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I’ve been writing this site for a while so I’ve got a library of Getting Started notes… We’re a month away from our first meeting so still clinging to summer for a bit (although we have two Guider gatherings next week).

Here are some things to get you started…

For a bunch of years I’ve been camping with a group of friends (including my sister and her family) on the July/August long weekend. One of the traditions for this trip has been the “Auntie Cara Project” where I draw on my Brown Owl skills to either repeat something Brownies did last year that was fantastic, or use my family as testers for something I’d like to do with the unit next year.

This year we did something new. We made a few different types of Bracelets and they were a huge hit for both the kids (even the seven year olds) and adults.

Other years we’ve done: 

  • Ice Cream – this was great fun in the Brownie unit, but I made one of the Auntie Cara kids barf (It was a hot day and he was really tired – in my defense). =)
  • Tie Dye – this was our very favourite project. Just get a kit from Walmart, have everyone bring a cotton item (or go to a thrift store and buy up all the cotton pillow cases). You do the craft as per the box, stick the whole thing in a zip bag to set for at least 24 hours, then tell parents to wash it (per the instructions on the box) when they get home. Easy peasy – really fun. Check out this Instructables tutorial. 
  • Edible Campfire – another huge hit. We did the candy version.
  • Plastic canvas embroidery – this was GREAT!

How’s your summer going? We’ve got five more Brownie Free Tuesdays and I am going to make the most of them!

Girl Guides of Prince Edward Island shared this on their Facebook page today and I think this is COOL. We’re doing Key to the Arts (Act it Out) this year and this might be a nifty craft to make that happen.

Check out DIY Spoon Puppets from Kid Play Do.

One of the truths about being a Guider is that we accumulate a lot of stuff through the year. Aside from the camping gear, ceremonial items and paperwork, there are a heck of a lot of craft bits and supplies that need to be dealt with.

I spent some time sorting out our Brownie Mountain last week (does your Guiding stuff have a name?) and man does it feel good. Guiders tend to be thrifty, we don’t want to see things go to waste and we know that this stuff could probably be used later. The problem with this is that WE are often providing the storage. And, since we don’t actually own the stuff, there may be expectations (imposed by ourselves or by others) about what to keep.

Here’s how I approached Brownie Mountain…

  • Keep things you’ll use … pipe cleaners/chenille sticks, paper, glue, markers, scissors, crayons, pencils, zip bags, safety pins, beads, etc. Discard anything that is scruffy, dried up, or broken.
  • Keep things only if you have enough of them for your unit…
    • Give away your small batches of extras that didn’t get used – offer them on a Freecycle or Guiding Facebook list. Or give them to a thrift store. I donated nine small straw witch brooms from a Halloween craft we did more than five years ago – they came in packages of ten and I had 21 girls. There were lots of other similar examples, but you get the idea.
    • Re-sort the extras into a useful package for later. Create a miscellaneous craft box.
    • Or put the item on your shopping list to get more if you’ll use them.
  • Get rid of things you haven’t used or won’t use… I gave away some weird blue fuzzy yarn that was only good for the craft we used it for three years ago. We also don’t paint (because of our space) so the box of paint gear went too. If you haven’t brought it out in more than a year, you can probably let it go.
  • Be realistic...know your available space and only keep things that fit in it. If you collected 20 coffee cans to make ice cream at camp this year, you probably won’t use them for a while and storing them is probably impractical. But, before you recycle them, 20 coffee cans might be useful to someone else, so consider offering them as a lot to a Guiding Facebook group (advertise it as a ready-made ice cream meeting kit), or Freecycle group!
  • Gifts… As other units and Guiders sort through their own stuff you’ll sometimes get bags of yarn, old resources, and other things that may (or may not) be useful to you. Try to process their treasures quickly. Be on the lookout for badges and crests, out of print Guiding books, unit scissors, compasses, wide game supplies and craft kits. Pass the rest on…again through Freecycle, GGC Facebook groups, and thrift stores.
  • Take inventory.
    • Make a shopping list for September as you pitch things. Are you short of scissors or do yours need to be replaced?Have you just thrown out all of your markers because they were all dried out?
    • Use your inventory list when you’re doing your planning meeting in September. If you have a stash of something that could be used up for program, that’ll mean that your budget can be spent elsewhere.

My Mom – who laughs because she agrees with this post but she knows that I don’t always follow my own advice – has the last word today. She says to imagine that you had to pay for a storage unit to store your Guiding stuff. What would make it into that paid unit, and what wouldn’t?

Happy summer. =) Here’s one of my vacation pics.

DSCF1447

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

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