Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Left handed Brownies are not (necessarily) bad scissor users… they may have been provided with the wrong scissors. I’m a right handed idiot and only just noticed that some of our Brownies were struggling, so I took a trip to Staples and the problem is fixed. Children’s left hand scissor options.



Read Full Post »

Recruitment tools

In a recent Ask Me Anything on the Facebook page, one reader asked about recruitment. Oh heavens, that’s tough. I’m having the same troubles here too. Here are some things I have found. If you have suggestions, I’m happy to add yours to this list (brownowlcara at gmail dot com).35

  • Familiarize yourself with the process. In Canada, potential members can go to www.girlguides.ca, click on Volunteers at the top, then the Interested in Volunteering link. Click on Apply Now. They’ll fill out the form and GGC takes it from there. If you know the drill, you can speak confidently about it to someone you want to recruit.
  • Take a look at the GGC site. They’re updating their volunteer campaigns all the time.
  • Communicate with your Guiding parents to let them know you’re looking for volunteers. Sometimes you have to use the “If you want your child in Guiding, we need [this many] people to step up.” The process isn’t hard to do. And as a backup plan, they could do the non-member volunteer process.
  • Let your Guiding reps know that you’re looking for leaders (in Ontario it is the ACL, but other areas have Commissioners). They have access to the potential member lists.
  • Put it out to your friends on social media – but be warned, if you often complain about Guiding, they’re going to think you’re nuts. As always, think carefully about what you put out on social media. The complaint you posted in February will get you skepticism in August.
  • Be very vocal with everyone that you’re looking for Guiders. I’m always surprised at who actually responds. The people I least think are going to accept are the ones who jump in and are extremely successful.
  • My very best recruitment successes have been in the grocery store line after a meeting (while in uniform).These conversations often start with “Do you still have Owls and a Toadstool?” Reminisce a bit and go from there but it helps if you have something to hand them.
  • If you get someone who is interested, you need to walk the line of not pestering them, but also making sure they feel communicated to. 

What works for you? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Read Full Post »

After the tremendous success of last year’s Science & Sleuth Dress-up meeting, we wanted to come back with another themed dress up event that was both educational and fun – and we didn’t want to ignore Halloween entirely, but we’re also not great at Halloween parties. Once we noticed that our plan for the year had a bit of a book theme (See All About Books), the Literary Dress-Up Meeting was born.

Pre-Meeting communication: Brownies were invited to a Literary Dress-up meeting. They were told to “come as your favourite book character (with shoes suitable for running) and bring a favourite book.”

Last night’s meeting Plan

6:30: Arrival – Decorate a bookmark Craft: 

Hawk Owl pre-cut bookmarks from card stock and as girls arrived they got a blank bookmark with markers and stickers. The finished bookmarks were handed in to the Owls to be “laminated” with packing tape. Starry Owl did the laminating during the discussion and handed them out at the end as girls were leaving.
Supplies: Card stock, markers/pencil crayons, stickers, packing tape. (Or do the Draw a Book Cover activity from the Reading Meeting )

Starry Owl as Paperbag Princess. Laminating Bookmarks.

Starry Owl Chan as the Paper Bag Princess. Laminating Bookmarks.

6:45: Regular Brownie Opening (we skipped inspections)

6:55: Book Discussion Hawk Owl had a collection of books and led the proceedings…she went through topics such as fiction vs. non-fiction; tables of contents and indexes; and authors and illustrators. Hawk Owl is a Library Technician so she was in her element … you may find the Parts & Pieces of Books activity from the Reading Meeting useful. To note, the girls were really interested in this so I let it run longer than I probably should have.

book meeting 2014-10-28 07.09.28 (2)

Hawk Owl Jen (as Hermione) leading a discussion about different types of books during our Literary Dress-Up Meeting.

7:20 Game We did Letter Tag from the Reading Meeting. You could do a Caucus Race from Games from Alice in Wonderland or try Quiddich for Muggles instead.

2014-10-28 07.38.52

I’m not a very stern Professor McGonagall, but it was a fun costume. And you can see the girls playing Letter Tag in the background.

7:40 – Girl Show & Tell (about their character and book)

Girls came as Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables (there were two!), Chester, Pippi Longstocking, a Frog from The Water Hole, Elly Patterson (FBoFW), Moses the Kitten, Princess Ariel, Heidi, we had two fairies (one from the Book of Fairies and one from the Daisy Meadows series – which launched a discussion about pseudonyms), Clementine, Batty Penderwick, a Sapphire (she brought in a book of gems), Caveman Jack (by local Ottawa author Tammie Winsor), and Red Riding Hood… Not to mention the Owls who were Effie Trinket, Luna Lovegood, the Paper bag Princess, Hermione, and me as Professor McGonagall.  It was fun.

luna2014-10-28 07.05.57

Snowy Owl Christine as Luna Lovegood.

7:50 – Reading Hawk Owl read Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. The Reading Meeting suggests a few options and has a fable if you need something quickly. Look for other options in my post about Drama and Storytelling.

