Monday, 8 December 2008


We're registered.

Venue booked locally - though we will try for one of the exciting competition venues too.

I'll take up to 18 girls, the aim being to take away the ones who have not been away with us before as the priority.

I've never done one of these before, though I like the idea of being part of a Guinness World Record attempt.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Groovy animals

We made these last night.

So fantastic and easy to do - we had 22 girls last night (2 off sick) and 20/22 had their animal finished in about an hour.

I saw several going to school this morning for show and tell so I know they were popular with the girls too.

And that's it, Brownies is done till after Christmas. We can't get the school hall again this term, so it's easier to wrap up than find an alternative venue.

Monday, 1 December 2008


Remember I was gutted?
No more.

The Lancs Brownies have conjured up 6 Brownies and 1 leader from Notts meaning that between the three units, we will have a respectable number of girls and leaders for a fantastic Easter holiday.

Woo hoo!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Where's Wally, and Jelly babies

I was correctly identified as being in the back row of the picture, well done J!

And I have permission to publish the whole of the Jelly Baby Evening from the very talented Smartie, the Guider who created it.

Jelly Babies Evening (you need loads of Jelly Babies, cocktail sticks, paper and pens, 11 cards with JELLYBABIES in separate letters for each group, a ruler to measure the towers)

Begin by asking the girls how old they think jelly babies are. Tell them original name was peace babies, and were produced at the end of WWI. See if any of the girls know when that is. Had to stop during the Second World War – ask them why that might be. Explain a little about rationing and how it affected everyone. Reborn as Jelly Babies in 1953 (explain rationing didn’t stop as soon as war was over).
How many jelly babies do they think are made in a year? Answer is – Over 1 billion!!

Jelly Babies Packaging Quiz
Sit in Sixes. Bags of jelly babies are in centre of room. Read out questions, have to take it in turns to go and find out the answer – only one can go to the middle at a time.

  1. How many grams of jelly babies are in the packet?

  2. What colour are the words ‘jelly babies’ on the front of the packet?

  3. How many different baby shapes are there?

  4. What is the best before date on the jelly babies?

  5. What are the last 4 digits of the bar code?

  6. How many calories per 100g?

  7. Name three ingredients within the jelly babies

  8. What are the ‘storage instructions’?

  9. What five colours are the jelly babies on the packet?

  10. Who are they ‘specially made for’? (Half-Baked Guider note - We couldn't find the answer to this on the bags or box of Jelly Babies)

Design your own jelly baby
In sixes, you have been summoned by the Sweetie Company who wants to make a new jelly baby! In your groups you must design how this jelly baby is going to look, and what flavour it will be. Make sure you give it a name too! (All the different colours have different names! – Brilliant, Bubbles, Boofuls, Bigheart, Bumper and Bonny) Make sure you give them a personality too!! You have a short time to design this Jelly baby, and then you must present it to everyone else!

Jelly Babies are Active Game!
Jelly Babies love to have fun! They Like Skateboarding, Play in the Jelly Baby Band, and because they are babies they have to have lots of naps!
Girls run around. Leaders shout one of these messages and girls do appropriate action. Last one left wins, as slowest is out – or if they do the wrong action they are also out!
Skateboarding – Stand on one leg, pretend to be skateboarding!
Band Practise – play air guitar!
Nap time – Lie on floor
Hungry belly – sit on floor and pretend to feed yourself!
Playtime in 2/3/4’s – have to get together in groups of number called out.

Jelly Babies Spelling out Quiz
Each six is given a set of card pieces, each card containing one letter, so they have the set J, E, L, L, Y, B, A, B, I, E, S. Read out statement, and girls have to stand up and spell out the answer (give further clues if necessary)

  1. Something wobbly to eat with ice cream – JELLY

  2. What you tell when you aren’t being truthful – LIES

  3. Something you need to play tennis or footie with - BALL

  4. Where you may go if you break the law – JAIL

  5. Something that rings – BELL

  6. When shops sell things cheaper – SALE

  7. What you have on the inside of your clothes, tells you washing instructions and stuff – LABEL

  8. A loud shout – YELL

  9. If it isn’t difficult then it is – EASY

  10. Another word for a beach or sandy cove – BAY

  11. Part of your body where you have a button – BELLY

  12. Part of a boat – SAIL

  13. What hay is grouped together to make – BALE

  14. Stripy insect that makes honey – BEE

  15. A very young child – BABY

Jelly Babies Tower
Each six is given some jelly babies and some cocktail sticks and they need to see how tall a tower they can make! (make sure to explain how to be safe with cocktail sticks)

Finally…. Eat some Jelly Babies

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Can you pick me out of a line up?

A pic of me and the other women in my county who got a Guiding award recently. In the spirit of Where's Wally, Where's Guider?
(Jen is excluded from this as she's been in my house so if she doesn't know what I look like that makes her a burglar)

Friday, 28 November 2008

Fitting it in

Anon looked at our programme for next term and asked: "How do you fit everything in for badges in such short time?!? Brownie skills in two nights, right to be heard in one night and brownie traditions in one night? We don't get through anywhere near as many badges as your unit seems to - more like one per half term, or even per term. As it takes a few weeks to fit it all in."

We fit it in because we don't do the whole badge, so a girl only completes the badge if she wants to.

Brownie Skills for example, we'll do two clauses one night, two clauses the next then if the girls want to finish the badge, they have to do another clause at home and bring the proof.

Brownie Traditions we are actually doing over two nights, one before half term and one after. There are 5 different things to do for that, so again we'll do two one night, two another and have them do one at home if they want to finish it, probably the scrapbook clause.

Right to Be Heard - whenever I do a Rights badge, they always have to go the extra mile before I'll award it. We've actually done this one before, just over three years ago when it first came out. We spend half the night on an Ignite Minds activity, then the other half on Encourage Thought and Discovery. Then they are set a challenge for Take Action and Make a Difference. With Right to Be Heard last time, that was to write to their MP about an issue that mattered to them (we supplied them with his address and pre-warned him!) and they were only awarded the badge on bringing in their reply from him.

The only activity we have planned for next term that I think we have under-estimated the time for is Changing the World, I suspect we will need 3 or 4 nights for that, so we have deliberately scheduled a Sports Night so it can be easily bumped and we can go into the next term if necessary.

Hope that helps!

Thursday, 27 November 2008


Undaunted, I have today provisionally booked an event for the end of January and a sleepover for mid June.

The school can take me on but they will never break me!

More details after a proper planning meeting with the other Guiders tomorrow night.

Jelly babies rule!

I just did a jelly baby evening tonight with my girls, it was great fun!

It was invented by a really smart Guider who came up with info about when they were invented (1919, and they were called Peace Babies which also gets the girls talking about war, and rationing because they stopped making them from 1939 till 1953 when sweet rationing stopped and they were renamed Jelly Babies then), a packaging information quiz, design a new jelly baby, a word game using the letters in JELLY BABIES, an activity game doing jelly baby type actions and a game where you build the tallest tower you can with jelly babies and cocktail sticks.
It really was excellent team-building without the girls realising that's what they were doing!

  • The difference in heights of the towers ranged from 44cm down to a hasty 8cm after a tower collapsed!

  • The team who kept spelling their words backwards because they worked it out facing away from everyone else then spun round meaning BALL became LLAB etc.

