Tag Archives: big brownie birthday

Big Brownie Birthday Starquest

I’ve been enjoying reading about other guiding bloggers’ Starquest events, and now my turn has come!  My county held its Big Brownie Birthday celebration/sleepover a couple of weeks ago in the grounds of a stately home.

They were very grand grounds.  I commented that it would be a good site for a county camp, and the veteran Guiders I was with said that there had indeed been a county camp there a few decades ago.  There was then some debate about whether it had been in 1985 or 1990.

Brownie hordes gather in the distance

Brownie hordes gather in the distance

The plan was for the Brownies to arrive in the early afternoon, have three hours to wander freely between the various activities on offer, collecting star stickers for completing them, and then have a picnic tea together, followed by campfire songs.  Then the Brownies who were there for the day left, and those who were sleeping over had some kind of band performing and slept in three marquees, all 1600 of them.

Not having any Brownies of my own, I was there running an activity with other leaders from my Division.  When we arrived to set up, it was rainy and gloomy and we all got our feet soaked on the grass.  Just as the Brownies arrived, it cleared up and turned into a hot, sunny afternoon.  What a relief!

Some of the leaders from my Division were helping the Brownies to make star wands.

Starquest 2

Starquest 3

And I was helping another leader to run an activity where the Brownies had to make a shape out of tent pegs using compass instructions (one step north, two steps south west etc.).  If they got it right, it looked like a rocket.  Both our activities were busy all afternoon.  It was great to meet lots of Brownies and leaders from around the county, and see some familiar faces too.

Starquest 4

Starquest 5

I didn’t get to see much of the other activities, but there was a lot going on.  There had to be with 2000 Brownies there for the afternoon!  There were several kinds of dancing, a planetarium, a recyling bus, “synchronised swimming” (the Brownies decorated shower caps and learned some moves), traditional games, and no doubt much more.

Starquest 6

The Trefoil Guilders next door to us were doing semaphore

After picnic tea time, and the cake-cutting, Queen’s Guide Buddy and I led campfire songs for everyone.  It was a good half-hour slot, just right for doing all the best songs.  (There was one awkward moment when I started Princess Pat without enough warning and no one joined in, but fortunately QGB rescued it!)  From where I was standing, I could see Brownies joining in with the actions even in the back ranks, which was encouraging.

Starquest 7

I got close to the cake!

We both left after that, but I hear that the sleepover part went well.  It was a huge day, and I take my hats off to the volunteers who organised it.  It’s sure to be something the Brownies will remember for life.

Starquest 8

This picture doesn’t do justice to the number of Brownies there

Advertisements

A midsummer night’s campfire

On the longest day of the year – for those of us in the northern hemisphere – another district in my division took over a nearby hostel for a Big Brownie Birthday sleepover.

The hostel is up in the downs above the town where I do my guiding, and has one of my favourite views in the world, looking down over the vale for miles and miles.  (Claim to fame: it’s described in the first chapter of Jude the Obscure).  Sadly I don’t seem to have a photo, but here’s one looking up towards the site.

Countryside with cow parsley, oilseedrape, and rolling hills

It also has great grounds, with a decent-sized wood, camping space, and a big flat area where we’re allowed to build a fire.  My district goes there for a bonfire every November, so it made a change to see it in daylight!

The Brownies arrived in the late afternoon and did some activities and a treasure hunt in the woods.  The Rainbows and Guides joined them for a barbeque and campfire singsong, then left the Brownies and Brownie Guiders to their fate sleepover stay-awake-over.  I didn’t stay overnight, but by all accounts it was good fun and something the Brownies will always remember.

Wait, why was I there?  I was invited to lead the campfire singing.  My usual singing partner, Queen’s Guide Buddy, couldn’t make it, but I was helped by two excellent young leaders from this other district.  They really were great, and I’m sure they could have done it on their own, but the arrangement worked well as I did a few songs they didn’t know, and they did some that I vaguely know but wouldn’t have thought to do (including Bananas of the World. A perfectly fine song, but I have a mental block on leading it).  A couple of other leaders got up and led a song or two as well.

A leader (me) with arms in the air, leading a song

I didn’t take any photos this time, but here I am at another campfire…

The Brownies and Rainbows joined in enthusiastically with everything, and most of the Guides with most of the songs.  We sang for just over an hour, by which time I was getting to the end of my repertoire suitable for all the age range without word sheets.

The campfire ended with everyone (over 100 of us) in a big circle, and some Promise ceremonies and reflections on the Brownie Birthday.  Oh, and it was gloriously sunny throughout.  What a lovely evening, and I’m glad to have been able to join in.