Posts Tagged ‘Thinking Day’

Last night we held a low key, but fun Thinking Day event for Sparks and Brownies (these things don’t have to be fancy to be fun and effective).chopsticks

Our local Ranger unit talked about it and thought they’d like to lead a Brownie/Spark Thinking Day meeting highlighting Chinese New Year (China is not a WAGGGS country, but there is a Hong Kong Girl Guides Association and Taiwan and a number of other WAGGGS countries celebrate).

Here’s the plan (with some modifications because of a snowstorm and a suspicious package call that made our leaders a little late and kept the Rangers at home):

6:30 Sparks and Brownies play a game – girls choice (They picked Line Tag – not a big surprise).

6:40 (at this point we were contemplating what to do if Rangers didn’t appear.  We had no backup plan in the room – I always have a backup plan!) Brownie Circles – let’s show our Spark Friends what Brownie Circles are all about – teach them your circle song, teach them the Brownie Song, and talk about inspection (show off your stars!)spark chopsticks.  Take your time.  =)

6:55 (still no Rangers) Openings – We spent a bit of time with penny collections for the CWFF, then Spark and Brownie Openings.  Guiders Stephanie and Vicky (of Camp Woolsey fame!) came in in a flurry of snow and concern just as we were almost done with the “We’re the Brownies” song. (relief!).

7:05 – Stations We split the girls into two groups and flipped them halfway through.

Station 1 Learn how to use chopsticks.  They passed marshmallows and cut up carrots around.  Simple but very effective.  A tough skill for the newbies, but lots of fun.

Station 2 Decorate and make paper fans. (fold paper into an accordion and staple one end).

7:30 Learn a fan dance

fan dance7:40 Campfire.  Guider Vicky taught us Today is Monday, then a neat round with one group singing Twinkle Twinkle, another group singing ABC song, and a third singing Bah Bah Black Sheep (all the same tune – how did I not know that??) and we closed with This little Guiding Light of Mine.

And that’s it.  Thank you very much Stephanie and Vicky.  We are so glad you braved the elements and made it to our meeting.

Happy Thinking Day everyone!

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Tonight is the Brownie Sewing Magic meeting and I think we’re prepared.  We have lots of helpers ready to go and I’m hopeful for a good meeting.

In my own dorky kind of way, I look at this as our big Contribution (with a capital C).  In 30 years when these kids are replacing a button on a shirt, at least one of them may remember that the Owls taught them how to thread a needle and sew a button (assuming, you know, that buttons aren’t obsolete by then).  We have lots to offer in Guiding, but we’re kind of the last holdouts in the practical homey things.  It is called Key to I CAN for a reason and girls can do a lot of things – even if they’re simple.  It’s a big deal to me.

Brownies are going camping at the end of the month (and again with Sparks at the end of April) and I’m kind of getting excited about the whole thing.  I updated the Camping Page over the weekend…this is just a record of how we do things, so not the be-all and end-all of things, but a good place to start.  And if you have any great ideas, please share them!

And last, but not least on my list of things to tell you, we’re doing a low-key kind of Thinking Day – just Brownies and Sparks – but maybe with the Rangers as our leaders.  Not sure yet.  I’ll let you know.

Happy February.  =)

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Today’s post from Shift Mama (and reposted on the GGCBlog) has a great suggestion… let’s start saving World Friendship Fund Pennies NOW.  Go to A challenge to all my Girl Guide Friends, make a penny saver, and be ready with a CWFF donation in February.

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Last night we held an International Fair for Thinking Day.  We had about 70 Spark, Brownie, Guide, Ranger and Guider participants from our area; it was completely a girl driven event – there wasn’t much the adults needed to do; and it went really well – we were afraid that there’d be some losing interest, but it didn’t happen!  If you get a chance to try a fair like this, please do. 

It is really difficult to show  you photos without showing all of the happy faces but here are two anonymous ones – and Snowy Owl. 

OH!  The giveaway winner is Siobhan Coulter.  Please e-mail me: brownowlcara <at> gmail <dot> com to tell me where to send it.  Happy Thinking Day everyone.

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We’re always talking about creating a passport for some event or other and there are a few templates on the web.  When I say passport, I’m thinking of something that the girls get as they arrive at an event, then run around getting stamps or stickers or something on, and then have for later in their memory books – or maybe to put in a big bowl for a draw.

Here are a few of mine that are created for an as yet unknown number of stations at our Thinking Day International Fair (I’ll finalize the actual cards as it gets closer).  Tables will be numbered and that number will correspond to the number on the passport.

