Posts Tagged ‘first meeting’

The Brownie Friendship Bracelet craft was a huge hit.  We had one girl who was a little reluctant to join the meeting and who was sitting off by herself.  So we just kind of planted the craft AROUND her and, after a “you know, if you just stand up, you can do the craft too”, the ice was broken and she was fine.  I’ll update more on last night’s meeting later – but it was one of the best “first nights” we’ve ever had (Snowy Owl says – yeah, but after 8 7 years you had to get it right eventually).

Hope your first nights are going well (I know many of you are probably into second nights).

It is good to be back in the Owl Biz.


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Last year’s girls confirmed that crafts are one of the things that they come to Brownies for.   Honestly, it is one of the reasons I come to Brownies too.  But you’ve got to be able to pick your moment – and the first night is a tricky one to introduce crafts.

As I’ve said before, your first meeting  is all about crowd control and getting to know your girls.  And that’s a little tough to plan for as far as crafts go.  At your first meeting, you don’t know if your girls are really keen on them (it is a good bet, but you can’t be sure), you have no idea about their abilities (scissors!), or how fast they’re going to plow through it (“I’m done, what’s next?!”).     And you may not have a firm number of people you’re expecting (although, with online registration we’re pretty good with that too!).  Here are some crafts that we and other groups have done on their first night.

Name Tags – this is a necessary first night thing anyway, so why not make it fancy?  Some units  have name tags they hand out as girls arrive and then take them back as they head home  – and some pin it on the badge sash forever (that’s us!).

  • Basic Indestructible Name tag: Fun foam cut up into shapes (or basic rectangles).  I suggest that a Guider writes the name.  Option 1:  Fancy – use puffy paint for the name.  Option 2: Basic – write the name with a sharpie.  Decorate: maybe stick some feathers or something on it.  Safety pin the name to the badge sash.  If you have sticky letters, maybe put the first initial in a fun foam letter.

Beaded Friendship Bracelet – (thanks to Guider Janice for this idea!).

  • Supplies: Pipecleaners and Pony Beads.
  • Opening Activity – make beaded friendship bracelet.    (25 different colours of pony beads on pipecleaners).   Each girl will receive a different bead on a pipecleaner and an empty pipecleaner.  The girls need to collect one of each of the different 25 beads and put them on her pipe cleaner.  When she asks for the bead she must introduce herself and find out what her new friend’s name is.
    beads2014-09-16 07.53.33

Make “IT” Sticks (another Guider Janice gem)

  • Supplies: popsicle sticks, markers, it stick bag.
  • Each girl gets one it stick to decorate with a marker.  Suggest that Guider write out girl’s name on one side and the girl can decorate the other.
  • What’s an “It Stick”?  They are nifty no fighting, let’s be fair when we pick someone sticks.  If you need someone to be it, pull a name from the bag.  If you need someone to do something, pull the name from a bag.  Easy peasy.

Brownie Promise Door Hanger – the original wasn’t updated for the new promise so I did it myself. I prefer to do this on the second night when we talk about Promise and Law, but it would do for first night too.

Those are some ideas for now.  What have you used that worked well?

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Are you planning your meetings yet?  I’ve been avoiding it, but it is time to get my head back in the game.  I write this post to respond to those of you who searched for “Brownie Structure”, “Brownie First Meeting”, and anything that got you here by asking what the heck do we do on the first night?

The answer to that is mostly crowd control with a little bit of introduction to Brownies thrown in.  As your group gets to know each other, you’ll have a better idea of the group dynamics – who is shy, who is outgoing, who needs to be reined in, etc.  Every year we outline a grand plan of things to do – and we’ll likely get to an eighth of the activities.

Here’s what we usually do:

6PM – Guider arrival.  Set out Toadstool, name tags, markers, and papers for registrations.  Give Guiders their role for the evening.  Brown Owl and possibly Snowy Owl will typically handle parent questions.  You also need at least one (but better with two) Guiders who can handle the arrival game.  We like Tag for the first game – it is easy and the girls know it already.  Familiar makes them happy.  Easy makes us happy.

6:30PM – Girls are arriving.
Step 1 – meet Brown Owl and get your name tag
Step 2 – work on name tag with Snowy Owl
Step 3 – Girls join game – parents often hang back to watch or ask questions.  As the girls behave differently when their parents are not present, we try to get parents moving as quickly as possible.  Remind them though to pick up at 8PM.

6:50PM Brownie Circles (we don’t have circles assigned yet – we usually do that on the third meeting – after we know the girls).

Call girls to Brownie Ring – Owl: “Brownies, Brownies, Where are you?”  Girls: “here we are, here we are, how do you do?”
Teach “We’re the Brownies”, then teach Brownie Sign and say the promise.

Intro Game.  Key to Brownies: Getting To Know You.
There are loads of intro games.  We like: My name is ____ and I like ____ (something with the same letter as your name).  E.G. my name is Cara and I like Cows, Carrots, etc.  This starts with the girl closest to Brown Owl.  The girls need to remember each girl around the circle (or variation, just the girl next to them – and Brown Owl has to remember everyone – HINT – make sure name tags are ON!).

7:10 Explaining the Rules – Last year we used “Brown Owl Says” (a variation on Simon Says) to talk about the rules at Brownie.  But I think this year it should be more like a “Captain’s Coming” which has fewer instructions.

Our Rules:

  1. Listen to and watch for signals:
    • Guider has a hand up – this means be quiet.  Put your hand up too and wait until the first person puts her hand down.  Then Listen.
    • Whistle – Only for emergencies (or if we get a really rambunctious groups – it is a bad meeting if we use whistles).
    •  Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap: using the One-Two, One Two Three clap and asking the girls to repeat it it pulls them out of whatever they’re doing and makes them listen.
    • Brownies Brownies Where are you?  (Here we are, here we are, how do you do)… This is supposed to only be used to call to Brownie Circle, but we’ve been using it to get the girls’ attention.
  2. Ask to leave the room, and always travel with a buddy.
  3. No running, unless it is part of a game.
  4. No screaming, unless it is part of a game.  (The first scream usually has me dramatically running to “help” in a “panic”.  They learn about crying wolf, and how screaming is a sign that there is danger. ).
  5. Girls must wear rubber soled shoes at Brownies.  Mostly as a result of the school we meet in, but also because if there is a fire, we need to have shoes on feet so girls don’t run outside barefoot in winter.
  6. Wear full uniform (new – unenrolled Brownies may not wear their tie yet) and bring your Brownie book.

7:20 Then a craft.  I was thinking something like this Owl craft or  this Brownie Promise Door Hanger (we’ve used this often!) – not updated for new Promise, but easily done with a bit of glue and a printer.

7:40 Campfire.  Stick to Favourites – we always teach “Make New Friends”

7:55 Closing – New Brownie Squeeze, Now Run along Home, and Brownie Taps – do you do “Oh Lord Our God”, or “Oh Hear Us Now?”  I’m torn.


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