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Archive for the ‘Ceremonies Enrollment & Advancement’ Category

I just saw this on a Facebook post on the Ontario Girl Guides – unofficial page. It is BRILLIANT and I need to remember.

The question was… how do you teach the Girl Guide Handshake?54a487a343de5279e847ff08b50e5143

Lisa G’s answer was: We do Handshake Murder. It’s like Wink Murder but with handshakes. The girls mingle and walk around shaking hands with everyone they meet (doing the sign and left hand shake). One girl is the murderer. When she shakes hands with someone she squeezes three times to show that she is killing them. The victim has to shake hands with at least two more people before dying (as dramatically as possible 😛 ). There’s also one girl who’s the detective and has to guess who the murderer is before everyone dies. (Monday, September 18, 2017, Lisa G)

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There’s a lot to do to be ready for advancement … whether you join a district/neighbourhood event or do your own unit celebration.

Here is my Advancement To Do list:

  • Purchase any Advancement Insignia for your girls who are moving up.  The Girl Guide Store sells the pins and certificates you need.  You’ll know how many girls are advancing all year so buy these things early to keep shipping costs down.  Our order was done in March.
    browniekeypin130111_m
  • Prepare a Welcome Token from your unit to any girls joining you from the unit below.  These should not be expensive (seriously, think token), but should have a card or note attached with your unit info and how to contact you.
    • As part of our advancement prep/Brownie Memories meeting, we make Friendship Bracelets from twisted crochet cotton to be given as welcome gifts to Sparks who are coming up to Brownies.  They’re stapled to a small card that says “We can’t wait to be your friend”.  These cost us nearly nothing because we used supplies we had on hand.  Yarn, crochet cotton or embroidery floss would all work.
    • Guides in our area usually give advancing Brownies a flower (they get grocery store flowers).
    • Hat Crafts or Traders are perfect for this.
    • Pathfinders gave advancing Guides a green squishy toy that I think came from the Dollar Store.  Again, inexpensive is good.
  • Make/buy Goodbye Gifts – it is nice to give your advancing girls a small gift from the unit as they leave. Don’t spend too much money (We make our gift for around $3 per girl and I’ve seen units spend upwards of $10 per girl – make a budget and shop early to save money).
    • Sometimes a letter is the best gift of all.  Spark Guider Claudia was highlighted on the GirlGuidesCANblog because of her lovely letters to departing girls in 2012.
    • The Girl Guide Shop has a Gifts Section.  Our Spark Unit gave their girls a mug.
    • Or do a special crest from The Girl Guide Store or E-patches & Crests.
    • I have (or my Mom has) made hand made ditty bags for our advancing girls every year for eight years.
      Partly because we wanted to send girls up to Guides with a proper ditty bag (some were pretty bad) and also because it solves the problem identified in the next bullet – packaging.  We put any crests or badges we need to give them in the bag.  The Brownie Key Pin is on the outside.  Certificates go inside.
      dittybag2014-05-26 11.15.18
  • No matter what you give as a gift, pay attention to packaging – after you hand the girl their insignia, gift, crests/badges and certificate… they’re going to go on to the next person who will want to shake their hand with the full Brownie sign to boot.  This is difficult to do with your hands full.  And things are less likely to go astray if they’re already in a bag with handles they can slip over their arms.
  • Plan the ceremony – and share the details with the other units (if you’re participating, make sure you get the event plan).  Practice with your girls so they know what to expect (we didn’t and that was a shame).  If the other units need to bring things, let them know.  This year was a success – a first for me as I wasn’t in charge (that was a nice change).  Guider Michelle led us through Building a Campfire from Becky’s Guiding Resource

    Campfire2014-05-27 07.04.27

    Starry Owl – our Fire Master. (With Ditty Bags in the background)

  • Decide about food and consider not having a treat… Food always sounds like a good idea that is just a part of every celebration. But we decided not to serve food at this advancement… (1) if it rained and we needed to go inside, we are not permitted to eat in the gym; (2) sugary snacks before bed aren’t good for kiddos; (3) allergies were a factor; and (4) parents just want to get out of there at the end (hockey playoffs).
  • At the event, go with the flow.  You should have an idea of what is going to happen – but sometimes they sneak one by you.

