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Getting a group to quiet down when you need to is tough and there are lots of ways to do it without losing your voice (or your mind).

  • Guiding has “the Hand” – a Guider puts her hand up and as people notice it, they put their hand up too and wait quietly for the leader to speak. Eventually, everyone is silent (but it is less effective with younger girls).
  • Schools use other methods like clapping … the leader claps a pattern and the girls are meant to repeat it twice.  OR the teacher says “hands on top” and the kids put their hands on their heads and reply… “that means stop.”
  • I’ve used “Brownies, Brownies, where are you?” and the girls respond with “Here we are, here we are, how do you do?”  Technically this is supposed to be reserved for Circle Time, but it works!

  • There’s always the option of a whistle – but that’s a desperation move for us. It should be reserved for emergencies.

This weekend, I had a chance to see how some other talented Guiders manage groups…

  1. Snowy Owl Danielle (aka Wicked) amazed me by getting 50 girls to shush in seconds at the beginning of a big campfire. She shouted WATERFALL! Everyone put their hands up over their heads and swept them down to the ground while saying “SHHHHHHHHHH” (like water). And we were quiet. It was magic!
  2. The next technique took a little longer and is sort of like “the Hand”.  The Guider who wants attention speaks in a normal voice.  “If you can hear me, touch your nose.” (Guider touches her nose too).  “If you can hear me touch your ear”, and so on.  Eventually, everyone is following quietly along (thanks Guiders Julie and Katherine for an excellent campfire)
  3. I was telling my friend Guider Lisa from Halifax about Waterfall. She said she uses her normal voice and calls “If you can hear me, clap once.” Then “if you can hear me, clap twice,” “If you can hear me, clap three times.” And so on. The clapping gets everyone’s attention and eventually everyone is following along.

We play Brown Owl’s Rules at the beginning of the year to show new girls the ropes…I have added these to the game. How do you let girls know it is time to be silent?

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