8:00 – Close

Next time we’d make the discussion a little shorter (my fault) to make time to do a costume parade and maybe have a group photo.

Read Full Post »

This time of year I often write to the families of girls who have left us to suggest that, if they don’t plan to keep their old uniforms, I’d be happy to pass them on to the girls coming up next year. I bet a lot of you do this already… the only thing to consider is the state of your storage (mine is called “Brownie Mountain”). If you have room, and if families are ready to let go of uniform pieces, this is a great way to continue the Lend a Hand spirit.

This is the note I sent out today:

Hi 2nd year Brownie families,

As we wrap up the 2013-14 year and say good bye to some of the best 2nd year Brownies we’ve ever had, I would like to suggest that if you’re not planning to keep your Brownie uniform shirt and/or tie, we would be very happy to offer them to new girls coming up next year. No pressure – I still have my Brownie tie from when I was a girl, so I definitely understand keeping them.

If you are interested in giving any uniform pieces to next year’s girls, I’d be happy to make sure they get into their hands.

Have a great summer.

It is a simple thing, but it might be a way for a family to get rid of something that may become clutter later.  As a collector of “stuff” it often helps me give things away if I know that they’ll be given to someone who can use it.

Happy Brownie Free Tuesday.

Read Full Post »

Mancala is a game of sowing seeds or stones around a board.  The goal is to clear the board and get the most seeds in your store. We tried it at camp for some quiet time and the girls were completely enthralled.  We had to stop them after about 25 minutes. 

Girls play in pairs so for each pair you’ll need:

  • 1 egg carton
  • 2 stores or wells (we used coffee filters, but cereal bowls or cups would work)
  • 48 beads, stones, seeds or marbles (the bigger the better – easier to pick up.  Colour doesn’t matter).

Set up: Put four beads in each egg cup and put a well on each end.  We pre-set the first game.  The girls took it from there.

2014-04-12 22.07.28

How to play (the internet explains it better than I can):

Explaining it to Brownies:

Some of the girls already knew the game so I played with one of them to demonstrate.  Then we distributed boards and let them go.  It was so successful that we have kept our beads and egg cartons for a “just in case we run out of stuff” moment at regular meetings.

Who can play:

The game is rated for ages six and up.  I think Sparks might struggle, but it should be fun for older girls starting at Brownies but on up to Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers.

2014-04-12 22.07.39

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

A Backwards Day meeting may sound like a bit of a fluffy attempt to fill a meeting we didn’t plan for, but by turning the thing around, the girls get a chance to really take a look at the stuff we do every Tuesday – things they have become immune to or that they do as a matter of habit.

What we told families:  This Tuesday is Backwards Day.  Let your Brownie interpret that however she likes.  Girls are required to wear their full uniform…but how the pieces are worn is up to them.  We’ll greet you with Goodbye, and wave you home with Welcome.  It is weird, but the girls love it.

What we have planned (mostly a repeat of Backwards day from two years ago)

6:30 – Backwards name tags and a crossword: Greet Girls with Goodbye!  Have some scratch paper and markers on hand to practice your backwards name in advance, then give everyone a sticky label and get them to make a backwards name tag (we have a Brownie named Hannah so she’s got it easy).  I will be Nworb Lwo.  =) Then Opposites Crossword from ABC Teach.

6:40 Closing

6:45 Campfire (there are lots of options)

7:10 Game – Reverse Captain’s Coming – (Captain’s Home)

  • New Commands: Front Yard (Ship); Back Yard (Shore); Mop the floor (Swab the Deck); Postman’s Here (wave through the window); Mice in the Kitchen (Stomp like rats on board); Go to your room (go to your corners), Play with your sister (find a buddy).

7:15 CraftOrigami Jumping Frog craft, then – how far can your frog (or you!) jump?  Frog Race

7:30 Brownie Circle (Brownie Song, then Circle Songs)

7:40 Brownie inspections (good time to pack up coats)

7:50 Opening Game – Girls’ Choice – challenge them to make a normal game backwards OR Backwards Tag.  One person is NOT it and everyone else is it.  Everyone is trying to tag them.  Wild.

Fun!  (and a good meeting to have in your pocket to fill a gap in planning).

Hawk Owl snowshoeing.  Last year, but I needed a backwards photo.  :)

Hawk Owl snowshoeing at camp last year.  Her back is to me so it seemed appropriate for backwards day.  =)  And the post was boring without a photo.

Read Full Post »

I participated in a Guider Training on Saturday and one of the sessions was on Music and Dance.  So. Much. Fun.  Thank you to Peggy and Lynn for leading it!  I am really looking forward to trying something other than the eight songs currently in our repertoire.

  • My big takeaway was an intro to Melinda Caroll – an American (I think) musician with a series of Girl Scout CDs, all available on iTunes.  You can buy whole albums (they come with two versions of each song – the sung version so you learn the words – and a karaoke version with just the music) or just the songs you want.  You can also listen to the preview of the song to get gist of the tune too.

