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Our unit had a pretty awesome last couple of weeks. We did our annual swim meeting (swimming in a public pool with lifeguards is a GREEN level activity), made ice cream, went to a pond on a Saturday, and held a Spark and Brownie Advancement – we used the Guiding Walk of Fame idea from the GGC Can Blog last year. It was a jam-packed May!

Me with a Turtle!!! So fun!

Me with a Turtle!!! So fun!

But I’ve run out of steam and, as much as I love being a Brownie Guider, it is with great joy that I declare that tomorrow is the best day on our Brownie calendar. Tomorrow is the first Brownie Free Tuesday of the Summer!!!! 

If you’re north of the Equator and your meetings haven’t ended yet for the year, they will soon, I bet – although I know that units in the UK hold meetings into July!

Please honour your first Guiding Free Night by doing something for yourself. You’ve volunteered your time for the last nine months and Guiding couldn’t do it without you. Put your feet up, drink some wine, read a book, play with YOUR kids, eat dinner at a reasonable pace with your family… you get the idea.

Happy Guiding Year End. We made it.

Fortunately, this is not something that Brownies and Sparks have to deal with much (yet), but I really like this Scouting Troop’s approach to tech…

This troop’s excellent technology policy is based on the Scout Law

Scouts-using-cellphones-at-jamboree (1)

I know I post a lot of stuff on here from the Idea Room – here’s another gem that hits on Sewing Magic, Earth Day, and Terrific Trash! The cards pictured would be good for Sparks, but I’m sure you can make more complicated ones.

DIY Sewing Cards Made From Recycled Plastic Lids (The Idea Room)

DIY-Sharpie-sewing-cards-from-Childhood-101

Tomorrow night we’re Cleaning the Capital with Sparks for Earth Day. The Weather Network says that the two days of rain we’re currently enjoying (it isn’t snow!) should be done by the time our meeting starts but I wanted a backup plan. We’ll still go out in anything except a thunder storm.

I’ve got a stash of Terrific Trash crafts that will do in a pinch (Thanks to January Thaw).

6:30 – Arrival Game

6:40 – Brownie Inspections

6:50 – Brownie Ring

7:00 Program – Earth Day Quiz – use this as a discussion starter.

Terrific Trash Craft Night! To note, it takes about a year to accumulate enough trash for these crafts so, unless you’re a natural collector, read this meeting and start collecting for next year when Earth Day comes back.

And if we use all of those up, we’ll do some running games and it’ll be fine.

Here’s hoping we end up tromping around in a squishy field in our rubber gloves with black garbage bags. I like that we’ll be outside.  =)

Happy Earth Day.

The author of this blog (which was highlighted on the PEI Facebook page) makes Shell Pendants. I imagine you could do the same with small rocks or other keepsakes with your Brownies.

Go to Easy Salt Dough Keepsakes – Shell Pendant on Red Ted Art.

Shell-Pendants-making-holiday-memories

Brownies are going camping in the next couple of weeks and we’ve been quietly covering most of the Key to Camping requirements.  But there have been a few gaps and this meeting should fill those… but it won’t be very comprehensive for those of you covering this key (sorry about that).

compass_rose_by_draconicparagon-d6rjgqi

6:30 Arrival Game – girls choice (the girls love making games up so it works).

6:40 Circle Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

7:00 Key to Camping

  • Discussion – Camping know how – Organize the food and cooking plans with your unit, so that everyone has a job. How do we organize ourselves at camp? (Patrols). what kind of chores do we do? What should our patrol names be this time?
  • Discussion – Lost & found in the outdoors Hug a Tree Program 
  • Teach (Which Way badge) – what are compasses? What are cardinal points?  An instrument containing a magnetized pointer that shows the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it. (Google)

7:15 – Game – Cardinal Points game from Becky’s site

7:25 – Activity – Compass Drawings from Becky’s site.  You need dots pages or graph paper, pencils.

7:35 – Introduce Thinking day – Guiding with Jewels has a great intro.  (we’ll do the first part of the discussion)

7:45 – Songs – featuring Hey Hey Hey, it’s Thinking Day and Twelve Days of Girl Guide Camp and a few other songs.

7:55 Close and wrap up.

Together with Guider Amanda (a Community Guider and Sparks Leader in Ottawa), I led a session about Ceremonies at the recent January Thaw Event (see Guider Training Days!) and I think it went well. Here’s part 1 of our notes.

What is a Ceremony? What kinds of ceremonies do we have in Guiding?

As Becky says in her blog: A ceremony is something a group does to make an ordinary event special, or to add significance to a special occasion. Read on here for Becky’s tips and wisdom on ceremonies.

Guiding has a lot of ceremonies. Some of them are the everyday ones like our Openings and Closings. And others are special like enrollments, advancements and Thinking Day ceremonies.

Traditional vs. non-traditional ceremonies

We set up our presentation as sort of a debate, with me standing up for why we should be doing more traditional ceremonies, and Amanda standing up for innovation, imagination and forward thinking.

In defense of tradition

  • The definition of tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation (Google).
  • Guiding is memorable…I meet many women who, when they found out I am a Guider, remember fondly the “tu-whit, tu-whit, tu-whoo”; ask if we still “twist me and turn me with the pond and stepping stones?”; or tell me about their Guider who made them practice a flag ceremony over and over and about how, when they got it, they were so proud. I want to give the girls today that sort of memory.

    A Jamaican Brownie Pack Enrollment

  • Pro – When we do the traditional ceremonies, the girls see us waving our Guiding flag. Guiding does things just a bit little differently and in order to become a member you need to learn how we do things.
  • Pro – girls will hopefully hear my enthusiasm for the traditions that are important to me.
  • Pro – we keep the magic of Guiding alive by honouring the past and looking to the future.
  • Con – tradition can be stodgy and not with the times. You may hear “not again!”.
  • Con – doing the same old thing is not tradition if you’re doing it “just because.” Sticking with tradition isn’t right if you’re unwilling to do something different because it is hard to change or because it might not work.

In defense of non-traditional ceremonies

  • Non-traditional doesn’t mean that you’re abandoning the purpose of the ceremony.
  • It gives you flexibility in your planning. For example, this fall badge sashes and ties were back ordered in the GGC store and it was uncertain whether or not they’d ship in time for enrollment… so Amanda’s unit did a Halloween enrollment ceremony. Can you imagine a Darth Vader with a Sparks sash? Hilarious, memorable, flexible, and it fit the day.

    Imagine this with a Sparks Sash. =)

  • By going with a non-traditional ceremony, it acknowledges that Girl Guides of Canada is changing with the times.
  • Younger girls benefit from non-traditional ceremonies – they experience a ceremony that they’re interested/engaged in.
  • Older girls are given the opportunity to practice their leadership and organizational skills because they get input.
  • Pro – Planning flexibility.
  • Pro – Can incorporate other badge challenge work or special events.
  • Pro – Inclusive for those girls and leaders who are new to Guiding and who aren’t as familiar with tradition.
  • Pro – Avoids the “we do it this way because that’s the way it has always been done”.
  • Pro – Starts a new tradition.
  • Con – can give too much freedom so that GGC values are not represented or the importance of the moment is lost.

In the end though, there is no wrong way to do it. And why not mix the two?

Part II will appear next week covering how to teach leadership to girls.

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