My First Guide Adventure

Excluding the district event I went to as a 11 year old, yesterday was my first Guide day out.

While emailing the Guide leader, Jackie, about offering her unit as an alternative for our Brownies I offered to help out with any day trips as I new she was short on leaders and I couldn’t offer to help out on the evening her group meets. She was just in the process of booking a day out so took me up on it!

It was a day of activities run by our county which included ‘It’s A Knockout’ run by Southend Gang Show. For many units this was a one night camp, but without a leader with the camp qualification we had the day trip option. This mixture of events caused for some of the frustrating parts of the day, I’ll come back to this later.

The Guides were great. We were only a small group in the end. The eleven girls who signed up went down to 9 after their last meeting (with swimming galas as excuses) and then one was too ill to attend on the day. We had 8 girls going with 1 leaving early. (And by the evening campfire one girl got ill and went home early too, leaving us with 6!).

When I started as a Brownie leader I watched the Guides meet after us and shuddered. How could anyone put up with this age group? I hated being that age, I hated being around other girls that age when I was a kid. I never saw myself taking this on. But 5 years later, many little Brownies moving up to Guides and 3 wonderful Brownie Helpers I have had a change of heart. And this activity day secured that thought.

I must admit this was a young group of Guides, all 10-11 with one 12 year old. But, as you would expect from Guides, they were just older Brownies!

The day was made up of a wide game, It’s A Knockout competition, barbeque and campfire. The day also included 3-4 hours worth of free time. Perfect for Guides putting up their tents, perfect for day trippers to run around in the sun, not so perfect for a day of showers. The changeable weather led to us travelling back and forth from the cars multiple times to change willies, coats, purses, and full outfits.

The Wide Game

There was a contingency plan for this game and all activities were inside tents and gazebos. Each group needed to sacrifice a leader to assist with a base and as Jackie was the girls leader it made sense for me to help out. The game was about being fit, healthy and a little girly. The activities included making up a dance routine, armpit fudge, healthy mocktails, and bath bombs. I was allocated the hair braid stall. Luckily we weren’t doing this straight into the girls’ hair! This involved measuring a metre of 3 different colour threads, putting the loop into a Kirby grip and then winding 1 strand around the other five. My example looked like this:

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For two and a half hours were had plenty of girls come through, some found it difficult, some made lovely braids, some wore theirs all day and some gave them as gifts. It was a nice activity but maybe too advanced to take into Brownies.

We chilled for a while at lunch, then headed to the shop as one of our girls would leave too early to go in the next break. As a leader copy of the event badge was not in sight at the time I went ahead and bought two. One for the campsite (an alternative colour to a previous badge) and a ‘Campfire Songs’ badge.

It’s A Knockout

2.30pm we headed to ‘It’s A Knockout’. The Guides coloured wristbands correlated to a team. Our were split off into two different teams so we shared our support for the two. The idea was great. Teams working around different active games to earn points, between games a dance song (i.e. YMCA, Gangnam Style, Grease) was played for the teams to perform to to gain more points. Each team had a colour flag and were led by a Team Leader who encouraged them through. Unfortunately the games were too small for the number of girls at the event. Teams of 10 would be ideal but with 16+ girls in a team not everyone got to join in. One team was always sitting out and some games only required 6-10 players. One of our Guides, along with 2 others in her team, didn’t get to participate at all for the first 55 minutes of the competition. The heavy downpours didn’t improve their moods either!

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There was a long wait between 4:30 – 6:30pm for the barbeque. We filled the time with another trip to the shop, litter picking and some quiet time under a gazebo. This was a nice time, the girls all had their blankets so I got mine out and they were asking me about my badges. I’m so proud of my blanket this deserves a post of it’s own.

Barbeque and Campfire

Barbeque was nice. We had a little more downtime before we headed over to the campfire. My very first campfire, after all the cancelled ones (and with the weather yesterday I hadn’t been expecting it to go ahead) I finally had my first campfire! We were told to join others in the two mess tents, we were facing each other with the campfire in-between. Other flooded the ground outside and this would’ve been the better option in the end. Whenever the fantastic leader leading the songs went out of sight we lost the words. Awards were presented and while we couldn’t who they were for and what they had done we were filled in by a knowledgeable leader sitting behind us. Unfortunately most of our Guides were not too enthused with song singing (even after we checked they wanted to stay for the campfire!). But it was a nice end to the evening still. We were given the words to a few older Guiding songs, including this one from Canada which we finished on:

Canadian Vespers

Softly at the close of day

As the campfire dies away

Silently each Guide should ask

Have I done my daily task

Have I kept my honour bright

Can I guiltless sleep tonight

Have I done and have I dared

Everything to Be Prepared.

I love this song, it might be lost on some of the Guide age group but it had me thinking. I will certainly hang on to this one.

As we left the Guides and Jackie thanked me for joining them but I thanked them for letting me come! I had a lovely time and it really improved my knowledge of the older group. I wish I had had this sort of experience as a Guide and hope there are many more days like this to come.

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