    Our ACL Pat Kaefer presented me with a Gold Merit Medal.

    Our ACL Pat Kaefer presented me with a Gold Merit Medal.

I hope you’ve all had a great Guiding year.  Enjoy some time off.  You’ve earned it.

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This is a quick post to tell you that tonight is our neighbourhood Advancement. All levels will be represented up to Pathfinders and we’re using a favourite ceremony – our simple version of Building a Campfire that originates (as most things do) on Becky’s Guiding Resource. I’ll let you know how it goes, and give you a full post on how we handle “Fly Up” including gifts, crests, and certificates.

Think good thoughts for a sunny evening (or even just an evening without rain).

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We’ve had a blast this year – fantastic girls, super-supportive parents, excellent activities, a Guiding team that works so well together, two terrific camps, and (superstitious Cara is reluctant to say it) no disasters.  And we only have three more meetings (including Advancement).

Here’s what we’re up to:

  • We’re almost full for next year. Online Registration is awesome as far as we’re concerned. It is a little stressful for girls who are moving units (we’re in a bit of a competitive area) and I don’t know if there’s much we can do about that, but it is nice to know we’ll be full and to have a good estimate of Fall Cookie orders to get.
  • Two weeks ago we tried out a pilot for a water safety program. I’ll share more if it gets picked up. If it doesn’t, I’ll share what I can as a meeting in a box (but I think it will get picked up). It was great.
  • Last week we were at the pool to do our annual modified Brownie Splash meeting. Seriously fun. If you can swing it, go during public swim at your pool. You can’t go wrong.

    2013-04-30 iPhone 001

    My fake-out camp blanket – only 5% of crests are sewn on.

  • Tonight we’re doing Brownie Memories – with a friendship bracelet craft.
  • Next week will be our last meeting for the year in our space … we’re going to do bubble experiments and play with bubbles outside. Not sure what the plan is yet, but I’ll share the results with you (pray for sun!)
  • And then it’ll be Advancement.
  • And then Brownie Free Tuesdays (15 of them – but I’m not counting).

Being Brown Owl is one of my favourite things…but even I am running out of steam. Three more weeks. We can do this.

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Last night we had a Thinking Day prep meeting – we used the “History of Guiding” Instant Meeting from e-patches and crests as the outline.  I love instant meetings – check out the e-Patches & Crests site for lots of other neat ideas.

6:30 – arrival game – Evolution.

6:40-6:55 – Brownie inspections and Opening Circle

7:00 – Program

  • Read part 1 of the story from the e-Patches and crests History of Guiding Instant Meeting (We skipped the paper hats thing – our local schools have a lice problem and we’re doing our very best to stop the spread.  Blech).  Instead we suggested girls should imagine that they’re pretending to get dressed to join a Scout meeting.
  • Game – Strega Comanda Color from the instant meeting.  Our review: it was a neat game.  The girls loved it.
  • Part 2 of the story
  • Game – Bowitgee (from the instant meeting) – we didn’t have a ball on hand so I used a rubber chicken instead.  The girls also loved this game (possibly more so because of the rubber chicken factor).  I liked it because of its positive message.
  • Part 3 of the story.
  • Discussion about the story … which is rather old fashioned and talks about girls not being able to do things that our girls think of as commonplace.  And about the World Friendship Fund collection… we distributed labeled water bottles as Coin Savers for Thinking Day.

7:30 – Leftover craft from Lunar New Year celebration.  Tissue Paper flowers.

7:55 – Closing.

At the end of every new game we’ve started to ask the girls for a review.  Did they like the game?  What did they like best?  What didn’t they like?  Were the instruction clear?  The questions give us a good idea of what they like (and don’t), and where our weak points are in the explanations of games.

Why there’s a photo of glue on this Thinking Day post.  We’ve known for a while that white glue turns into a gloppy mess if it freezes.  What I didn’t know is that clear glue seems to hold its consistency well if it freezes and defrosts.  Canadian Guiders should consider this if they need to leave glue in a car for any length of time in the winter.  Cool!

