Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Autumn term is now in full swing . . .

I realised the other day, as usual, that it's been a while since I last wrote a blog. So here goes, the usual memory test as to what's been happening...

Back at the beginning of September I attended Innovate in Cardiff. I was using this for one of the modules for the Queens Guide award which I'm working towards. To be honest I was pretty wary of going, it was so far to trek to the other side of the country to, in my eyes, 'tick off another module'. However I bucked up my ideas and set off. I had arranged, through the facebook group for the event, to meet up with a few other girls at Cardiff station. Girls I'd never met before, but we all exchanged numbers and agreed to met once we had arrived. Surprisingly enough this all went to plan, we all arrived at generally the same time, had a quick introduction and then headed off to find the train station together. The girls were lovely and I could tell I was in for a great weekend. 
I had a brilliant weekend! It was so much fun and everyone I met was friendly and happy to have a chat. I took part in a number of activities including a basic sign language class, took part in discussions about future events, and recruiting girls from disadvantaged areas. Every night there was a disco. . . with quite possibly the worst DJ ever, however it was a great laugh and the second night was fancy dress. You had to come dressed as what you wanted to be when you were younger, and so I went along as a trucker . . . :) 

It was a fantastic experience and I couldn't recommend it enough to anyone who is old enough to attend and promote it to younger girls so that they are aware of it for when they get to that age. I have made lots of new friends and hope to keep in touch with them all. xx

So everything has returned to normal (or as normal as it can be!)Guides and Senior Section is back on. So far this term, firstly, the Senior section girls have had an evening of team building, due to us having 5 new girls joining the group, planning their term, making milkshakes, and starting decoupage frames which look like they will turn out really well. They have also planned to do a night walk one evening, Zumba, decorate Christmas baubles, do some baking and finishing off the term with an evening of Ice Skating. 
The Guides have had a bit of a mix up with us sadly losing a leader and gaining about 5 new girls. So we've had a move around of patrols, sorting the girls into suitable groups. The girls also arranged three future nights of activities for their patrols, working to the Go For Its! We've had one evening of this so far which was successful. There was a wide variety of activities happening including making Gazpacho, punch, boats from rubbish, and henna hands. Last week the girls attended an evening with the local Rock Choir. It was a great success, we all sang along to Bruno Mars and it really did sound great at the end with everyone coming together.   
They also have a fantastic term planned, with activities including a sleepover, quiz night, craft and much more. 

Here's to a great Autumn term, good luck everyone.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Summer Camp & Wellies and Wristbands at Foxlease

Wow! What a fantastic week we've just had!
We have just returned from five days in the new forest with 7 Guides and 3 Senior Section girls. 

Last week we boarded the train to the New Forest, with all the equipment beating us down there in a van. It isn't very often we get to take the girls on a train so we thought we'd seize the opportunity and add a bit more adventure to the trip. With only one change, and a bus at the other end, it was a reasonably straight forward journey, and the girls were extremely well behaved!

The first three days of the camp, was our own summer camp. We arrived at Foxlease full of excitement and anticipation for the activities over the next few days. For once the sun was shining brightly, not a cloud in the sky and it was HOT!! However this did make it a bit of mission for us all having to drag our equipment to the top of the field and then putting the tents up. But once everything was where it needed to be, it didn't take the girls long to set up our little site. 

I am currently working towards the Queens Guide award and so I took the opportunity to use our camp as part of this, I took on a new role, something I had never done before on camp, I became the cook. After working out the menu with other leaders from the unit and doing the food shopping, I felt reasonably comfortable and prepared for the challenge. 

I had made it slightly harder on myself by choosing this camp to do it on, in that we didn't have a kitchen, no kettle, no oven, no hob. All cooking was carried on gas burners out doors. But thankfully the weather held out and made it considerably easier for me!
The menu consisted of Pasta Bolognese,packed lunches, wraps, Sweet and Sour Noodles, Pancakes among other yummy things, oh and don't forget the smores!
During our camp we did lots of great activities with the girls. Took them for a walk into Lyndhurst, to see the New Forest Ponies, a walk through the woods, various craft activities, camp fire and to top it off, a wander around Foxlease in our onesies!

The camp was fantastic and the girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves!!

The second half of camp was the brilliant Wellies and Wristbands festival. Whilst everyone was setting up on Friday afternoon - we were comfortable in knowing that ours was all in place, we took the opportunity to leap straight in the hot tubs! A glorious hour soaking in the tub after three days of camping.

