Friday, 30 November 2007

Still floating

Still on a high, saw lots of the Brownies on the way to school this morning and told them all how proud I was of them last night!

Had coffee with New Guider Who Wants To Take The Brownies Camping this morning (I do work, but only part-time!).

Her training started this Monday and was really helpful, and we also chatted about last night, and about camp - we're down to 14 girls from 16, which is fine, we'd actually prefer around 10-12 for comfort anyway in terms of catering and the number of tents that would need pitching!
One girl just doesn't feel ready to be away from home for two nights, she's never been away overnight, so we're taking things at her pace, she's got a school trip soon and will see how she does on that. The other girl's family has a commitment that weekend, and she's chosen to go with them rather than us. Better for them to drop out now before deposits etc are involved, though both are lovely girls who would have been very welcome on camp!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Brownie Show

It was fab. Went really fast though (not just cos things seem to whizz by!)
All the glitches we'd had were ironed out, so what took 25-30 mins the week before, only took 20 mins this week.
But it broke down quite nicely:
first ten mins set up
20 min show
15 min food
5 min clear-up
20 min Brownie circle with badges for all, and presented the first Adventure badges too to the girls who had done everything for them.

Finished a little early, but everyone had at least one parent there, so they went home, and we let the Guides in!

Still on a bit of a high from it, everything went really well, and there was a chance to talk to a few parents as well.

Excited

Am at work and uncharacteristically excited about tonight's Brownies, can't wait to do the show!

At a tangent, I actually said no to something today! It would have been really good, but it was 2 and a half hours away. Circus Days at a museum in Halifax. It's too far though.

We're already driving over three hours in a couple of weeks for the Santa weekend, so can't face another incredibly long drive for a day event. Even though it would have been a great way to earn the Circus badge...

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Abbey-bound

I know I am uncharacteristically quiet just now, we're just gearing up for the show this week (was walking home from daycare last night to find two of my Brownies on their way to practice the end routine, was ridiculously proud of the great dancer who was off to show the more dancing-challenged girl what to do!)

Am also getting together stuff for the two new girls starting in January, so it's a lot of printing right now, and not much to tell you.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Maria's not an asset to the abbey...

Luckily, we don't have a Maria!

21 out of the 22 tickets I acquired for Westminster Abbey on Thinking Day have been snapped up:

2 Guide Guiders and their 3 daughters
4 Brownie Guiders and their 4 daughters
4 Brownies
4 Guides

We have one ticket left, even allowing for everyone that wants to go. I've offered it to our DC, she's coming back to me.

Friday, 23 November 2007

I love it when a plan comes together!

See how stressed out I was getting over the Senior Six getting an overnight? Once we made it a day event and the stress fell away, everything fell into place.

They want to abseil and ice skate: booked.
They need a high adult ratio cos of the skating: done - I have 4 for sure for the 9/10 going, and probably 5.

So I turned my attention to getting a nearby village hall for the new girls to get their sleepover. Done. One phone call and the nearest hall was booked for a 6pm to 10am night at the bargain rate of £36!!!!! One call. Done.

AND, I made the snowflake, it is FANTASTIC! Highly recommend it, thanks V!

Snowflakes

After the Brownie show next week, we have one more meeting, where we will be making Christmas crafts. I try not to send them home with lots of tat that will just hit the bin, which is why I LOVE this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ausJdGcgs0k

Going to try it out today!

Show

Can't wait for our show next week.

The girls had a full dress rehearsal, and were really good. There's a few still using their sheets of paper, but as we only had two hours of rehearsal, I can't blame them. If they need them, fine, if not, great!

Abseiling and skating it is!

I heard back from 5/6 of the Senior Six before last night's meeting, and their unanimous choice was abseiling and skating - very easy to organise!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

wrote a letter

I wrote a letter yesterday to the parents of the senior six, saying I'd had so much difficulty trying to organise this overnight and setting out three options:

1. Pax, but it's gonna cost £50 and be a very similar experience for the girls that went there before.

2. Abseiling, lunch and ice-skating for £18.

3. Nothing. We just say they've all had plenty of opportunities and that this one didn't come off.

I said we would go with the option most popular with the six girls. So far, three have come back to me, all choosing abseiling and ice-skating.