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I was going to write about our Key to STEM Building UP and People in Science meeting for today, but I’ve run out of time and I’ll do that later.  For now, I’ll tell you about an idea that we came up with that is very useful.

Problem: As we are a unit that has a favourite Enrollment Ceremony (we really like the “Twist me and Turn me” one) we’ve been saddled with the burden of managing a mirror that subs in for a pond once a year.  The rest of the year it lives in Brownie Mountain (aka the storage space in my coat closet, dining room, living room, etc…). We’ve had a few mirrors over the years, the first one was huge.  The second was smaller, but we left it somewhere.  And last year I took one from my own wall at home.  Storing such a clunky and breakable item was not my happy place.

Solution: An Emergency Blanket has proven to be the ticket.  And the crinklyer the better to make it look like water (so squish it back into a bag for next time).  If it is a big group being enrolled all at once, make a big pond.  If it is a small group, or just one girl, make a smaller pond.  Simple, cheap, easily found.  Awesome.

Our "pond" is bunched up on the stage to the right.

Our “pond” is bunched up on the stage to the right of Snowy Owl Christine and Starry Owl Chan.

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Tuesday’s meeting was our neighbourhood enrollment ceremony.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

  • Where to hold the event… and where do they sit?  As Brownies has the largest space for the longest time in the neighbourhood, it fell to us to host.  The thing is, the fire code in our space allows 100 people if we have chairs but 300 people if we don’t have chairs.  We either had to limit the guest list or advise parents that we weren’t going to provide chairs (there was limited seating on some school benches, but that was it).  We went with the second option.  It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t horrible either (I say that as someone who stood most of the evening).
  • Shopping: Other years we’ve ordered late from Guide shop and most of the time we’ve got our pin order by the skin of our teeth (in 2012 they arrived about 2PM on the day) but this year we ordered weeks ago and had lots of time to go over the stuff we had and to put on the Badge Sash instruction badge sash instructions 2 cards.
  • Food or no Food?  We chose not to serve food/drink this time.  Partly because of time, partly because of food allergies, and mostly because the school has asked us not to serve food in that gym.  There’s also a message about equating celebrations with food (I know some will say that it is a cultural thing) and it is nice to show that you can have an event without food. It is a subtle but important message.
  • Timing… Last year’s advancement was a pretty talky kind of event with 90 minutes of presentations and individual awards.  It is important to recognize our girls, but this was too much (for both girls and parents).
    For enrollment I set a strict limit for each unit of 10 minutes for their ceremony (I actually gave them 15 on the schedule) but each unit worked hard and came through with much shorter (and very creative!) ceremonies.  We ran early on time.  It was awesome!Original Agenda (with actual times in brackets)
    • 6:25 – Guests be seated.
    • 6:35 – Welcome, Guider Introductions, and Unit openings.  Pathfinders led Oh Canada.
    • 6:45 – Sparks Enrollment (actually took 8 minutes).
    • 7:00 – Brownie Enrollment (actually started at 6:53 and took 8 minutes)
    • 7:15 – Guide Enrollment (actually started at 7PM and went for about 5 minutes).  The older girls sang the Guide Promise Song.
    • 7:30 – planned to do Spark closing to let the little ones go. (didn’t need it).
    • 7:35 – Pathfinder Enrollment (started 7:05 and took about 5 minutes)
    • 7:40 – Adult Enrollment and Promise (another 5 minutes).
    • 7:45 – Campfire if there’s time (we did a short campfire with Fire’s Burning, Make New Friends, 40 Years on an Iceberg, Penguin Song, and On My Honour from 7:15 – 7:22).
    • 7:50 – Closings (started at 7:25 with Sparks, then Brownies around Sparks, and Guides, Pathfinders and Adults around them).  Then, right where we were, we did a group photo.
    • After the photo, people were able to wander around and talk to each other, get pins and take group photos – but anyone who wanted to leave could do so.  I was very happy.  It was nice to be tidied up and home by 8:15.

    How did your enrollment ceremonies go?  Do you do a neighbourhood/district event?  Or just your unit?

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