Friday, 27 January 2012

So much excitement

There's our regular meetings.

But like furiously paddling swans, appearing calm on the surface, there is so much more going on:
1. Fellow Guider has clearance to do her holiday licence even though we are going out of county, so our trip away this term will be two nights!
2. Disney on ice cheque is written, all I have to do is post it tomorrow.
3. I'm helping get 250 lightbulbs for a division project.
4. In a few days, I am going to a major UK tourist attraction to see if we can run a sleepover there.
5. Daughter is so close to finishing her Baden Powell Award, that she has been accepted on a county adventure weekend in next few months.

And the girls think all we do is turn up and chat (ok, we do that a bit too!)

Update: the girls are excited about #1 too, we've had 19/24 sign up and 3 of those not going have a dance festival otherwise they would come too!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Badge tab

Clair of Kids, Craft and Chaos posted her badge tab online this weekend, she is quite rightly proud of herself for finishing her Guiding leadership qualification - well done!

And while I am bigging up other Guiders, well done to Cara in Canada, her brilliant website Brownie Meeting Ideas is one year old today and is a massive hit with nearly 25,000 hits already!

Although I like Clair's minimalist badge tab (I am particularly jealous of the Blue Peter badge and love that she has a badge from the West Highland Way, which starts near where I grew up in Scotland) I have gone the other way, my badge tab is bling bling because I like to cram on as many badges as I can that mean something to me.

From top to bottom:
Black trefoil - my promise badge as an adult, it should be dark navy but mine is one of a few that came out black!
Silver trefoil - an award from my Guiding Region, Midlands, for services to local Guiding. I was given this in 2008 and it has been very inspiring to me to keep going on those occasions I think it is all too much for me.
Just under the promise badge is my five year award, next one is ten years and amazingly I am only three years off that already!
To the right of that, hiding under my promise badge is a tiny Canada flag. I was given that by a Canadian Guider, Claire, who I swapped some badges with a few years ago and became a really good friend who stayed with me a couple of summers ago. She's a great friend I would never have made if it wasn't for Guiding, we had a wonderful weekend in London together and I know if I make it over to British Columbia, I have somewhere to stay!
To the right of that is the Camp & Holiday Scheme badge, I only have an overnight licence but you get the whole badge anyway!
Next row is my Penguin badge, that's what the Brownies call me. Next to that is my 20:10, 20/10, 2010 promise badge, given to anyone who made/remade their promise at ten past eight on October 20th 2010 to mark 100 years of Guiding. Very special.
Nearly there! The small shamrock is a present from the Senior Section girls who joined our Brownies weekend in London in March 2010. We were happy to help them have a weekend away and the badge was a very sweet gift. To the right of that is an Adventure 100 pin badge, that's probably the first one I will remove, we did have fun doing that challenge though!
To the right of that and slightly over the centenary promise badge is a World badge, I love having that to show we are part of a worldwide sisterhood of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
Hidden under that and the last badge is a Baden Powell House badge. That's there because we have stayed there with the Brownies a couple of times, on that March 2010 weekend but also on the exciting night when my Brownies met JK Rowling - the very reason i started this blog!
Finally, my Leadership Qualification badge hangs off the bottom of the badge tab, I use it to anchor the badge tab on to my tshirt so it doesn't swing and hit Brownies in the face when I lean over to talk to them!

So, that's my badge tab, I loved seeing Clair's and talking about mine - see, it isn't just bling for the sake of it, all the badges are special! Would love to see other Guiders tabs, not just in UK but abroad as relevant!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Birdhouses presented

Our birdhouses were presented to the school where we meet during last night's meeting and the headteacher was really thrilled. In fact she included them in assembly this morning as well (I was able to attend as I am off today) and all the Brownies that go to the school got up and showed them off, it was quite sweet how proud they were of them.

Great job girls!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Duchess of Cambridge volunteers

The Duchess of Cambridge has volunteered with Scouting, and will be helping occasionally with Beaver colonies and Cub packs near her home.

OK, as an ex-Brownie, it would have been great if she had signed up with Girlguiding. But it's up to her - either maybe there were no Guiding units near her home, or maybe she wanted to try something similar but different.