Still got three to hear from, and those three do include the two who haven't had as much overnight experience so they may go for Pax.

I've asked them all to tell me by tomorrow night, so we can move one way or the other.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Camp plans

Wow. There's a lot I need to learn about camping.

And a lot the girls need to learn too!

Guide Guider has invited me and Guider Who Is Happy To Lead The Brownies Camping to come and visit the next Guide camp, so we can see how it works without having anyone to look after. I definitely think it will be worthwhile for me, but Guider Who Is Happy To Lead The Brownies Camping certainly seems to know her stuff.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Skipping forward

I'm meeting with The Guider Who Is Happy To Lead The Brownies Camping and The Guide Guider Who Has A Camp Licence tonight, to discuss what we need to think about for the county Brownie camp next summer.

We have 16 out of 17 girls interested, though I am certain that will drop when we go through the practicalities of camp, and once we know the cost. Also, we will be having a sleepover for the ones who have never been away overnight with us before, and anyone who misbehaves (badly, rather than a little!) on that won't be allowed on camp.

Onwards and upwards

Am setting aside my disappointment about not getting the scout camp and moving on.

After doing some research, and finding most of the venues the girls wanted are booked up already for that weekend, they will be presented (with their parents!) with the following options:
  • If the sleeping over bit is the most important to them, we can go to one of the 5 venues they mentioned, Pax Lodge World Guiding Centre. All the other suggestions are booked. But, this will be expensive (around £50 for the 31 hours we would be away, as we have train, underground, food, accommodation and entertainment).
  • If the abseiling and skating bit is the most important to them, we can do both, with lunch, for £18, in Birmingham.
  • If they want some other random ideas for special days out, we can go see a Wicked the Musical matinee for £35 a head in London's West End, or Aladdin pantomime in Birmingham for £28 a head (which has the lovely John Barrowman in).

I am going to present them with these options after Brownies on Thursday and get them to choose then and there, as we need to get forms organised if they go for the overnight.

I'm putting the newbie overnight to one side while I get this resolved as there is less time pressure on that one.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Not going to happen

The venue we wanted has been booked by someone else.

Am trying to work out an alternative right now.

Two new Brownie s

I have two new Brownies lined up for January, meaning we will be completely full, with 24. One of the mums rang me the other night because her daughter is so keen, I really didn't mind, because I had said I would be in contact to set up a taster session.

But because we are working on a show for our parents, it wouldn't have been much fun for the new girls to come in, work a little on a show then not see the end result. And we're doing Christmas for our very last meeting of term, which will be quite craft led, which again isn't that typical of what we do.

So I will invite the two new girls to have their taster session the first week we go back in January and start the following week if they like it. To be honest, I have only had one girl come for a taster session then not join, and that was because she was choosing between two packs. They always have fun, and they always want to join!

We're doing British Traditions from January, a fab badge created by one of the Guiding counties in Essex to raise money for going to the World Scout Jamboree that was held this summer. It's the first chance we've had to fit it in. We're going to run it over 4 nights and will have a different country each week: Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland. I've bagsied Scotland as I am Scottish, and one of the AGs is Welsh. Which leaves the other two to fight over England and Northern Ireland. There's a ton of stuff in the resource that came with the badges, must get in and divide it up for all the leaders.

Giving up :-(

I've tried the only other person I can think of to try and book the accommodation we want, and no reply from him either. I am officially giving up on Monday night and trying to set up an alternative. I am annoyed because it does mean I will have to organise two completely separate events now. Blah.

We now resume our positive posting!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Noisy and happy

Still haven't heard about the venue we want for the two overnights, will try again tomorrow.

Brownies tonight was great again: noisy and happy. The Hostess girls are really creating some great decorations, and the Entertainment team are more or less in tune! They were doing some basic choreography, and we have a plan.