  • Brownies hurtling themselves to the floor for Baby nap time

  • The new Jelly Babies as designed by the girls, particularly B-Active, a star-jumping jelly baby, and Baby Snow, a minty flavoured snowman jelly baby.

A great evening - and so low cost, there were 4 bags of Jelly Babies bought BOGOF from Tesco and a large box as well to let them each have a few to take home (also one Guider made some shortbread for the 2 vegetarians since there's gelatin in jelly babies), some printing out of letters and that was it.

Our district commissioner was visiting and she took the print out and bags of letters away so she could do it with her own unit!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


Just had a meeting with the other Guiders and this is what we hope to do Jan-Easter, as long as our phone calls over the next couple of days pan out:
Weeks 1 & 2 - Brownie Skills
Week 3 - Chinese New Year
Sunday between Week 3 and 4, visit Build a Bear to create a unit mascot and surprise the girls by telling them we'll also be letting them make a bear each!
Week 4 - Teddy Bears Picnic using the bears they made
Week 5 - Right to Be Heard
Week 6 - Thinking
Day/Brownie Traditions
Week 7 - Half term so no meeting
Division Thinking Day event one of the days of the weekend in between Weeks 7 and 8.
Week 8 - Brownie Traditions
Week 9 - World Book Day so we're hoping to go to the library, dressed as favourite characters
Weeks 10 & 11 - Changing the World - British Red Cross
Week 12 - Sports Night

There's community action, there's personal development (skills and also books), there's world stuff (China and Changing the World), there's individual growth (Right to Be Heard), small group growth (sports night), large group growth (changing the world, Brownie Traditions). So it's a balanced programme. We're spending big on the teddies and there will be a donation to the Red Cross and to the Division Thinking Day cause but other than that, fairly low cost term.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Specifically scientific

The Brownies had their sleepover at the Science Museum in London this weekend.

They had a fantastic time - experiments and fun and all sorts, a small amount of sleeping (not down to them, down to another Brownie pack nearby who eventually got shouted at by Notsonewbie Guider), an IMAX film and then home on the train.

The girls sang happy birthday to my daughter as well, even though it was the day before.

She had a blast - and I'm thrilled she's had at least one Guiding experience without me!

While the Brownies were in London, I was in Birmingham. Watching the fantastic Mr Leonard Cohen. Words can't express how amazing he was - and including a break, he performed for over three hours! Well worth missing the Science Museum for - plus I got to sleep in my own comfortable, warm, bed!

Saturday, 22 November 2008


  • Wales is looking like it will happen, just sorting a few things out then I will tell all.
  • A newbie Guider has appeared, which is great since one of our team is emigrating soon and another one moving down south any time in the next six months. I confess I was starting to panic a bit about how we were going to manage 24 girls with 2 leaders, a parent rota can keep the ratios correct but it is really better to be able to share the work among 3 or 4 committed adults. Just need to get her CRBed now and she can get started
  • Gutted

    Remember I was planning a Brownie holiday with another pack next Easter?

    Looks appealing, right?

    We have three that want to go. One is my daughter. One is Notsonewbie Guider's daughter. And one is another Brownie whose dad used to help us. And that's it. We could have taken 10 girls but only 3 want to go.

    It's the first time I have ever proposed a trip or weekend away and not been inundated with girls wanting to go.

    Why so few? Simple answer - school.

    The Year 5 residential in May is nearly £300 for four nights. So my daughter's not going, and about half the class aren't going either.

    That's why I found the weekend away with the Lancashire Brownies in Wales for the Easter Weekend, £60 for three nights, 10 places. After sending out the letter, I discovered the school has decided they will also do a Year 4 residential for the first time.

    Three weeks after the Brownie one. Two nights, £160.

    The vast majority of our Brownies are Year 4 at the school and the parents are sending them there despite it being £100 more and one night less, because the girls want to be with their class.

    So I feel like the school has hit me twice - once by making my daughter's residential so expensive we cannot justify her going and twice by luring my Brownies away from my replacement idea.

    The Lancashire Brownies have replied to my email filling them in by saying they still want us, but I wouldn't blame them if they tried to find a unit that could supply more girls. We'll have to see how it pans out.


    Sunday, 16 November 2008

    Sing song

    Our girls sang for the local old folks home tonight.

    They were fab. I was very proud.

    And we rewarded them with chips on the way back. Because that ALWAYS goes down well.

    Amended to answer questions!
    Yes, Jen, I think the girls did enjoy it, for many of them it was the first time they had been in a home so we had some questions to answer there, but they did try hard and they could see that most of the residents were enjoying it and singing along when they knew the songs. There was one woman up the back who insisted on reading her magazine instead but I thought that was quite funny, you can't make me want to listen to these kids just because they are here!

    TopChamp, we sang Daisy Daisy, which went down very well so we sang that again at the end, Cuddly Koalas, Jingle Bells, We wish you a merry Christmas (these last two because we were struggling to find songs the girls knew that the old folks would too), London's Burning (as a round), My Ship Sailed From China, the Bumble Bee song, If you're happy and you know it and there was a couple more. We were there about 30 mins, and they sang for about 15-20 mins. With only one week's practice, for a group that don't sing often, that was pretty good!


    I got an award today. From the Girlguiding Midlands Region Chief Commissioner, Lesley Knighton, for services to local Guiding.

    In Guiding in the UK, all the Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Ranger units in a small area are gathered together into a District (we have 3 Rainbow, 4 Brownie, 3 Guide units in our district and hopefully a Ranger unit opening soon).
    All the Districts in a certain area are gathered into a Division (we have 5 Districts in our division). All the Divisions within one County are gathered together under the name of that County.

    Then Counties are gathered together into a Region, our Region has nine Counties in it.
    So, I was one of 2 people from my District to get the award, coincidentally we were also the only 2 from our Division. There were 11 from our County though.
    It was very cool, made me feel very appreciated. And very young, unusual at 37, as many of the recipients had been Guiding longer than I have been alive!
    The award was a certificate, and a lovely little silver brooch of the central trefoil, above. I can wear it on my badge tab and show off!

    Thursday, 6 November 2008


    This weekend, we shall be looking for Nemo! There will be 36 of us - 22 Brownies, 3 leaders, 2 Rainbows, 2 Guides, 6 parents and 1 Division Commissioner.

    With 36 of us looking, we've surely got to be able to find that little fish!

    Tuesday, 4 November 2008

    Planning and plotting

    My letter going out to parents at the next Brownie meeting - so, would you send your daughter?

    XX Brownies first ever pack holiday and it’s in another country! Ok it’s Wales but that’s practically abroad!

    Our Brownies have been given the chance to join a unit of Lancashire Brownies at a pack holiday venue in Wales, over XX weekend.

    The four day, three night holiday will run from Friday XX to Monday XX and will cost £60 for accommodation, travel, food and activities.

    We will be travelling in two Guider cars so can take a maximum of 10 girls on the adventure.

    The holiday is open to any girl who has been on at least a sleepover with Brownies already and has behaved herself satisfactorily. If more than 10 apply, priority will be in descending order of age.

    Please bear in mind that we will be more than three hours from home, so girls must feel comfortable being away. They will also be expected to help cook and keep their dorm tidy.

