Posts Tagged ‘rules’

We repeated our Promise and Law meeting from last year and, again, it went really well.  We tried to add in some activity (it really is a talky set of meetings) and it was fine, but still pretty talky.

This year:

6:30 – Opening Craft: Brownie Promise Door Hanger (other years, this was the first meeting craft, but it makes a lot more sense to have it in the Promise and Law meeting – especially since not everyone has a book yet).

UPDATE – I’m going to make a second version with a more kid-friendly font.  The curly font is cute, but some of the girls who haven’t learned to read cursive were having trouble.

Update on Shy D – she still didn’t want to join in at the first of the meeting – she preferred to sit on the side and watch.  Not sure how long we can keep this up.  But she’s worth it.

6:45 – Call Girls to start meeting.  Circles next week so no individual group openings.  We had a new girl too, so one time through with an abbreviated name game.

6:55 – Together Program: Lend a Hand.

  • Ask each girl to name examples of how they can Lend a Hand.  You might need to prompt them with things such as washing the dishes, putting away toys, raking leaves…
  • How did you lend a hand this week?

Then teach Brownie Sign and Handshake (we added “Make new friends” to the Brown Owl’s Coming rules game.)

7:05 – Split into two groups – New Brownies and 2nd Year Brownies.

New Brownie Program – The new brownie activities just joined Shy D on the side of the room.  Not perfect, but she had no problem with it:

  • Tie tying.  I have a bag of second hand ties in Brownie Mountain and this is useful for girls who don’t have their ties yet.  “Right over left and it keeps travelling through the V.  Right becomes Left and he goes over Right and through the hole.”
  • Get out the Door Hangers and go through the Promise – What does a promise mean to you?  What happens if you don’t keep your promise (or don’t do something)?  Answers: Consequences from parents or teachers.  You also feel bad.  Should be proud of yourself when you keep a promise.
  • Motto – what does Lend a Hand mean?  What’s a motto?  Answers: a favourite saying of a group.  A phrase that explains that we stand for.  Lend a hand means we’re helpful without being asked.

2nd Year Program – With Starry and Screech Owl:

  • Go over tie tying, promise and motto.
  • Then talk about leadership – as 2nd years, they will have an opportunity to lead some games.  They have a say in what we do.  Ask girls to talk to Starry Owl if they have an arrival game they want to teach.  Brainstorm on what activities they’d like to do this year.
  • Then it is a good idea to have a craft or something here – not sure what they did.

7:30 – Game – What’s a Motto?  What’s a Motto with you? (This title is for the Guiders… the girls wouldn’t get it.. our old Tawny Owl made it up and we think it is funny)


  • Cards with Promise, Law and Motto in large print on white paper.  Cut up into separate words or phrases.  Make sure you have enough for each girl.
  • Music Source – this year we used Great Big Sea Lukey’s Boat.  (Small plug for one of my favourite Canadian bands).

To play:

  • Everyone mix up and dance to the music.  When the music stops, assemble yourselves in order so that we can read the Promise, Law and Motto.
  • Repeat a few times.

Then we played Brown Owl’s coming to reinforce the rules.  Added “Hug a Tree” and “Make new Friends”.

7:40 Campfire:

  • Read Toadstool Story and sang a few songs.  Fun.

7:55 Close.

Next week – introducing circles, and Cookie Selling Meeting.

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Our first night this year went surprisingly well and we’re pretty impressed.  Snowy Owl and I were talking about it afterwards and we decided that we should have got it right by now – it is our seventh first night, after all.  In addition, we took fewer girls – and I think that’ll help.

Here’s what we did (there’s not much different from last year – except that it had a better flow for some reason).

6:00 – Guider Arrival

6:20 – Girls start arriving – we began meeting the girls and getting to know everyone.

  • Snowy Owl handed out the prepared name tags – we had the list because of online registration and while it sounds like a good idea to have the girls write  the names, a legible name tag is important.  And why green rainbows?  We had green fun foam and a rainbow shape to trace.  The stick on letters look good, but they were falling off some of them – we may go back with the hot glue gun next week.
  • Our new Pathfinder Unit Assistant is Megan (aka  Screech Owl).  She and Starry Owl took over leading a game of tag.
  • When a Brownie wants Mum to stay: we had one girl (D) who had been really excited about being at Brownies, but who, when she arrived, had a bit of a panic.  She, her mum, and the owls decided that she had to stay, but that she didn’t need to join right away, and that she could sit on the side and watch.  I’m really proud of both D for being brave (she stayed and she let Mum leave) and of her mum for sticking to her plan and requiring D to stay without her.

6:45 ish – And we’re off…

  • We start each meeting with “Brownies, Brownies, where are you?”  The girls are meant to run to whoever calls that and reply “Here we are, here we are, how do you do?” but it turns out that our returning second years are the shy ones and there are a LOT of new girls so it took a few tries to get it.
  • Opening Song (repeat a few times to teach it) “We’re the Brownies”
  • Name Game – we went with an oldie again – “My name is Cara and I like Carrots… this is my friend Megan and she likes Mangos”.  To note, this takes FOREVER, and it could be sped up by omitting the “this is my friend” bit… but we kind of think that it is a good filler for the girls who are trying to remember along the way.  You can have the girls repeat all the way back to the beginning (we think it is worth it so that the names get learned quickly), or just the one to the right or left.
  • D sat off to the side and watched.  We interacted with her as if she was in circle.  But we wondered how this was going to go.

