in patrols to get ideas of an activity they could run with the rest of the unit for the ‘Scotland’ part of the activity pack. We are however allowing them some flexibility to do something to represent another Commonwealth country if they wish, as being Scottish we have already done many of the activities they have suggested for things like St Andrew’s Day and Burns Night.
Is your unit doing the Ready, Steady, Glasgow challenge pack? How are you finding it?