    Depending on our own family commitments, we may run something small scale and locally during the summer term, but otherwise this is our big Brownie residential event between now and autumn 2009, as there doesn’t appear to be a county camp next summer.
    We’ve never done an old-fashioned proper pack holiday so we’re quite excited!

    If you wish to put your daughter’s name down for the holiday, please return the slip below on November 20th with a deposit of £20 (note who the cheque should be payable to).
    If she does not make the list of 10 girls, the cheque will be returned without being cashed. The deposit is not otherwise returnable as we have to pay the Lancashire Brownies for our places now.
    The next £20 will be due at our first meeting in January 2009 and the last £20 at our first meeting in March 2009.

    Thursday, 16 October 2008

    Cat and fiddle

    Fairytale night at Brownies tonight. Daughter is going as the Cat and the Fiddle (dressing as a cat, carrying her violin). Daughter's friend is going as Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. Various other Brownies have been coming up to me excitedly all week to tell me what they plan to be.

    So, getting in the spirit of things, I've been inspired to dress up too. I picked up cat's ears and a tail from Woolworths yesterday. So who am I? The cat's mother!

    Sunday, 12 October 2008

    Right to Learn

    We were doing Right to Learn and they soooooooo got it, it was great!

    The girls played North, South, East and West then I suddenly started saying the instructions in Finnish. They were very confused but gradually worked out which direction was which till they completed the game. Then we talked about how they felt: "confused, disoriented, liked learning new words and they were easy to remember after a while" and how it must feel to be in a country where you couldn't speak the language, imagine if you were at school and all the teachers spoke Finnish and all the children, and even the food was labelled in Finnish. There's a German family in the school for a year and all three boys have no English (including one having his first taste of school, it must be doubly hard for him) and the girls really clicked that this must be what it is like for those boys.

    Then they made a learning ladder, which was a ladder with 9 rungs on a sheet of paper, and they started on the bottom rung with something they were learning now, like how to cartwheel or how to play an instrument and worked up and up with things they want to learn in the future and ended up with things they would like to learn years in the future like driving or parascending!

    Then we played a game where you pass pens crossed over to each other and state: "I pass these pens crossed and that is right" but whether it is right or not actually depends on whether your ankles are crossed not the pens. We went round the circle twice and the second time about 3/5 of the girls had worked it out, so then we talked about how it felt to have worked out the rules "excited, wanted to show I understood" and how it felt to have not worked it out when others had started to "I hated being left behind, it didn't matter when no-one got it but once they did I felt stupid".

    So then we talked about girls in other countries not always having access to education and the reasons for that and how that means they get left behind and the girls even worked out that it was important for everyone to be educated, not just the individual. They related that to the learning ladder because none of them had put that they wanted to be a doctor (lots of teachers, writers, vets and other professions, just no medics) but they realised doctors were important so they understood that meant others needed to be educated not just them.

    Finally, they made cards for people who had helped them to learn a skill, with a slip inside for the recipient to say how the card made them feel and the girls have to return the slip to complete the badge.

    They really "got it" with this badge, I was very proud of them.

    Sunday, 5 October 2008

    On form

    When you take Brownies away for a sleepover, holiday or camp, there are lots of people who need to know about it. So with our Science Museum sleepover looming, I have now got the forms sorted.

    The easy bit was printing off a G/C and a G/H form for the girls. That's a consent form where the parents get all the details of what's going on and agree to let their daughter participate, and a health form where they put in any relevant health issues we may need to know about. The Guiders need to do a health form too.

    I also did an information sheet with details of what they should bring, when they should be there and directions to the train station we will be using on a different line, since our station has work going on that weekend.

    The next step is an A/A form. This is to let people in Guiding know what we are up to (for Guiding insiders, there is also an A/S you can use when it is just a sleepover, but our county prefers the A/A and asks you to use it when possible as it has more detail about participants) so I had to print five copies.
    1. I keep one, this is just an extra since I'm not actually going.

    2. The Guider who has stepped into my shoes for this event signs the remaining four, keeps one and posts three on.

    3. The Division Commissioner (her "boss") gets the remaining three, signs them all and keeps one. Normally the District Commissioner does this but that's who stepped into my shoes so we have to go one up the chain.

    4. She posts the remaining two on to the Brownie Holiday Adviser for our county. This ensures she knows which Brownie unit is on holiday at which time. She signs both, keeps one and sends the final copy to the Holiday Adviser that covers the area we are going to, London North West.

    5. Finally, this adviser signs the last form and tears off the bottom piece (called an A/C) and sends it back to the beginning of the chain, to show she is aware we will be there.
    I got the chain started by dropping round to the DC's house, getting her to sign all four then going to the Div Comm's house on the way to the supermarket this morning and popping the remaining three through her door.

    So I think we're on schedule. Now all I have to do is give out and collect back in 14 health forms, 11 consent forms, the A/C, the 26 one day forms for Disney on Ice and the 26 one day forms for going to sing for a local old folks home.

    I won't even tell you how much paper this has involved - but I did print the one day forms two to a sheet to cut back a little.

    Monday, 29 September 2008

    We blitzed em!

    The Brownie Badge Blitz Day went brilliantly - so much so we are now thinking about other badges we could do in the same way.

    As they arrived, we got them to design their own clown make-up for the Circus badge.

    A Crime Support Officer came and talked to the girls about all but 2 of the Crime Prevention clauses. He was great, really engaged them, then we let him escape and we did short plays about what they learned then they finished off with posters about protecting property. There was a break with juice and biccies too.

    Then lunch and Number Fun - they moved round 5 different options plus ate their packed lunches over a 2 hour period. 12 girls did the whole badge, 5 still have one clause to do at home.

    One girl worked on her Craft badge with a Guide helper at the same time as she already had Number Fun. Before they started the next badge - drink and snacks!

    Then the circus skills workshop, which was great - I highly recommend Shooting Stars (we had Paul, but I've also seen Russ of the same organisation at a Guide Camp and he was fab too), expensive but worth every penny and cost-effective when you do it at an event like this rather than a normal meeting.

    The girls twirled peacock feathers, juggled scarves, and used Flower Sticks (about 30 mins for each) then had half an hour free time to try out other equipment like unicycles, tiny bikes, plate-spinning, stilts etc. Plus drink and snack of course.

    Then they performed for their parents who had arrived, each girl showing off at least one skill. Plus a promise ceremony, the presentation of only the third Adventure On badge in the unit and all in all it was a fantastic day. I did forget the badges for Number Fun and Crime Prevention which was annoying as I had driven 40 miles to get them on Saturday morning, but I can present them on Thursday instead.

    It was kind of like an action-packed sleepover without the appalling sleep deprivation! I think we pitched it just right, the girls actually learned about the three subjects but still had heaps of variety.

    Now we are trying to think of what other badges we could do this way: First Aid and Cook/Advanced Cook spring to mind, as they both need a significant period of time and access to things our normal meeting doesn't have: a First Aid trainer for one and an oven for the other!

    Sunday, 28 September 2008

    Big hit!

    Brownie Badge Blitz day was a big hit - 18 Circus passes, 18 Crime Prevention passes, 12 Number Fun passes (5 girls have just one clause to complete at home) and 1 Craft pass.

    Dissection of the event will follow when I have eaten and rested.

