Tag Archives: music

Christmas disco

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Our summer disco (which apparently I didn’t blog about) went down so well that we hired the same people back to do a Christmas disco for three local Rainbow units, plus the Brownies and Guides who meet after my Rainbows.

The girls had fun, and we adults didn’t have to do much beyond giving out drinks and snacks, looking after Rainbows who found it too hot and noisy, and clearing up afterwards. It could have been a little shorter and no one would have minded, but all fine.

At the end, we did some giving out of badges to those who were owed them, and one of my Rainbows made her Promise (she missed doing it the week before), so I’m (was) all up to date with Promises for now – hurrah!

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There with bells on! Rainbows do morris dancing

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Back in the summer, two members of the local morris side kindly came to Rainbows and taught us some dances.

Morris dancing is something close to my heart. I did it for a couple of years with a lovely Cotswold side before I moved to where I live now. I’d been considering joining this local group, so this seemed like a good way to case them out.

They came in their full kit, which caught the Rainbows’ attention, and told us a bit about the history of the group before teaching us a simple(ish) dance. They bravely gave the Rainbows sticks!

The Rainbows made a good effort learning the dance. After a while, they gradually reached the end of their attention, so some went and played with the hoops and skipping ropes while others kept dancing for a while.

It was a good meeting, with no preparation from me needed (yay), and now I think about it, it covered quite a few bases for the girls: exercise, agility, rhythm, working together, and the community they live in.

Rainbow Promise mobiles

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Artist’s impression of me keeping my Rainbow Promise

We managed to get to week 5 of term before doing any craft (well, apart from nature pictures and cake decorating), but finally it was time.

I like craft as much as the next person, as do my Rainbows, but I make a conscious effort not to just do it as a default every week – especially since reading this post by Leslie (it explains the role of craft in Guiding, which I’d never stopped to think about before).

These mobiles come from Roundabout All About Me, so we completed part of our Roundabout as well as reminding ourselves of the Promise – useful as we now have 2 new Rainbows who will be making it soon.

We started with the game where a leader calls out an action (like “sharing toys with my brother or sister”, or “calling my friend nasty names”) and the Rainbows run to one end of the room if they think it’s a way to keep their Promise, and the other end if they think it’s not.

Then we got on with the mobiles. The Rainbows enjoyed it, but it was a scramble for some people to finish them. There are a lot of bits to do: colouring, drawing, writing, threading beads on ribbons, tying ribbons on. Most people finished in the end, but next time I’d either allow more time, have more leaders, or maybe do something to make the beads and ribbons easier to handle.

The idea with the beads is that a Rainbow slides one up to the top every time she does something to keep her Promise. I forgot to ask the next week if anyone had been using theirs…must try to ask next time.

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I promise that I will do my best…

Happy Burns Night!

Last week my Rainbows celebrated Burns Night (a bit early – the great man’s birthday is actually today).

We looked at a map of the UK and after a few wild guesses found Scotland and where we live. We spoke about how far away Scotland is from us. If we’d started driving right after Rainbows, we’d have reached the border around midnight.

Next, a game. I’d printed some pictures of typical Scottish things, and when Unit Helper held up a picture and I called out what it was, the Rainbows had to do an action, as follows.

  • Loch Ness monster – pretend to swim and make splashing noises
  • Highland cow – go on hands and knees, and moo (one Rainbow was excited because she’d seen real highland cattle in Scotland. I have too, so I could agree with her that it’s exciting)
  • Highland dancing – do a dance
  • Bagpipes – pretend to play bagpipes and sing a little tune
  • Porridge – pretend to eat porridge and say “yum yum”
  • Highland games – pretend to toss a caber

When we felt thoroughly immersed in these fine points of Scottish culture, we made tartan bagpipes by sticking strips of paper on a coloured circle, then sticking that on a colouring sheet I made (click to download it). I’d brought a plaid shirt to demonstrate what tartan was, but I had an even better example because one Rainbow deliberately came in a tartan skirt for the occasion!

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This was my demonstration. It’s very bland compared to what the Rainbows did.

While the Rainbows were sticking and colouring, our special guest arrived: a bagpipe player!

A couple of weeks earlier, when I was planning the term, I got in touch with some local pipers and pipe bands on the offchance that anyone was willing to come and play for us for a few minutes free of charge. I got a few very sweet replies saying no, sorry, it’s a busy time of year and they were booked elsewhere. Then I got a yes, so it was well worth asking.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – we hadn’t had much contact other than me telling him the time and place – so I was delighted when in walked a man in full highland dress. The Rainbows were fascinated, and to be honest we adults weren’t far behind. The piper was lovely, and I think he was surprised the Rainbows were so small, so basically we were all in awe of each other.

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We sat down 15 minutes before the end, and he played us a few tunes. It was nice that some parents, Brownies and Brownie leaders were starting to arrive, so they came in and listened too. Well, it was hard not to listen. We meet in quite a big hall so it wasn’t deafening, but a few Rainbows were happier with their hands over their ears. He told us a bit about his pipes, answered some questions, and then it was time for thank yous (we’d made him a card) and goodbyes.

On the way out we gave the Rainbows a taster of shortbread, oatcakes and Edinburgh rock. The Brownies and Guides who meet after us were having haggis, but I wasn’t that brave!

