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!
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