One fine Saturday afternoon, my division held a tea party to celebrate the Big Brownie Birthday, for anyone local who had ever been a Brownie.
We worked hard to publicise this event, with flyers, posters, press releases, social media, radio interviews, and lots of word of mouth. Our wonderful Division Commissioner managed to book the town hall free of charge, and get donations of yellow roses from local supermarkets and garden centres. But you just never know how many people will turn up on the day, so we were all very pleased and relieved that it was well-attended.
The flyers invited people to “drop in for tea, coffee and cake, share your memories of Brownies, and find out about the fun Brownies are having today!”
The day began with meeting other leaders in the Guide hall and stripping it of any portable memorabilia. We took it round to the town hall, met other leaders from the division with their memorabilia, and got to work setting up. We were only allowed in an hour before the tea party started, and we were all surprised how much we achieved in that time – many hands make light work!
There were tables in the middle for sitting at (decorated with flowers, table cloths, puzzle sheets, pencils, and card Brownie hats on sticks to pose with), and tables round the edge for displays, refreshments, a raffle, a birthday cake, and selling badges. We were allowed to use the sound system and projector screen, so we had a slideshow of Brownie photos, gentle background music, and a microphone for making announcements. (It definitely helps that two leaders’ husbands run a disco/sound business!)
Between us leaders and Trefoil Guilders, we rustled up a staggering amount of display stuff. There were posters, photo albums, display boards, banners, bunting, balloons, uniforms, books, dolls, flags, camp blankets, badges, crafts, owls, toadstools, mirrors, nicknacks, Six emblems on sticks, certificates, shields, and a whole lot more. It was like a Brownie palace. Some things were probably seeing the light of day for the first time in decades, so it’s great that it could be used.
What made me really happy was that it brought together leaders and Trefoils from all over the division. Because the venue was my district, we were concerned that we wouldn’t get so much support from the other districts. And yes, we were probably the best-represented, but lots of others came and helped and brought displays and chatted and were great. I caught up with people I knew and met a few new leaders, too, and it was nice to have the time to do so without having to lead girls at the same time.
Fortunately, plenty of other people came to the party too. There were lots of present-day Brownies (many in uniform!), and a few Guides, Rainbows and Senior Section, with their families. I also spoke to several girls who were waiting to start Brownies, so I hope the party gave them and their parents a flavour of what it’s about. There were a lot of friends-neighbours-and-relatives who’d been invited by word of mouth, but I think we also had quite a few visitors who came on the strength of the advertising. And the town mayor and the County Commissioner.
About halfway through, we cut a birthday cake and the Brownies who were there served slices to all the visitors (it went a surprisingly long way), and a Trefoil Guilder whom we all love was presented with a long service award.
On the way out, we asked everyone to write their memories of Brownies in a book (I’m looking forward to reading it), and presented them with a yellow rose (yellow for Brownies, a rose because they started as Rosebuds, and a random act of kindness which is part of the Big Birthday Challenge), which went down well.
I spent the afternoon taking photos, chatting to people, doing singing and games with the Brownies who were there, looking at the displays, and packing away, and it passed very quickly. I’m still on a bit of a high writing this, which is why I’m gushing a bit. It was just a very happy, celebratory event and I’m proud of everyone who made it happen.