    Friday, 26 September 2008

    The day dawns

    Our long-planned Brownie Badge Blitz Day is happening this weekend, and am really keen to see how it goes. We've hired a local hall and are doing two badges that are very hard to do during normal meetings.
    The plan is:
    • We arrive 9am and set up

    • The girls arrive 9.30am, as does a police officer who has agreed to help us out.

    • We do the Crime Prevention badge.

    • Lunch - the girls have been asked to bring a packed lunch.

    • After lunch, Circus Performer badge. We've booked a circus workshop to come and teach the girls skills, then their parents will return at 4pm to see them performing.
    • All out by 4.30pm to let the local wrestling club in at 4.45pm - I love this last detail!

    We'll also be doing the Number Fun badge, because it has 5 clauses that can easily be fitted into any downtime, and if we don't complete it, they can take it away to complete at home.
    And for the two girls who already earned Number Fun off their own bat, I've quickly prepped the Craft badge since neither of them have it.

    We've never done anything like this before, but I think it will work!

    Thursday, 18 September 2008

    A brief advertisement

    Any leader out there doing the Designer badge with your Brownies, you HAVE to do the "create a radio advert for Brownies" option.

    There is nothing funnier than watching 7 groups of 3 Brownies (we had one off sick, one visiting a potential secondary school and one working on her promise with the Guides) create adverts for Brownies.

    They included a lot of Brownies is fun, it's for everyone. But we also got that Brownies is a girl-only space, the times of our meeting (and they were only off by 15 minutes!), and lots of the activities that we do.

    A definite hit and a brilliant way to wrap up the badge.

    We also had a Tae Kwon Do demonstration to start the Olympics badge, 8 kids from 6 to 12 and a teacher came and showed a range of what they do then the girls tried out some stances and asked lots of questions.

    It was great for me to see what my daughter does in her lessons.

    Some of the kids were really brave - 3 of them go to the same school as most of the Brownies, so it was really courageous of them to demonstrate in front of their peers.

    Wednesday, 17 September 2008

    Does my Brownie daughter need a sash?

    I just got a comment/question asking:

    "my daughters group has said she has to have a sash. is this true. she is to be enrolled next week but i think the sash would be uncomortable for her."

    Here's what Girlguiding says:

    A Brownie chooses her outfit from a range of section wear. The clothes are designed for having fun and are stylish, practical and economical. There is something to suit every Brownie whatever she is doing, indoors or out – so she is bound to find something she will love to wear.

    A Brownie does not have to wear the same combination of garments as others in her unit. Your daughter's Leader should let you know in advance about what she should wear for certain activities or in particular weather conditions - this may not always be Brownie wear.

    How Brownies display their interest badges is up to each girl. Many Brownies sew them on their gilet top. Others choose to wear them on a sash, or keep them safe in their Brownie Promise Box or a scrapbook.

    [This is the link:]

    So you can choose to wear them on a gilet, not necessarily a sash. Most of my girls wear theirs on their hoodies but that is unusual.

    However, I would say that if every other girl has a sash, your daughter will feel left out if she doesn't have one, the girls do like to all wear the same.

    Hope that helps.

    Monday, 15 September 2008

    The 25th Brownie

    For a maximum of 8 weeks, we will have 25 Brownies. We have a girl on the waiting list who is 7 at the end of this month, and we were going to offer her a place in January.
    But her family is emigrating to Missouri any time in November and December so she was going to miss out.
    So we've offered her a place, to give her a chance to be a Brownie for a while before she goes. We're going to charge her subs weekly in case she only stays a few weeks. And we're lending her second hand uniform to save her parents the cost of a uniform.
    The last 2 weeks, we've had 23/24 Brownies (the missing girl was different each week) so I reckon we won't have 25 very often. And as long as we don't leave the hall and grounds, we will be fine with 3 adults if necessary, though most weeks we have 4.
    Feeling quite positive about it, the two other leaders I could get in touch with are happy about it, so we'll make room!

    Friday, 12 September 2008

    Not girl led

    There's a lot of debate at the moment about the change in the Guiding strapline (why do we even have a strapline?) from Surprise Yourself to Girls In The Lead.

    Us Guiders are now supposed to be known as Leaders as well. So if the girls are in the lead, and we are leaders not guiders, who is following?

    We try very hard to let the girls steer the programme, underlaid with our background knowledge of what they ought to be achieving and of new challenges that have come out.

    We started this term with the Designer badge because we had a bit of spare cash and wanted to use it on tangible lasting things like a new bag for each Brownie (decorated by them) and a badge for the unit to go on the back of their neckers. The rest of the term was determined by the girls but it was us Guiders who picked Designer badge.

    Last week went really well, they produced beautifully-decorated bags and really enjoyed the quiz about designers because they had to track down the facts as a six.

    This week we were meant to design the unit badge and design a book cover. I talked through the badge thing, and they all seemed excited, but when it came down to it, we had a lot of practice badges that just consisted of a random animal drawn hastily, and a lot of giggling instead.

    It took so long to get even that, that I gave up on the book and sent the prepared sheets home with them and told them it was up to them if they did it (not bitterly or anything, I stayed upbeat!)

    Then we played a game for the last 25 minutes which went down way better because they chose it!

    It may have not just have been because it was our choice, it may have been because the weather was foul all week and most of them had had no playing outside so all they really wanted to do was play. And we did get 6 or 7 well thought out designs, mostly from the older girls but a couple from 7 year olds.

    I'm feeling a bit flat after a not so successful meeting last night- but we're going to bounce right back next week with tae kwon do!

    Fantastically helpful!

    When I asked for help for our division event, my lovely anonymous commenter J, who is married to a Scouter, had some really helpful stuff about a Scout event her area ran last year for the August 1 celebration of 100 years of Scouting.

    She said don't post it as a comment as it is too long - but I think it is great so I am posting it as a post!

    We did this last year for the scouts on 1st August. All met at local park and had flag break and made promise. A Beaver, Cub, Scout and Explorer read out what scouting meant to them. 

    Then everyone was put into mixed age teams (with adults) and sent off around the town to take part in "monopoly" which involved collecting answers to questions about things they would see and collecting items (ie a beer mat, paper cup, balloon, maggots, church service sheet, daisy etc)

    The local shops/pubs/church were warned and so most left the items outside so the kids/adults could collect them –(keep items to cheap or free things that local businesses will be happy to hand over.) As it was 100 years there were 100 item/questions but they had a time limit and it tried to cover well known parts of the town hence "monopoly" tag rather than scavenger hunt - each question had a colour and extra points given if you got all in that colour.

    Then all groups ate lunch either in the park, their own meeting place if local or with another group at their meeting place or any other place of their choosing! After lunch everyone went off to do a pre arranged good deed such as car washing, litter picking, gardening, etc.

    Each group/unit organised their own deed and those who were not in their own town were bussed back to their own so they could do it locally (but that would involve money so you could so it all where ever you happen to be and line up the deeds yourselves) and then everyone meet up afterwards for a BBQ, results of Monopoly and campfire before younger ones went home and older ones camped over night.

    It was a great day and encompassed fun, 100 years celebration, good deeds, the promise and food.Maybe you could do the same but obviously with a guiding theme rather than scouting one, or maybe there will be something here you could use to spark off other ideas.

    We are not a large town just a small market one and the rest of the district are really just villages so I guess it would depend on you district location. if this would be possible.

