Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Half term but always prepping!

No meeting this week because it's half term but always prepping of course!

Our family tent is going to Brownie camp to house the two YLs and two Guides that are coming with us, so I put it up to check no mice had nested in it in the time it's been in the garage.

It's not quite as massive as it seems, our garden is not very long! 

I found a Scout inside (my son, who helped me put it up) but he'll be removed before camp! It's been a while since I had to take a tent down, and the bag for it is very tight in size, and after three attempts my son and I still hadn't folded it small enough to fit it in. At which point daughter (YL, former Brownie, former Guide who camped regularly, and current member of Senior Section) took over and had it done in 15 minutes!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Camp skills and decisions

This week we worked on camp prep: learning some new skills, making decisions and making a plate bag.

We divided the girls into three, including the few (7) girls of our 25 who are not going to camp. These skills will be useful anyway!

Each group had 20 mins in one of three areas:
1. Decisions - which of the two superadventurous activities we will be doing do you want to do? We had a good divide between 3G swing and zipwire so should be able to accommodate their choices. A few don't want to do either, they will be assigned to one group or the other and will get the chance to take part if they change their mind otherwise they will support the others.
Then, which of the two slightly less adventurous activities: obstacle course or tree trek. These decisions are because the maximum group numbers on each don't allow us to take every girl to each.
Finally, name three girls you'd like to share a tent with and we will do our best to ensure you get one. This was logostically interesting afterwards, a number of girls didn't choose each other, but we've got everyone matched up now and will test out those groups for team work next meeting.

2. Plate bag designing. We had a set of fabric bags snapped up at 50p each in a sale some time ago so we decided that to ensure every girl had a plate bag, we would use those and let them design their own. We already had fabric pens so nice easy activity!

3. Bedding rolls. Keeping bedding dry, especially at the start of camp when tents need to be put up, is crucial so the third group practiced making their own.

Next time - putting up tents!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Parents meeting for Brownie camp - what happens?

When a Brownie pack calls a parent meeting for Brownie camp, I urge you to go even if you don't always attend meetings for Brownie holidays. Camps are so different and it's important to know what's happening, what's expected and why we are asking for specific kit. 
NB - these are Midlands Brownies in a tent, pic from Girlguiding Midlands news story. Not my Brownies (would love to know whose though, they look like they're having fun!)

Camping can be hard for Brownies, often it's their first time in a tent and we (leaders and parents) need to support them so they have a great time, love camping and want to continue camping as Guides when they often camp longer, further away and even abroad.

So a parents meeting is likely to focus on the importance of the items on the kit list. There's a blanket on there not just to show off any badges seen on it but because no matter how warm it is in the day, it will be cold at night.
There's a request that every item be named or identifiable right down to cutlery because when it's all washed up together, how do you expect to get it back otherwise?
Sleeping bags etc should be in a bedding roll (inside a groundsheet) or a water right stuff sack because if bedding gets wet while tents are going up, or if a tent leaks, it's nearly impossible to get dry.
Some things might be listed as optional. I'd always recommend sending those too, because there's a reason they're on there. Our optional list for the next camp includes waterproof trousers, I'll personally be taking them as they defend not just against rain but also cold wind.
Then there's the do not take items - your daughter might not want to be parted from her phone, iPod or hair straighteners but a/ where's she planning on charging them, a tree? And b/ camp is about setting those things to one side for a while and enjoying the outdoors.

Other items likely to be covered in the parents meeting include the proposed menu - dietary needs can be accounted for but when you are cooking for 30, the cook will not be making different meals  for fussy girls!

You are likely to be asked to fill in the consent form if you haven't already - remember to put contacts for that specific weekend which might be different from your normal contacts - and pay the balance for camp if you haven't done so. Health forms shouldn't be filled in until just before camp but often leaders ask you to fill them in now so they can be aware of any major issues and then update just before camp with anything that's happened recently.

What else happens depends on the unit. Our unit is lucky enough to have some old style Brownie uniform as pack holiday uniform so we issue each girl with a tshirt and jumper, and trousers if possible (we don't have many of those that fit/the elastic hasn't gone) because it's better to trash those than her own newer clothes.

We also run through behaviour and what we expect. We reinforce that on camp but it's good to mention in front of the girls when they are with their parents so they can support us.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Polling day Brownies

No meeting this week because Brownies fell on the same day as the General Election and our original meeting place, which we thought we would be in back when we set the dates for the year, was in use.

But some of the leaders still had Brownies anyway...very nice dinner at our local pub.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Since London: Brownie Adventures and division camp

Since we got back from London, we've still been busy - never stops!

*The day after London was St George's Day parade, in our town only the Scouts parade so no need to drag the girls out but I did need to take son and his friend and it did make it a Guiding & Scouting weekend, hard to fit in those other things that need to happen between being out the day before and then having that to do too. 

*Our meeting that week was Brownie Adventures so each group doing more work on their own age section. Our YL stepped up and led one group well, and we had a new Brownie Helper who worked with me on the Guides Go For It group and she was very positive with them. We are finding these Adventure nights hard to do, hard to have enough leaders and support the girls. We will be having a pow wow at our next Adventure evening, our feeling is the girls like these nights and want to carry them on but we want to check!

*This weekend was division camp. Our Brownies didn't go as we are camping next month, but that left many of us free to help or be with other units. Four of our five leaders were there in some form and we had a lot of fun to go with the wind, rain and cold! Just look at what happened to the jelly beans when the wind tore through our kitchen tent! Many tents were lost during this camp, mostly gazebos, and we had to tether our own kitchen tent to a Land Rover to save it!

Monday, 4 May 2015

London continued

After the Tower of London, we took the girls to a nearby Zizzi's restaurant. We had prebooked, we figured with 31 of us it was going to be hard to walk in anywhere.
The manager was great, we arranged for us to preorder too and he supplied an adult menu, a kid menu and an allergen menu so parents and girls could make their informed choices. We also arranged for jugs of juice on the tables rather than them just getting a glass and us having to arrange more for some, not for others etc. We probably had little more than we would have had anyway but it was a nice touch.
We were really pleased with everything and the bill came in within about £4 of what we thought it would, so all good!

As we headed out, we were running a little late for Tower Bridge but we were stopped by a group of ladies doing a London challenge, they needed to be filmed dancing to a busker but hadn't been able to find one! So they got the girls to sing and they danced to it!

We made it over to Tower Bridge and went in to the exhibition, it has a very cool glass walkway where you look down on to the bridge and the girls enjoyed the view. After we came down, we ticked off a couple more Shaun the Sheep statues on the south bank then headed back to the bridge to head back across the river. 

As we started to cross the klaxon sounded! The bridge was coming up! I have never been on the bridge when that happened, I don't think I've even seen it happen anywhere but in the movies. 
That did slow us down a bit as we had to wait for it to be reopened, but then we headed back to our station and then home - a packed day but one I think they really enjoyed. 

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