Full rehearsal next week!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Want to plan...

I have two overnights I want to squeeze in next term, and I have a weekend that the Guiders are free, and all the girls are free.

The idea is to run an overnight for the Senior Six (who are going to Guides at Easter) based entirely on what they want to do, and they do the menu planning etc. So that overnight will have 10 girls: the Senior Six plus Guider daughters plus the remaining Sixer who doesn't fall into either category. That overnight will frun from Friday evening to Saturday, and finish about 4pm.

At 7pm on the Saturday, the new Brownies will arrive. There are 6 of them, plus a couple of girls who have never been away with us before, plus 2 Guider daughters, so around 10 again. They will do crafts and stuff, go to bed late and be up and out by 10am on Sunday.

The idea of doing it over one weekend is that Guiders only have to give up one weekend rather than two to achieve both overnights. Plus it is always easier to get a venue for a weekend than for one night, as it's hard for the venue to let the other night if you just go for one.

We even know where we want to go, and have tentative permission from the Brownie Holiday Adviser.

But the frustrating thing is I have sent an online form request, two emails and left two messages on an answerphone for the venue, all with no reply, over the last two weeks. I'm giving it another few days.

I'm only being so patient because there isn't another venue where we can run both overnights consecutively and still achieve what we want. The Senior Six's second choice was London, which I'll happily do for them but then I can't do the new girls in the same weekend as we need to take them away locally the first time.

There's so much paperwork and sorting out to do...I don't mind doing it but I do want to get on with it and right now I'm stuck, hoping this venue's booking manager has just been on holiday for two weeks and didn't arrange cover.

Last night

Was really good.

The new district commissioner was really excited about her role. We shared lots of info and started planning for Thinking Day, as our district has to run an event for the division.

We have a fantastic idea, but I'm not sharing till we know if it's feasible. Then I'll tell if it is and if it's not!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Manual

The Guiding Manual, a very lengthy tome of well over 200 pages, is now available online for Guiding members.

Great you might say, and I was certainly pleased. I'd be able to search for what I needed without having to flick through page after page.

No.

They've published it as a series of PDFs.

Now I have a series of PDFs to search.

I would stick to my current printed out and purchased version, but they are now going to publish amendments online and no longer have a printed version.

You know I try to keep this blog upbeat, and avoid whinging.

Go on, you know I do.

But I have to moan now. If you're going to the trouble of putting it online and no longer publishing it, couldn't you create a searchable version? Ie make it BETTER than it was before?

*sigh*

Tonight

District meeting tonight.
New district commissioner.
Should be good.
Even if I did have to tell her and her Brownies to get out the rollercoaster queue and on the d**n bus at Legoland cos we wanted to go home. Only for the other Guider from my unit to be 20 minutes late for the bus.
*sighs*

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Remembrance Day

Note to self: must find out how to get my Brownies involved in Remembrance Sunday next year.

Because we meet in a school, not a church, we don't have an automatic invitation to these things. But I really want the Brownies to be involved for two reasons:
  1. We really should never forget the sacrifices made for us.

  2. I walked in a Remembrance Day parade every year as a Brownie and a Guide, and it's one of the few memories of those years that really stick with me. Wearing about three layers of clothing under my Brownie dress so that I would be warm enough for the 10 minutes we were outside freezing in the Scottish November weather.

It was brought home to me yesterday at my daughter's party. She had picked 5 friends there, 4 girls who happen to be Brownies and 2 boys who happen to be Cubs. Both Cubs were marching today, and 1 of the Brownies, who goes to a different pack. The 3 girls, including my daughter, who were not marching, were all my Brownies.

So, note to self. Must make enquiries in September next year to find out how we can participate.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

District Commissioner

We have a new district commissioner - that's a Guider from the units in our area, who represents us all, signs forms, hands down info.

The way our structure works, we go from CHQ to Region to County to Division to District to individual units. Or vice versa, depending on your perspective.

