Tag Archives: international

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:


Nights away

I’ve updated my list of nights away with Girlguiding  (because I’ve recently filled in a form that asked for them). It now covers 11 years, goodness gracious.

2006 – Briefing weekend for region international trip (2); region trip to the Netherlands (14).  Total 16

2007 – Weekend Guide camp (The Sound of Music theme) (2); Guide camp (Grease theme) (6); Brownie pack holiday (Robin Hood theme) (2).  Total 10

2008 – Region trip to Switzerland (14); Guide camp in Italy (7).  Total 21

2009 – SSAGO rally (can’t remember the theme!) (2); Guide camp (Big Brother theme) (2); Guide camp (circus theme) (6); SSAGO group Christmas trip (1).  Total 11

2010 – Guide camp (Malvern Challenge) (2); SSAGO rally (medieval theme) (2); county centenary camp (6); another county centenary camp (6); INTOPS (2).  Total 18

2011 – County training weekend (2); Guides night hike (1); 3 GOLD briefings (6); GOLD project in Russia (21); Guide camp (Alice in Wonderland theme) (2). Total 32

2012 – District Brownie holiday (Ancient Egyptian theme) (2); County Brownie holiday (Queen’s diamond jubilee theme) (2); Guide camp (Queen’s diamond jubilee theme) (6).  Total 10

2013 – Guides night hike (1); Guide camp in Spain (7); region camp (7).  Total 15

2014 – Brownie pack holiday (circus theme) (2); Guides night hike/sleepover (1); Brownie & Rainbow holiday (Down on the Farm theme) (2); Guide camp (Wild West theme) (5); Leaders’ sleepover (1); Queen’s Guide Award exploration in York (4).  Total 15

2015 – Guides night hike (1); Guides county camp (5); Brownie holiday (Around the World theme) (2); Leaders’ sleepover (1). Total 9

2016 – Brownie/Guide holiday (Gingerbread theme) (3); Guide night hike (1); Guide camp (adventure holiday in France (5); Rainbow sleepover (teddy bear theme) (1); Rainbow sleepover (Peter Rabbit theme) (1); Leaders’ sleepover (1). Total 12

Grand total: 169


Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! (Happy St David’s Day!)



Last week at Rainbows we celebrated St David’s day with some Welsh-themed activities.

First we sang Head, shoulders, knees and toes in Welsh (a bit like in this video from 00:43). The Rainbows found it really fun and they picked the words up quickly.

Then we made Welsh cakes – the Rainbows mixed the dough and cut out rounds, which my brilliant mum helpers took off to the kitchen and fried. The recipe involves rubbing the fat into the flour, and rolling the mixture on a floury surface, so it was good messy fun.

Alas! We didn’t get to eat them. My helpers thought they weren’t cooked enough in the middle, and didn’t want to risk giving the girls undercooked egg. While I like my Welsh cakes a bit gooey and I’d guess the mixture got hot enough to kill bacteria even though it didn’t set, I had to respect their judgement, so we threw the lot away. Oh well, we learn more when things don’t go as planned! Next time I’d ask the girls to roll the mixture more thinly.

No time for photos, but here’s the test batch I made the night before. They were delicious and, to be fair, not as squidgy as the Rainbows’ ones.







The Rainbows had some playtime while the cakes were cooking and the leaders wiped down the tables.

With 10 minutes to go, we made daffodils like the one above – expect the Rainbows made three each, they decorated the cups, and they didn’t stick the paper bits together. It was a bit rushed – I was overambitious to plan two activities for one evening! But everyone did at least leave with something that more or less looked like a daffodil.

I haven’t decided what activities we’re doing later this week, but I’ll make it a bit more leisurely…

Thinking Day cards

Thinking Day cards 2016

Today is World Thinking Day.

I haven’t done anything for Thinking Day with my Rainbows this term. It’s not ideal, but for one reason or another it didn’t happen. I didn’t plan any activities into unit meetings thinking we were going to have a Division activity day, but then it had to be cancelled (hopefully just postponed) and I still didn’t squeeze it into our meetings. Try again next year.

My consolation is we’ve had quite a few meetings with an international theme. That and I’ve sent my Rainbows ‘Happy Thinking Day’ cards, so they’re at least aware of it.

I flipped through old issues of Guiding magazine for pictures to use, and I found this sweet photo of Rainbows wearing uniforms from around the world (it was in the Autumn 2012 issue if you want to know). They’re lucky to have access to such a great collection!

I slipped in a little colouring sheet and a couple of sentences about what Thinking Day is and who we think of, and I popped them in the post a few days ago. I’m always excited to get things by snail mail, so hopefully the Rainbows will be too.

Happy Thinking Day to all my sisters in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.

Chinese New Year

CNY (2)

Last week the Rainbows celebrated yet another festival: Chinese New Year.

Unlike Groundhog Day, they knew lots about CNY already, from school. In our chat at the beginning they volunteered lots of facts, like that it’ll be the year of the monkey, and they’d seen/made/carried Chinese dragons. I asked if any of them had been to China, and four girls raised their hands. I suspect they might have misunderstood me, but I didn’t enquire further.

First I read this story about how the Chinese zodiac began. I gave everyone a little sticky badge with an animal picture on, thinking they could act it out, but actually there wasn’t much for everyone to do except pretend to swim (except the rat, who gets up to all sorts of antics). Still, at least they might remember the various animals.

