Girl led Guiding

Girl led Guiding – anyone in the movement is probably quite familiar with that phrase. For anyone who isn’t – the basic gist of it is allowing our young members to get involved with making decisions as to what they want to be doing.
This week at Brownies, we utilised a spare week to do some 2015 prep (already? I hear you say! I thought so too, but the next few weeks are pretty busy so we took the opportunity to do it so we can get straight into activities chosen by our girls after Christmas).
We split the girls into four groups split by age as they’ve been working in their mixed age sides for the past year. Both types of group have their benefits, but for interest badges which we aren’t doing as a unit we like to put them in to age groups.
I have one of the older groups; the 9 year olds who aren’t too far off 10. I decided to give them free reign with the badge book to see what took their fancy – although I did have to give some gentle prompting when they all chose the dancer badge, which they actually only completed just before summer……
So now I’m tasked with going through what they’ve picked, working it into a programme and picking some activities of my own to pad out the programme.
Watch this space to see how it goes……..

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Your first Brownie badge

This week at Brownies, we finally handed out our Big Brownie Birthday badges back at my home (and now only!) Brownies. Ok so we’re a little late, granted – but when hurdles get in the way, I think the most important thing is that you get there in the end.

For the last few weeks, we’ve designed a holiday, had a yoga session, done some science experiments and managed to fit in a black cats evening around Halloween time. The final week of our challenge saw us learning about clean water, and balancing this with making our sweet jars for the Christmas fair this weekend!

It was one of those nights which I think got a bit too much like organised chaos at the end (but it wouldn’t be as much fun without that every now and again…right?!)

If you speak to anyone involved in Girlguiding, or I think anyone who works with children in any capacity, I’m sure they will tell you that there are some moments in particular that make you stop and think “This is why I do this every week”. There are times when you get home from a stressful night, or you spend half of your evening planning an activity that doesn’t go down as well as you hoped. But then these moments are there to balance it out.

One of this moments came for me last night when one of our newest Brownies (but still one of the older ones, nonetheless) left the room with badge in hand and proudly announced “Look Mum, I’ve got my first Brownie badge!”

Over time, I think the novelty can wear off; I mean they all like badges, but you don’t usually hear them sound so proud. I can’t remember the first Brownie badge I got, but I do still have my sash now, and a blanket which is gradually filling up with more recent badges. So I hope that one day, once they’re older our Brownies can pull out their jacket or their sash and look at their badges, and remember all the good times they had at Brownies. And if they can do that – I think we’ve done a pretty succesful job!

Our latest pack holiday

Things have been quite quiet on the blogging front recently; which can mostly be attributed to my new job! As a recent graduate I hadn’t done the whole 9-5 thing for over a year so it was a bit of a shock to the system!
In and amongst everything else I did manage to fit in a pack holiday, however. We went to one of my favourite holiday houses which is actually around 15 minutes from my university, and about an hour from home.

Our theme was ‘despicable me 2’ so on Friday we had a minions party and decorated minion fairy cakes ( let’s not even start on the laminator that keeps crinkling our place mats, however!).
Saturday was a busy day, we went on a brief coach journey to go bowling ( and I just can’t imagine why we got a funny look when buying 18 slush puppies – how many times have you used the line ” its not that I really like slush puppies/chocolate coins/ insert thing you are buying over 20 of here!”?).

After a spell in the bowling alley we had our packed lunch and then thankfully it was nice enough weather for some time at the seaside and then games on the grass. Saturday evening saw our beach party, more crafts and everyone asleep by 1am….

As always when we are going to pack holiday on a coach, Sunday was hectic. In between crafts, packing, bouldering (and numerous ailments from adventurous Brownies) go karting and cleaning I’m not sure any of the leaders sat down for a good few hours!

It was all worth it in the end though, when all the Brownies (made up mostly of new camp goers) said they would come again. It was a tiring weekend with just three leaders and eighteen Brownies, but all the little things make it worth while, and somehow when you’re deciding to plan the next one you forget how little sleep you actually had!

Our latest pack holiday

Things have been quite quiet on the blogging front recently; which can mostly be attributed to my new job! As a recent graduate I hadn’t done the whole 9-5 thing for over a year so it was a bit of a shock to the system!
In and amongst everything else I did manage to fit in a pack holiday, however. We went to one of my favourite holiday houses which is actually around 15 minutes from my university, and about an hour from home.