  • NEW -I had a re-think about our International Fair passport and I like this one instead.  It is a 3 panel print on two sides brochure.  The girls will just wander around to the different stations and need to find the  country of the table they’re visiting.  So simple.   PDF Final (edited without year) MS Publisher Source file you can edit.  No cutting required.  Just print what you need and do a bit of folding.
  • 32 Station Passport that I created based on a Pocket Mod (the concept is great, but the template does not work for what I want it to.  It is easy to figure out, so I created my own using PowerPoint).  There is an instruction page included (second page – be careful not to print it).  I put in numbers using PowerPoint Table but it wouldn’t let me flip it upside down so I used a screen shot for the number boxes.  If you know what I just said you can probably modify my template.   If you don’t, try the circles passport template next:
  • Circles Passport is also based on a Pocket Mod.  This one is a lot more “fiddly” (my word) but you don’t need to get into screen shots for it and if you play with it you can figure it out.
  • Some existing passports

I’m off to a Brownie Sleepover at the Museum of Science and Tech in Ottawa (or as Darlene says – a Sleep Not).  Wish us luck!

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In my area we have Sparks, Brownies, Guides, and Rangers.  The SBG group met last night to talk about Thinking Day and the Guide Unit proposed a neat idea for our event.  We’re going to hold an International Fair.  (This event will be based on one that a Guide Guider participated in years ago in another district.  Thanks Agnes.)  We’ll invite Rangers too.  I hope they’ll come.

The Idea: We’ll hold an International Fair where girls from all units (in pairs and groups) will be challenged to set up a table.  In addition, units will be asked to present/lead an international song at the closing campfire.

Basic Schedule:

6:00 – Guiders arrive to set up tables

6:15 – Doors open for girls to start setting up tables

6:30 – Gathering game – something in the centre of the room – like Stella Ella Ola / Setup continues

6:40 – Opening

  • Unit Openings
  • Talk about Thinking Day
  • Introduction of Theme and Instructions.

6:50 – Fair Opens

  • We tend to do this sort of event in a round robin but this time we’re doing it as a true fair. Girls will be able to walk around and visit each other’s tables.  We’ll have a passport that each table can stamp. 
  • World Friendship Fund Collection – We’ll set up a Wishing Well (I got the idea from a Girl Scout Planning template I listed in the last post)
  • Ideas for International tables: The goal is to not make this too much work for the girls.  They’ll be encouraged to bring in something they’ve already done for school, or to bring souvenirs from a trip they’ve made.  Food or drink is possible – although we do have a peanut allergy.   Since Brownies are working on the Europe Region, I expect we’ll do that as a unit and give girls the option of making up their own tables. 
  • Ideas from the original event.  Pathfinders completed a cooking badge by making Pierogi for the fair (she said the entire kitchen was covered in flour, but it was very enjoyable.  We all said we’d buy frozen ones before we’d go to so much work).   One table was about Switzerland and had Toblerone chocolates for everyone.  The girls each had to make a sign for their table.  She suggested that a table could teach a game, a song, or dance from a country.  You can display souvenirs from your travels.  Or have a craft that girls can make.  Good idea – a game or activity that people can come and go from.  Bad idea – a piñata.  Once it is broken, you’re done. 

7:45 – Fair Closes.  Gather for Campfire

  • Sing a gathering song, then each unit will lead their International Song, then Spark and Brownie closings – and Taps. 

Finish at 8PM.

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This post is for Tonya from PEI.  She, like all of us, is looking ahead to Thinking Day.  In our area we have a planning meeting next week so I’ve been doing some preliminary work to prepare (I’m also a Community Guider – Ontario’s version of District Commissioner – so I’m chairing the meeting). Update – Here’s our plan.

  • World Thinking Day (WTD) is best if it is incorporated into the meeting plans in the weeks before February 22.  But, the reality is, sometimes stuff just sneaks up on you and you’re looking for a meeting plan that will do the trick. 
  • Hopefully your unit can participate in a district or community event.  Or join another unit.  Big or small, bridging is an important aspect of Guiding.  And it is fun too.  And you get to share the load for planning.  And if it takes place during your regularly scheduled time and in yours or someone else’s regular meeting space, it is probably a Green Safe Guide event (but check to be sure)
  • The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) http://www.worldthinkingday.org/ is the place to start.  The theme for this year is “we can save our planet” and the WTD Activity Pack is just that – an activity pack with program ideas that you can use to fulfill the program.  Go to page 21 to read the Advice for Leaders and then on to page 24 to read about group activities.  HINT – if you print the activity pack, pay attention to the Page Sizing and Handling section.  Select Fit so that the thing prints on one page.  I wasted quite a few pages figuring that out – which is ironic, considering the theme. 
  • You don’t HAVE to go with the WTD theme.  It is nice to do it, but you don’t have to.  Here are some ideas:

Update – here’s Our Plan for an International Fair.  And a Passport Template idea.  Do you have a great idea?  Please let us know what you’re doing in the comments so we can learn from you too.

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I don’t know about you, but Flag Ceremonies seem really complicated… and as a busy volunteer Guider, I don’t have time for complicated. But, I’ve done the research and I can tell you that they really are simple for most Guiding levels. You just need to be prepared, and leave lots of time for practice.  Our Brownie unit will be learning how to do this version of a flag ceremony as part of our Remembrance Day observances.


