Tag Archives: county

Wildlife park takeover


Back in May, I took my Rainbows to a nearby wildlife park. It wasn’t just us: several hundred other Rainbows from around the county were there too, for a takeover day.

In some ways it was a strange day. For one thing, I was the only adult from my unit who could make it, so I put out a call for parent helpers and in the end had 3 mums and a dad with me. They’re all very nice and helpful, but it gave the day a different dynamic from day trips with guiders than I’m used to.

For another thing, the ‘Rainbow takeover’ element wasn’t quite was I expected. Yes, hundreds of Rainbows entered the park at the same time, and we got activity sheets to fill in as we went around, and we saw other Rainbows everywhere we went. But apart from that, we might as well have gone on our own as a unit. There was no big get-together of everyone, and no special activities on just for Rainbows.

Still, the fact is I wouldn’t have thought to organise a trip like this for my unit, so it was really good to have a reason to go there. We had fun seeing all the animals – I especially liked the butterfly house, and got some lovely pictures of butterflies settling on Rainbows’ hands – and of course spending time on the indoor and outdoor playgrounds.

Now that I’ve been and seen that it’s a good day out, I’d consider going back to that wildlife park in future.

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

Royals in the rain, Brownies on a train

Last week’s big guiding events happened without me, but they’re definitely exciting enough to share.

On Friday the Earl and Countess of Wessex (who is, of course, the President of Girlguiding and a Brownie helper) visited town.  We found out less than 2 weeks before, and in the middle of the Easter holidays, but thanks to some speedy communication between my District Commissioner and the town Mayor, and swift messages from leaders to parents, we got together a good-sized group to meet her.  They braved the rain, joined the crowds lining the streets, and a Brownie presented Sophie with a bouquet (beautiful, made by a Brown Owl).  I missed it as I was at work, but it’s brilliant to see the pictures of Sophie and Edward with our girls and leaders.  When people meet the royal family, they tend to remember it for the rest of their lives, so it’s very special to have had this chance.

The next day was possibly even more exciting.  To celebrate the Big Brownie Birthday, and in a wonderful feat of organisation, my county took over an entire train to London.  Hundreds of Brownies and their leaders piled on at the station and into carriages.  There was a competition for the best-decorated carriage (won by a group from my Division!) so the train was full of bunting, flags, banners, cakes, balloons and excited girls.  My Facebook feed has been full of wonderful pictures of this all weekend.  When the train arrived in London the Brownies were met by the Chief Guide, and each group was free to do their own thing until it was time for the train to return.  My local Brownies went on an open-topped bus and the London eye.  It looks like it was a wonderful day out, and again something that the girls will remember through their lives.  I’m in awe of everyone who worked hard to make it happen.

So I’m a Residential Advisor?

That’s how I’ve been saying it to everyone: with a big question mark at the end.  Often also with an eyebrow raised and/or a slightly incredulous expression.

I’m Division Residential Advisor for Rainbows and Brownies.  I’ve been to a grand total of 3 Brownie holidays (5 including ones where I was a Brownie), and 0 Rainbow sleepovers.  At the time of my first advisors’ meeting recently, I was 4 weeks away from running my licence holiday.

So I’m not very experienced compared to some of the other advisors around the county, and I have a feeling I’m going to have to ask lots of questions.  However, I’m keen(ish), I don’t have conflicting work/family commitments, I’m up to date with the qualification since I’m working on it myself, and it’s a good chance to meet other leaders in the division and county.  Most importantly, my Division Commissioner told me I could do it, and I believe her.  She also told me it wouldn’t be a huge role, and I believe that, too (hopefully).

Even so, until I’ve had a bit more experience, I’ll continue to introduce my new role with a question mark.