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Archive for the ‘Key to Guides’ 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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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 week our second year Brownies went to visit Guides and the first year girls invited Sparks to be honourary Brownies.  The split is necessary in our neighbourhood because the Guide unit here is huge and their space isn’t big enough for all of the Brownies to go to Guides.  We also like that it gives our younger girls a chance to be the leaders.

Here is a two meeting plan for a really nice Sparks visit Brownies bridging meeting:

Meeting One (Key to Active Living – Say No, Key to Guides – Moving up (2nd year girls), Key to Guides (1st year girls) – Helping Sparks)

One week before the bridging meeting we all had  a lesson on teaching.  The idea is that the first year girls would hone their knowledge on an activity, and then work out how to teach it.

6:30 – arrival game

6:40 – Brownie opening activities

6:55 – Program

  • Say No discussion – how can you say no to someone who suggests you do something that is wrong  or that you don’t want to do?  Girls into 4 groups 6 each. Each group gets a skit to act out. Practice. Remember to face the audience and speak clearly and loudly.  We did this as “on the spot” no practice skits.
    • Some kids are playing at the playground. Your friend tells you that you should go and push one of the kids off the monkey bars. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are getting popsicles at the store. One of your friends tells you to steal a chocolate bar. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are playing outside. Everyone decides to go into one friend’s house, but you don’t have permission. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are selling cookies in the neighbourhood. Someone you don’t know asks you to come inside to wait while they get some money to buy some cookies. What should you do?
  • 2nd Year Program – go through the Moving up bit of the book – when you’re done, join the first year girls as stand-in Sparks.
  • 1st Year Program
    Group 1 – Teach a Game (they picked Ladders– even though the Brownie teachers did a good job, the wiggly Sparks had trouble sitting still while they explained it)
    Group 2 – Teach a craft – Hawk Owl provided an option for a paper weaving craft and a glue and drawing craft.  The paper weaving won.  (I’ll have to ask her for instructions)
    Group 3 – Teach a song – My group chose to teach Sparks Quartermaster Store.
    The girls explained the song “This is a song about a man who goes into a store without his glasses – spectacles are what glasses used to be called – and he sees some strange things”
    Then then sang the verse – sang it line-by-line, then invited everyone to give it a try.

7:40 – Everyone plays the game – finish with the song.  Campfire.

7:55 – closing

Meeting Two

6:30 – Arrival game – once everyone was there, we did a round of Brown Owl’s Rules.

6:40 – Brownie Circle activities – split Sparks into the circles.  Have the first year girls teach the Sparks their circle songs.

6:55 – Program – Learn a Song and Learn a Craft (we’ll do the game for everyone at the end). Sparks are split into two groups.  They’ll get to do both activities – 15 minutes per activity.  Craft and Song teachers split up, game teachers join a group of Sparks.

7:30 – Learn a game – As I said above, Ladders was a little tough for the Sparks to sit still and learn.  But there are always lessons in failure – and our girls know that sometimes it doesn’t work.

7:50 – Short campfire – everyone sings Quartermaster Store together.  “Owls…eating paper towels” is our favourite one.

7:55 – Closing with Grand Howl for the Sparks.

And that’s it.  It is a simple program, but it really works!

Our neighbourhood Campfire last year.  (because it was a shame to not have a photo with this post).

Our neighbourhood Campfire last year. (because it was a shame to not have a photo with this post).

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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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There’s nothing like a camp blanket to visually represent your time in Guiding.  It shows what challenges you’ve done, who you’ve met, where you’ve been, and what you like to do.  2013-04-30 iPhone 001

The photo here kind of implies that I’ve got my act together and have dutifully sewn on all of my crests… but that is a fib.  There are about six crests actually sewn on, but seeing it laid out in its potential glory is encouraging.  Guider Marie suggests that it is best done with a needle and thread.  She uses “thread to match the outside threads on each badge/patch.. it takes time, however I like the result… ”

Tonight’s meeting was about Brownie Memories.  We mostly re-used the meeting from two years ago with a little bit of revision.

6:30 – Earth Day Word search we didn’t use last week Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Word Search (from alschutzman.com)

6:40 – Brownie Inspections

6:50 – Brownie Circles

7:00 Program

We put away the toadstool and Snowy Owl and I showed the girls the crests that we’ve collected through the years.  I had my old Brownie scarf and belt, and Snowy had her Guide and Pathfinder sashes.  And I just talked about the different kinds of crests and badges that we had.  It was neat to show them the traders and swaps I had and how the different challenge crests actually look when they’re put together.  I was pretty surprised at how interested they were in this.

7:10 – Brownie Memory books from 2011 Meeting – have you used Pocket Mods for Memory books?  They take a bit of time, but are a bit of magic.  Check out the post for links to templates.  Practice putting one or two together before the meeting.

  • 10 minutes assembling the books
  • 10 minutes getting autographs and decorating

7:30 – we cleaned up the gym and went outside to play some games – Time Bomb is in the list on this site: http://www.girlguidinghantswest.org.uk/games/30sec_1/menu.php

7:50 – Campfire and Close.

I have lots of stuff to catch you up on, and I will (might be a summer project).  But we have four more meetings to go till Brownie Free Tuesday.

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As posted on the GirlGuidesCanBlog, Here’s Alberta Guider Shannon’s homemade “Guiding Traditions” video demonstrating how to tie a reef knot.

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