Tag Archives: sleepover

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


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!

We’re going on a night hike

At the end of June, I went with the Guides on what has become our annual night hike and sleepover.  We’ve been doing it for so long, mainly thanks to the leader of the other Guide unit in my district, that as long as nothing unexpectedly goes wrong (which it didn’t this year), it runs like a well-oiled dream.

Here’s how it works: everyone arrives at a local village hall at 9:30pm, dumps their overnight gear in a suitable spot, gets their beds out, and gets ready to walk.

Guides standing ready for a walk

This year we took a bumper crop of 36 Guides from 5 units in the division.  We leave as soon as possible, before it’s properly dark, leaving our torches off to make the most of the remains of the daylight, and use our night vision.

As an aside, night walking is one of my favourite things to do in guiding.  It’s such a simple activity, but for a lot of Guides, especially the young ones, it’s a new experience to be out so late, and to take pleasure from walking in the dark.  I love it how the things we see, hear and smell at night are different from in the daytime, and how conversations open up in a way they wouldn’t if you could see each other.  I love showing the Guides that darkness isn’t something they have to avoid or be afraid of.

Anyway, we walk up to the downs and along a ridge, admiring the night-time view.  This year we saw two firework displays going on!  Usually some people make their Promise here.

Guides making the Promise sign

Then we turn our torches on and walk down in a loop back to the hall, arriving about midnight, where some kind volunteer has stayed behind to get hot chocolate and biscuits ready for us.  Everyone gets ready for bed…

A Guide's feet in pyjamas, on a sleeping bag

…stays up chatting and midnight feasting…

Guides having a midnight snack

…and eventually drops off (I called it a day at 2:15; the last Guides were nattering till 3am).  This can be a very productive time for leaders!  It’s a chance to catch up with leaders from other units, and to talk without the pressures of a unit meeting.  Last year we helped someone to finish signing off their Leadership Qualification; this year we did some much-needed planning of the programme for camp.

In the morning, leaders start crashing about getting breakfast ready at 6:30 or so, we have a leisurely breakfast (in this case drinks, cereal and eggy bread, yum), everyone gets dressed, packed up and tidied, and if there’s time, the Guides have a play in the play park outside until they’re picked up at 8 o’clock.  The leaders do a last sweep of the hall and off we all go!

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.

Pack holiday planning

Last year on a First Response course, I met an old friend from school and Brownies who had returned to the area. She was doing guiding not far from where I live (my Guides are in a different town), so I offered my services if she needed an extra pair of hands occasionally.

This year, she invited me to a Brownie holiday (with Rainbow sleepover on the last night) as they needed extra leaders. I said yes, and a couple of weeks ago I went along to their planning meeting.

The holiday is in August, finishing the day before my Guides’ camp starts – yay for the quick turnaround! – and is in the same place!

It was nice to meet leaders I’d only had email contact with before. They were very welcoming and it sounds like their units are great fun. We talked about the usual things – programme, food, roles, sleeping arrangements etc. – and I chipped in a few activity ideas which I think were well received. I’m quite excited about going away with them, and about the theme, which is “Down on the farm”. In fact, I’m stealing a few ideas for my Guides’ wild west-themed camp, as there’s a bit of overlap in terms of horses and cows.