She's a fellow Brownie leader and as always, when you start a new job, she's full of enthusiasm for it, which is just what we need.

It does amuse me that she will be having to pressure us into attending training days when I am pretty sure she's not been to one in the time I've known her!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Firefighters

I remembered something from Brownies last night I wanted to share.

Our county lost 4 firefighters last weekend in a big warehouse fire. Only one was found at first, and died in hospital, more than 200 colleagues searched for days in a dangerous building to find the other three.

The firefighters in our town are really helpful and welcoming to the Brownies, about 18 months ago we did our fire safety badge: they came to us for one week and the second week we went to the fire station and the girls did a test, examined a fire engine and even got to play with the hose.

So, although we of course thanked them at the time, we wanted to show them now how grateful we are. There isn't a specific fund right now so fundraising wasn't appropriate, for now anyway.

So I printed off a large fire engine on A3 paper and added: To all the firefighters at X Station, we are so sorry you lost four of your friends. We want to let you know how grateful we are for all that you do. At the bottom, I wrote the name of the Brownie unit.

The girls each used a brightly coloured pen to write Thank You and their name on the engine, and it looked very colourful when they were done.

One of our older Brownies will deliver it to the station this weekend. I hope it lets them know that the people around them value the dangerous job that they do.

What's in a name?

At Brownies I'm Penguin, and I love it. It really makes me laugh to hear someone whisper: "Mum, there's Penguin" when I am in the supermarket, or when a younger sister of a Brownie came up to me and said: "I knew you weren't REALLY a Penguin!"

The two assistant Guiders are Lion and Parrot, the new Guider is Otter and the Unit Helper (male) is Monkey. We've always had animal names, when we started the pack in 2004, we were told we didn't have to be Brown Owl and other Owls, and we went for animals.

It certainly made it easier when we were at Legoland, the number of girls screeching Brown Owl this and Brown Owl that, and the number of women who turned round in case it was one of their girls yelling. There was no-one but my lot yelling Penguin!

A discussion on a predominantly US board just now is talking about what the girls call their leader, and there is no tradition of Brown Owl or animal names there. Most leaders seems to be some variation on Mrs Smith, Miss Smith, Ms Smith, Ms Polly, Miss Polly. Fair enough, though I'd hate it. But the thing that really confuses me is this variation: Mrs Sarah. Why would you use Mrs with a first name?

It looks very strange to me, but then I guess Penguin looks strange to them.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Rocked

Brownies rocked tonight, it was noisy and happy and fun and great!

Half the girls were making table decorations and invitations for their Hostess badges. There was lots of chatter and glue.

The other half were planning their big show for their Entertainers badge. Between the 10 girls, there will be:
  • a poem accompanied by drumming
  • a song in Spanish
  • a clarinet trio
  • a recorder duo
  • Irish dancing
  • several short skits
  • two songs from High School Musical
  • The Bumble Bee song

I can most certainly say, it will be like nothing else the parents have ever seen!

Paul Daniels Appreciation

OK, Anonymous, whoever you are, if I was giving out a prize, you would totally win for:

3) Paul Daniels Appreciation
4) The Daz Doorstep Challenge

Love it

Badge Quiz: answers

Much as I love the idea of a Chinese Takeaway badge - we do try to teach the girls practical skills, but ordering a 23, a 45 and a 79 from a menu isn't among them - these are the answers:
  1. Discovering Faith (doesn't have to be about your own faith, can be about any)
  2. Hobbies
  3. Entertainer (so X Factor wasn't far off!)
  4. Designer (this is a new one)
  5. Culture (this is about learning about your own culture and where you live, there is a World Culture too, which is the same badge with a globe behind it)

Thanks for posting your comments!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Badges - can you name them?














I've got a wee timefilling quiz for the Brownies, it has 5 interest badges with the names removed. I want the right answers from them, and they can use their badge books to find them.

So, do YOU know what they are? I'm not looking for the right answers, you could go to the Girlguiding UK website and find them. I want the facetious answers! Go on, you know you want to. The snarkier the better...

