Coming up with a theme

I love a good holiday theme.  I’m sure you don’t need telling this, but a theme draws a holiday together and gives you ideas.  It’s great fun when the leaders and girls really go with it, and it leads you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.  It can also make a holiday more memorable, especially if you go to the same venue a lot.

When I wrote the post totting up my nights away with guiding, it brought back happy memories of the themes we used.  One thing it got me thinking about was where the ideas came from.  This of course isn’t a definitive guide; just a few of my stories!

Ask the girls

I’ve got to put this first: guiding is girl-led and what better way to find a theme they’ll like than to ask them to choose?

Sometimes it might be completely random.  A few years ago, Unit Leader was chatting to a few Guides in a meeting and asked them what they thought the next camp theme should be.  One blurted out “Grease” and we liked the idea so much that Grease it was.

For a district Brownie holiday, the leader in charge chose three options (and included activity ides) and asked each unit to vote for their favourite.  That was interesting, as the winner (Ancient Egypt) was the random wildcard that the leader threw in without expecting it to be popular.  Which just proves that we can’t always predict what girls will like; we have to ask them!

Here are some other places where my groups have found ideas:

Location

Does the place where you’re staying remind you of anything?  One pack holiday was in a wood, so we chose a Robin Hood theme (Winnie-the-Pooh would be another option).  This summer, my Guides are camping next to a building with a wooden porch that reminds us of a cowboy town, so we decided to have a Wild West theme.  The most tenuously-linked theme I’ve done was a weekend camp in a leader’s back garden.  Unit Leader mentioned beforehand that the staircase in the house reminded her of the one in The Sound of Music, and based on that we made that the theme.  None of the Guides (or I!) ever went inside the house to actually see the staircase, but it was a fun weekend.

Current events

Is there a memorable event going on while you’re away?  Examples: the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Girlguiding’s Centenary.

Badges

Are the girls keen to gain an interest badge or challenge badge?  A holiday gives you the chance to spend quality time on it and do bigger/longer activities that you can’t do in normal meetings.  And everyone gets an extra badge as a souvenir!  I’ve done the Circus Skills badge on holidays with Brownies and Guides.

It worked before…

Once we had a weekend Guide camp where most of the planning was done in the summer holidays and we left it quite late to choose a theme.  Unit Guider had recently helped at an Alice in Wonderland-themed pack holiday so she had plenty of fresh ideas (and a costume) from that.  We thought the Guides would enjoy it as much as the Brownies, so Alice it was, and very good it was too.

Where have you got your themes from?

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