    This is really helpful - we did something similar to the Monopoly thing as a divison event this time last year, organised by a different district to us, but close enough to this that we can't do that. But I love the saying what Guiding means to a member of each section, and definitely the good deed thing, I think there is something there that we could really use and that is what I will be suggesting to our DC.

    Thanks so much J (I'd love to know what J stands for - I promise I won't post that!)

    Tuesday, 9 September 2008

    Devoid of inspiration

    Help please!
    My district has to organise our divison day next year and because it is Sept 2009, we have to make it the launch of the Girlguiding Centenary.
    We are idea-ed out, we did Thinking Day this year, walking round the local reservoir and collecting pennies in bottles for Water Aid and the World Thinking Day Fund and we collected over £750 for each charity from the division so after that success the pressure is on.
    We just can't think of something great to do, from Rainbows to Senior Section. We're just...stumped!
    We have district meeting next week and have to put forward our ideas to go to divison the week after. Our DC said she hasn't exactly been overwhelmed with ideas before the meeting.
    All I've personally managed to come up with is a Changing the World day using one or more of the charities participating. But I kind of feel that would be fine if it was in the next few months but by Sept 09 most units will have done at least one thing by then.
    It doesn't have to be a fundraising event, and it doesn't even have to last all day, two to three hours is fine if we don't want to do a full day.
    What can we do for anywhere between 100 and 200 girls aged between 5 and 18? Help!

    Thursday, 4 September 2008

    so good

    The Brownies were soooo good tonight. 23 of them (as predicted, one of the leaders and her daughter didn't turn up, what with them moving house and everything!) turned up, 22 paid their subs so just two to collect next week.

    They took part in the Designer badge quiz very obligingly - and even retained some of the information.

    And they all created beautiful bags with very individual designs. Some were really simple and some very intricate, but they all worked hard on them.

    It was all very calm and they all chattered away, catching up on their summers.

    Wednesday, 3 September 2008


    Newbie Guider has a meeting tonight with our division commissioner and two other potential Guiders to set up Rainbows in our meeting place - have given her the waiting list for Brownies to see how many girls there could be interested, we have 15 that are the right age for Rainbows on the waiting list but some may be Rainbows elsewhere.

    With 3 adults, they can have a maximum of 15 girls, so it could be a fortuitous number!

    Sunday, 31 August 2008

    So ready to go

    I've got Baker Ross sling backpacks for the girls to decorate, plus a fashion designer quiz, both counting towards theDesigner badge.
    One of my assistants was meant to be leading the first meeting so I could talk to parents if they needed me but she is moving house that day so I am guessing she will end up not making it despite what she thinks! So I went ahead and prepped everything for the evening as well as organising the badges I need to give out from last term that I ran out of before the last meeting.
    In contrast to last year, when we had 6 new Brownies start in summer and indeed a total of 15 over the course of the year because so many of our girls turned 10 and went to Guides, we have just ONE new Brownie starting, younger sister of one of our former Brownies so she already knows what it will be like.
    This year, if no-one moves away, we should only have at most three new Brownies apart from her during the whole year up to next July, so we will be quite steady this year.
    We have loads planned (at the girls' request of course) for the term: Designer, Olympics, fairytale, animals, Christmas in November, community action (should be carol-singing but if it doesn't pan out we will start Changing the World earlier than planned) plus Disney on Ice, a sleepover at the Science Museum and a Badge Blitz Day with a police officer doing Crime Prevention, a clown doing Circus Performer and us doing Number Fun.
    I can't wait to get going!

    Friday, 15 August 2008

    Coffee and a rainbow

    Had coffee yesterday morning with the Newbie Guider...not so newbie any more as she has nearly finished her leadership qualification.
    She's really excited that as well as being assistant at Brownies, she's also going to help to set up a Rainbow unit (5-7 years).
    It'll be great to have Rainbows, Brownies and Guides at the school, meaning the girls have Guiding from age 5-14 available to them. We might even have a Senior Section setting up too, which is age 14-25, which would be great too, but Rainbows is looking more likely.

    Friday, 25 July 2008

    Sisterhood in Guiding

    Remember I told you I was taking 2 other leaders, 11 Brownies and 1 Guide to the Science Museum in London for a Brownie and Guide sleepover?

    Now forget that for a moment.

    My darling husband surprised me this weekend just gone with tickets for Leonard Cohen's fantastically-reviewed tour, which we couldn't get tickets for but then he added a single extra date at a venue very near us.

    Oh, you've worked it out haven't you? Same night.

    Husband and I haven't been to a concert for years (I'm thinking Diana Krall was the last one and that was well before our son was born) and both he and I really wanted to go.

    So I drew up my options:
    1. Ask my DC (district commissioner) if she would take over since she also has an overnight licence.
    2. Ask the Guide Guider if she would take over as she has a camp licence which includes indoor overnight - but she did just help out Brownies by doing camp with us so she's already been really helpful to us this year.
    3. Go on the sleepover and send husband to the concert with a friend instead - harsh since he wanted me to go too.
    4. Cancel. If we cancel now we get all but 10% back of what we paid to go, and with Gift Aid, we could afford to wholly refund the parents. It's not like I don't do a lot for the girls already and this would be the first event cancelled in four years as a leader so not like I do it lightly.

    Well, my DC has come up trumps and agreed to do it for me. I still have to do the paperwork and parent meeting so effectively all she has to do is turn up and be in charge on the day/night.

    True Sisterhood in Guiding - I am so grateful that we can resolve this to let me do a family thing but still let the girls get their special event. I am aware that I will now owe one massive favour in return!

    Sunday, 20 July 2008

    Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?

    My Canadian Guider friend came to visit and despite never meeting before, we just spent 72 hours together!

    Together with her nine year old daughter, she came to our house on Thursday afternoon. We collected her at our local station - she saw my son and daughter before I saw her and called their names; despite knowing they were going to collect her, they still looked stunned that this stranger knew their names.

    They stayed at our house Thursday night then on Friday we went to the nearby abbey, same place as we went with the Brownies a couple of weeks ago (I should link but I am too tired, you can track it down my links if you really want to!). The kids had great fun swinging from trees and clambering everywhere.

    Friday afternoon, my husband took over looking after our son and me, Canadian Guider and our two nine year old girls went to London.

    We stayed at Baden Powell House on Friday night - very weird, it was exactly a year since I went there with our Brownies for the Harry Potter book launch, and not only that, we got put in exactly the same bedroom, so I slept in the same bed I slept in 366 days ago!

    Saturday we packed in loads: Buckingham Palace, Girlguiding Commonwealth Head Quarters, riding a double-decker bus, Pax Lodge World Guiding Centre, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, then off to our next place for the night - a Youth Hostel. We recharged a bit then set off to the big highlight of the trip - the Sound of Music in the West End.

    It was sooooooo good, really loved it, but it was so hard not to sing along.

    This morning, we went to see Big Ben, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey (there was a service on so I couldn't show her the Baden Powell corner). Then we headed to the train station and my daughter and I left her and her daughter on the train when we got off at our station so she could continue on to her nan's house up north.

    I had a really great time, and when you consider that during the 72 hours we were apart only during the Thursday night when they were in our spare bedroom and whenever one of us went to the loo, we got on very well for four people who had never met before. The girls were funny, they got on well too and got very giggly together even though they probably aren't that alike, my daughter being quite tomboyish and Canadian Guider's daughter being more girly.