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Legoland

Legoland was great! We had a poor start, it was very foggy and were standing there waiting for the coach and it didn't come, nor did 4 Brownies. Then I asked one of the dads to run me over to the road that is parallel to ours. Sure enough, there was the coach and 4 Brownies (with parents).

The driver had directions, as given by me, to be on A Road, between B Road and C Road. Well, he was on D Road, between B Road and C Road. A and D are parallel. He didn't seem to think there was anything wrong in this but it was no time to pick a fight.

We drove round to the others, and got on board and off we went, just 15 mins late. The driver was a sweetie really, and even put a DVD on for the girls (Little Mermaid) and let them use the toilet on board, last year's driver had refused to let them use it.

The fog burned off as it got warmer, and by the time we got there just after 10am it was a cold and clear day. We split into 4 groups (our Guides in one, the other Brownie pack from our district in another, and our pack split into two) and off we went.

Our group went for:
  • The Hill Train
  • The Pirate Falls Log Flume
  • Lunch
  • The Orient Expedition Train
  • Viking River Splash
  • Boating School
  • Chocolate waffles
  • Fire Academy
  • Fairy Tale Brook
  • Miniland

And countless toilet trips!

It was a lovely, clear day, all the time we were there, and six girls took their promise while we were there, in front of our Brownies and some Brownies from Kent.

The trip back (with the dreadful Shark Tale as the DVD) was 20 mins faster then the trip there. Now my head tells me this is impossible. Want to know why? In my head, Britain is on a gentle slope, from the Highlands of Scotland to the Channel Tunnel. So if you go from the Midlands to London, you are going down. And if you go from London to the Midlands, you are going up. So shouldn't the coach go faster down than up?

Don't worry, I do not share this scientific theory with the Brownies, I try to be factual with them at all times!

So Legoland was great and every Brownie I've met since has been buzzing with the fun of it. We're not doing it next year though. We've gone two years in a row and I don't want it to turn into: it's November, we must go to Legoland. What I will do though, is tell the parents the ticket prices once they are revealed, and give them the phone number. That way, if they want to go as a family, they can take advantage of the halfprice admission.

Right, have to stop riding the high of Legoland and start thinking about the Entertainer badge, which we start on Thursday.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Training Day

I had a bug on Friday and really hadn't shaken it by Saturday, so I only made it to lunchtime of the training day as I was so tired and bit weak.

I was a bit disappointed with the formal aspect. Someone did run through the new Brownie programme changes but I knew it all already, because, as you can guess, I learn a lot of it online. In fact, I knew MORE than the woman presenting it. She said there were 3 updated badges, there are actually 5 according to the GGUK website.

Still, just like the last training day I went to, it was as much about meeting other Guiders and sharing ideas. In the session I was in, you'd mention something you'd done and someone else would have done something different...I got a couple of ideas and some help with one I've been a bit stumped on that the girls want to do.

Left at lunchtime though, I hadn't eaten at that point since breakfast the day before and I wanted to eat a very plain sandwich. They had provided lunch but it was all cheese and mayo, ham and mustard...I just wanted something very plain to see how I felt.

Will post about Legoland tomorrow, too much to get finished tonight cos I wasn't around all weekend.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Is your heart healthy?

Well, 17 Brownies from our pack should have healthy hearts now!




They:


  • Stacked up food packaging with Parrot and discussed what was healthy and what was not.

  • Made healthy and unhealthy necklaces with Otter and talked about the things you have to look out for that might seem healthy but aren't.

  • Raised their pulse with jumping jacks with Lion.

  • Took their blood pressure and played a game with Monkey.

  • Discussed food allergy and how to protect yourself if you have one, and also medicines and how to use them and dispose of them safely, with me.
And they got the cutest badge ever, and had time for a game of Red Letter!



We dished out the t-shirts from the Mud Run too, for the girls who took part.



Next: training on the new Brownie programme for me tomorrow, and Legoland on Sunday!
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