Posts Tagged ‘resources’

We started our first meeting of the year with Key to the Arts Drama.  It was a happy discovery to find that one of our Brownie parents is also a Drama teacher in her real life. Laura led the girls through the meeting and we planned camp in the background.  The Owls were prepared to help but she had it all in hand.  It was a lovely break for us… and Laura did a fantastic job.

Some Drama resources that could get you started:

Happy New Year!

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If you are a friend, family member or significant other of a Guider and you’re trying to figure out a gift to give them, I have a few suggestions for things that could make your Guider’s life easier that she might not buy for herself.

This post is modeled on the Gifts For Knitters series on www.YarnHarlot.ca.

Cara’s Gifts for Girl Guide Leaders list:

  • Electric Pencil Sharpener ($40 at Staples) – do you know how many pencils and pencil crayons Guiders have to sharpen during the year?  I have an awesome electric pencil sharpener that I got from a yard sale for $4. I doubt you’ll find one for that price in a store, but look for one that is described as “Heavy Duty” – especially if it might go to camp.
  • Mini Bluetooth/Wired Portable Speaker ($20 at the Source) – whatever the need for music (dancing, a game, or just to listen to), I appreciate having a small but powerful speaker in my kit. 
    • Wired: I have used an iHome Speaker from Walmart ($19) and it was fine (pretty good sound that filled the room).
    • Bluetooth/Wired:I just upgraded to a Gadgetree Bluetooth one from the Source (reg $40, but on for $20 right now).  I like the Gadgetree one because of Bluetooth.  It is really good quality too (the store did a side-by-side demo and this one won hands down).  We played Christmas music last night and it filled the gym nicely over the chatter of the meeting.
  • Music Player – I use my iPhone to play music, but if your Guider doesn’t have an MP3 player, that might be a good gift too.  (If your Guider already has one, check to make sure she knows how to use it – a new skill is a gift that keeps on giving)
  • Appropriate Kid music that won’t drive the Guiders crazy – ModernKiddo’s post Kiddo Dance Party Heck Yeah! has a pretty good list of kid-appropriate tunes that everyone will like.  I’m compiling a Brownie/Kid appropriate playlist for our unit.  It is kind of reminding me of the old “mix tape” days but it is nice to have a set of songs ready to go.
  • Music resources for Guiders to learn Guiding Songs.
    • Melinda Caroll is a Girl Scout Leader in the US with a vast library of Scouting and Guiding Songs.  An iTunes card might make your Guider happy.
    • Sing a Long for Sparks and Brownies from the Girl Guides Ontario Shop (scroll to the bottom) is an EXCELLENT resource for new Guiders.   It is a teaching CD that sets Guiders up to teach songs well. Song List
  • Scissors are always in demand. (Pipe cleaners are murder on them – maybe some small wire snips would be good too)  I like the scissors you get at Ikea (the three pack for around $5) because they’re pretty good quality, but not too expensive so that you’re upset if they get damaged or don’t come home with you.
  • Door Stops (inexpensive/home made) – I’ve asked a woodworker I know to make some doorstops/wedges out of scrap wood from his shop.  The school we use has really heavy doors and there are times that you need them to stay open.  Some “owned by Brownies” doorstops are on my list. (Believe it or not, I’m most excited about this gift idea!  Guiders are weird.)

Now, a small word of caution … make sure you know your Guider before you get her this stuff.  Be careful getting gifts that could be seen to be supporting Girl Guides (and not her).  One recipient might think “wow, something to make my Guiding life easier – this person really cares”, while another might take offense that you didn’t pick something for them personally.

Also, if you’ve tripped across this post as a parent of a Girl Guide, I’d suggest that a heartfelt thank you is all your Guider needs.  The best Guider gift I ever got was a card during Volunteer Week saying thanks for volunteering.

Is there anything that I missed?  Something you love that you think would be an awesome Gift to a Guider?

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UPDATE – TechsoupCanada.ca asked me for permisison to reprint this post… I took the opportunity to re-write it.  Check out: Volunteering in the Cloud.

How did Owls and Guiders plan meetings before the internet?  Seriously.  I can’t imagine.  Need a game, ceremony idea, or song idea – check with Becky (actually, if you need anything – check with Becky first – she’s brilliant!). Want to see a week-to-week Spark and Brownie program plan, check Guiding with Jewels.  If you need anything else, just Google games, puzzles, songs, ideas and you’ll probably hit on Flat Brownie, Girl Guides of Canada, Strictly GuidingGuide Zone, Brownie ResourcesHarvington (check out their Quiddich!), DLTK, and any one of the other sites that are out there – including Brownies Meet (which I hope you find useful).

There is also the issue of file management amongst the Guider Team – Leader plans, draft permission forms, newsletters.  We started out using Google Docs.  It has pretty good sharing and security features, but it does not handle Microsoft products well – especially tables (which we use a lot!) and permission form templates that come from Girl Guides of Canada.   But…

We’ve just made the switch to Dropbox.

