Tag Archives: joint meetings

Christmas fun and games

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The Christmas wreath I made at Rainbows last year came out again

For the last Rainbows meeting of term, we joined up with the Brownies and Guides who meet after us, and had a festive fun/games/singing/food party, with families invited as well. Rather like last year, but without so many units, or a lady playing carols on the piano.

It was…ok, but a bit chaotic, not helped by the fact that the Brownies and Guides had been asked to arrive and leave at different times from the Rainbows, and some were early and others were late, so there was a lot of coming and going of girls.

And I’d prepared some games, but hadn’t realised there would be quite so much time to fill, and Brown Owl was feeling unwell so wasn’t up to leading much, so there were times when the girls were randomly running around playing with the balls and skipping ropes (we have lots of space, so that’s fine), and the parents were sitting around drinking tea and chatting.

I think (hope) it bothered me more than any of the parents and the girls – no one complained to me. But I’d have a think about how we can do it better next year (or if we do it at all – I’m tempted to just take the Rainbows out for an end of term trip instead).

Apologies for the not-very-upbeat post. It was a fine party, it really was, but I was glad it was the end of term and time for a bit of a break!

Snowmen and Jelly Babies

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First night back at Rainbows, and we made snowmen with toilet roll tubes (which has made a good dent in my stash), cotton wool, and bits of fabric, paper and stickers – and lots of PVA glue.

An hour or so after Rainbows finished, it actually snowed, for the first time this winter, more heavily than expected. I felt pretty smug that I’d accidentally chosen a timely activity!

Then we played the Christmas Card Game. It’s my go-to activity for the first meeting after Christmas with any section (for example, I did it with Rainbows last year and Guides in 2014). You need a big pile of old Christmas cards and some teams of girls. You call out something to find (like a snowman, a robin, some glitter) and one girl from each team runs and tries to find it on a card. The first one to find it gets a point for her team.

It was a pretty quiet evening, with only 11 out of 16 Rainbows there. We had two new girls, who both have friends in the unit and settled in so well I hardly remembered they were new.

I stayed on to help with Brownies and Guides (all together tonight), and they did a Jelly Baby-themed evening in sixes and patrols:

  • A game where a leader called a word and the girls had to do an action – after a while, the girl who did it last/did the wrong action/wasn’t in a group of the right size was out and joined the judges
  • A relay quiz: each group stood in a line with one leader, who had a question sheet and pen. The leader read the first question to the first girl in the line, she ran to the middle of the room to find the answer on a packet of jelly babies (for example, one question was “What is the sell-by date?” The girl ran back and told the leader the answer, then the next girl got a question. When the first team finished, everyone stopped and marked the answers
  • Each group designed a new jelly baby and presented it to everyone

Then I took the Guides and the oldest Brownies off separately and we brainstormed what they’d like to do this term. Most of their ideas were big and outside the meeting place, so then we had a brainstorm of how they could raise money to do them. I collected the ideas, so now I need to sit down with the other leaders and work out a plan.

I found I was surprised at how well-behaved and generally pleasant the Brownies were (ok, they went a bit crazy when it started snowing, but let’s face it, it is THE MOST EXCITING THING when you’re 8). This made me realise how tired and hyper they (and we leaders) were getting towards the end of last term, though I didn’t notice at the time.

So this is encouraging. I’m refreshed, the Brownies are quite nice actually, and things are looking up for this term.

Mermaids and Dragons

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…is a very cool fancy dress theme. For our last meeting of term, my Rainbows joined up with another nearby Rainbow unit for a Promise/Pot of Gold (= leaving Rainbows) party.

The other unit hosted us and chose the theme. Of course most people don’t have mermaid or dragon costumes (or so I thought), so we said the Rainbows could just wear something red or blue, or uniform (which is both red and blue). I was surprised by how many came in mermaid dresses, like the ones in the photo. I’m sure these weren’t around 20 years ago when I was a Rainbow. I’d definitely have wanted one.

We only had one dragon – you can see her snazzy dragon onesie in the photo.