7:15 The Girls played Octopus – an oldie but a goodie – and a running game is a good reward for sitting for so long.  (And yes, the name game took THAT long!). First appearance of the It Sticks.

7:25 Craft time

  • Beaded friendship bracelet.
  • When D broke the ice: At this point, I had to go back to where our shy Brownie was sitting to prepare the craft … I gave D the option of picking a set of coloured beads, then I kind of invited everyone over to where I was standing (and “coincidentally” where D was sitting) to start the craft.  We gave D a bit of a nudge and suggested that if she would just stand up, she could make a craft too.  And the ice was broken and she was fine.  (Mum… who was hiding in the hall… was relieved to know that she was fine – me too, actually).

7:40 Learning the Rules with Brown Owl’s Coming (this went over a lot better this year – and I think we’ll repeat it next Tuesday).  It was really funny when Snowy Owl called Brownies Brownies Where are you, and then she took off running – the girls were running after her calling their part.  Just awesome.  Very funny.

7:50 – Campfire – we meant to read the Toadstool story – but we didn’t for some reason.  We announced that we’re going to do a sleepover at the Canadian Aviation and Science Museum in November – great excitement.

And then we handed out our newsletters.

That was it.  Next week we’ll do Promise and Law and will split the group into new girls and 2nd year girls.

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The girls love sleepovers.  They get to go someplace neat and see it in an unusual way.  Suggestions: Church Hall (try setting up a tenting site!), Museums, Cosmic Adventures (Guider Sara from Ottawa tells me that the girls can sleep anywhere in the play structure except the ball pit and at the top or bottom of a slide… super cool!)

For Guiders, sleepovers are pretty neat too.  We get to see how the girls react to being away from their parents without being too far away from a pickup if necessary.  It is a nice safety net that can prep us for camp.  We also like to schedule the sleepover on Friday night.  Yes, you work all day on Friday, then have a restless sleep overnight, but by 8AM on Saturday morning, you’ve still got your entire weekend ahead of you.

My goal for these things is that it is fun for the girls, but that we’re not up all night in sleepless chaos.

Last night we slept over in the train room at the Canada Science and Technology Museum (Ottawa) and followed the Puzzle Hunt program.  There are other programs – we’ve done the Astronomy Night before, and Sparks did Scavenger Hunt.  We LOVED the Puzzle Hunt program.  The girls were active and busy the whole night.  In fact, they were so pooped by the end that they were mostly asleep by 10:15!  Huge Success!

Things to think about:

  • Cost – when you’re planning this sort of thing, don’t forget to account for cost of admission for the Guiders. You’re a volunteer.  You should not pay for admission.
  • It isn’t cheap.  Plan to figure on about $40 per girl for the night we just had.  Don’t forget tax in your calculations!  You can fundraise, use cookie proceeds, or get parents to pay for it.  Or some combination of all three.
  • Planning – It is usually a Yellow Level Safe Guide event, but pretty easy to get permission for if you’ve got enough supervision.
  • Sleeping in buildings that aren’t usually occupied – In Ottawa we’re required to advise the Ottawa Fire Service  of the fact that girls are sleeping in a building that isn’t usually occupied overnight.  The idea is that they will prioritize rescue differently for a building with nobody in it than they will if they know there are children inside.
  • Options – For younger groups, think about doing a Mom and Me.  But the cost of extra adults is pretty big (extra adults at Science and Tech is $15 each)so that might be better suited for a church hall.  The neat thing is that supervision is covered and younger girls get to try things with the security of a trusted adult on hand.
  • Bedtime strategies for putting big groups to bed.  You parents (I am not a parent) already know how important it is to handle bedtime properly.  I’m not saying  this is the only way, but here is an amalgamation of all the strategies I’ve learned to help the girls (who usually don’t share a room with lots of other people) to sleep.
    • The girls are going to giggle, whisper, and maybe worry.  Reassure them.  Have a Q&A so they can get things out.
    • The Museum offered us the option of a movie before bed.  We declined.  The girls were drooping anyway, and TV tends to energize some of them.
    • Let them know the rules… boundaries, how to handle bathroom trips in the night (the rules change from place to place), when and how they can use flashlights (no beaming people in the face), etc.
    • Start using quiet voices.  Require them to do the same.  Everyone into PJs, teeth brushed, and into bed.
    • Have a quiet song campfire.  (Make New Friends, Land of the Silver Birch, Barges).  Finish with Brownie Closing (Oh hear us now)
    • Read a couple of stories (NOT ones they’re familiar with – look for a legend or something that they wouldn’t have heard before – I have a copy of Campfire Activities (GGC 1993) that always comes with me to this sort of event and last night I read Lee Piddle Thrigs and Why we have day and night) .  Rules during stories… you may listen to my stories, you may read your own book with your flashlight, and you may fall asleep.  You may not talk to each other.  When my stories are done it is time for lights out.
    • Then you have to supervise the whispering.  A sharp but quiet PSST usually stops a whisperer … and if they need to ask you a question, they can do that too.  It usually works.  (Note, this only works until girls are about 8.  After that they can wait you out.)
    • Lastly…  pick the most no-nonesense of the Owls to make this happen.  The bedtime owl needs to be compassionate, but they also need to have the ability to be stern to shut down silliness.

Sleepovers are great ways to have a pre-camp preview of how your girls are going to handle being away from home.  They can be pretty expensive… but there are ways to do it on a budget.  Just make it fun.

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