What it is: The program is so easy it is scary.  Members of your Guiding team each need to have a dropbox account and once they do, one of you has to create a private folder and share it between the team.  From then on you’ve got a spot to put your meeting plans and notes.  I’m pretty impressed.  In order to make changes, you download the file, work on it on the programs on your computer, then save it back.  No need to use a non-Microsoft program.

  • Be careful!! You also have a public folder that anyone can see (that worries me) … check out our meeting plan for the year in my public folder.  If you want to share something with the entire world – use the file marked Public and share the file.
  • Private Folders – If you want to share a folder amongst specific people that you know in Dropbox:  Create a folder, hover your mouse over that folder and move the mouse over to the right.  See that blue arrow?  Click it.  Then select Shared Folder Options.  From here you can invite others to Dropbox by e-mail or through the contact list.  After that – only those people will be able to see, download, upload and change files in that folder.

For file sharing with parents – like permission forms and newsletters – we like sending links instead of attachments.  I think we’ll stick with Google Docs for this – but we have to PDF permission forms.  I use a free PDF writer I Googled.  I like being able to send the link to parents so that I don’t have to use e-mail bandwidth, or use up their e-mail inbox space.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas holiday.  Mine was pretty great – one more Brownie Free Tuesday left.  I may or may not write a post next week.

UPDATE – This post got re-printed on the GGC Blog – Thanks Talya!  It got some comments about my opening statement – and they’re right.  Of course people use the library, their communities and districts to get ideas.  For me the internet is a vast resource of good quick ideas that helps my team plan and organize our meetings.  There are of course other ways to gather information.  This is one way that we do it.

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When you’re a new Guider who will be joining a Guiding unit in the fall, you are full of enthusiasm (or trepidation) and want as much information as possible.   You want to get going just when the Guiding machine is slowing down for the summer.  Here are some things I would tell you…

1. Welcome … We’re so glad you’re here.  Guiding is rewarding for both girls and Guiders.  It isn’t easy.  It isn’t “just 90 minutes a week”.  But it is one of the best things I have ever done.  I hope you get as much out of it as I have.

2. Read.  Read Blogs and websites.  Becky’s Guiding Resource Centre (this one is the best!); http://girlguidescanblog.ca/;  Guiding with Jewels;  Strictly Guiding; and Brownies Meet.  Read the program book of the particular branch you’re joining.   And take one of the Guider Trainings offered from your Province or area.  You’ll learn so much more in person if you can get to a training.

3.Learn songs and games.  They’re likely what you remember most if you were in Guiding or went to summer camp as a girl … and having a few of each in your head will make you a valuable asset to your new Guiding team right off the bat.

  • The CD “Sing-a-long for Sparks and Brownies” is an excellent resource from Guides Ontario (go to the Click here to submit your order link and find the CD name).  I like it because 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!) .
  • Becky’s Guiding Resource Centre has extensive song and game resources.

4.  Be imaginative.  But don’t get discouraged if the Responsible Guider (RG) seems to want to do it her way all the time.

  • RGs are often busy and we get set in our ways.  We may need a nudge to try things (we shouldn’t, but we do).  Keep pushing.
  • Hint: Ask Why Not?  The unit may have already attempted the thing you’re suggesting and finding out what happened is valuable information that may help persuade the unit to try it again.   Was the activity introduced badly? Did the girls think it was boring? Was there a lack of equipment or supplies on hand so girls were waiting around? Was the activity too old or too young for the girls (singing “Wheels on the Bus” to nine-year-olds was a low point for us)?  Is there too much paperwork involved?  Is it too expensive?  All good reasons, but also not impossible ones.
  • If you are new to the RG gig yourself, don’t worry if your meetings don’t follow the program exactly. As long as the girls are having fun, you’re doing a great job. There is too much to know in one year! It’ll take at least once through the program for you to feel comfortable in your role.

5. Insist on Guider planning meetings.   Try to get/take detailed meeting notes that list specific things that each Guider is in charge of and the supplies necessary for each meeting.  This becomes a script to follow – and if someone is absent another Guider can take over.    Here’s an example of one of ours: Key to my Community: Proud to Be Canadian; Our Flag and Our National Anthem.

Things to know:

  • Experienced RGs aren’t perfect.  We may be able to pull a meeting out the air at the last minute – but that doesn’t help a new Guider learn to plan a meeting or contribute fully.   Being able to come up with a plan at the last minute is a useful skill that you’ll develop, but it shouldn’t become the norm.  We know that, but it is tough to change if it is our habit.  Please insist on formal plans.  But if you do, be prepared to take a larger role in the planning – that’s how I became RG.  =)
  • Also … running a meeting without a plan isn’t fun for the RG either (I’m speaking from experience) – she ends up barking out orders and telling people what to do for the whole meeting.  And then she gets frustrated when the Guiders (who can’t be expected read minds)  aren’t where they are supposed to be.  A plan is better.  Every time.

6.  Enjoy your summer.
Guiding is getting into summer mode right about now.  The Guide Office staff is still working, although vacations may mean slower responses for new Guider applications and police check processing (and this is frustrating because you are SO excited about it).  Volunteer Guiders are on vacation until August.  If you’re waiting for a communication, please be patient.   And don’t lose your enthusiasm.  We’re going to need it in September.

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