Apart from the clothes, we didn’t actually do anything mermaid or dragon themed! It was quite a simple party. We:

  • played a few favourite games from each unit
  • ate party food – it’s not a party unless there are Party Rings
  • made Promises – 3 for me. Next time I’m kneeling on the floor, so I don’t have to either tower over the Rainbows or stoop down like I am in the photo
  • said goodbye to the Rainbows who are leaving – none of mine, as my three 7-year-olds have decided to stay for another term
  • gave everyone a little Easter egg on the way out

It was lovely to get together with the other unit. I found the other Unit Leader and I can lead things together quite happily. (I’d expected so, but it’s good to confirm it.) I met their Assistant Leader for the first time, and with three guiders around my mum helpers didn’t need to do much, so they got a break. I’ll definitely try to do it again next term.

A camp meeting and a night hike

Let’s flash back to last summer, when my Division combined a parents’ meeting for camp with a night hike.

We met in the village hall we normally use for our night hikes (because it works very well). First we had a meeting for the Guides and Senior Section coming on camp a few weeks later and their parents. It was a camp for a whole county, with a subcamp for each Division. The subcamp leader (and others where relevant) went through the usual sort of things: arrangements for sleeping, food, first aid, activities, kit required, etc etc. Afterwards, parents had the chance to speak to individual leaders, and the girls told a leader who they did/did not want to share a tent with. She wrote this down discreetly, of course! But it’s better to know this outright, rather than accidentally put together girls who really don’t want to share a confined space for a week.

After that, everyone left except leaders and girls who were going on the night hike, and other girls arrived who were hiking but not coming on camp. We originally meant it to be a chance for the girls on our subcamp to get to know each other, but only about 1/3 of them came, mostly from 2 or 3 units, so we opened it up to everyone.

Have I ever mentioned that I love a night hike?

Oh yes, last year. Well, I do. I love walking in the dark (as long as I know where I’m going), letting my mind and my senses open up, and showing the girls that they needn’t be afraid of being out in the dark.

It followed the same format as always. We set off from the village hall around 9:30pm, walked through the village, up a hill, along a ridge, admired the view, did a Promise ceremony, walked down a hill, through the village, and got back to the hall around midnight. The only thing different this year was the weather. It was moist and foggy so there wasn’t actually much view to admire, but we were lucky it wasn’t raining, as it had been for most of the day.

Back at the hall we enjoyed some lovely hot chocolate made by a leader who’d stayed there. The girls put their beds down, got into pyjamas, and settled down for chatter, games and nibbles. The leaders put out chairs and also settled down for chatter and nibbles. After an hour or two some of the girls (and adults) dropped off to sleep naturally, and we started shushing and settling the rest. I slept from about 2:00-6:30, which is better than some years!

In the morning we had cereal and toast for breakfast and the girls were collected at 8am. Another good night hike in the tried and tested way!

Christmas party

For the last Rainbow meeting of term, we had a joint party with the Brownies and Guides who meet on the same night, plus parents. Lucky we have a big hall!

After a welcome from the Commissioner, the girls and parents got into groups and played Christmas tree beetle. Roll a dice to make a Christmas tree from bits of laminated paper – you have to get a pot first, then a tree, then you can add the other bits in any order.

1=star 2=bauble 3=bauble 4=bauble 5=tree 6=pot

When we’d played that for a while, we had nibbles and mulled fruit juice. Last week Commissioner warned the Rainbows that there’d just be a few bits of party food, not a proper meal. My expectations were greatly exceeded: there was lots of festive party food! I was a bit worried there’d be lots left over, but then the Guides arrived and helped us out with that.

Then a lady came to play the piano and we sang some Christmassy songs: Away in a MangerJingle Bells, that sort of thing that most people knew to join in with. We might have had more joining in if we’d moved all the chairs round near the piano before we started, but as it happened it was nice and relaxed: those who wanted to join in came and sat near the piano to sing, while a few parents and girls (and leaders) who wanted to chat and play at the back of the hall did that.

To finish off, we sang the goodbye songs for the various sections and gave the girls presents as they left. It was a good evening for bringing the different ages together and reminding everyone that guiding is more than just our unit. I spoke to a few leaders that I hadn’t before, and met one of my Rainbows and her mother for the first time, as she hadn’t been to the last few meetings.

So that’s my first half term over, and after Christmas I’ll be getting involved in running the unit. Exciting-stroke-challenging! Come to think of it, I’m not sure which date we’re going back. I should probably find that out…

Cook-out (2nd of 2014)

This week the Guides had their second cook-out of term.  We usually do two each summer for various reasons: they’re popular with the Guides, they can learn/remember the basics the first time and build on what they’ve learned the second time, we can explore different sites, we can have a joint meeting with another group.

Cook out 1

This time we used the same leader’s garden as before, together with another Guide unit from our division.  We often go on camps and trips with this unit and we know the leaders quite well. Some of the girls recognised each other too, and it turned out that one of our Guides has a cousin in the other unit!

Cook out 2

Our Unit Helper had kindly gone there earlier in the day to turf out little fire pits.  When we all arrived it was pouring with rain, but even so the usual number of Guides turned up – hurrah!  We had some dry newspaper and kindling wood to get things started, and within half an hour the sky had cleared into a fine evening and all the fires were hot enough to add damp wood.

Cook out 3

All that remained was for the Guides to cook and enjoy the food they’d brought.  Some groups stuck with tried-and-tested sausages and burgers, while others got more adventurous.  Our youngest Guides very impressively brought along a kettle to make hot chocolate and a biscuit tin to cook mini pizzas in, and our Young Leader helped them to rig these up.

Cook out 4

What I like about cook-outs – beside the food and fire – is having time to chat with the girls.  I learned much more about them this evening than I do in a “usual” meeting, and we discussed the camp programme and possible ideas for a trip next term, as well as all sorts of random stuff.  This was my last Guides night before the summer holidays, as I’m away next week.  What will I do with my Monday evenings?!  Wait, I know…plan for camp.

Hilltop picnic

This week, the Guides met at a scenic spot with a hillfort and some great views.

Picnic 1

Everyone had brought a picnic tea, and we went up to eat it in a sheltered spot inside the fort.

Picnic 2

It was a beautiful evening, with lots of sun and not much wind, but just enough for a bit of kite-flying.

Picnic 3

One of our Guides received her Baden-Powell Award, which she has worked very hard for, from the District Commissioner.  The Guide’s parents were there, as well as her sisters: another Guide, a Brownie and a Rainbow.  So it was quite the mixed-section evening!  The Rangers joined us too.  They had prepared a quiz that got everyone running around the hilltop in teams searching for the answers.

Picnic 4

We could easily have spent longer there – I’d worried that we would run out of things to do, and had come over-prepared, but hadn’t factored in that 20 minutes were taken up with walking between the car park where we met and the picnic spot.  I guess it’s better for everyone to leave wanting more.


A rounders bat in action

This week, the Guides went to visit another Guide unit in our Division, in a nearby village.  Their summer meeting place is in a field!  (But they’re allowed to use the British Legion Hall when it rains.)

We played a game of Horses and Jockeys – appropriate as there were horses in the next field – and then played a game of rounders, with each team playing for 15 minutes.  As both our units had good attendance, the teams were quite big, about 20-a-side, so some girls were, shall we say, more involved in the game than others!  We think that if we do it again next year, we’ll try to split the group and have another activity going on.

A Guide with a rounders bat and ball

While this was happening, some of our leaders and young leaders were having a productive time planning next week’s meeting, signing off bits of a leadership qualification book, and doing camp admin.  A luxury of having more adults than usual!

It was nice to see that this unit, which re-opened just a couple of years ago after the village had been Guide-less for a long time, is going from strength to strength: both in terms of Guide numbers, and a growing team of adults and a young leader.  As the Unit Leader told me, it’s a great relief to have a team after being the only warranted leader for a long time.  It’s meant they’ve been able to offer the girls more opportunities, like going on their first camp a few weeks ago.

We finished off with singing round an altar fire (which was great except for when my co-leader swallowed a bit of dandelion fluff and had a coughing fit!) and toasting marshmallows.

Rounders 3

One of the best bits of a campfire