Before I was properly working on my Adult Leadership Qualification, when I was at university and had only been helping at a Brownie Pack for a couple of months, the Brown Owl of the pack did something absolutely terrifying. She put me in charge of running a badge. This is something I could do now without panicking but at the time it was a really big deal for me.
I can’t find the information booklet relating to this badge as it was a challenge badge rather than one from the Brownie Book, but it was called The World On Our Doorstep. For the badge, the girls had to do different activities relating to different countries around the world but also to different counties around the county. I was in charge of organising each country and counties activity, based on the ideas within the booklet and my own ideas as well as explaining to the girls what the badge was about and what it meant we would be doing.
This was the time I first learnt what was meant by the running joke that Guiding is ‘Just an hour and a half each week’ (said sarcastically, of course). I also learnt in this time how fun guiding is and why so many leaders stick around for so long, despite having so many other commitments.
During this time I learnt to trust my ideas, something that has been an important part of my guiding journey. I started the badge by talking to the Brown Owl about every thought I had and finished it with a newfound confidence that I could come up with ideas without having to get them approved every five minutes. Although this was a stressful time for me, as I didn’t believe I had what it took to be a helper, let alone run activities, it has proven to be invaluable to my experience of Guiding and was a large stepping stone to where I am now as a confident, trained leader.
Surprisingly, to myself, I managed to get through my final meeting with this Brownie pack without crying. For the most part, I just felt strange, like I couldn’t quick believe it was real that I wouldn’t be coming back. There were a few moments that were tough when Girl N commented that I shouldn’t have drawn a smiley face, I should’ve drawn a sad face because I’m leaving was one. Another was when I said I would visit at Christmas and Girl Z said: “Everyone says that and no one ever does.” I definitely intend to if I am back before they break for Christmas, which I should be.
The night was a good one. At the beginning of the evening, we did the present giving. This included me giving the girls the Owl plushies I had made them and the other presents I had got for the leaders. We also gave the Six prizes to the Gnomes who got the most points this term. And I was given some presents from Brown Owl to say thank you and goodbye. I was somewhat overwhelmed by how thoughtful the presents were. There was a book giftcard to help towards my reading list; a small Brownies notebook; a keyring with pictures of my city on them and a BeanieBoos Owl. There was also a card with owls on it that everyone signed. I really will treasure them.
With Eagle Owl’s assistance, we make concertina butterflies. The girls seemed to love this activity, even if they did spend some time insisting they look like JoJo Bows rather than butterflies. They were a really cute activity and I have to admit I had fun making one myself.
The minister from the church was with us for the evening, joining in with activities. He brought with him a giant parachute that we played games with. As we’re only a small pack and this parachute was huge, we did have some issues making it go up and down, but we got there and it was certainly a lot of fun. Once we were done playing with the parachute, we made a den using chairs and the parachute.
With the den made, the girls were given cookies and milk which they took into the den to eat. There were a few complaints about the roof hitting their heads but for the most part, they really seemed to enjoy the novelty of it and they did help to make it so that it pretty awesome. At the end of the meeting, the minister took some pictures from me, of all the girls and the leaders. There was one girl away which was a shame but I’m glad to have a few pictures with most of the girls and all of the leaders.
I’m definitely going to miss this pack and really hope I am able to visit it. I’m so excited to see what my pack in my uni city will be like. It’ll be my first time going into a pack already having my ALQ and I can’t wait to get stuck in with new ideas and new girls. For now, it’ll be a summer of working on finishing my Look Wider.
When it came to taking the girls to the quay this summer term, I knew I wanted to organise the trip. The quay in my city is a really beautiful area that I love to spend time at. I created three pages of activity sheets for the girls to complete as we went for our walk around. I ended up spending quite a lot of time on this, involving me going to the
I ended up spending quite a lot of time on this, involving me going to the quay a couple of times. Page one was what needed the most work, at the quay I took some pictures from obscure angles for them to work out what was, and answer questions relating to. Page two was a checklist to tick off if they have seen things such as a paddleboat, a black dog, a person with a buggy, etc and tagged onto the bottom of that was random questions such as ‘name three types of birds you have seen’. Page three was a free for all, it was split into four sections titled “three different shape leaves”, “ice cream”, “a bird”, and “a bridge” which they had to draw.
The evening ended up being a lot of fun. There were some disputes from the girls, such as “But I’ve seen a dog surely it counts,” / “it says a black dog, that dog is white” and “Why would there be an umbrella in the sun?” / “Look over the tables” but they seemed to enjoy the scavenger hunt of different activities.
I want to take a moment to talk about how proud I am of one of my Brownies. Earlier this term she was due to do her Promise but she suffers from anxiety pretty badly. Now, I can relate to this and it breaks my heart to think of a child only 7 or 8 going through that sort of hell. She was scared about doing her promise in front of everyone and a lot of discussion went on between her parents and Brown Owl to try and find what was best for her. We even suggested that she could do her promise once all the Brownies had gone just in front of Brown Owl.
In the end she came to the meeting, albeit scared and upset, and her Dad spent some time in the meeting with her, and some time waiting outside of the meeting room while she joined in with the activities. In the end, she agreed to do her promise in front of everyone as long as she could whisper it. She did so, with us all there and her Dad watching from the doorway.