I used the Wellies and Wristbands for another section of my Queens Guide Award. This time for the residential experience where you have go away for a minimum of two nights and three days, where the majority of participants were unknown to you. Given that there were approx 2200 girls at the festival, it was a brilliant opportunity to tick another thing off.

This was the first ever Wellies and Wristbands and I have to say it was an absolute success, there are of course a few wrinkles that need ironing out before next years one, but on the whole it was great - another brilliant Guiding experience!
The girls (Guides & Senior Section) and Leaders were all able to join in on a variety of activities. 
Before attending the camp we had to pick a selection of activities we wanted to take part in and were allocated two each. My activities were Archery and the Crates Challenge. As well as doing this I also did some craft, took part in a Zumba class in the middle of a field, watched live bands, went on a tour of Foxlease house, enjoyed a dip in the hot tubs, face painting, had an Indian head massage, and spent some time at the 'beach'.

 The highlight for many of our girls was meeting the band 'Three Times Over'. It took a while to calm them down Saturday evening to say the least. We had 10 VERY hyper VERY happy girls that night!

I was very proud of one of our girls who got up on the huge stage in front of an audience of probably over 200 + and sang a brilliant rendition of Rhianna's 'Diamonds' without any backing music - she was extremely brave, conquering her stage fright and got a huge cheer at the end, despite the wasp interrupting her halfway through . . . !

 I personally think it was great that the leaders got to join in with the activities and mix with the girls, see the excitement on their faces and meet lots of other people from all over the country. Everyone I met was extremely friendly, and everyone looked out for everyone else on the whole. 

I also got to meet Chief Guide Gill Slocombe - which was a personal highlight for me!

The week was fantastic and one I'll never forget. The girls were buzzing the whole way home and already asking if we can go next year!!

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the experience happen and giving the girls a week they'll never forget. And a huge thanks to the leadership team who helped me tick off two more things on the Queens Guide Award, couldn't have done it all without you!! 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Just a quick catch up . . .

So Guides has stopped for the summer, a while ago now . . .  On our last evening we took the girls for a walk along the seafront, stopped for some chips and then walked back. It was a lovely evening in the glorious sunshine. This was the first time in 4 years we were able to do it in the dry, let alone with full sun! Due to us being located on the south coast, it is nearly always blowing a gale, otherwise known as a 'coastal breeze'. Last year it was cancelled because of the weather, the year before we completed it in a monsoon, and the year before that it rained (different from monsoon I promise!) So to have an evening with full sun and not a hint of wind made it a perfect end to a fantastic term.

We are carrying out final preparations for our summer camp next week, off down to Foxlease for 6 days. (Please wish for us to have more sun!) We are doing two days of our own camp followed by attending the 'Wellies and Wristbands' Guiding festival which is taking part over the weekend. So shopping lists have been drawn up, activities are planned, just got to get my head around the packing next - and not forget my pillow like normal!
We are taking the Guides down on the train, to add a bit more adventure to the week, and to beat the Bank Holiday traffic upon our return. . .

It should be a fantastic week, and the festival sounds like it's going to be a fantastic experience, with over 2000 Guides attending from all over the UK. Even the adults get to join in on the activities, I'm down to do Archery and Crates climbing among many many other things.

I will fill you in on all the fun upon my return, there should be some great tales to share.

I hope you're all having a relaxing summer break, not long till September now . . .


Friday, 5 July 2013

So much to write about. . .

Once again it has been a long time since I last wrote a blog. Life is so hectic at the moment having recently started a new job - so settling into the routine of that and my role as Division PR Rep has had me all over the place - I haven't had enough minutes spare to sit down and write. However this evening, as I watch Wimbledon I find myself with enough time to have a bit of a catch up. 

