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.
- Listen to and watch for signals:
Ask to leave the room, and always travel with a buddy.
No running, unless it is part of a game.
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. ).
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.
Wear full uniform (new – unenrolled Brownies may not wear their tie yet) and bring your Brownie book.
- 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.
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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