Category Archives: Reflections

A lovely video

I love this video posted by the Irish Girl Guides. (They’ve got lots more short, sweet videos too – check them out.)

It was made by Róisín Hiney & Ruth Duffy of Bray Senior Branch, using the Sangam song, ‘When We Shine’. Watch it for a quick fix of good guiding vibes:


This bath bomb



…was a Christmas present from a Guide Leader in 2010.

It’s followed me through 6 house moves, 4 counties and 3 Girlguiding units, forgotten in a box or drawer with other bath stuff that I forget to use.

I rediscovered it a few weeks ago and realised it’s older than some of my Rainbows. Which is just silly. So I finally used it, and it was lovely: it made the bath water all pink and shimmery. Worth waiting 6 years for.

Back to guiding!

We need a montage

Hello again! It’s been a while since I last wrote, so here’s a quick whiz through the last few months:

I did guiding business-as-usual in the summer term, but I got out of the habit of writing about it. I hope I’ll catch up on some of it here.

I went to county camp with my Guides in the summer holidays and that was pretty good all round.

At the end of the summer I moved to a different part of the country, following my partner’s work. And then – brace yourself for a shock – I had a whole half term away from guiding!

No guiding?

No guiding. For, like, more than two months. I highly recommend it if you get the chance, and moving to a new place was a very good chance for me to have a breather. I deliberately didn’t rush into finding a new unit because I knew that once I started it would be hard to stop again.

It’s been lovely having so many free evenings and weekends, and not constantly having whatever I need to plan for the next meeting/event in the back of my mind.

Apart from flick through Girlguiding magazine and sewing a few badges onto my blanket, I didn’t think or read anything about it at all.

As it happened, in the first week of my new job I met a colleague whose wife is a leader in the town where I live. I blurted out “I’m a guider too!” and over the next few days heard so much about how the district could do with more help that I put myself into Join Us! earlier than I’d intended. It worked out alright as it took a while for the Commissioner and me to arrange to meet up.

…and back

Over half term I met my local Commissioner for a coffee and almost straight away she offered me a choice of two Rainbow units. At the moment she’s running them on top of her own unit because they don’t have another willing leader. I chose the one that meets closer to my home, and arranged to start the next week!

I’m looking forward to being a Rainbow leader again. I did Rainbows all through university (my goodness, those girls will be Guides now), I’ve helped at various events involving Rainbows since then, and I always enjoy hanging out with them.

I don’t really know what I’m letting myself in for becoming a Unit Leader (the plan as I understand it is I’ll get more involved in running the unit between now and Christmas, and take over from Commissioner in January). We shall see!

It takes a village to raise a Queen’s Guide, part 2

And I’d also like to thank…

Queen’s Guide Buddy, my sister in guiding, for motivating us to get started with two years to go, and for innumerable other things. I suppose I ought to give her a new pseudonym once it’s all finished.

My Queen’s Guide mentor, who is high up on my list of role models.

My Guides and all the Guides, Senior Section and Leaders who came to camp with us in 2013 for giving me the chance to do my 60 hours’ practical guiding service. 2 terms + a week at camp = 281.5 hours.

The Brownies, Young Leaders and Leaders of the local unit that let me run their pack holiday, a) to take on a responsibility new to me at a residential event, and b) to get my Going Away With licence to be able to do my exploration.

My mentor for my Going Away With licence, another local Brown Owl who also was also my Adult Leadership Qualification mentor, lucky her!

Two local Guide leaders who assessed me for said licence, and the County Indoor Residential Adviser for approving it.

The girls and adults in my division who came on the pantomime trip I organised to take an active part in the planning of an event involving at least two units.

The girls and adults at the region camp where I got involved in a working group/committee (i.e. running an activity zone).

My local Rangers for listening to a presentation about said camp.

My friends and QGB’s friends and boyfriend who joined us for our exploration.

My Guides (again) for joining in with our report of said exploration.

My boyfriend and his family for giving me my first crochet hooks, not to mention lifts, meals, and generalised support.

The volunteers and paid staff at my local public library for letting me join them and answering my questions for my community project.

My district Trefoil Guild for listening to a report of said project.

The Brownies, Rainbows, Senior Section and adults from the town where I live (but don’t do guiding) who let me join in with their holiday to get my residential experience where the majority of participants were unknown to me.