Our theme was ‘despicable me 2’ so on Friday we had a minions party and decorated minion fairy cakes ( let’s not even start on the laminator that keeps crinkling our place mats, however!).
Saturday was a busy day, we went on a brief coach journey to go bowling ( and I just can’t imagine why we got a funny look when buying 18 slush puppies – how many times have you used the line ” its not that I really like slush puppies/chocolate coins/ insert thing you are buying over 20 of here!”?).

After a spell in the bowling alley we had our packed lunch and then thankfully it was nice enough weather for some time at the seaside and then games on the grass. Saturday evening saw our beach party, more crafts and everyone asleep by 1am….

As always when we are going to pack holiday on a coach, Sunday was hectic. In between crafts, packing, bouldering (and numerous ailments from adventurous Brownies) go karting and cleaning I’m not sure any of the leaders sat down for a good few hours!

It was all worth it in the end though, when all the Brownies (made up mostly of new camp goers) said they would come again. It was a tiring weekend with just three leaders and eighteen Brownies, but all the little things make it worth while, and somehow when you’re deciding to plan the next one you forget how little sleep you actually had!

Summer Break

This week, a lot later than many units was our Brownies’ last night of term. I think it varies as to how late people stay open, but we’ve always stayed open about three weeks after the schools close.

With families going on holidays and just generally enjoying the summer weather (when it’s here!) we do get quite a smaller number of girls, but its nice to do something a bit different.
The first summer themed week was sports; we had some fantastic weather to do races and the like outside, then we headed inside to make some medals. We had around seven on that week which was a big contrast to our usual number!

Last week we had a beach party, and unfortunately the weather wasn’t quite as nice as the week before. Yet we still went outside to play some games, made fruit and marshmallow kebabs coated in chocolate and then went back outside for some water games. The overcast clouds and slight chill in the air didn’t deter them at all, the Brownies were still more than enthusiastic to play with the paddling pool and water balloons!

This week, our last week still sits as a firm favourite with many of our girls…McDonalds! Our girls get dropped off at McDonalds, where they then have something to eat together, and after around an hour spent there we walk back to our usual meeting. I think the staff don’t always know what to do with themselves when they see seventeen excited Brownies in the queue.

And that’s it for this term! We open again in September after three weeks off, and then not long after that we’re heading off on Pack Holiday! Our theme is Despicable Me 2; I hadn’t seen the film before, but now I know we are doing it as a pack holiday theme I’m seeing the little Minions everywhere!

Graduating

After what seemed like three short years, my time has come to graduate. I’m not really sure where the time went, and it’s so sad to leave – I’ve had a fantastic three years and in comparison the ‘real world’ seems a bit daunting!
And so obviously this meant that I’ve had to leave my university Brownies. To say that our last night was organised chaos would be a bit of an understatement. On paper it seems fine, painting plantpots and planting cress. In practice, and with a bit of hindsight it meant paint everywhere; on tables, on clothes, and even some on the back of my shoe (I have no idea how that got there). It also took a lot longer than we anticipated – which meant our scheduled promises running a little later than expected. But I’ve come to learn that this kind of thing happens a lot, and to just go with it; its much easier that way!
We enrolled two new Brownies, taking our total to around 18, which is a huge difference to when I first started, as I mentioned in my last post.
At the end of the evening, just as we were saying goodbye we got presented with a Region badge by our Brown Owl, and two of the girls brought in gifts. One of said gifts had been handmade by her parent, and was a lovely little Owl bookmark which had been stamped with our name and the date. It’s so nice to get a little token of appreciation now and again, and we had some nice messages from parents too.

So that marks where I’m up to at the minute, back at home and attending my Brownies here. I’m currently looking for work so we’ll see where that takes me next!

Volunteering and the CV

Due to the fact that I graduate this year, a lot of my time recently has been spent looking for and applying for jobs – and filling in a countless number of application forms! One thing that I have found during this time, is that whilst I haven’t had much previous employment, the things I have done through voluntary roles provide me with invaluable experience.

A time when you worked as a team? That one is ticked off by working within a leadership team at Brownies

A time you led a team? The time I completed my Camp and Holiday scheme covers that one quite nicely

A time when something you had planned went wrong? The crafts not being delivered in time on the aforementioned pack holiday works well with that one – as does the rescheduling of the Queen’s Guide weekend!

And there are countless other examples, communication skills, planning, organisation, compassion, problem solving.

If I can’t find an example through my internship, or a past job, I can almost certainly find one from my role with Girlguiding! And it looks fantastic on a personal statement too, to show your commitment and achievements such as the Queen’s Guide award can really give you the edge!

I make sure to always include Guiding on my CV – you never know where it could take you!