Last weekend we took a group of 8 Brownies on a weekend holiday. Eight Brownies is a small group but the girls, and I, had a lot of fun. We could only take eight this year as there was such a low response of interest when we enquired with parents 6 months ago. I was really down-hearted, and had I have known how many new girls we would take in over those 6 months and how enthusiastic they would be I would’ve gambled on a deposit on the bigger Holiday Home. You live and learn, I am already planning to put a deposit down on a large Holiday Home ready for next year!
I divulge from the point which is the Brownie Holiday I have recently returned from.
We arrived at the site a good 10 minutes later than expected with the heavy traffic. Panic already settling in as every minute of that first hours counts. That is the only time we have for set up before the girls arrive. Food gets put away, decorations and posters go up, activity equipment is stored and our own personal items are chucked aimlessly at the leader beds. Of course girls arrive early – parents are worried about being late, girls are eager to arrive, no one knows where they will be parking, so we managed to open doors 10 minutes early! Phew! After a lot of running up and down I will add.
Girls and parents go straight into the dorm so they can help make the beds. I assign beds to make sure the louder girls are separated for a quieter night. Sometimes parents don’t listen though. I know it is great for bessie mate daughters to share a bunk bed, but that leaves Loudmouth and Chuckles over there with beds right next door. Thanks for that!
After we collect in any medicines, pocket money and fruit the girls say their goodbyes and are assigned their weekend holiday diary. They share a table as they fill in their names and discover their weekend Sixes. I can feel the awkwardness. We have a group of 8, consisting of 3 sets of ready made best friends and two slightly more outsiders. I just want to squeeze them into a big ball and say ‘BE FRIENDS!’. Luckily our first task (after house rules and fire evacuation, of course) is making shadow puppets in their Sixes. Each Six (which is a small group that they work in over the weekend) consists of one half of each set of best friends. This allows all the girls to interact without being pushed out.
After a long while of this we get out in the fresh air to discover the adventure playground. The girls run as soon as they see it, and then we leave them to it. Naturally the group of eight start to gel together and they are sharing in the playground equipment and are playing group games like ‘Back to Base’. We then go for a walk around the campsite, and by this time all eight girls are huddled together as they walk. I was so happy how quickly they gelled!
We returned to the Holiday Home to watch their masterful Shadow Puppet Plays. I found the craft of Pinterest and it was very effective. We turned all the lights off and used just one torch behind the theatre and the outlines were very clear. They made their plays based on their Six names. One group were Toy Aliens who made a play about an Earth invasion, the other was Toy Soldiers who depicted a war over a Princess (as our theme was Toy Story).
They stayed up very late chatting and turning on the squeaky beds, getting them to calm down was difficult but that is to be expected on the first night. Us leaders had to get comfortable on the camp beds provided (there was only 2 proper beds for leaders in a tiny box room so we chose to stay together in the large activity room). There was a lot of excitement to come over the next 2 days, so a good night’s sleep was essential.