    Melinda Caroll – Music for Girl Scouts

  • Ottawa has a fantastic music resource team (Peggy and Lynn are awesome!!!).  Consider inviting them to your unit to lead a music meeting … but you need to book them early.  So cool!  E-mail me at brownowlcara at gmail dot com and I’ll connect you to them.
  • Song List: Thinking Day Song (Songs for Tomorrow), Listen to the earth (Celebrate with Song), Dona Nobis Pacem (Songs for Canadian Girl Guides) (LOVE this one – I learned it in Church, but it means “Give us Peace” in Latin so it is completely relevant to Guiding and non-denominational too!), Lend a Hand (Sing a Song with Sparks and Brownies), Sarrasponda (Let’s Sing New Zealand), If you should meet an elephant (Sing a Song with Sparks and Brownies), Jubilee Hey (Canciones de Nuestra Cabaña), Merry Go Round (Musical Fun), Lu La Le (Jubilee Song Book), and Taps (French).  You can also look these up on Becky’s Song Resource and on BC Girl Guides.

Since we’re talking about where to learn songs…

  • I like the CD “Sing-a-long for Sparks and Brownies” from Guides Ontario (go to the Click here to submit your order link and find the CD name).  It is a teaching CD – not a listening one (e.g. the Brownie song is sung once, then line-by-line, then all together.)  Perfect for a new Guider!
  • I wrote a piece about Sung Graces and Thank Yous (Christian and non-denominational) that you may find useful.  Susan Witchers’ site is great (and includes tunes!)

Big thank you to the folks who ran the January Thaw Guider Training!  I did three sessions – one on Games for Brownies & Sparks, the music and dance session, and then Safe Guide (I really recommend a refresher if you haven’t taken it in a while).

Read Full Post »

When I was a Brownie, Circle time was all about dues and chatting.  I’m sure we did inspection too… I think?  (I do remember getting a black eye once during circle time, but that’s another story).

Here’s how we’ve been doing Circle Time lately:leprechauns

  • Circle Leader grabs the circle pack (a pencil case with their circle song written on the outside and a pencil, the Circle Inspection Attendance Record and star stickers – everyone who gets a perfect score gets a star).  You can also get the Brownie Attendance and Dues book from the Guide Store… but we don’t do dues so mine makes sense for us.  (As always, do what works for you).
  • Inspection: There are five points available and girls are measured on:
    (1) do they have their Brownie Book?
    (2) are they wearing full Uniform?  (shirt, blue pants, badge sash, and tie)
    (3) do they have clean hands and face (with allowances made if we’ve just finished a messy arrival craft – or something with markers),
    (4) is their tied back in a pony tail (if applicable)?; and
    (5) are they wearing rubber soled shoes suitable for running?
  • Incentive program (New this year!): If they do get a perfect inspection, they get a star to put on the inside back cover of their Brownie Book (we split the page in two – top is in first year, bottom is for second year).  Girls with the most stars will be eligible for a (yet-to-be-determined) prize at the end of the year.

The fuzzy picture I’ve provided shows the front of the circle pack (the circle song is printed on the back – very helpful at the beginning of the year), some of the Brownie books with their stars proudly showing, and the page of stickers they have to choose from.

This idea came from a Guiding team discussion around “how do we do this better” and we’re really pleased with the results.  The girls are responding well to the stickers.  It is sinking in better for them than it did when we just had them write down a number on a page that got tucked back in the circle pack.  We’re really going to have to figure out what kind of prize we should give them – I think it should be something “Guidey”.  Maybe a set of crests – or from the Guide Shop.  Any recommendations?

Read Full Post »

It is a bit odd to be thinking of Valentine’s Day as we’re coming up to Christmas, but  Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has a great program called Valentine’s for Vets and you need to get moving NOW if you want to participate.  It is a simple thing… children are encouraged to make Valentine’s Day cards for Canadian Veterans and then VAC will distribute them in February.

Make your cards in December or early January (or maybe as part of your Remembrance Day meeting).  But read the Tips and Message ideas page first.   There are specific rules about what they can accept (like no sparkles!) and what should go on the card … they’re looking for a nice cheerful message of thanks and caring to a non-specific veteran (it is a definite change of focus from the solemnity of Remembrance Day).

Then mail the cards in time to arrive by mid-January (January 14, 2013) to:

Valentines for Vets
Veterans Affairs Canada
Canada Remembers
P.O. Box 7700
Charlottetown, PE C1A 8M9

We’re planning our yearly Key to My Community: Celebrations meeting in December and we’ll be making Valentine’s Day cards too.

UPDATE: Cathy from Bluenose Guider incorporated VFV into her Guide Unit’s Remembrance Day meeting.  Her last line reminds us to explain the activity very well.

We gave them preprinted verses that they could glue in the cards, and a preprinted label that said “4th Hammonds Plains Guides” to glue on the back, and lots of stamps and stickers and pretty paper that they could use to decorate the cards with.

As we were starting to explain what we were doing, one girl asked, “Why do veterinarians need Valentine’s?” Oops! We should have explained that first. 🙂

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »