Saturday, 16 April 2016

Time to stop

I hate it when bloggers apologise for being away then promise to post more.
I'm not going to do that, I'm wrapping things up.

I've really only used the blog as a notebook for the last year or so anyway.

So. I'm grateful for the friends I've made through blogging and hope to stay in touch. Brownies continue, life continues, I'm just not feeling I want to post. I'm leaving the blog here so if it's useful to anyone, please do use the ideas.

Not ruling out returning to it, but for now, so long. 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Ireland and badges

Busy night last night, we managed to pack in celebrating St Patrick's night, changing halls mid meeting when we remembered it was the third Thursday of the month so the WI use our normal room - we literally picked up the tables with the work on them and carried them through the linking cupboard into the hall we were meant to be in! - and finally badge presentation for the term.

Every girl present received at least one badge, we had lots of girls wrapping up their Adventure and Adventure On badges, and one completed her More Adventures badge. A few girls had their Go For It Guides too, and we said goodbye to three girls who have turned 10. Two are off to Guides and one is off to tumbling!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Disco or cooking?

That was the quandary facing our Brownies this week. Having planned a cooking night for 17, plus another 8 working on their GFI Guides, we discovered the school where all bar two of the girls attend was holding a disco that night.
We asked parents to let us know if their daughter would attend Brownies or disco and it did mean we were able to save money on ingredients and that we could give a bit more attention and time to the girls we had.

Well, I don't know if the 10 Brownies that chose the disco had fun but the 15 that came to Brownies had a blast! 10 of them made coconut ice, refrigerator cake and gluten-free Krispie cakes. There was plenty for all, including the 5 who were doing the GFI, the leaders and even the Guides who meet after us! Here's my leftovers two days later...

My only sadness around the clash is that some girls that really needed to do the GFI because of nervousness around going to Guides didn't attend. But as there's only one more meeting before Easter, which includes the badge presentations for the term, there's no time for them to make it up. They are still invited for their taster visit of course but they can't complete the GFI and that means they can't earn their More Adventures badge. It seems a shame that after three years with us, the only thing that stopped them achieving the highest badge a Brownie can earn is a disco that runs 3 times a year so they have 21 chances to attend over their time at the school. I know Brownies is "just another activity" to some families but it's our equivalent of skipping a martial arts grading or a ballet exam. And there isn't even a test, just participation!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

World Book Day

We met on World Book Day so went for a themed night:
*group circle - what had they worn to school for world book day (one girl had gone as a Brownie from the Brownie annual, bless!). We had three Hermione Graingers and the rest were very scattered among a wide variety of books.
*act out the Brownie story in circle, with props
*make a bookmark to take home
*talked about kindles v ebooks
*talked about what we wanted to do next week, the girls agreed to no-cook cooking (as we don't yet have an oven in the meeting place), so each of three leaders will bring a no cook cooking recipe for them to make.

We then ran a little short for the evening, funny when I plan and allot time, it never takes the time you think, always way over or way under.
We had a game of tig, which was lots of fun and let them blow off shrieky steam!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Changing plans

Sometimes what you plan to do just can't pan out.
We had intended to do a penny hike - split the girls into their four sixes and go for a walk round the local area flipping a coin each time we get to a junction to decide what way we go.
But a family emergency for one leader added to a knee pain issue for another leader meant we were down to two leaders available for a walk. Even with parent help the groups would have had to be double the size as you can't have a parent lead a group without a leader.
So, we adapted, stayed in the hall so our gammy leg leader could also participate, and we had an A to Y craft night.
We put out everything crafty we had: leftover Tealight holders and glass pens from two years ago, make your own bracelet beads and thread, left over sleepover crafts, all the crafts where we had bought for 25 and only 23 had turned up, plus lots of paper, pens, scissors and glue, then we told them they could make what they liked.
A to Y? Each girl randomly drew a letter from an envelope and were allowed to pick their first craft in alphabetical order to prevent girls with sharpest elbows getting the best crafts!
Then as they finished they were allowed to choose another craft and so on through the evening. We had some who rushed their craft to get to make as many as possible - fine with us as it meant we were getting rid of them - and some who took their time and turned out beautiful work.
While they worked, helped by three parents, our two YLs and our two Guide helpers, the three leaders were able to take stock on Adventure badges to see who needs to complete just a few more clauses to earn their badge.

PS: this weekend we also attended our Division Thinking Day event, lots of fun on the theme of connect, created by WAGGGS and led by our Trefoil Guild. They did a great job and our girls had lots of fun. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Happy World Thinking Day

What is World Thinking Day?

Friday, 12 February 2016

When I say STRICTLY guiding...

This isn't quite! I've started going to a monthly craft workshop and I'm loving it, it's run by a lovely lady that I met because she organises the hall hire for our new Brownie and Guide venue so this is more tangentially guiding than strictly guiding!