Where do I begin. At the end of May I was very fortunate to go on Brownie Pack Holiday with a lovely unit from the District. I hadn't been on pack holiday since I was a Brownie, so probably around 15 years so I knew this was going to be a challenge as I was now used to dealing with stroppy teenagers not eager little girls. Anyway of we went in the sunshine, off to Blacklands farm. The Brownies had a great week ahead of them, we had loads of activities organised including; Archery, Grass Sledging, a walk, Swimming, Open Canoeing, Bungee Trampolining, Camp Fire and a range of craft activities. The theme for the week was Winnie the Pooh the walk was really an Expotition to the North Pole.
Despite us arriving in the sun, that was the last of it until the day we departed. It rained all week!! However the Brownies were fantastic, any apprehension I had before we went soon disappeared out the window. The Brownies didn't get disheartened one little bit by the rain and carried on like troopers - had it been the Guides or Senior Section I have a feeling it would have been a different story. . . 
We also had a visit from our Regional Commissioner - who looked very stylish in her bread bag shoe covers we provided for her when she came into the cabin :)

The week after this was back to Senior Section and Guides as usual. However at the end of the week I was kindly invited to celebrate a very special evening with another Guide unit - as part of my PR role. One of the Girls from the unit, aged 14, on this evening was awarded the Baden Powell award which she had worked so hard towards, she also was awarded two badges the last two she needed in order to have a full set - this Guide had worked towards and gained ALL 42 badges which are available for a Guide to work towards. And to top it all off she also received the Gold award from the local Lions Club for Community service, which involves completing 100 hours of community service over 12 months. So it was a great honour to be invited to celebrate with her, and it was a lovely evening all round. A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS goes out to her!

Again it was Guides and Senior Section as usual, I have to be honest, I'm struggling to remember some of the activities. The Guides played rounders one evening, had a Zumba instructor come in and teach them, did some craft and played some games. The Senior Section girls, were informed about the Duke of Edinburgh award and the Queens Guide, designed and made outfits from rubbish and played Volleyball.

Some where in the middle of this we also went on a weekend camp with both the Guides and Senior Section girls. The weekends theme was 'I'm a Girlguide get me out of here'.
The weekend was full of 'bushtucker' type trials including taste tests, mystery boxes, and assault courses among many others. The girls were also lucky to go to the river nearby, build rafts and race them. However, because of the wind one group did get blown up river, never fear the instructors soon brought them back . . .
A very rare occurrence happened during camp though. . . it didn't rain during the day time, just during the night when we were snug in our sleeping bags. However it did blow a hooly, but we are fortunate enough that our camp site is tucked down in a nice sheltered little hole. We had a brilliant camp fire too in which the girls each received a letter from home, just like in the jungle, the letters produced some great tales and serious bursts of laughter :)

Now this week is a bit easier to remember, Guides and Senior Section had to be on the same night this week due to the activities taking place. I took the Senior Section girls bowling and out for dinner afterwards. I don't need to say anymore other than that I got thrashed by a girl who had injured her hand and was having to play left handed . . . 
The Guides went sailing, and the tails I heard afterwards was that it was a successful evening with the girls enjoying in. A few uneasy girls to start with but all soon settled into it and enjoyed themselves. And of course there were a few over board :)

Finally on Wednesday I was invited to go along to another Brownie unit to celebrate with them the units 50th Birthday. Due to work commitments I unfortunately wasn't able to get there until the last half hour, however I did arrive in time to hear some great singing from the girls and receive a piece of birthday cake :)

As you can see its been a busy time, but I'll try not to leave it so long before writing the next one :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A short break . . .

So I realise I haven't blogged for the past couple of weeks, things just got a bit busy and the blog unfortunately had to be sidelined. However I am now back on track so time to update you all with the fantastic activities we've been getting up to.
Two weeks ago is probably the best place to start . . . 
Firstly the Senior Section girls didn't thanks to a Bank Holiday, but the guides enjoyed an evening of games and bracelet making. We played the old favourites which included running across the hall and Cat and Mouse.

Last Monday we were able to get the Senior Section girls outdoors, braving the gentle coastal breeze we were experiencing. . . The hall we meet has a great little car park outside, perfect for cooking Super Noodles on Trangeas :) 
We split them into three groups and set them on their way, a lot of them had no idea how to set up the Trangea (and I hate to say it but that included me! - Thankfully there are 2 leaders!) Once they'd found a nice sheltered spot in the car park they were soon underway and enjoying their noodles. 
For pudding they made Smores by candle light - what a tastey evening. 

On Thursday we took the guides to Raystede animal centre which is a place for rescued animals. It's a lovely place out in the Sussex countryside and the girls were very fortunate to go behind the scenes and see the cats and dogs in their kennels. There were four beautiful Spaniel puppies there who enjoyed a bit of a play with the girls too. The girls were given a talk by a brilliant member of staff (Gemma) who told them all about the key points to remember whilst caring for a pet.  

