Archive for the ‘Key to Brownies’ Category

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 are some 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?

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Hawk Owl Jen’s Mom has been surfing Pinterest and found this Paper Plate Owl Craft from HuppieMama.com.  Thanks Sharon for the idea.  =)

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Getting started: Badges

Lee Ann from Owl & Toadstool has an awesome teaching tool/reference for Brownie badges. (Follow the link for a complete set – also includes circle songs). Happy Saturday.

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Owl Crafts

Here’s a cute craft that Brownies could definitely do. Check out Kid Craft: Owls from Natural Kids.

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Guider Leah Holland just posted this neato idea on the Brownies Meet Facebook page.  Leah says that it would be a good welcome to Brownies craft.   So cute!

Easy Pipe Cleaner People

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One of my favourite non-Guidey blogs is by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot (it is a knitting blog).  When she gets overloaded to a point where she can’t write up a proper post, she’ll write up a “Randomly” one.  And that’s what you get today.

  1. Key to STEM is one of my very favourite keys.  We did Building Up and People in Science (mostly as a copy of the one we did two years ago).
    Building Up Spaghetti and Marshmallows
  2. Tonight we’re bucking the trend of a Halloween Party.  None of the Owls are big fans of the spooky holiday – but here’s what we did in 2012 in case you’re interested.  Instead, tonight we’re holding a Science and Sleuth night.  We’re mostly using the free Mystery Themed meeting kit found on http://www.e-patchesandcrests.com.  We suggested that the girls could wear Scientist or Detective Type costumes (or as a minimum – wear play clothes and have a man’s shirt over the top).  And instead of doing the last item on the list, we’re going to do Blue Goo in honour of Caboosh next week.
  3. If you’re going to do Blue Goo (and oh, please do), make sure you have a source for Borax in advance.  Loblaws and Walmart (in South Ottawa) did not carry it (update – found it in Loblaws Elmvale).  I’ve heard Sobey’s and Metro are good places to go.  It turns out that I had some in Brownie Mountain.  Phew.   I did a test “Goo” and have been playing with it at work all day.  Totally fun.
  4. If you’re on centralized banking in Ontario, a good way to frustrate your treasurer is to lose your mind mix up your Brownie card with your personal Visa. I’m going to write a cheque for the personal groceries I accidentally bought with the Brownie Card, and expense the Brownie groceries I paid for on my personal card.  Yeesh.  Not my shining moment.
  5. Next week we’re hoping to do STEM: Stargazing at the rural home of one of our past Guiders – but if it is rainy or cloudy, our backup plan is to do STEM: Caboosh.  The links are to our previous meetings.

And there you are.  =)

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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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