I have persuaded her to come and run a night for the Brownies though, so there is a crossover :-)

In the meantime, she has really inspired me to have fun making cards, I sent my sister in law one from the first class I attended and she loved it so much she said she was going to frame it! As well as following instructions from class, I've been trying out my own designs, here's one I have made off my own bat:

Far from perfect, I could point you to four or five flaws immediately but I actually genuinely don't think most people would spot them unless I admitted to them so I'm really happy. 

Thinking day and badge testing

We ran a Thinking Day meeting on the theme of Connect, the WAGGGS theme this year but I can't report back as I was in another room, badge testing! There was certainly a lot of noise and fun though!
We are also attending a district event on this theme so I will be able to log some info after that.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Chinese New Year

A really fun Chinese New Year meeting this week:
*a lovely story from a Chinese fairytale about why all the animals are part of the New Year celebrations that seems to calm them all right down!
*origami - this is Japanese, yes, but was a specific request from several girls and it was a natural place to work it in
*a quiz
*Chinese lanterns
*transferring sweets using chopsticks to build chopstick skills - I ran this table and made it competitive, how many sweets in 30 seconds then a face off between the top two girls in the group.
*sang happy birthday to two of our leaders and one of our Brownies

It was a lovely, lighthearted meeting that left everyone buzzing :-)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Brownie friendship

One of the things some girls asked for when we surveyed them was a friendship evening. So tonight, that's what I delivered, using an old resource that has served us well for years, Right Now, for inspiration.

To start, we shared a smile about something that made each of us happy. Then we played a game about sharing resources when we have lots, I had a well set up two tables with lots of pens and a big sheet of paper each and sent a small number of girls there, and two mats on the floor, one with a sheet of a4 and a few pens and another with a sheet of scrap and a few pencils. I sent larger numbers to these mats, asked them to draw something important to them, and told them they could see what others were doing but musn't share resources. After, we talked about how it felt to have little, how it felt to have plenty but not share, and whether one person should get to decide who gets what or if speaking up, questioning and taking action could make a difference.
Then they had sheets where they had to find girls who got into each box - could swim 50m, had been to Brownie camp etc, so  learned a bit about what makes us the same and different - all three Brownie leaders present were not born in the county where we now live much to the girls' surprise!
Finally, we made Envelopes Of Sadness. Each girl writes her name on the envelope in front of her and has lots of small sheets of paper. We ask all the girls to write something nice about one girl, the notes are collected (checked just in case but we had no issues) and places in her envelope. The envelopes are sealed, filled with lovely things the other Brownies said about that Brownie, if she ever feels sad she can open it up and see the lovely things inside.
Fun night, we just squeezed in envelopes for the 23 Brownies we had present, I had hoped to also do them for the 2 girls we had absent but we ran out of time and I didn't want to run over into the Guide meeting straight after, that's just not fair on them. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Mongolia and pack holiday

Pack holiday will NOT be in Mongolia. Rather, we hosted two county leaders who are taking a Senior Section group there and are fundraising by running Mongolia meetings. They run them for all sections, from Rainbows to Trefoil Guild and have had excellent feedback. 
The girls seemed very engaged and as we were collecting in money and slips for our pack holiday and thinking day, we were happy to have some spare capacity to take care of that paperwork during the meeting.
We have 19 girls signed up for pack holiday in the summer, a really pleasing number - more detail to follow on the plans for that. And 14 signed up for our cross section division thinking day event.
We were also able to use the time to sort out the rent cheque for the term, and a few other bits and pieces.
Oh, no post from last week's meeting as I was absent to attend a parents evening for one of my kids, they had a games night and had great fun. I'm looking forward to next week, a friendship evening using the right now resource from a few years ago and picking and choosing a few appropriate activities.  

Friday, 8 January 2016

New Year New Home

First meeting of 2016 and we moved into our new permanent home.

It's 11 years since we started the pack and for the first 10 years we met at the local school. While they were undergoing building work that temporarily cut down the size of the meeting space we moved out to the Scout Hut where many of our Brownies' brothers attend - along with my own son!

They made us very welcome and we had an enjoyable year there, with storage space, kitchen access, it was great. However, the meeting space, while local, is outside of our district so was never a permanent solution for us.

As well as the possibility of returning to the school, a community hall was being built so we considered both for our return and the hall won out - we have storage which the school just can't offer as they need the space themselves, and we have kitchen access for drinks and some simple cooking.

So, last night we moved into our new home and held a drop in meeting so that the girls and families could visit but we could also use the time to get to know the new space. We used the time for badge testing, Children's University passport stamping, and answering any questions parents had. More than 30 badges passed, more than 50 hours stamped, and lots of questions answered!

Here's to 2016!

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