    She has another week in the UK, up north. Can't wait to hear from her when she gets back.

    Wednesday, 16 July 2008


    We have one leader hoping to have emigrated to Canada by Christmas (she was aiming for summer but doesn't have her paperwork) and another whose husband has started working in London and plans to move down there at the end of the next school year, so it's time to boost the leadership team while we are not yet desperate.

    Here's what we plan to send out in the note going to all Brownies over the summer holidays along with info about the term's subs, and a couple of events:

    Finally, we would like to ask if there is another adult, male or female, who would like to join our leadership team at XXXXXXX Brownies. You can get as involved as you like: take your adult leadership qualification, become involved in team planning, or just turn up each week to help us run the programme. With an active pack of 24 girls, we feel we need another leader/helper at this point. You get so much back from the girls, it is very rewarding, and everything new they get to try, we get to try too! Speak to any member of the team if you think you could help.

    Hopefully that will bring forward a willing volunteer, if not we will start a parent rota but it's always better to have people who feel invested in the unit.

    Monday, 14 July 2008


    Ok, you know I don't do Brownies for the gifts. No seriously, there has to be a way less labour-intensive way to get gifts (suggestions on a postcard please!).

    But so far this last eight days I have been given:

    • a bottle of wine and a little box of chocolates
    • a bottle of wine
    • a box of fudge and a thank you card
    • a bottle of champagne and a thank you card

    These are all from parents of girls I took to camp - there are DEFINITELY less labour intensive ways to earn these gifts than taking 11 Brownies to camp, trust me on that. The champagne was from the family moving to Switzerland and was more for the last two years than for camp, but still.

    I am quite overwhelmed and feeling very appreciated right now.

    Since me and the other Guiders have planning meeting tonight, at least some of the above items will be opened

    Friday, 11 July 2008


    We had a fantastic Brownie meeting at our local campsite last night, held jointly with the Guides.

    It was a two hour meeting and the time just whizzed by.

    First the girls collected wood for the campfire, then we held a promise ceremony for one of our new Brownies, to let her mum get her baby sister home.

    Then we worked on Aim Hi, one of the newest cross-section resources while the Guides built up the fire.

    Among the activities:
    • the leaders covered their hands in glitter and shook hands with the Brownies, then once all of them had glittery hands, we pointed out the glitter was just like the germs you get on your hands when you sneeze then spread them around - we had lots of promises that they will wash their hands if they sneeze in them.

    • we laid down 19 card lily pads with only one safe route across. The girls took it in turns to try a pad and if it wasn't a safe one they "fell in the water" and the next girl got a turn. It was great to see the girls who made it across helping the others in their team.

    • they ran races with their arms connected at the elbows back to back.

    On the night we did the bare minimum to get the badge, however there are still loads of great activities in the resources so we will be using it throughout next term as well.

    Then we had juice and sandwiches (they are always hungry when we are outdoors!) and they all got American flag tattoos left over from camp (I took them but forgot about them).

    Then it was time for s'mores. Now we have made these before, as best we can since you can't get Graham crackers or Hershey bars in the UK. Our previous version was made with chocolate digestives, which does taste good, but it was cool to make them with the genuine ingredients.

    We all loved the crackers, the marshmallows were exactly the same as UK ones, but the Hershey chocolate wasn't a great hit with most of the girls, we felt it tasted like our cooking chocolate really and prefer Cadbury and other UK brands. But as s'mores, they were yummy.

    After repeated s'mores and marshmallows, we had a quick badge ceremony; everyone got Aim Hi, and a Girl Scouts Council of the Nation's Capital badge from the Americans we have been corresponding with.

    The camping girls got the county camp badge, a 1st time camper badge and - if they completed all the requirements - their Brownie camper badge.

    A few got environment, wildlife explorer and a couple of other badges. And we gave a Brownie Guides around the world badge to the Brownie leaving us to move to Switzerland.

    And that's it for the school year for Brownies. We have a planning meeting next week to sort out the autumn term and we have 23 out of our 24 Brownies returning in September, plus one new start who is the little sister of one of our former Brownies, so it will be a busy and fun term with topics (chosen by the girls) including Designer, Olympics and fairytale, plus community action and a rights badge, as ever.

    Tuesday, 8 July 2008

    Brownie camp - very long

    The Guide Guider and family had done a brilliant job of getting tents up and there was only the big frame store tent and the toilet tent to go up when I arrived.

    We had 7 tents in all: 4 tents for 4, 4 and 3 Brownies; 1 tent for the Guide Guider, her husband and two daughters; the toilet tent; and I got the first aid tent all to myself, which was great because I could wriggle around in the night without worrying about disturbing anyone!

    The girls were in patrols: Florida, Texas and New York and had a rota for washing up, collecting water and orderly (anything that needed doing). Each patrol would wash up their own plates, then do their extra duty, when it was washing up that meant they had to do all the cookpots and the leaders' plates. There were three hot meals over the course of camp so we made sure those were spread on the rota so each patrol only had one lot of really dirty stuff to deal with.

    Friday night they went off and did a wide game and came back with medals. We had hot chocolate, and then they actually settled down quite quickly and were quiet by about 10.45pm. In fact the camp organiser came to see us about 11pm to talk about something and we were all in our tents fast asleep!

    The weather? Well, it was actually pretty good on Friday, though it did start to rain about 10.30 and didn't really let up. It was also quite windy.

    They were awake about 5.30am so I told them to be quiet and (gasp) they were for an hour despite the Brownies who traipsed past our camp screaming about water a few minutes later. All up by 7.

    Saturday they all had eggy bread and bacon for breakfast, plus cereal. We had free time first session so that gave plenty of time to get everything bundled up against the predicted bad weather.

    Then rockets and frisbee golf - they loved the rockets, using air pumps and even water to send them into the sky. That was followed by crafts - really good crafts: a leather bracelet that you used letters to stamp your name onto, a little man made of 37 beads, an American pompom pet with a flag and a dreamcatcher. They did half in this session and half in another session later in the day.

    Back to camp for lunch then a rest hour where they explored the woods around us - I don't really know what they were doing but I did hear the word torture at one point but no-one seemed to be in pain! It was raining but they just put their coats on and carried on.

    Then they swam in the outdoor pool, the sun came out just in time which was lovely, though it didn't last too long. We made them all have a warm shower afterwards which warmed them up nicely. Back to camp, dried off and dressed, they did their second craft session.

    That was when the weather really turned on us - we didn't see sun again! It got really windy, and one of our stoves was blown over, fortunately away from the tent and the cook, it did delay dinner though we didn't lose any, and the weather just got worse and worse.

    The girls went in their tent and wrote postcards to the American troop who had sent us temporary tattoos, badges and some Girl Scout cookies. They also sent 3 little American flags, each patrol had one in their tent.

    We had to eat dinner under the trees, with the wind blowing leaves at us - we just told the girls to eat faster! Then they had chocolate whip with Crunchie bits in, again eaten super fast. The wind abated enough to get quickly washed up then we put everything inside the store tent and we all went into our own tents to wait it out for a while.