BIG GIG 2014

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A few weeks ago I went to the BIG GIG – a pop concert for members of Girlguiding aged 10+ – with a coachload of Guides, Senior Section and adults from my District.

We left in the afternoon and arrived in Wembley in good time – in fact, so early that we saw everyone coming out of the afternoon concert as we drove past the arena.  It was our first glimpse of groups in matching clothes and/or headgear – we would see many more over the course of the evening – and the Guides were fascinated.  I was happy to hear one of them say in wonder, “and just think, they’re all Guides.”  None of the girls had been to a national guiding event before, and most haven’t even been to a county event, so I think it was a bit of an eye-opener to see that they are part of a huge movement of girls and women like them.

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The coach parked, and we ate our packed teas, applied glitter and handed out matching flashing head boppers before getting off the coach.  We walked past Wembley stadium to the arena, queued for a little while, and then got let inside.  We were among the first, so we found our seats and let the girls go off to the toilet/food stalls/merchandise stalls, while we watched the auditorium fill up.

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Finally, the concert started, and I enjoyed myself much more than I expected.  I knew the atmosphere would be great – with thousands of excited Guides, it couldn’t not be – but I liked the music too!  I didn’t recognise all the artists, but it turned out that I knew quite a few of the songs from the radio, or because they were covers.  There was a good mix of artists – boy bands, girl bands, solo men, solo women, and a dance group – and of genres and songs to appeal to everyone, and I had a good bop along most of the time.  I liked that there was plenty of room in front of the folding seats, so there was space to stand and dance, but also the option of sitting down when one wanted.  I had a good view, but felt for some of our little Guides who managed to be in seats behind tall adults from another group.  Luckily those adults were happy to sit down most of the time; and the Guides spent a lot of the time as far out into the aisle as they could get away with.

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It was a really good trip, and I thoroughly recommend it.  My Guides, from the 10-year-olds to the 14-year-olds, kept saying how much they enjoyed it, and their parents have told us how excited they were to have been to their first concert.  We got the tickets by ballot in the summer, and didn’t find out if we’d got them till the middle of the holidays, so it was a bit of a rush to tell the girls about it and get numbers in the first few weeks of the autumn term, but it was well worth it.

A midsummer night’s campfire

On the longest day of the year – for those of us in the northern hemisphere – another district in my division took over a nearby hostel for a Big Brownie Birthday sleepover.

The hostel is up in the downs above the town where I do my guiding, and has one of my favourite views in the world, looking down over the vale for miles and miles.  (Claim to fame: it’s described in the first chapter of Jude the Obscure).  Sadly I don’t seem to have a photo, but here’s one looking up towards the site.

Countryside with cow parsley, oilseedrape, and rolling hills

It also has great grounds, with a decent-sized wood, camping space, and a big flat area where we’re allowed to build a fire.  My district goes there for a bonfire every November, so it made a change to see it in daylight!

The Brownies arrived in the late afternoon and did some activities and a treasure hunt in the woods.  The Rainbows and Guides joined them for a barbeque and campfire singsong, then left the Brownies and Brownie Guiders to their fate sleepover stay-awake-over.  I didn’t stay overnight, but by all accounts it was good fun and something the Brownies will always remember.

Wait, why was I there?  I was invited to lead the campfire singing.  My usual singing partner, Queen’s Guide Buddy, couldn’t make it, but I was helped by two excellent young leaders from this other district.  They really were great, and I’m sure they could have done it on their own, but the arrangement worked well as I did a few songs they didn’t know, and they did some that I vaguely know but wouldn’t have thought to do (including Bananas of the World. A perfectly fine song, but I have a mental block on leading it).  A couple of other leaders got up and led a song or two as well.

A leader (me) with arms in the air, leading a song

I didn’t take any photos this time, but here I am at another campfire…

The Brownies and Rainbows joined in enthusiastically with everything, and most of the Guides with most of the songs.  We sang for just over an hour, by which time I was getting to the end of my repertoire suitable for all the age range without word sheets.

The campfire ended with everyone (over 100 of us) in a big circle, and some Promise ceremonies and reflections on the Brownie Birthday.  Oh, and it was gloriously sunny throughout.  What a lovely evening, and I’m glad to have been able to join in.

Lots of music and no first aid

My list of “unexpected things I’ve done through guiding” is long and growing.  Some things that spring to mind are being a fairy in Santa’s grotto and doing catering at a wedding and an anniversary party.

Last weekend I added another to the list.  A leader in my District works with a gentleman who helps to organise a music festival where people (mainly children and teenagers) take part in masterclasses and perform in a concert at the end of the weekend.  This year, the venue demanded that they have trained first aiders present, so he called on his Guider colleague, and she called on other leaders to help.

Between three of us we covered the weekend, and very pleasant it was too.  We spent the time sitting in the foyer, reading, knitting and chatting with the people going past.  Save the Children volunteers provided us with refreshments, and we had the chance to wander around the beautiful grounds of the venue.  Fortunately no first aid was needed, not even a plaster, but we received thanks and a kind donation for being there.

I attended the final concert and I was very impressed by the talented performers.  It reminded me of my teenage days playing in orchestras and I feel inspired to pick up my cello a bit more often.  I was even more impressed by the organising committee, who work very hard all year round to make this happen, simply because they love music and want to foster that love in young people.  Hurrah for volunteers!