Then we did a chopstick challenge. In groups, the Rainbows had to transfer food from one bowl to another using chopsticks (free ones swiped resourced from a restaurant), with each taking it in turns to move one piece of fruit. Dried fruit (apples, bananas, apricots and sultanas) was a good choice of food to use, because:

  • it’s squidgy and sticky, which makes it easier to pick up than something smooth and hard like beans
  • it comes in a range of sizes, so the Rainbows could start with the easy apple bits and work their way down to sultanas
  • the apple pieces have a hole in the middle, so if all else failed they could just hook it with the chopstick
  • they got to eat the fruit afterwards, and it’s vaguely healthy (actually, they left most of it, so I now have lots at home…oh wait, we can use it as a pancake topping next week
  • bonus relevance: it’s the year of the monkey, and monkeys like fruit

Actually, I was impressed at how good the Rainbows were with chopsticks. Some of them were holding them in one hand, look:

CNY (1)

Next we did a scrapheap challenge: each group had a pile of clean recycling, and had to make various animals from the zodiac story. Here’s a cat (he got left out of the zodiac because he was asleep):

CNY (3)

I wasn’t sure how well the Rainbows would work together in a group of 5 or 6. They’re quite young for teamwork as adults understand it. One group worked together to make one animal (helped by an adult), one group sort of did, and one group split into pairs and individuals doing their own thing. Good to know for future reference.

After all that working together, they needed running around time! So we played a quick and energetic game of traffic lights which left everyone so exhausted they needed a lie down!

CNY (4)

Groundhog Day


Continuing with our festivals theme, last week the Rainbows learned about Groundhog Day.

Whenever I hear those words, I remember a Guide camp I went to a few years ago. I shared a tent with one of the cooks, and every morning when we woke up the first thing she’d say was “It’s like blooming Groundhog Day” (or words to that effect). Same thing every day!

Anyway, I don’t think any of my Rainbows had heard of it before – no reason why they would have – but they were interested to look at a picture of a groundhog I’d printed off. It occurred to me it would be even better to have a cuddly groundhog . I think I need one as part of my guider stash.

We played the game where the Rainbows run around (“groundhogs playtime”), then crouch down on the floor and close their eyes (“groundhogs go to bed”) and a leader covers one with a blanket, then the others get up (“groundhogs wake up”) and have to guess who’s hidden. They only needed one hint, for one of our newest Rainbows.

Then we made these pop-up groundhogs. The Rainbow Roundabout pack suggests using paper/plastic cups and lolly sticks, but we used big yogurt pots and drinking straws because I have lots of them at home. It’s a relief to have a bit more space in my hoarding cupboard.

The one in the picture is mine, but the Rainbows’ ones were much more colourful, of course. Actually, one girl made such a neat and tidy groundhog that I picked it up at the end thinking it was mine. She had to tell me twice that she couldn’t find hers before I realised I was holding it – whoops!

What was really nice was I posted this picture on a Rainbow leaders’ Facebook group and got not only some replies from other leaders who were doing this/had done it, but also a comment from the lady who put them into the Rainbow Roundabout. She said she got the idea from a Sparks group (Canadian version of Rainbows) and had used it many times over the years. It’s lovely to hear where these things come from. Thanks, Angela!

When everyone was finished we sang a song. It’s possibly meant to go to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot, but it ended up more like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Hey, whatever fits.

Wake up little groundhog, it’s time to rise, [pop groundhog up]
Time to wake up and open your eyes.
If you see your shadow, down you pop [pop groundhog down]
For six more weeks till winter stops.

On a different note, I learned a lesson this week: always check the toilets after the meeting. The week before, some Rainbows had made a mess (not deliberately, just because they’re little and can’t reach everything easily), and the Brownie leaders who meet after us had to clean it up. Oh dear. I should have been checking already, but I’ll remember in future.

World Thinking Day 2015

This year we had our Thinking Day celebrations on actual Thinking Day, since it was a Sunday. We did it as a district, nothing fancy, just a couple of hours of international-themed activities, squash and cake, renewal of Promises, a little singsong, and off we all go.

We had six rotating activities based on the three countries our international trip Guides and Young Leaders are visiting this year:

  • Japan (origami and races moving things with chopsticks)

  • India (making/decorating card elephants and drawing round hands then drawing on henna designs)

  • USA (s’mores and making the Golden Gate Bridge out of marshmallows and spaghetti)

I was on s’mores, along with Queen’s Guide Buddy and our old Young Leader who was back from university for a few days. The girls toasted marshmallows/veggie jelly sweets on skewers over tealights, and smooshed them with a square of chocolate between two digestives. Om nom nom. And only a couple of “burned” fingers. Yes, we did have a handwashing/cooling bucket to hand, and the girls did tie back their hair.

The girls went around in mixed-age and mixed-unit groups, decided by coloured name stickers as they arrived, which meant they got to hang out with some new people and the older ones could help the younger ones.

We also had the second round of the Great Girlguiding Bake Off. The three(ish) winners from each unit brought along another three decorated cupcakes, and our judges (a couple of Trefoil Guilders) named a winner and a runner up from each section. One of my Guides was runner up, but the winning Guide was from the other unit – she’ll be making something else for the Division round in March.

I’m relieved to say I didn’t win the adult competition, as I think my housemates are getting fed up with Victoria sandwich!

As expected, there were a lot of Rainbows and Brownies, but only a few Guides – and most of them were only there because they were in the Bake Off. Maybe a bit of a shame, as Thinking Day should be for them too, but they have more pressures on their time and I can see why a “fun activity afternoon” isn’t enough to tempt them. There were quite a few Senior Section helping out with activities, and some Trefoil Guilders, so we did at least have someone from every section of the guiding family.

A belated happy Thinking Day to my friends in Girlguiding and Girl Scouting everywhere.