This was an easy meeting to run and might be a great choice for a week you know you are going to be a little short on Guiders.
We sent out an invitation to the parents a few weeks in advance to generate some volunteers, we also spoke to some friends and family of the Guiders. In the end we got 5 volunteers a doctor, a flight attendant, an engineer, an opera singer and someone who works for public health. Our unit has 5 patrols so that worked out well. We had each volunteer set up a station around the room and ran the evening as a round robin, with 10 minutes at each station. That gave the volunteers time to tell the girls about their job and left some time for the girls to ask questions.
I know my limits as a Guider and one of them is that I’m no Yoga Instructor. Yoga stretching can be a great form of self care and the Mighty Minds challenge includes instructions for some postures but if like me you don’t feel comfortable providing this instructions The best option is to find a qualified instructor to come your your meeting. But if that doesn’t work for you and you have some way to show video you may want to turn to YouTube. There are lots of videos available but these were two I found that targeted Guide age kids.
Before doing anything like yoga it is worth mentioning to the girls that if they feel uncomfortable with any of the movements they can just sit quietly on their mat and work on their breathing.
Last week I posted about a Date with a Book as an alternative to a Secret Santa exchange. Here are some other ideas from the same Facebook thread:
- If allergies are not a problem then a traditional cookie exchange can be fun. Have each girl bring in a couple dozen cookies and then they get to make up a plate with some of what everyone brought in so they can take home an assortment.
- Sock exchange: Everyone buys one pair of socks to exchange with another girl. This can be turned into a small service project but asking girls to bring in a second pair of adult socks for a homeless program.
- Crafts: You can make a holiday craft but tell the girls in advance they are making their craft for their secret friend.
- Holiday cards: Again these can be made in the meeting
- Poems: Have each girl write a short poem with positive statements about her secret friend.
- Book Exchange: I imagine this would run similar to the ones from Words in Action. Have each girl bring in two books they are finished with. They pick out one they haven’t read to take home and the rest are donated.
- Stuff Exchange: similar to the book exchange but for DVDs, toys etc.
There was recently a great discussion on Facebook about alternatives to Secret Santa at the holiday times. This can be especially important if you have girls in your unit who don’t celebrate Christmas or who come from economically disadvantaged families. Even if this is not the case, one friend of mine’s daughter was in 5 or 6 Secret Santas between school and club etc.
Blind Date with a Book
Each girl picks out a book they have read but are now done with. They wrap it in plan paper or newsprint. On the outside they write a short summery. Ideally they do this in a way that says something about the book without giving away what the book is. Girls can pick a book they like the looks of based on the description on the outside. Hopefully everyone leaves with a book they haven’t read yet.
This could also make a great Valentine’s Day meeting
This lovely crest has been developed by Engineers Canada as part of their Engaging Girls program. Their website reads:
Engineers Canada has developed and released a Girl Guides crest, to be presented to Girl Guides who complete engineering-related activities under the supervision of a professional engineer or an engineer-in-training. These activities—such as those that present an understanding of how vehicles work, the concept of simple machines, how lipstick is made, to name just a few—expose young girls to the engineering that can be found in everyday life and give them an understanding of how the world around them works.
Anyone interested in using the crest can contact Engineers Canada to confirm conditions of use and order required quantities.
If you have an engineer coming into your meeting to do a presentation to the girls, you may want to inquire about the crest. Contact information in on the Engaging Girls page.
Mad Libs are a series of word game books where blanks in a story are filled in with a category of words to make a silly story. There are many pads of stories available some of which might fit with Guiding themes. The can be a fun way to start a conversation or something to throw into your kit in case of rain at camp.
The Brownie Meeting Ideas blog suggests using them as a fun way to discuss camp rules before camp. MakingFriends.com has a couple of free printable ones on Camping and Cookie selling. Or you can invent your own. It might be fun for a Pathfinder group to write some for a Guide unit to play.
Where: Ontario Science Center
When: Spring 2015
What was Included: We arrived just as the Science Center was closing to the public. We had an evening of activities including the normal Science Center exhibits plus activity centers set up around the room. Then there was a dance party and the girls slept.
Booking: Booking was easy but we had to pay the full price at the time of booking. They can take several hundred girls each sleepover so there isn’t too much worry they will sell out before you can arrange your places.
Program: The Science Center has a different theme each year. The year we were there it was Physics. Between the exhibits and the activity stations the girls finished their Physics badge.
Food: In the evening each girl was give a pizza slice snack. In the morning there was a box breakfast with fruit, yogurt, cold cereal, milk and juice. Some of our girls felt the portion sizes were small. Be sure to eat dinner before arrival as the snack is just a snack. There was a tea and coffee station all night for the adults.
Accommodations: Each unit was assigned a sleeping location. We slept in and among the exhibits. It can be a long way down the escalators to your sleeping location so it is important to make sure each girl can carry her own belongings. You will definitely want some sort of sleeping mat as you are on the floor.
Impressions: The Science Center has been running these big sleepovers for years and have it down to fine art. Even for my Guides though it was a very late night. The dance party ends at midnight but the lights in our sleeping room weren’t turned off until 1 am. They also didn’t give us enough crests for the leaders which seemed cheep, especially since the leaders pay the same entrance fee as the girls.