I'm not quite as Strictly Guiding as you might think, I am all for both Guiding and Scouting, with a child in each and as a leader in Guiding and a former helper with Beaver Scouts myself. So anything that brings in the volunteers to either organisation, I'm all for it; the publicity around her involvement might make a few people think they could give up similar amounts of time.
Both organisations have lots of children desperate to take part and not enough adults, there's about 1 million members between the two organisations and around 80,000 kids waiting to join.

To volunteer with Scouting: http://scouts.org.uk/join/join_volunteer.php
To volunteer with Guiding: http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/get_involved/volunteer/register_your_interest.aspx

(Picture Copyright St James's Palace)

Friday, 6 January 2012

Brownies Build Birdhouses

Is it madness to decide to build four birdhouses from scratch (well, the wood was cut to shape but that was it, no drillholes etc) as a Brownie pack?
I decided it wasn't and bought everything we needed. Then I panicked and decided it was foolish. Husband tried to talk me down and we decided to open one up and see how hard it was to put together. We put it together but it wasn't easy and I decided it wasn't viable for Brownies so I would take the other three unopened ones back.
But then I spoke to one of the four dads who had volunteered to help us that night and he was happier about it, he even offered to pre-drill the holes on the remaining three to speed up the process so the girls would just have to hammer and use screwdrivers.
And that's what we did! In the space of just over an hour, we set up workbenches, then had one of three dads focus on each of three areas of the three birdhouses: the legs, the roof and the base of the house. The girls moved round each area in turn so they participated in each bit and the fourth dad helped on whatever section was going slowly.
By the end of the just over an hour, every girl had had a go with a hammer, a screwdriver or both, and had helped to collect screws and nails, measuring them to ensure it was the right type each time.
And we had four bird feeding tables, ready to donate to the school where we meet - well, almost ready, I am going to use woodstain to add a squirrel, a rabbit, a fox and a hedgehog to each to represent our sixes.
I am glad we did this - I panicked and we nearly didn't do it but the girls did brilliantly, the dads were very patient and very careful and we had no injuries at all, not even a splinter!
I've included a picture of the girls working, I can barely tell who each girl is in that picture, so I don't think it identifies anyone. I can't include the one of them beaming with the end results, but trust me that they do look very like the one you can see here!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Looking backward then forward (personal edition)

I did post about what happened at Brownies in December and what we have planned for the months ahead.

Some personal news too:
  • The newest Cub Scout was invested
  • And my daughter, age just turned 13, achieved her black belt in taekwondo

I don't often talk about my kids on here, it doesn't feel right after an experience a few years ago that caused an issue - hmm, is that vague enough!?! Just know that I have a reason.

But I am so proud of both, my son for carrying on the Scouting tradition that's been in our families since the 1940s and my daughter for achieving such an amazing level in her sport at such a young age and with so many other things like school and Guiding to fit in at the same time.

Normal Brownie-related service will be resumed!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Looking backward then forward

I was quite lax in December with updating what the Brownies had been up to, a very busy month for me and a fair bit of stress (nothing serious or too long term) meant I just didn't have time to write things up.

Two things to tell you though:
  • We took 24/25 Brownies (the last one had another commitment) to have breakfast with Santa! It was at our local garden centre, and the girls had such good fun. They had a cooked breakfast then decorated gingerbread men, then finally got to meet Santa and each speak to him for a little while. Then they got to walk through his grotto and choose a present. They were all very excited, we had hesitated a little because we knew our sister Rainbow pack had done this a while back and loved it but we thought maybe some of our older girls would be a bit jaded, but they all had a brilliant time.
  • We followed that up the next day (a busy weekend!) with the division Guiding service. Our district was organising it so I saw very little of the actual service as I was helping late comers find seats, then setting up to serve mince pies and tea, but I did get to see my daughter who had been chosen to do the reading for her district, which was lovely.

So that was 2011 - what lies ahead for 2012?

We are planning a weekend away at a venue Kelloggsville knows very well, and we are going to Disney on Ice just before Easter. In regular meetings, we will be building birdhouses then donating them to the school, having a cinema night, a mystery games night, Thinking Day, two weeks on Sri Lanka, a promise evening (exploring the promise rather than a ceremony) and an Easter party.

We are in the unusual situation of no new Brownies this term, we had 25 last term and one has gone to Guides, so we're back to 24 for one term. Then 5 leave at Easter so we will have lots of newbies then!

That takes us up to Easter, the summer term will definitely be hinged around Olympics but we haven't planned it out in detail, there's enough to be going on with.

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