My County Queen’s Guide Adviser, County Commissioner and County Outdoor Adviser, who will soon (short of unforeseen disaster) sign the whole thing off.

It takes a village to raise a Queen’s Guide, part 1


They signed my record book:

  • Unit Leader

  • Another Assistant Leader in my unit

  • Unit Helper

  • District Commissioner

  • A Brown Owl in my district (I borrowed her Brownies for a pack holiday)

  • Another Brown Owl in my district, wise in the ways of crochet and my friend since we were Rangers

  • A Brownie Leader from elsewhere in my county (I helped at her pack holiday)

  • The chairman of my district Trefoil Guild

  • A Trefoil Guild member, very wise in the ways of campfire songs and papercraft, whom I met at Region camp

  • The volunteer co-ordinator at my local library

It gives me the warm fuzzies to look through my book and see the signatures and nice comments of all these women – old friends and new, local and not so local, guiding and non-guiding – who have seen my on the way to getting that book signed off.


Found over Christmas

While I was at my parents’ house over Christmas, I sorted and cleared out some of the piles of paperwork I’ve been keeping there.  Among them were some things left over from guiding activities.  I really don’t need them, but they brought back good memories and it would be a shame to forget them, so I took photos before throwing them to the recycling.  I found…

Promise decoration 1

Promise decoration 2

A hanging Promise decoration from a training weekend at Foxlease.

Llygoden deddf Brownis

Brownie law mouse

Brownie law mouse templatesA Brownie law mouse and its templates (tie a knot in the tail every time you do a good turn), which I did with my Welsh Brownies.  Amser da.


A picture of a hairdryer from those same Brownies: part of a game about what we do and don’t pack for travelling abroad.

Russia map

A map of Russia with the approximate locations I visited on GOLD in 2011.

Thoth neck ring

A neck-ring I made at an Ancient Egpyt-themed Brownie holiday.  That was the one and only time I’ve been a QM, and I enjoyed it very much.  I wouldn’t mind doing it again for an indoor weekend, though I wouldn’t be too keen to cater at camp, at this stage.


Finally, here are the cardboard reindeer from my Guides’ Christmas party.  They had races flapping them across the floor with newspaper.

Oh hi, 2015!

Firstly, it’s time to wish this blog a happy first anniversary.  Break out the party poppers!

This makes it my longest-lived blog (out of…5?), which I put down to the fact that it’s easy to write about guiding things.  There’s never a shortage of subject matter, because there’s something (or several somethings) happening almost every week.  Don’t know why I didn’t start before.  I’ve already found it really handy to have a record of what I’ve done and when I did it.

Secondly, a bit of reflection on 2014.  In most aspects of life, it was a year of unprecedented stasis, and for the first time since I was four, I ended the year with more or less the same living arrangements, job, relationships, hobbies and educational status as I began it.  I’m very lucky that nothing really awful has happened to me and mine this year, and I’ve had the time and space to rediscover things like art, and try some new things like growing vegetables, because I knew I would be living in the same place long enough to see them grow.

The negative is that sometimes I’ve panicked at the lack of change and tried to meddle with things that were fine as they were.  I think guiding – having things to plan and prepare and work on – has rescued me from doing too much of that, and helped me to use my time and abilities more wisely.  It’s certainly been the main part of my life that’s developed.  In 2014 I…

  • Ran my first Pack Holiday and gained my Going Away With qualification
  • Became Division Residential Adviser and helped to assess several Pack Holidays
  • Completed the Skill, Residential and Exploration parts of my Queen’s Guide award, and started the big boss, Community Action
  • Ran the camp programme with a slightly different (but excellent) team
  • Got more involved in my Unit admin: emailing parents, making letters and consent forms
  • Taken more photos of my guiding activities.  Benefits include making my PR Advisers happy by giving them material, and being able to make a slide show for my Guides at the end of the year

…on top of the usual involvements in unit meetings, local events and trips, fundraising, et al.  It’s been more than some have done and less than others have done, but it’s been fine for me.

Guiding-wise, there are already a few things to look forward to in 2015, like a Bake Off, Thinking Day, and the county international camp, and I’ve got a few other things I’d like to make happen – well, mostly taking my Guides to a theme park, if I’m honest.  Here’s to another year of using time and abilities wisely – and to guiding with a smile 🙂