Once they'd seen the inside they were able to go outside to the dog training areas and learning a bit about how to train a dog with a beautiful 8 month old Husky called Seoul. 
At the weekend I took part in my first session of beach litter picking, which is all part of the community module for my Queens Guide Award. I spent two hours on the beach - unfortunately in the wind and rain - picking up all the bits of rubbish which are left behind, blown in the wind and washed up. It was quite eye opening as from a distance the beach looked incredibly clean. However up close you could see how much fishing rope, netting and plastic lids were scattered along the beach, along with other items of waste including toothbrushes and pens!!
It was actually quite a therapeutic couple of hours and very rewarding to know you're helping the environment and habitats in that location.
I joined a group of around 10 other litter pickers who meet once a month on this particular beach to clear up and protect the environment. 

At Senior Section last night the girls were very lucky to have a visitor from the local florist come in and teach them how to make table decorations. The out come was brilliant with each girls centre piece quite clearly reflecting their personality!! They took their time with it and made some really beautiful pieces. They also learnt how to make button holes and ribbon bows.
Later this week the Guides will be taking part in a Division Camp Fire evening at the camp site, hopefully I'll be able to blog about it at the end of the week.


Friday, 3 May 2013

A week of new skills

I am ashamed to say that before this week I did not know how to use a compass . . . Guide Leader for over 7 years, have been involved since I was born. . . that's quite an achievement to make it that far without learning how to do it.

Monday saw me taking my first steps in learning how to use what seemed to be a highly confusing piece of equipment, I've always managed to run in the opposite direction when the compass comes out, however on this occasion I had to man up and get on with it.
We took the Senior Section girls out, having split them into 2 groups and attaching a leader to one, we sent them off around the streets writing down directions, bearings and instructions for the other group to carry out once they had swapped.

So hear goes. . . I didn't realise how easy it was to read a compass and take a bearing. Hold the compass flat, the arrow will always point North, read the bearing off the small numbers around the edge - so simple!

The girls had a great time mapping out a route for the other group, sending them on a wild goose chase and carrying out random tasks, and most importantly they all learnt how to use a compass.
It was a lovely evening too with the sun shining brightly for us :)

On Thursday the Guides carried out a similar activity, instead of walking around the streets we took them up onto the Downs and walked a lovely route through fields and woodland and passed through a small village. Once again the sun shined brightly for us too. 
We split the girls into four groups, one leader to each group and set them off with a map and a compass having shown them how to set the compass and the route we were to take. They had a fantastic time, learning the different components on a map - different roads and symbols etc as well as learning how to take a bearing. 
At the end we had a nice hill to come down and of course the girls tackled it in style - pencil rolling it to the bottom! A brilliant way to end a great evening.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sweet Week

Well, there goes another busy week, another week of guiding complete. 

On Monday the Senior Section girls got crafty and created a range of bracelets for themselves. They were given a wide array of beads, wires, elastics, clips and other materials to create bracelets with, and there were some beautiful results, some lovely bead & chain mixtures. The girls put some real thought and effort into the activity and came out with some great pieces.
While they were occupied with this we were able to get on and complete the term plan. Again, some great activities were thought of, Volleyball on the beach, S/S girls v District Leaders rounders competition, clothes designing among many other things. Should be a great term with lots of outdoor activities in the sunshine . . . hopefully!

The Guides had a sugar filled evening on Thursday playing games, making sweet pizzas and slush puppies. It was a fun filled noisy evening and the girls certainly went home buzzing. . . One thing I noticed was that Dolly Mixtures are not popular! I personally love them, the girls however do not!

At the weekend I attended a Changing Sections & Safe Space Training day. This was for my Adult Leadership Qualification for Senior Section. A couple more things to do and this will be complete :) It was a good day and great to see a friendly face as the Senior Section trainer (my old Brown Owl :)) I also made a 'new friend' and hopefully a new contact. A lovely 'girl' who is taking over a Ranger Unit. Hopefully we will continue this contact and be able to swap ideas etc.

I have had a busy day updating my folder work for my Q.G award, things are coming together nicely and I'm happy with the development. As the regular readers will know, I have now taken on the role of Division PR Rep and was so happy to see that Pip McKerrow - Chief Commissioner for our region (LASER) is now following us :D Thanks Pip!!

I hope you are all having a great start to your summer terms.