Tag Archives: charities

Man the Lifeboats


I’ve lived most of my life a couple of hours’ drive from the sea, so it’s a novelty to me to be living by the coast now. I’ve been keen to have a proper look around the local lifeboat station, and I thought I might as well take the Rainbows too ūüėČ

Two volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) showed us round. First we chatted about why we need lifeboats, why the sea can be dangerous, and what you should do if you spot someone in danger. Then we had a look at the lifeboat, and learned about the equipment it carries, and how it’s built to give it the best possible chance of staying afloat and completing its task.

We met the crew’s practice dummy, saw the clothes the crew wear (which they can put on in as little as 1 minute), and looked at the tractor that helps the boat in and out of the sea.

Finally we went to the control room and watched some rescue videos.

Our hosts made it fun and as hands on as they could, but the Rainbows did have to do a fair bit of listening. I thought they did a great job. There was a lot to take in, but even if they only remember one or two things it’s raised their awareness. Living where they do, I’m sure they’ll see plenty more of the lifeboat as they grow up.

Several extra parents and grandparents, and a brother, stayed for the visit. It’s always encouraging when you’re doing something interesting enough that people would rather join in than go home or go and have an ice cream on the beach.


National Animal Welfare Trust


It’s Flashback Friday!

In the summer term my Guides visited our nearest branch of the National Animal Welfare Trust.

I have a friend who works there, and she kept telling me that my Guides should come and visit. So we did.

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A very nice¬†member of staff led us around the centre and introduced us to all the animals they look after. She explained to us that¬†they specialise in taking old animals that need a home for the last few years of their life, although they take others too. At that time they had horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, and probably more. I was slightly sad as I’d heard a lot about some alpacas, but they’d been rehomed recently. Oh how I love alpacas. So woolly.

The Guides got to stroke some of the animals, and it opened up interesting conversations about the pets they had, or used to have, or would like. They asked some good questions, too.

My favourite part was meeting the member of staff’s dog. He was a big friendly woolly thing and he spent 10 minutes walking round and round the circle of Guides getting lots of petting.

We also learned about the centre’s community engagement and fundraising work. We came away with some little goodies, plus newsletters and flyers about their next events. We’d asked the Guides to bring donations of pet food and toys, and we also gave them a cheque from our unit to say thank you.

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Guide Dogs

For our last meeting of term, we had two special guests: a guide dog (actually a former breeding bitch for guide dogs who hadn’t been a guide dog herself) and her owner, who spoke about the charity Guide Dogs and the work they do.

This wasn’t part of a badge or challenge that we’re doing, but I think the visit happened through one of those offchances where he got talking to one of our leaders and offered to visit, and they accepted because you don’t refuse when someone offers their services to guiding!¬† Anyway, it was a really interesting evening and we all learned a lot.

We knew he was due to arrive half an hour after our meeting started, so we started off with a quiz about Guide Dogs.¬† I made some multiple choice questions using the information on the charity’s website and this unofficial quiz, printed a copy for each patrol, and gave them to the patrols to work on as they arrived.¬† When they finished the questions, they wrote down ideas for questions to ask our visitor.¬† He arrived just as we were going through the answers, which worked out well as during his talk he referred to some of the answers, and clarified a few answers which didn’t give the full picture.

I was mightily impressed with the Guides, who sat and listened brilliantly for an hour – I’ve never seen them so quiet!¬† A lot of this was due to the dog, who was the real star of the evening.¬† It was very relaxing just watching her snoozing, scratching and pottering around the room.¬† Her owner said that he’d found having a dog around had great effects: for example, it makes people donate more money and makes school children better-behaved.¬† The Guides (those who wanted to) got to give her a treat at the end.

Our visitor had a lot to say about the charity, and it made me appreciate just how many people and how much time and money it takes to provide guide dogs to blind and partially-sighted people.¬† He also had some entertaining stories, such as dogs he had known who were afraid of wheelbarrows and telephone boxes.¬† His main role as a volunteer now is to do talks like this, and I’d recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about this charity.

The timing was good, too, as the Guides are helping out at the “blind club” at a local day centre in a couple of weeks’ time, so it’s got them thinking about this topic and hopefully will encourage them to come (although dogs are not guaranteed).