Once she had finished the promise and the law, without any prompting from the leaders, the girls started clapping. They were clearly so happy for her that she had been able to overcome that fear and do it anyway, and I was just so proud of all of them for supporting her in such a way.
This is what GirlGuiding is all about.
This week, rather than meeting at the church hall, we took our girls to the local fire station. The Dad of girl R is a fireman so it had been relatively easy for Brown Owl to organise this trip to make finishing the Fire Safety badge more interesting. I figured the girls would enjoy the trip but I was surprised by just how much they seemed to love it. There was a point were girls J and C were bouncing up and down and telling us that this was the best trip ever.
During the evening, the girls were shown the firefighters uniform and the man leading the evening explained why they were so heavy and hot to wear. During this part of the evening, Brown Owl and I had the opportunity to try out the uniform. Putting them on in the middle of a heatwave was not ideal as everything is so large and heavy. Of course, this is completely necessary as it is to protect them from the smoke and fire. I found it almost impossible to even take a step with the boots on and they walk as though they are just normal boots. I already respected firefighters but I definitely gained a new level of respect seeing and learning everything up close.
The girls were given the opportunity to see the different parts of a Fire Engine and were taught all about why they are there and what they are used for. They even got the opportunity to get up into the Fire Engine and learn about how the firefighters act when they have to go to a call out.
Towards the end of the evening, we all got the opportunity to have a go with the hoses on the fire engine. This was great fun for Brownies and leaders alike. We were shown how to make the water faster or slower and we were aiming for a turned over rubbish bin and saw how the force of the water made it move.
This was a wonderful night and it was so great to see the girls really enjoying themselves as they learnt about it all and completed their Fire Safety badge. Honestly something I would recommend to all Brownie packs.
Complete My ALQ.
Working on my Adult Leadership Qualification was an almost four-year journey full of false starts, a lack of understanding and stressing out about what things meant. However, as time went on my confidence in myself as a leader grew, making it easier for me to work through the qualification and eventually actually finish it.
I first started my LQ while with my first Brownie pack in my university city. However, with them, I felt rather rushed and some things that were ticked off I did not feel as though I had done or done well enough to have ticked off. Because of this when I moved home after uni and started with my current pack, I requested to start my leadership again. This was by far the best decision I could’ve made. The pack, when I joined only had three girls and the Brown Owl was also new. Between us we grew the pack into what it now is, gaining new girls and seeing them move on to guides. Although I did not take the name, I was acting in the position of a Tawny Owl. This meant that I was and am extremely hands-on in the running of the pack, I take on a number of activities, attend all the planning meetings, and get involved with the parents when it is necessary.
Due to this hands on approach I had and have with the pack, I was able to get work through my LQ in a way that I was confident and happy with. The fact that this Brown Owl gave me a lot more support was also helpful. The LQ is split into four modules and the fact that I have done all four of them means that technically I could be Brown Owl of my own pack, although I do not feel close to ready for that. One day though.
For the LQ, I had to work on a number of different things, including planning activities, attending district and planning meetings, arranging an activity outside of the meeting place, participating in Powwows, discussing subjects with individual girls and working with the Brownie Finances. In truth, I felt confident as a leader long before my LQ was officially all signed off, but due to struggling to find a Safeguarding training that I could get to officially finishing it was delayed.
However, in October last year, I finished it and the District Commissioner signed everything off for me. At the Thinking Day event this year, I was present with my Leader’s badge which was a wonderful moment and it now proudly resides on my badge tab.
Taking the girls out of the meeting place is always great fun, and the wonderful thing about taking them bowling is that they are able to make that bit more noise. A Bowling Alley is an overly loud place as it is, so if the girls are shouting a bit more than usual no one is going to notice. It’s good to give the girls that bit more freedom.
We had booked for 12 girls but one didn’t come and another left Brownies altogether before the bowling night, so only 10 girls came. This meant the four adults split into two teams and took turns bowling. I worked with our newest leader Eagle Owl, while Brown Owl and Fluffy Owl worked together.
We had two games of Bowling and some food. There was a bit of a mix up with the food as we were told we would be able to get kids menu food but we weren’t. However, it wasn’t too much of a problem and all of the girls ate and enjoyed their food. All of the girls enjoyed the bowling as well. Some of the littler ones started off using the shoot but eventually went to just bowling free. It was terrifying seeing girl C2 lifting the bowling bowl and walking up to throw it. She is only 7 and barely looks big enough to be a Brownie so it was easy to believe that bowling bowl could send her toppling over.
Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to the Bowling Alley with the Brownies if some things didn’t go wrong. A couple of times the ball got stuck in the gutter. We had the sides up to prevent goings into the gutter, but somehow Girl N managed to get the ball to bounce and land in the gutter a couple of times anyway. And then there was the one time the ball was thrown down the aisle before the aisle was ready and so got stuck in front of the cage around the pins. All easily sorted and things the bowling staff are used to, just a little hilarious for us leaders.
All in all, Leaders not included Girl A got the most points. Next week at Brownies I’m going to tell everyone what their total scores over the two games were.