First, talk about what a colour party is and what the responsibility of each role is.

  • Colour = Flag.
  • Colour Party = One colour bearer and two colour guards make up this colour party.  You can add guards in multiples of two.  Additional guards will follow the main party.
  • Colour Bearer (one girl) –  The bearer stands in between the guards and carries the flag.  It is a privilege to carry the colours.  Since the bearer has the flag in front of her face, she depends on her guards to guide her.
  • Colour Guards (two girls) –  Guards will march shoulder to shoulder with the flag bearer – one on her left, and one on her right.  Guards officially “guard the flag” but they also guide the bearer so she doesn’t walk into anything.
  • Caller – One of the Colour Guards will also be the Caller.  Her commands direct where the colour party will go.
  • Leader – The leader (typically a Guider) will stay put in circle or horseshoe.  She will give commands to the colour party to get them started and to release them from their duties.
  • Flag respect – don’t let it touch the ground.  Don’t turn your back on the flag until final “Fall Out”

Next, practice… (without a flag).  In colour party groups, have the girls march around the gym following the Simple Flag Ceremony Script below to get into a rhythm.  We want groups to walk together in formation.  They should be moving as one unit.   Once groups get it (and don’t be afraid to put them through their paces to make sure they get it right), they can try it with a real flag.


Simple Flag Ceremony Script (Print the one-pager here)


  • Flags should be placed or held “off stage”.  We use the meeting flags that are already on flag poles.
  • Flag stands should be placed in the front of the room (where you want the flag party to end up.
  • Colour party will start from wherever they are in the circle or horseshoe.


  • Leader – “Colour party fall out”
    Colour Party leaves the Brownie Circle – one step forward, two steps back, then walk smartly to flag.
  • Leader/Owl: “Colour party fall in”
    Colour Bearer takes the flag, turns so she is facing the way she wants to start.
    Colour Guards position themselves, one on each side of the bearer (just touching, shoulder to shoulder with her).
    Colour Party Stand in position. (Wait for Leader command).
  • Leader/Owl: “March on the Colours”
    Colour Party
    begins marching in place.
    This is the hardest part and they are tempted to march a couple of times and then jump forward. Require that they get it right. The goal is to get all three marching in step.
  • When they are in sync, one of the colour guards becomes the Caller.
  • Caller Commands move the colour party around the room.  The caller should be outgoing and prepared to say her lines loudly and in public.  Use whatever command suits your situation “Colour Party March”, “Colour Party Forward”, “Colour Party Stop”, “Colour Party Right Turn”, “Colour Party Left Turn”, etc.
    Colour Party makes their way to the flag stands. When they arrive…
  • Caller: “Colour Party Stop (Halt)”
    Colour Bearer put flag in the stand.
    Colour Party step back. Stand facing the flag.  Remain in this position until Leader gives Fall Out command.
    If the National Anthem is sung, colour party stays in position during anthem, facing the flag.  They should NOT  sing the anthem.
  • Leader: “Colour party fall out”.
    Colour party takes one step forward, two steps back, then they walk back to their place in circle/horseshoe.
  • Flag Ceremony Complete.

And that’s it. There are more complicated ceremonies out there, but this one just works. I hope you try it. We’ll be doing this as part of our Key to my Community: Proud to Be Canadian meeting.

Additional Resources: Notes from Margaret Bradford, former District Commissioner, Hawthorne District (November 2010), and The Guider Handbook by Dorothy Crocker (1988 edition). Chapter 8, page 191-201.

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Some meetings don’t have one single objective and tonight’s meeting is definitely one of them.  We’ve got four things to accomplish…

  • Finish Key to I Can Sewing Magic.  We were working on sewing books in early January and, what with a meeting cancelled and a lot of other stuff to do, we haven’t been back to finish.
  • Welcome Back Starry Owl!  One of our Guiders has been travelling and volunteering abroad and we’re finally going to hear about her stories.  We’ll tie it into a Thinking Day activity.
  • We are welcoming a new girl this week and will commence an individual “Key to Brownies” program.  Tonight we’ll play a welcome game.

The Plan:

6:30 Arrival Game ideas from different WAGGGS countries (Thank you Snowy Owl)  What Time is it Mr. Wolf?  OR Regina, Regina Bella

6:40 – Circle Time

6:50 – Brownie Circle – Include an intro/getting to know you game for new Brownie.  And Welcome back Starry Owl!

7:00 – Program – Finish Sewing Magic

7:20 – Action game to get out the sillies
Options from Snowy Owl (who, while she hates sewing, is an absolute dream about handling my most hated job – badges… and is great with finding games!) : Sharks (from Greece), Sticky Tree-Stump Game (from Kazakhstan) and something called Sail Posts from Latvia.

7:40 – A Game from Starry Owl – Or Campfire.

And then Close.
Next week is Thinking Day.

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