    I must admit, at that point, I was a bit lonely! The girls were all screaming in their tents and the Guide Guider was with her family. I hadn't brought a book as I'd assumed there would be no downtime - I am the kind of person that can't stay still without reading though so I ran to my car to see what I could dig out: a Rugby Visitor Centre guide to the rugby trail round the town and a High School Musical book from my daughter's storage box! So I took them - I will genuinely read anything if it's all there is!

    We were waiting to see if the campfire was going ahead but unsurprisingly it was cancelled. We had decided to do something in the central part of the Guide Guider's tent (the biggest space we had since everything else was in the store tent!) if nothing else was happening but the camp organisers managed to get us an indoor hall and we had an indoor campfire - the girls had a ball but most were getting exhausted by the end.

    We just went back to camp, grabbed toothbrushes, went to the loo then went back to tents, got changed and went to sleep. The rain was hurling down and we took down the toilet tent as we didn't think it would survive the high winds.

    They were all asleep by 10.15 and I wasn't long after them. I still woke up at 5.30 partly because it was still really windy and really wet. We had to wake the girls at 7.40am as there was so much to do before the first scheduled activity at 10am - they had to dress, brush teeth, eat, wash up and pack everything except the clothes they were in, and that took two and a half hours even with 2 adults, a Young Leader and a Guide helping as it took forever to reunite them with all their things and get everything waterproof so the tents could start to come down.

    Then they had low ropes, team games and climbing (the highlight for most) before lunch - it actually stopped raining for a while and we were able to eat lunch outside.

    Then three parents arrived to help us break camp, they helped get the last of the tents down and us to push the trolley loaded with gear to the leader cars so we could get as much packed away as possible. Their help was absolutely invaluable and cut a good hour off the time it took.

    I thought we'd lost the beautiful camp badges but I found them on Monday, inside my plate bag - not sure how they got there - so I will give them out at this week's meeting, last one before the summer hols.

    All the parents bar three had arrived by 2.45pm (they listened to us when we said don't be late!) so I told the Guide Guider and family to get home while they could. All but one parent had come by 3pm (the official collecting time) so I walked up to my car with my daughter, the remaining Brownie, and her stuff. Her parents arrived at 3.15pm just as it began to lash down again so I threw her and her stuff at them and ran for my car!

    A detour via the Guide Guider's house to drop off the kit that had been stored in my car, and we were done.

    I haven't yet done the washing - I was too tired on Sunday night and instead watched the amazing last episode of Doctor Who and the fantastic Wimbledon mens final. I worked yesterday but I have managed to negotiate Tuesday off, so I will snooze once the kids are at preschool and school and do the washing.

    So that's all the news that's fit to blog - my longest post ever I believe, I won't do it again. Much like Brownie camp!

    Tuesday, 1 July 2008

    Camp store

    My garage is now overflowing with vast amounts of Guiding camping stuff. The Guide Guider brought it over tonight.

    Her car will be full of the tents, so someone else has to bring the rest: cooking equipment, food, first aid stuff and so on. I'll farm some of it out to Brownie parents but I'll bring most of it, it's only me and my daughter in the car so as long as I have us in the front and our own equipment in Cheeky's booster seat and to the side of it, I should be able to use the third seat in the back and the whole of the boot.

    It is all becoming very real...

    Saturday, 28 June 2008

    Good luck!

    My district commissioner just popped round - she's like my Guiding boss though she is a volunteer too, and she is a Brownie leader too.

    She's taking her Brownies away tonight to do her overnight licence, until now she has tagged on with other units, including ours to use other people's licences. She came with us on our sleepover this spring and decided she would take her licence too.

    She's using the same venue we went to in spring. I'm not helping, because we have Brownie camp next weekend and there's a limit to how many nights I can abandon my kids (see, I can say no!) but she has enough adults anyway.

    She's in such a tizzy this morning - I remember it well even though it's more than two years since I took my own licence. The Guide depot has let her down and she didn't get the sleepover badges she wanted, so she popped over to me to borrow a couple for two Brownies who are leaving after the sleepover so can't wait for their badges.

    Wishing her luck - I know she'll be fine though.

    Friday, 27 June 2008

    It rained. We didn't care. Much.

    We had 13 Brownies last night, nine were on the school trip to the seaside, one was on holiday and one had to visit her brother.
    With 2 Guides and 2 Guider kids (my son and newbie Guider's daughter, who are great pals) we had a good number and they had a great time.
    They finished off their Wildlife Explorer badges (minus the animal, insect and birdspotting which they've to do in their own time) by using crayons and paper to do bark rubbings and labelling them with the different trees. They worked those out by examining the leaves - I was quite proud of them (even though I had given them a sheet with common leaves)!
    They also had a logbook which they partly filled in while we got ready for the promise ceremony.
    We set up with yellow crepe paper ribbons for the girls to walk under, they made their promise (both word perfect) and when they finished, they ran back through bursting the ribbons.
    We had cheese and jam sandwiches, chocolate rolls and squash, then they played parachute games (mostly under the parachute as it was getting flipping wet by then!) and finally they collected wood for a fire - which we didn't light as it wasn't actually allowed but it was good practice for a fortnight from now when we will be meeting at a campsite and will have a campfire circle.

    Tuesday, 24 June 2008

    Less than normal

    I am quite looking forward to this Thursday's Brownie meeting, not that I don't always look forward to it!

    We have a promise ceremony for two of our new girls, we're going to be outdoors and we will only have 16 girls instead of the usual 24.

    I work hard to keep the unit as close to 24 as I can. It's the maximum we will take (since there is a ratio of 1 adult: 8 girls required whenever we go outside the meeting place, it means we only have to be sure 3 out of 4 of us adults will be there each week) and it makes our high rent more affordable because we have more subs left over to spend on resources.

    But my ideal size of unit is actually 18-20. That size gives us more time to get to know the girls individually and help them more.

    It's hard to say no to girls joining. And 24 is an absolute for us, the hall can't really take any more and there's the 1:8 thing. Having an absolute makes it easier to say no. If we tried to keep the numbers around 18-20, I would know I had said no to girls that could have been members.

    Anyway, this week, the school where most of our girls go has a big trip arranged for the Year 3s. They make up 1/3 of our pack - they are the only year in the school that has two classes so there were more girls than usual wanting places at Brownies when they all turned 7. They won't be back from their trip till after our meeting starts and as we are meeting at a local abbey rather than the school anyway, they will all miss this week.

    I didn't cancel our trip when I heard the date, the rest of the pack is in Year 5, 4 and 2 at the school and Years 3 and 4 at other nearby schools, so there was no reason why they should miss out because of the school trip.

    I am particularly conscious of keeping things fair for the girls at other schools, we already time our terms around this school since it is a/ where most of the leaders' kids go and b/ as our meeting place, we can't get the hall at the end of term because of school shows and occasionally we will find our school is open and another one shut and vice versa.

    So we are meeting, 2/3 our normal size, for lots of outdoor fun, food and a promise ceremony. Wish us luck with the weather please.

    Thursday, 19 June 2008

    Kitted out

    11 Brownies going to camp.

    7 picked up their uniform after Brownies tonight.

    1 missed Brownies because she was ill, her mum rang and let me know and we arranged another date for me to handover some uniform.

    The other 3? I've heard nothing.

    Does that mean they don't want any, they're happy to trash their own clothes? Guess so!

