Friday, 24 June 2011

Weekend away

Envious though I am of Kelloggsville's recent weekend in London with her Brownies, and fondly remembering the great weekend we had doing similar activities just 15 months ago, our Brownies have just had their turn to go away and we had a fabulous time at Blackwell Court near Birmingham.

Us leaders went over on the Friday night and had a takeaway, then were up in plenty of time to set up and be ready for the girls arriving on Saturday morning. Normally we race to where we are going, set up about an hour before the girls should arrive but inevitably someone arrives early etc. This time we were completely on top of things, plus it was really nice for us to hang out and spend a bit of time together without chasing after Brownies as we usually are.

So then the girls came and the weekend included:
  • zipwire
  • grass sleds
  • orienteering
  • nightline
  • swimming
  • loads of yummy foods
  • crafts
We had 17 Brownies, divided up into 3 rooms, 2 of 6 and one of 5. Then during the day, they were divided up into 2 groups of 10, including the 2 Guides and 1 Young Leader, for the activities.

We had no homesickness - I stand by my theory that all the homesickness we had last year at camp was because we were so close to home - and no bad behaviour despite having a couple of our more challenging girls away with us. They even went to sleep quite quickly after all that fresh air and exercise, though they were awake early too, but you can't have everything.

I definitely recommend Blackwell, although we had a few glitches along the way they always worked to help us and resolved all that they could.

Maybe the tented village next year???

Monday, 20 June 2011

Feel Closer

I really love this blog post my fellow Guider Kelloggsville did on Closeness or Falseness recently, inspired by the Nivea Million Moments of Closeness campaign.

I've been mulling this over myself, particularly the debate question Has new technology brought us closer?

I think technology can be incredibly useful: I researched all the options for our recent Brownie weekend online (details of that will follow in a few days!) and was able to share with my fellow leaders by email, making planning much easier for us.

And as someone who lives 326 miles away from her parents - can you tell how many times I have driven up the M6? - I love that I can email them quickly, send them a Facebook link to pictures of their grandkids or text if I need to ask something but know they are too busy at that exact time for a phone call, given that our phone calls tend to last for about 45 mins! My inlaws live just an hour away but aren't online and never turn on their emergency mobile phone and I confess they miss often out on the pictures as a result.

And technology can bring you closer to people you would never ordinarily meet: way back in 1999 I joined a group of online mums whose children were born in the same month and another for a craft I was keen on. For much of the time, it was all talk about whose kid was walking, whose kid was talking, who had made what recently, but in a very supportive and non-competitive way. I had no reason to believe I'd meet many of the women in either group, but in 2001 we were stuck in America after 9/11 happened and I was inundated with offers of help to get us from Boston, where no planes flew for about a fortnight afterwards, to wherever in the US or Canada we wanted to go to get home to the UK. We ended up driving to Ottawa, staying with one of the women for two nights, she just opened her home up to us, fed us, even had Canadian Thanksgiving early for us because she said if she couldn't be thankful at a time like that when could she be? Then we made it to Toronto and eventually home.

Since then, I've made very close friends with three bloggers in particular and we have our own secret place we go off to online to chat, support each other and thrash out the problems of the world. I've only met one of them, twice; she has been lucky enough to meet all of us, and one day I will meet everyone but in the meantime, they are among my closest friends even though we haven't all met.

So can technology bring us closer? Absolutely!

*Disclosure - the company I work for has been working with Nivea on the Feel Closer campaign, but I haven't been paid to blog, I did it because I had strong feelings on this topic. You can join the debate at and you can enter the competition to win one of 100 prizes each worth £100 - I can't, but you can!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

What a fantastic Brownie weekend!

I hope these Brownies know how lucky they are to have such keen leaders!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Penguin on Twitter

I'm on Twitter now: can't say I'll be full of insights that will rock your world but I'll give it a try! If you want to follow me, I am Penguin2005. If you are reading this on my actual blog rather than in a reader, you can click Follow me on Twitter on the right hand side.

sad Brownie not so sad

We seem to have made a breakthrough with Sad Brownie and she is now Happy but Timid Brownie - which is the girl I was expecting from knowing her for seven years!

Kelloggsville got it spot on with her advice to me, I sent her and the other new Brownie outdoors with the rest of the Brownies last night (I was inside with 17 parents running a parents meeting before our weekend away, details of that will follow after we have been away in the next few weeks) and she was much happier being in the mix of it.

I do still think the nub of the issue wasn't so much the two Guides but more what she expected Brownies to be, but as she seems happier now, and integrated, we have hopefully assimilated her (sorry for the Borg reference, you can take the girl away from her science fiction but you can't take the science fiction out of me).

So, we have 25 happy Brownies - yes, not 26, the 26th flatly refused to return and would not tell her mum why, she said she loved the week she came, but she didn't want to go back thanks. Not fretting about that, just getting on with it.

This term we've been working on the American Challenge from (need to be a member to see that one) and the Outdoor Challenge from Anglia Region, we are in Midlands Region but they let anyone do their badges. So, bit more of both of those for the next couple of weeks and then we hit summer.

Bring it on!
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