At the Fair

The past two weeks my Guides have been finishing up their Design Space badge.  Most of the effort has focused on the Mini-Midway Makers activity, which was selected by the girls working on their Lady BP award as a meeting they wanted to run.  The girls families saved up recycled materials for a week to bring in.  Then the girls divided up the duties of running the meeting.  This included a discussion about who had the loudest voice to make announcements etc.  Due to some time constraints the girls made their Midway games one week and tested them at the next meeting.

The second meeting happened to be a Bring a Parent meeting so the parents helped out testing the games.  Many of the parents commented at how impressed they were with what their girls had made out of the pile of recyclables the parents had helped collect the week before.

We followed testing the midway games by designing and making fidget spinners with a kit we’d bought from a fundraiser run by a travel unit.  I was a little worried about this as the fidget spinner fad has definitely faded but the girls really enjoyed the activity.  And out of the 27 spinners made, not one looked like the others.  There were some really innovative designs tried out which was great to see. It was also fun to see the girls pooling ideas on how to ensure their fidget spinners were symmetrical.

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Deliver Your Dreams

This week my Guides worked on the new Deliver Your Dream activity on the Girls First platform. This is Girl Guides of Canada’s contribution to Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada

Since we’ve had a couple of meetings in a row that involved giving them girls a blank piece of white paper and telling them to fill it with something, we opted instead to go more colourful and got out some scrapbooking supplies.  It was great fun to see what the girls came up with and the girls in our unit are certainly interested in pursuing a wide variety of careers.  I opted to photograph each of the girls work so they could take them home and then I submitted them to the Add Your Voice page.  But mailing the originals is also an option for those in parts of the country where data is more dear.

We finished the meeting with a couple of rounds of Stand With Me.  It took a few turns to get the girls on track with this activity (not to be silly) but once they got going they voiced a lot of their opinions.

What My Guides Think About Girls First

At this week’s meeting we gave our Guides a chance to voice their opinions on how they thought the transition to Girls First was going so far.  As a unit we’ve completed 4 Girls First theme badges, so I thought it was a good time to get feedback from the Guides.  We started the meeting by discussion how the girls were enjoying the year so far.  What meetings had they liked/not liked as much?  What did they think of the Girls First program so far?  By far the biggest feedback we got from the girls was that they were unhappy at the lack of structured interest badges in the new program.  For the most part the girls in our unit are not huge badge doers, but over the course of the year many (but not all) girls completed one or two badges each on their own or with their families.

After the discussion the girls broke up into pairs or worked independently on letters to the Girls First team, which I will be mailing to the National Office.  Here are some quotes from the letters (I tried to fix their spelling for easier reading):

What I don’t like about the new program is that you can’t get a book for the badges to look at and choose a badge to do…  I find it’s easier to look at a book rather than have to go online because that takes more time.

I like doing the badges at Girl Guides but I think there should be both! I love doing things at home with my family and at Guides.

Interest badges keep the fun and uniqueness alive on your sash. I believe that if you take away interest badges then everyone’s sash will be the same and you could switch your sash with your friends and no one would notice (not even YOU!).

We do not really care if you take away the interest badges because we do not really do interest badges.  We really like when we are building things because it is really fun and exciting.  We don’t like going to the circle and talking about things.

I also don’t like that since I’m a second year it’s hard to keep track of the two different types of badges.

We believe that you should keep the interest badges from the old program and make them a part of the new Girls First program.

Interest badges is what our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers have grown up with!  Help us save the tradition!

Thinking Day 2019

The Guides welcomed our sister Pathfinder and Ranger unit as guest this week to work on the 2019 WAGGGS Thinking Day challenge.  The Rangers ran most of the activities.  Because we have a large unit, I dislike the giant board game format as I find it leads to a lot of waiting for your teams turn.  So we set up one table with a large die.  Each patrol took turn rolling and headed off to different times based on the results.  Once they finished an activity the got a slip of paper with the leadership lesson from each card on it.   This system worked pretty well and most patrols finish at least 10 or the 12 activities we had available during the meeting time. One piece of feedback I did get was that we should have given the patrols the option to re-roll if the stations they were sent to were all full as that did lead to some waiting around.  It was nice to see the girls from 9 to 18 all working together.

Preparing for Thinking Day

This weeks meeting my Guides prepared for the 2019 WAGGGS Thinking Day Challenge.  We did the “Get Ready to Time Travel” section on pages 13-14.  First the girls got together in patrols to discuss what it takes to be great time travel team and to develop their personal challenges for next week.  We have this handout for them to keep them on track.

Then we gave each patrol a plastic bottle and put out a variety of old craft supplies to let them build their “time machines”  I’m glad we used the bottles instead of the suggested matchboxes as it gave the girls more room to be creative.  The Guides really got into it, so much so that we didn’t get to the planned team building games.

Next week we will be getting together with the local Pathfinders and Rangers.  The Rangers will be running the stations for the challenge for the younger girls.

Picking Patrols

When I was a Guide the role of patrol leaders was picked by the Guiders.  Almost always a third year girl who was thought to be responsible.  Like wise the seconders and the remainder of the patrol were also selected by the leaders.  I don’t remember ever questioning that even though I was never picked to be a patrol leader.

Since returning to Guiding our unit has run annual Patrol Leader Elections allowing the second and third year girls to run for patrol leader.  The runners up are named as seconders and we’ve organized the rest of the patrols.

But this year, following the suggestions from the Girls First program I asked the girls how they wanted to organize patrols this year.  They clearly still wanted to elect patrol leaders but they also said they wanted a say in who was in their patrol.  Some of the other Guiders were concerned that this would lead to cliques withing the unit, so we ended up with the following compromise.

  1. The girls voted on patrol leader like they have in previous years.
  2. The leaders counted up the votes and assigned the runners up as seconders to the five newly minted patrol leaders. (We actually assigned two seconders to one patrol because it seemed unfair to have just one girl left out of a position).
  3. Then we had the new patrol leaders and seconders line up.  All the girls who were new to the unit lined up opposite.  Then on “go” the patrol leaders were allowed to step forward (at a walking pace) an pick a new girl to be in her patrol.  We repeated this with the seconders.
  4. Then we added the remaining returning girls to the mix and had each patrol pick two more members using the same method.
  5. Each new patrol met, recorded the names of everyone in their patrol and picked an emblem.

It seems a little confusing writing it out but it actually ran really smoothly.  I’m sure the whole process took less time then when I’ve sat at home trying to sort it out myself.  Each patrol has a reasonable assortment of different ages and experience levels.  The girls seem happy and are working well in their patrols.

A Batty Halloween

I actually gave our unit a choose regarding the theme for our Halloween Party.  The other option was bats.  I think it would have been a great theme too (we may even use it next year or later in the year) so I thought I’d do a short post about what I had in mind for that party.  I got the idea for the theme from the Help the Bats page from the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

I would have opened the meeting with some “spooky” bat facts.

Then we would have played this eco-location game.  It would have to be played in our gym instead of outside as we don’t have access to an large outdoor space from our meeting.

We could have made these cute bat cookies out of chocolaty mint cookies and/or do some Bat Origami.  I would have loved to make a bat box or 5 but they are a little out of the budget.

We would have closed the meeting with a little information on white nose syndrome and what the girls can do to help conserve bats.