    Thursday, 12 June 2008

    Good little painting girls

    We painted this week.  And the girls were great! All took at least half an hour to paint their birdhouse carefully and beautifully, some took 45 minutes.

    And our Guide helpers were brilliant with them too, spending 40 minutes with the new girls going over their promise and the rest of the evening with all the girls playing games while the leaders cleared up after painting and ran through the plans for the last four weeks of term.

    • Sent out forms for the abbey trip in two weeks
    • Collected in forms for camp - just three weeks away now, eek!
    • Gave out environment badges to 15 girls.

    Saturday, 7 June 2008

    Wildlife Explorer

    Here's our theme for the next three weeks: Wildlife Explorer.
    Next week:
    We will learn about common butterflies, birds and mammals in our area and the girls will each be expected to identify three of each. We'll also go to the nearby pond to look for insects, fish, amphibians and plants, and signs of pollution.
    Week after:
    Painting! The girls have tiny little bird boxes that need to be decorated, so we need the works: painting overalls, covers for the table etc. And lots of cleaning stuff for after! We've seen this lot paint before!
    Week after:
    Trip out to an abbey with beautiful grounds. Draw pictures or take photographs of at least four different types of tree. Make leaf and bark rubbings. Label them with the names of the trees.
    They will also have to do one clause in their own time if they want to pass: Spend at least 15 minutes each day for a week watching the birds, animals and insects near where you live. Go with an adult you know to a local park, or watch what is happening in your garden or school grounds. Record what you see in a nature notebook.
    I'm looking forward to being out and about with them, it's great to go beyond the confines of the hall where we meet.

    Thursday, 5 June 2008

    Walk recycle walk

    We walked to the recycling point at Brownies tonight and the girls recycled plastic, paper, cans and tins, a couple of glass bottles and even three pairs of shoes in the clothing bank.

    Walking back, we talked about pesticides and how they get into water, and back at the meeting place, we had some food including pineapples from Costa Rica, raisins from California and yummy strawberries from Herefordshire.

    So that's it, environment badge wrapped up, for the girls who returned their charts of what they did to save energy and water anyway.

    We squeezed in a game of ladders, swim fishy swim, and that was it!

    Thursday, 29 May 2008

    Camper Advanced

    Daughter is working hard in the run up to camp to earn her Camper Advanced badge:

    1. Do each of the following:

    ** You should have spent at least four nights or more away at Brownie camp.
    Will achieve if she stays the whole camp in July.

    ** Make a poster showing your favourite things about Brownie camp.
    Done: eggy bread, archery, putting up tents and collecting water all feature!

    2. Help organise an activity with your Brownie friends at camp.
    Needs to do this at camp

    3. Tell a Brownie who has never been to camp what camp life is like. Help her learn the following camp skills.

    ** How to keep bedding and clothes dry. Done, with the Brownie over the road

    ** Keep the camp area safe and tidy. Done, with the Brownie over the road

    ** Prepare, cook and serve meals. Done, with the Brownie over the road
    ** Wash up and clear away after a meal.
    Done, with the Brownie over the road

    4. Help another Brownie make something to remind her of the camp, or to keep a camp diary.
    Needs to do this at camp

    5. Help plan the camp, including:

    ** Choosing the theme or reason for going.
    As theme already set, she has named the seven tents within the theme. 

    ** Suggesting activities, games and places to visit.
    Has suggested some games and activities and though we are not going offsite, has pinpointed things we could have visited in the area.

    ** Planning meals and menus.
    Took part in choosing options and made a pretend menu.

    6. Do each of the following:

    ** Know how to keep safe when you are out and about on Brownie camp.

    ** Know how to keep the camp area safe.

    ** Know the Country Code, the Green Cross Code and the Water Safety Code.
    This was fun! She knew the water safety code as we just did the water safety badge at Brownies and was easily able to do a quiz based on it. She knew the Green Cross Code and recited it. Country code she memorised and was able to recite it the next day so I was happy with that.

    So a bit more to do but she's got a good chance of passing it. She was really thrilled, I had thought it would be impossible as the theme was already set, it being a county camp. But I consulted with some other Guiders and they all came back and said this was such a hard requirement, if it wasn't possible they let girls do theoretical responses and as long as they were feasible, they would accept it.

    Sunday, 18 May 2008


    The division swimming gala was last night - four Rainbow teams, somewhere between 12 and 14 Brownie teams and seven or eight Guide teams.

    The reason I don't know exactly how many is that I left my programme with a Guide Guider to use after we left!

    Anyway, here's how we did:
    • Newbie swimmer - our girl came second in her heat. This was a really small category so only the winners were in the final.
    • Under 8 breaststroke - our girl pulled out ill a couple of hours before so our very nervous reserve had to swim. She came second in the heat and sixth in the final.
    • Under 9 backstroke - our girl rocked this. First in her heat, second in the final.
    • Under 10 freestyle - I felt sorry for this Brownie, she is super-fast but just drew super-fast competitors too, she was fourth in the heat.
    • Any age freestyle - this was my daughter. She was second in her heat, third in the final.
    • Relay - three girls swam a length each, first one breaststroke, second backstroke, third freestyle. The girls were fabulous - second in their heat, second in the final, both times to a team of really fast swimmers who were in the team that went on to win the cup.

    So, we ended up fourth overall, the highest we have ever placed.

    I was so proud of them all.

    We left after the Brownie section of the gala, but when we left, our Guides were doing really well, so I suspect there may be some silverware there this year.

    Monday, 12 May 2008

    Am I a camping convert?

    I actually had a really good time. I did go in with a positive attitude, there's no point whinging about something when it has to be done after all.

    We had gorgeous weather the whole weekend, we had to slather ourselves repeatedly in sun cream from 9am to about 3pm both days.

    We only set up three tents in the end, as we ended up with 2 Guiders, 4 Guides and my Brownie daughter. The other Guider and her daughter came down very ill two days before, the Guider very worryingly so actually, she had quite a scary time of it though she seems to be recovering a bit now.

    So we had a tent for the 4 Guides, a tent for the two Guiders and the Brownie and an enormous tent to store all the equipment and food.

    I think that's what puts me off camping over taking the girls away indoors: putting up tents, cleaning all the equipment, taking down tents, drying them off (which was easy in the baking sun but obviously is a nightmare in rain or mud) and also all the equipment you need personally.

    Anyway, the girls had a blast, and did so much: archery, built ballisters (google it, I didn't know either), jousted on hobby horses, made medieval hats, patrol shields and most fun of all medieval arts - which was really circus skills.

    The circus instructor was fantastic, and he was also the evening entertainment - after the pig roast! He was really really funny and had everyone in the palm of his hand for 45-50 mins, it just flew by so I'm not quite sure.

    There was also a campfire on Saturday night, and the leader of that was great, got everyone up, even those that didn't really want to and made suitable mockery of the cubs who were also staying on site and were invited to join us for the campfire.

    Daughter raced through her camper badge without even realising, just by dint of helping cook, collecting water, making stuff, doing her bedding roll and so on. She also nearly completed her circus performer badge too, she just needed to design a clown face and since she has done that at school and you can have one requirement done at school, she's passed that too.

    So that's all the news that's fit to print. I survived, and enjoyed myself, but can't see me choosing to do it beyond the next trip in July.

    Oh, and I have a bit of a tan too!
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