Posts Tagged ‘pathfinders’

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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UPDATE 1 – Thank you to everyone on Facebook who has been helping me with this – Karen, Jennifer, Marie, Deb… your input is huge!  Thank you.
UPDATE 2 – Anne M from Girl Guides of Canada Learning and Development took a look at the text around ratio and I have updated it accordingly.  Big thanks Anne!


We’ve just finished a good long run with a fantastic Junior Leader and we’re really going to miss her.  Spotty Owl Carolyn is a Ranger who has been with us for four years and she is leaving us to go away to school.  In our Unit, Carolyn was always ready to go with ideas, songs and games.  She related well to the girls – but was still an authority figure that the girls (mostly) listened to.  She was a great bridge between the just-want-to-have-fun girls and the maybe-a-little-too-concerned-about-program-Brown-Owl.

The thing is, I don’t know if we did the best job for HER.  We were haphazard in incorporating her into the planning (we did much better in the later years) and mostly counted on her ability to do things on the fly.  She came up with games and songs, managed the post-craft cleanup, lead hikes, and held hands.  But it just sort of happened – there wasn’t much formal planning.  Some of that is the nature of mixing a group of adult Owls who work during the day with a younger Owl who has school and other activities.  And some of it was that we knew Carolyn would just come through with whatever we asked.

Now that Spotty has to go away to school (!), we’ve invited a former Brownie who is in her last year of Pathfinders to be our next volunteer – and I’d like to do it right.

How does it work for Supervision Ratio?

  • Girl members assisting as leaders in Units need to be considered in ratio calculations for regular meetings, etc.
  • Ratio for Green Level Activities:  Once they turn 16, Junior Leaders who are members of Guiding do count towards ratio for Green Level Activities as the third supervisor (you need a minimum of two adult members for Brownies).  See Safe Guide Page 24 for full details. 
  • Ratio for Yellow Level Activities: Only adults are counted in supervision ratio for Yellow Level activities.  When girls turn provincial age of majority (that’s 18 or 19, depending on the province), they can apply to be a full adult Member.

Resources for working with Girl Assistants or Junior Leaders

  • Pathfinders are called Girl Assitants and Rangers are called Junior Leaders.
  • Talk to the Junior Leader to find out what she is working on and discuss how your Unit plan might work with the Program she is trying to cover.   You could also get a copy of the Pathfinder or Ranger book.
  • Talk about how much she wants to be involved… is having a quick planning discussion  after each meeting enough?  Does she read e-mail?  Does she want to attend planning meetings?  Would she prefer to just do whatever is needed in meetings?  Before you accept her into your Unit, decide what you need from your volunteer too.
  • Ranger Program Resources (this is what the girls get, but useful for the Guiders to see):
  • The GirlGuidesCANBlog recently posted: I was a Terrible Junior Leader – a post from the perspective of the Junior Leader.
  • The document Guiding Unit Planner – a resource for multi-branch units from Alberta Girl Guides maps out how a program activity for younger girls might also count towards an older girl’s program too.  Very cool.

Did you have a Junior Leader (or two or three) this year?  How did it go?  How did you incorporate them into the planning?  Talk about it here in the comments or on the Facebook site.  (did you know I had set up a FB site?)

Happy Tuesday.  Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

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In 2011 my unit and I (with the help of Guider Joanne’s comments on the blog) made up a game that helps girls learn our Meeting Rules in a fun way (kind of like a fun fire drill).  (edited Sept 2014)

Brown Owl’s Rules
Objective – to teach common signals and rules at Brownie meetings (but easily adapted to other branches)
You need – a large open space (like a Gym) and a whistle.
Game is an adaptation of “Captain’s Coming

Guider Commands/Actions (some are silent) – with Girl Reactions

  1. (Action) Guider puts her hand in the air – You’re quiet and put your hand up too.
  2. (Action) Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap – Leader claps the sequence once, Girls join in for two more times through and then be silent.
  3. (Guider call) “Buddy Up!” – Girls catch hands with a partner
  4. (Guider call) “Someone Screamed!” – Girls go shhhhhh and put their finger to their mouth
  5. (Guider call) “Waterfall!”  Girls respond by putting hands up over their heads.  They sweep their hands towards the floor and they say “SHHHHHHHHHH” (like water).  And then be silent.
  6. (Guider says in a normal voice) “If you can hear me touch your ear”  (girls who hear touch their ear and quietly follow along).  If you can hear me, touch your eye… etc.
  7. (Guider says in a normal voice)If you can hear me, clap once” (clap).  “If you can hear me clap twice.” (Clap Clap) etc. Girls who hear clap along and are silent.
  8. (Guider call) “Why are you running?” – Girls start running around and respond “Because it’s a Game Brown Owl!”
  9. (Action) Whistle Blows (you’ll need a whistle) – line up in front of caller ready for evacuation.  Check to make you’re wearing shoes.
  10. (Guider call) “Brownies, Brownies, Where are you?” – Girls respond “Here we are, Here we are, How do you do?” and run to whoever sang it. (in a moment of fun, Snowy Owl called this, and then started running – she had 20 little girls running after her chanting here we are here we are…and it was awesome!)
  11. (Guider call)  “Make New Friends” – Make the Brownie sign and shake hands (left hand!) with the friends around them.
  12. North! (they run to the North side of the gym)  South! East!  West!  (so they get some running)
  13. Add any of the “Captain’s Coming” calls in there too randomly just for fun.  My favourite is “Rats on Board” (Stomp rats!)

Joanne also added these actions that will make the game appealing to the older girls. 

  • “Circle Time” – each girl finds two others and they hold hands and make a small circle
  • “Promise Sign” – each girl makes Promise sign
  • “Attention!” – each girl stands at Attention (could also add a salute)
  • “Going Camping” – Find a Partner, face each other, hold arms high and touch hands, to make a tent shape
  • “S’mores” – rub hand across stomach to show how good it was, and then rub hands over face to wipe off the chocolate and sticky marshmallow – keep repeating until the next “command”
  • “Paddle your canoe” – in groups of three – two sit on floor facing each other and extend legs with feet touching, the third person sits on floor between the open legs and pretends to paddle the “canoe”
  • “Hug A Tree” – two girls get together – must be of two different heights – and smaller hugs the taller (I really like this one)
  • “Go For a Hike” – group of two to four girls hold hands and skip a round in a clockwise circle
  • “Day is Done/Taps” – girls come together in one large circle and hold hands (could be the signal for the end of the game) – or actually sing it as the end the meeting …?
  • “Campfire” – three to four girls sit together in a circle and sing
  • “Fires Burning” through to the end – only once OR it could be the signal for a large campfire – and the small groups could be guided through to sing it as a round with each group given a signal as to when to start – and then move quietly into a larger campfire circle ?

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