Towards the end of the summer holidays, we had a big clear-out of the Guide hall. It had been almost a year since the last one, and although leaders in some units had been good and kept their areas tidy, others (ahem…like my unit…) needed an incentive to sort things out before the new term. It also gave us a chance to tidy and clear the communal areas.
First, an introduction to the hall. We’re lucky that it’s ours: it belongs to the district. All the units and the Trefoil Guild meet there, apart from one Brownie unit and the Rangers. That’s partly because they meet at the same time as other groups, and partly a hangover from when there used to be two Districts in town.
There is an entrance hall with coat hooks and cupboards, some for units and some for shared stationery/craft things. There’s a main room with some more unit cupboards and wall displays (as I’ve mentioned before, it’s small – comfortable for up to about 30 people), a tiny kitchen, and a tiny toilet and a handwashing room where we keep the Brownie Promise paraphernalia. Finally there’s a store room where each unit has shelves to keep their larger things, and we keep more shared stuff like games equipment, cooking equipment that doesn’t fit in the kitchen, future tombola prizes, flags, old annuals and handbooks, the vacuum cleaner, etc. etc. There’s a little paved area in front of the hall, but no other outdoor space, so we rely on kind neighbours letting us use their gardens, or else going out somewhere public like the park.
On the clear-out evening, we emptied as much of the store room into the main hall as we could, and tried to be as ruthless as possible about throwing away things that were no longer needed/never used. So long, punctured footballs! Adios, empty glue bottles! Cheerio, excessive amounts of mediocre scrap paper! Some things, we agreed, were fun to make but really didn’t have a long-term life of use: goodbye, giant Brownie-made snakes and ladders board! Farewell, giant Guide-made Chinese dragon!
Some people sorted things that had got muddled up, e.g. putting the bean bags in one box and the juggling balls in another. I spent some time sorting out my own unit’s craft crates. I’m now pleased to say that we have one for paper and funky foam, one for other indoor craft bits (e.g. pipe cleaners, ribbons, tape), and one for random/outdoor things (e.g. string, matches, horseshoes).
It helped that we had agreed on a time limit of an hour and a half, so we knew we wouldn’t be stuck there all night. We overran a little, but eventually everything was back in place looking beautifully tidy and organised, and we had lots of bin bags to take home.
It was also a good chance to catch up with leaders from other units, find out how their summers had been, how their pack holidays and camps had gone, get bits of leadership and residential qualifications signed off, talk about what we were all doing this term, and generally have a good chat. By the end of the evening, I felt just about ready to start the term!