Tag Archives: visitors

There with bells on! Rainbows do morris dancing

morris 2 - Copy.jpg

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.


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!

bagpipe colouring

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.

burns night (1) - Copy

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!

First aid part 2

The nurse who is a once-and-hopefully-future Guider came back for a second week and ran a meeting for the Guides about the “other bits” of first aid: bleeding, choking, burns, fits, fractures, sprains, and so on.  Again, this was nice and easy for the leaders – all we had to do was a bit of watching and helping.  Queen’s Guide Buddy and I sat in a corner and did some planning for our exploration.

The Guides were very good and patient through a meeting that involved quite a lot of sitting and listening, with a few quiz sheets and a bit of practical bandaging and sling-tying.  It’s definitely the air of authority and unfamiliarity that our nurse friend has – they’d never listen to their usual leaders for so long at a stretch!  To be fair, they were genuinely interested, and quite a few of them wanted to share first aid situations that they’d been in.  Next week we’ll make it up to them with an evening of games and activities in the dark.

First aid part 1

This week, a nurse and former Guider came to do some first aid with the Guides.  This is a lady whom Unit Leader recruited into guiding many years ago, who was heavily involved for many years but has stepped out of it for the last ten years or so.  She came to the BIG GIG with us, so I wonder if Unit Leader is trying to re-recruit her…

What all this means is that she knows her stuff, knows how Guides work, and was quite happy to take charge of the meeting, so the rest of us didn’t have to do much except a bit of watching and helping.  Lovely!  The girls liked seeing a new face – they listen more when it’s someone they don’t know! – and they covered responses to finding a casualty, the recovery position and chest compressions, and did some quiz sheets about this and about healthy lifestyles.  She is coming back next week to cover “the rest of first aid” – I’m looking forward to it.

Guide Dogs

For our last meeting of term, we had two special guests: a guide dog (actually a former breeding bitch for guide dogs who hadn’t been a guide dog herself) and her owner, who spoke about the charity Guide Dogs and the work they do.

This wasn’t part of a badge or challenge that we’re doing, but I think the visit happened through one of those offchances where he got talking to one of our leaders and offered to visit, and they accepted because you don’t refuse when someone offers their services to guiding!  Anyway, it was a really interesting evening and we all learned a lot.

We knew he was due to arrive half an hour after our meeting started, so we started off with a quiz about Guide Dogs.  I made some multiple choice questions using the information on the charity’s website and this unofficial quiz, printed a copy for each patrol, and gave them to the patrols to work on as they arrived.  When they finished the questions, they wrote down ideas for questions to ask our visitor.  He arrived just as we were going through the answers, which worked out well as during his talk he referred to some of the answers, and clarified a few answers which didn’t give the full picture.

I was mightily impressed with the Guides, who sat and listened brilliantly for an hour – I’ve never seen them so quiet!  A lot of this was due to the dog, who was the real star of the evening.  It was very relaxing just watching her snoozing, scratching and pottering around the room.  Her owner said that he’d found having a dog around had great effects: for example, it makes people donate more money and makes school children better-behaved.  The Guides (those who wanted to) got to give her a treat at the end.

Our visitor had a lot to say about the charity, and it made me appreciate just how many people and how much time and money it takes to provide guide dogs to blind and partially-sighted people.  He also had some entertaining stories, such as dogs he had known who were afraid of wheelbarrows and telephone boxes.  His main role as a volunteer now is to do talks like this, and I’d recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about this charity.

The timing was good, too, as the Guides are helping out at the “blind club” at a local day centre in a couple of weeks’ time, so it’s got them thinking about this topic and hopefully will encourage them to come (although dogs are not guaranteed).