Monday, 24 March 2014

Stay Away in Space

As part of the Big Brownie Birthday, our county has organised a series of three sleepovers at the National Space Centre in Leicester for the county's Brownies.

We were lucky enough to go to the second, last weekend, and I think it's one of the best sleepovers we have ever done. Our girls have slept over in some unusual places: Science Museum in London, Warwick Castle and more.
But this definitely ranks up there: they got to make rockets and launch them, visit many of the exhibits, make a weather report, play a team game that was very hard to crack (the organiser said no-one had worked out how to do it easily yet, then one of our leaders cracked it by mistake but we were very proud of her whether it was mistake or not), attend three planetarium shows and sleep, under the exhibits!
And they actually did sleep, so worn out by the time they headed for bed that they were quiet within 15 mins of lights out and were only waking in the 15 mins or so before they had to get up the next morning.
I've emailed the organisers to say thank you for the event, I know they must have put a lot of work in to organise it, and for them this was just one of three!
If your kids get the chance to do this with Guides, Scouts or school, grab it, it's a really good night and one that you just wouldn't get by turning up there as normal, great though that is.
Here's our girls on the launch pad under the rocket they have there (you can make it out through the skin of the building in the pic above) - we have better pics but of course I can't share their faces on here.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Roller coaster

I had a rollercoaster evening at Brownies this week.

One of our leaders was running a FairTrade night and the girls were being quite noisy and not listening, despite choosing the theme of the evening. After they ignored all our raised hands for silence, she used a whistle and it shocked them into silence - they were pretty repentant after that so I'm hoping they will pay more attention next week!

Then we sent them out to their parents with two sheets of paper: a letter about how we are changing the way we collect subs from next term (not raising them, just evening out the payments over a year to avoid big bills in January) and I stapled the term diary for summer to the back, to fill the parents in on what we are planning.

I was manning the gate where we let them out and two of the newer parents saw the letters and, despite being no more than a metre from me, were complaining about more paperwork and how we do too much. I took it massively to heart: we are an active pack anyway, which we tell parents at the start, and with the Big Brownie Birthday we are doing even more than usual. And yes, if you sign your girl up for an event, I do need a form back, and, where relevant, payment.

I had a bit of a vent in a Brownie Guiders group that evening and other leaders were very supportive, pointing out that parents complain if we don't do anything with our girls, that 22 out of 24 sets of parents were happy, and that 24 girls are happy with what we do. The best comment, from my fellow blogger Kelloggsville ( was that the moaning almost certainly had more to do with what was happening in the parents' lives than what we were doing.

Then just to complete the roller coaster and send me back on an upward swing, a couple of parents let me know hey had read the paperwork: one said she liked our plans for evening out how subs are paid across the year (and also kindly pointed out I had a date wrong on the diary due to European elections closing our venue) and the other said she spotted we are doing Commonwealth Games next term and would we be interested in her two Commonwealth medals? Rest assured, her help has been secured, what a find, and one we wouldn't have found out about until too late if we hadn't sent out that paperwork!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Lights in the dark

We've wound up our candle project now, with the final of three evenings.

First, we reached out to 400 houses surrounding our meeting place.

We offered a decorated candle to any house with a Brownie or former Brownie in, to help the people around us join in our celebrations.

The second meeting was decorating the candleholders, one for each current Brownie and one each for the people who had replied. We were a little disappointed that we had very few people involved who had no connection to us, almost everyone taking part had a former Brownie from our pack in their home, or was a mother of a current Brownie. We did have a few with no connection and we really appreciated their involvement.

Each Brownie took home her own candle that night and the following week, having allocated addresses to deliver to, each girl took at least one to be delivered to someone and I heard back from a couple of people that the Brownie who turned up on their doorstep was smiley, informed and a credit to us. :-)

Then, the final evening. We had asked all the recipients to light their candles at a certain time during our nearest meeting to Thinking Day, and before going out, we marked on a map of the UK where all the recipients had been Brownies, which really helped the girls see how we are part of a national organisation.

Then we wrapped up warm and went to see them.

This picture was taken from inside a house while we were outside (you can't see us!), a house with a current Brownie, a Brownie who was in our pack a while ago, and a mum who was a Brownie.

It was lovely to go round and see the candles lit up - we had a few people wave to us, one house had a Brownie sash pinned up in the window too which was lovely. We sang Brownie Bells at a couple of houses as we went round, and the girls loved the evening, they were very bouncy and giggly!

I'm glad we did this project, I only wish we could have included more people (I know personally of lots of houses that we did leaflet that did have former Brownies so it wasn't just bad luck with who was in houses) but you can only reach out, you can't make people reach back!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Thinking Day and the start of our star badge

14 of our Brownies, our Brownie Helper (a Guide), our Young Leader (a member of Senior Section), 3 Leaders and our District Commissioner celebrated Thinking Day with more than 600 Brownies from all over our county on Feb 22nd.

Thinking Day is an annual celebration across WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) on our founder Robert Baden Powell's birthday. This year, it was also the county launch of our Big Brownie Birthday celebrations.

It was a fun event, the girls danced, and sang, and coloured, and ate. And for attending, they earned their first triangle of (potentially) five.

Our county has given every Brownie this year this lovely pentagon-shaped badge and for each of the five county-wide events during the year, they can also get a triangle. Put them together and they make a star! Here's what we have earned so far:
The other four events are: a sleepover, a walk, a Brownie Revels (a fun day with lots of things to do with other Brownies), and a disco. We have signed up to all five though our numbers vary between 12 and 19 for each one, so most of our Brownies will not have a complete star but they won't be far off. Gorgeous badge and a great way to mark the 100th birthday. I'm thinking of sewing mine (because us leaders get them too) on my Big Brownie Birthday hoodie, I noticed one of the organisers on Thinking Day had done that and I liked it.

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