Now, that isn’t derogatory. It is actually a sad time as we say goodbye to those girls who we have shared experiences with for the past 2-3 years. We’ve watched them grow and become more confident and unique individuals. But they’re older and will get far more out of Guides than they will out of Brownies.
We have a tradition between our Brownie and Guide group that a Brownie’s final meeting is also their first Guide meeting. I don’t know how far this goes back, but I certainly had this initiation for my transition. It can feel like a long evening, 3 and a quarter hours of Guiding fun. But the girls have never complained.
Our unit also give our leavers two gifts. The first is a pin badge ‘Brownies was an adventure’ which they can attach to their Guide uniform to show they were once a Brownie. The second is a photo frame containing a picture of one of their Brownie adventures. There used to be a cute photo frame available from the Girlguiding shop but since they stopped this we have been writing Brownies on a standard frame. We also write on the back of their photo the dates they were a Brownie so one day when they go to take that photo out they will remember.
The same evening the older girls leave us we welcome new faces. The first evening of term can be a busy one! We welcomed in three new Brownies this week. (A fourth unfortunately got lost on her travel to us!) When a new girl joins she is immediately paired with a Brownie Buddy – a girl who had been with us around a year but maybe won’t have the opportunity of being a Second for a while. Both new Buddies were thrilled with their new role and got into showing the new girls around, introducing everyone and helping them with their ‘Becoming a Brownie’ activity book.
Our meeting last night was a fun, messy and tasty evening. I recently blogged about my day helping Brownies around the country at our national Thinking Day event ‘Celebrate’. I was in charge of the Marshmallow Igloo activity. When we took the girls to the event on the second day we didn’t have time to do this so thought why not bring it into our meeting!
For those of you unaware a Marshmallow Igloo is just a building exercise using mini marshmallows as snow blocks and icing as glue to help hold the structure together. There were varying ranges of ability. Some younger girls were happy to just make a little block of igloo flats, others built the colosseum or Stonehenge. Some older girls started out very big with their base and realised it would be too time consuming to make it so wide. The roof for the igloo proved difficult. Only one came close by a Brownie with help from a Brownie Helper (14 year old Guide).
As soon as the time came the girls were quite happy to gobble down their creations!
One thing I was very pleased with this evening was the welcoming of our new girls. We used to try games evenings on a Brownie’s first meeting but found that the new girls were missed out and looked lost, despite having a Brownie Buddy. With this activity the new girls were sat with new friends and felt part of the group.
The Brownies asked if they could work in pairs on their igloos, some chose to do this and immediately after freeing the girls to set up the tables a Brownie was by the side of a new girl:
“Oh, did you two already know each other?” I asked Brownie M and new girl T.
“Yes” Brownie M replied.
“How do you know each other, school?” I ask.
“No, Brownie Buddy H introduced us just now.” Brownie M replies before leading her new friend to a table.
In fact, two of the new girls were best friends who joined together and they even chose to sit at different tables with different girls. Even good friends sat apart as they enjoyed the company of their Brownie friends who were leaving us that evening. Only two sets of Best Friends were sat together, the rest formed new friendships over the evening which was my favourite thing about last night.