Our unit was chosen to run a focus group as part of the Girls First program review. Our unit was assigned a focus group on ceremonies where the girls had to say what they liked or didn’t like about enrollment, campfire, Guides Own, horseshoe and Thinking Day. For the most part our girls seem to enjoy the ceremonial parts of Girl Guides, except possibly Guides Own which got a mixed review.
I learned a few new things about how our girls view ceremonies though. One, then want us to get out the fake campfire more often. Two, they’d like us to fix the flag stands so we can do colour party more often. And finally, they are highly motivated by snacks. Pretty much anytime food is involved they thought it was the best part of the ceremony.
National only wanted the opinions of girls who’d completed a full year or more of Guides. So while the focus group was running, our first year Guides worked on understanding their promise and law in preparation for enrollment in a few weeks time.
Then we came back together as a unit for our “knot of the week”. This week we did the clove hitch. I had the girls pair up with a rope each and they tried to tie clove hitches around each others thumbs. Once a pair was sure they had it, they went to find a pair that didn’t and helped them. Within 10 min all the girls could tie one.
We ended the night with some singing. I’ve been teaching the girls a few songs each week, trying to keep the songs within the same family of campfire songs (campfire openings, closings etc) with an aim to help them write their own campfires later in the year. This week we learned some yells. We did There an’t no flies on Us, Porridge in a Pot and Thunderation.
When the girls arrived at last weeks meeting we had the new patrol corners set up. So as the girls arrived they could find out who won last weeks election and which patrol they were in this year. Then we took a few minutes to go over horseshoe and hold our opening. For a first attempt of the year, horseshoe went really well.
As a group we then worked on Promise, Law & Motto #5 by going over how to tie the reef knot in the scarf. We figured the older girls could use a refresher. I showed them how if you tug at one end of a proper reef knot the whole thin will slide off and they enjoyed that “magic trick”. Then we divided them back into patrols and held the tie your scarves into a circle relay outlined in the program book.
For the rest of the meeting we work on Learn About Guiding #1 and World Guiding #1 by having each patrol practice and then perform a skit on the foundation of Girl Guides. I divided the story of Guiding into 5 chapters, one for each patrol Robert Baden-Powell, The Crystal Palace Rally, How Guides got their Name, Agnes Baden-Powell and How Guides came to Canada. I left Lady Baden-Powell out on purpose because the girls working on their Lady B-P Challenge will cover her in a few weeks.
Finally we had time for a really nice campfire at the end of the evening. I taught the girls a couple of new campfire openings and then we had time for 5-6 additional songs before closing.
This week was all about leadership. We started the meeting with Learn about Leadership in a Group #4 by completing the Leadership Qualities activity from the Leadership Instant Meeting from the Saskatchewan Girl Guides. We broke the girls into three groups, with an adult to facilitate each group and then had each group report back what leadership qualities they came up with.
Then we held our annual patrol leader elections. We did this the same way as last year, with any second or third year Guide who wanted to run for patrol leader giving a short (1 min or less) speech and then the girls casting a ballot for the three girls they think will do the best job. We ask the girls to put their names on their ballots and then we do our best to put each girl in the patrol of someone they voted for.
We ended the night by learning The Guide Marching song and some closing songs so that next week we can open with a horseshoe.
I often hear people wishing for new and innovated ideas for teaching Promise and Law. The 5th Worksop Methodist Brownies in the UK have got some great ones in their Mission: Promise Challenges. I gather they have been surprised by how popular this challenge has become. It started as a Brownie only challenge but they have expanded it to all levels. Even though our promise in Canada is a a little different then the one used in the UK there are some great ideas that can be easily adapted.
Guides (and maybe Pathfinders too)
Senior Section (Rangers) – coming soon
Crests are available from the 5th Woksop Methodist Brownies. Be sure to check with them on availability and shipping costs.
We prepared for enrollment over two meetings. Both meetings followed a similar format.
We started both weeks with a short patrol challenge from the Girls United challenge. One week they played broken telephone. It was raining out an many girls were running a little late so it took them a while to settle in but I think they all enjoyed it. Most patrols had one or fewer messages make it around the circle intact. The other week they wrote a recipe for friendship. Each patrol read their recipe at horseshoe and they were really great.
For the rest of the meetings we split our unit up into three groups.
The first group were those girls who haven’t been enrolled yet. They made Law Fortune Tellers. And played a series of games to learn about the promise, reef knots etc.
The next group were those girls who were enrolled last year. They are working on their Event Planner badge by planning enrollment. The girls picked a Candyland Forest theme. They have made props and invitations. Planned the refreshments and campfire.
The final group were those girls who will be working on their Lady BP challenge this year. We discussed what they needed to do for the challenge and went over their record sheets so they could see where they stand now. Then they worked on part 2, reading about the life of Lady BP. They wanted to create an illustrated time line of her life. I gave them a long piece of paper and lots of photos printed from the internet. We’ll put it on display for the enrollment.
We held our patrol leader elections this week. After opening, I read part of the Patrol Leader section of Let’s Try It vol. 3 by Dorothy Crocker (1988). The girls then had a short discussion as to what qualities they wanted in a good patrol leader. We also discussed the weekly patrol duties and what sort of things patrols will do together.
Our unit allows the girls in second and third year run for patrol leader. After the discussions we made a list on the wall of all the girls interested in running. Each girl then had a chance to give a quick speech about why they think they’d make a good patrol leader. We gave them a minute each but most of the girls came in under 40 seconds.
On the ballot we had left room for each girl to write her name and the name of the three girls they thought would make the best patrol leader. The five girls with the most votes became the patrol leaders and the girls with the second most votes because the patrol seconds. Once the ballots were counted, the girls were place in patrols at least partially based on who they had voted for. We also took into consideration who we thought would work well together and trying to mix up the first, second and third year girls.
While the ballots were being counted, we worked on the Unit Code of Conduct. We followed Bluenose Guiders’ suggestion to combine a unit code of conduct with the Guide level activity on the National Code of Conduct. We basically followed the activity as listed but after each key responsibility discussion, we asked the girls to come up with a couple of ideas for our own code of conduct based around the same responsibility. The girls responded to this even better then I expected and it led to a really nice code of conduct for our unit.