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If you are a friend, family member or significant other of a Guider and you’re trying to figure out a gift to give them, I have a few suggestions for things that could make your Guider’s life easier that she might not buy for herself.

This post is modeled on the Gifts For Knitters series on www.YarnHarlot.ca.

Cara’s Gifts for Girl Guide Leaders list:

  • Electric Pencil Sharpener ($40 at Staples) – do you know how many pencils and pencil crayons Guiders have to sharpen during the year?  I have an awesome electric pencil sharpener that I got from a yard sale for $4. I doubt you’ll find one for that price in a store, but look for one that is described as “Heavy Duty” – especially if it might go to camp.
  • Mini Bluetooth/Wired Portable Speaker ($20 at the Source) – whatever the need for music (dancing, a game, or just to listen to), I appreciate having a small but powerful speaker in my kit. 
    • Wired: I have used an iHome Speaker from Walmart ($19) and it was fine (pretty good sound that filled the room).
    • Bluetooth/Wired:I just upgraded to a Gadgetree Bluetooth one from the Source (reg $40, but on for $20 right now).  I like the Gadgetree one because of Bluetooth.  It is really good quality too (the store did a side-by-side demo and this one won hands down).  We played Christmas music last night and it filled the gym nicely over the chatter of the meeting.
  • Music Player – I use my iPhone to play music, but if your Guider doesn’t have an MP3 player, that might be a good gift too.  (If your Guider already has one, check to make sure she knows how to use it – a new skill is a gift that keeps on giving)
  • Appropriate Kid music that won’t drive the Guiders crazy – ModernKiddo’s post Kiddo Dance Party Heck Yeah! has a pretty good list of kid-appropriate tunes that everyone will like.  I’m compiling a Brownie/Kid appropriate playlist for our unit.  It is kind of reminding me of the old “mix tape” days but it is nice to have a set of songs ready to go.
  • Music resources for Guiders to learn Guiding Songs.
    • Melinda Caroll is a Girl Scout Leader in the US with a vast library of Scouting and Guiding Songs.  An iTunes card might make your Guider happy.
    • Sing a Long for Sparks and Brownies from the Girl Guides Ontario Shop (scroll to the bottom) is an EXCELLENT resource for new Guiders.   It is a teaching CD that sets Guiders up to teach songs well. Song List
  • Scissors are always in demand. (Pipe cleaners are murder on them – maybe some small wire snips would be good too)  I like the scissors you get at Ikea (the three pack for around $5) because they’re pretty good quality, but not too expensive so that you’re upset if they get damaged or don’t come home with you.
  • Door Stops (inexpensive/home made) – I’ve asked a woodworker I know to make some doorstops/wedges out of scrap wood from his shop.  The school we use has really heavy doors and there are times that you need them to stay open.  Some “owned by Brownies” doorstops are on my list. (Believe it or not, I’m most excited about this gift idea!  Guiders are weird.)

Now, a small word of caution … make sure you know your Guider before you get her this stuff.  Be careful getting gifts that could be seen to be supporting Girl Guides (and not her).  One recipient might think “wow, something to make my Guiding life easier – this person really cares”, while another might take offense that you didn’t pick something for them personally.

Also, if you’ve tripped across this post as a parent of a Girl Guide, I’d suggest that a heartfelt thank you is all your Guider needs.  The best Guider gift I ever got was a card during Volunteer Week saying thanks for volunteering.

Is there anything that I missed?  Something you love that you think would be an awesome Gift to a Guider?

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Last summer I did a post on String Games and other independent things kids can do at camp.  I like planning crafts and doing things together, but making sure that the girls can play independently (without electronics) is just as big a deal.

I’ve got a few more:

  • Test out the perfect “high five”.  Starry Owl showed us that if you’re looking to do the perfect “high five”, look at the other person’s elbow and you’ll never miss. We filled a bit of waiting time trying to disprove it… something to keep in your back pocket for a time filler.  Not quite an independent project, but fun.
  • Make a Spinner!  These are fascinating and really easy to make.  You need string and a two-hole button (or sturdy cardboard cut into circles or squares with two holes poked in the middle).

    2013-07-01 10.52.35 String Spinner Game

    From a book at Mom’s house – I’ll update with proper credit next time I’m home.

  • Make an origami jumping frog (or buy a bunch of plastic frogs from the birthday party section) and have a jumping contest.

  • Similarly, a leaf blowing contest is great too – rip up paper to resemble a leaf, and have the girls blow it across the floor.  (Works for Key to the Living World: Plant Life and Weather Watcher)
    2013-04-09 19.43.15 leaf blowing

How is your summer going?  I’m still not good at “Brownie Free Tuesdays”, but I’ll get there.  I hope.

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One of the major perils of being a Guider of any level is the stuff that you accumulate.

The thrifty attitude that we were taught, and which we hope to instill in the girls, is the very thing that gets us into trouble. There are always going to be extra supplies left over. And, if you’re like me, you just can’t throw it out. Our unit does not have a storage space in our meeting area. So the extras + the collection of papers + forms + resource books etc. come home with me. And they end up in Brownie Mountain (aka my hall and closet).  I live in a fairly stuffed one bedroom apartment and I don’t have room for my own personal craft store… but thrifty me can’t can’t can’t get rid of it.

What do you do about your stuff? Do you throw out the extras? Donate them?  Help!

UPDATE- Check out the comments for ideas – Strictly Jen (from Strictly Guiding) suggests a Crazy Crafts Night that would use up extras.  And Joanne Schmidt is using up the stuff she has this year … I like that – a use up your Brownie Mountain no-shopping diet.

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Guider Janice in the comments made a really neat suggestion for deciding who is it:

“It” sticks – a popsicle stick with the girls names on that they can also decorate. The “It” sticks will be used to select someone who needs to be “It” (i.e., for a game, start an activity, lead an activity, help with something, etc) – we will go through all the sticks before starting over again.

I had never heard of this but it is a fantastic idea.  Especially for units with Moms as Guiders.  Mom Guiders are often so concerned about appearing to favour their daughters that they go completely the other way and their kids may not get picked at all.    The “it” stick might be a solution.  Thanks Janice!

Please keep these suggestions coming – I’m really liking the community of Guiders we’ve got going here.

=)

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