The New Programme

We’ve been getting our heads around the new programme this last year. Yep, it is almost a year since I last updated here.

I feel like the creative things we used to do are gone now, and there’s more of an un-guided curriculum in place to help us get certain targets. That’s fine, and something we’re all getting our heads around.

So for several meetings we haven’t really done things differently to what they say on the cards. We’re starting to learn what works for us, and what doesn’t. We’re combining badges and clauses as much as possible where they complement each other.

We’re doing dry and wet term plans in the hope we can get outdoors (so far, no good).

We’re getting constant requests to play Fox, Frog, Flea and have turned some Skills Builders into actual games the girls all enjoy playing.

It seems to be working. We have a few Theme awards awarded, a Gold awarded (taking the short route) and a few Skills Builders. I’ve got leaders guilt at not awarding as many badges so am finding things where we need to buy badges (then watching us have ten less girls turn up that week and wishing I hadn’t bought as many).

But we’re getting there. I’m still here.

It Has Been a While

since I last updated here. We’ve been so busy with Brownies this term, so over the summer I’m going to type up a few of our meeting plans which seemed to work quite well.

This will cover things like Vote 100 activities, Royal Wedding activities, making cards for Queen Elizabeth, the Equaliteas activity and the Girlguiding Future Girl activity. We also had a football week which went well, timed with the start of the World Cup.

This term has felt like one where the girls have expressed their opinions and realised their voices do matter. They’ve also got worse at listening at times, preferring to continue their conversations while their hands are raised but hey ho….

I’d like to think they’ve learned a bit about what it was like to gain the vote 100 years ago, and the things girls can do or want to do. We’re not teachers, but we can all learn something together.

So yes, those were our themes, for September we’re doing a Brownies & Guides Got Talent evening so we’ll be spending time working on that. I’ve also spotted a new challenge badge, The Greatest Showgirl which fits perfectly with it too, as well as the Entertainer badge.

Hopefully once we get the new resources for the programme change there will be parts we can incorporate into our meetings – not long now! Although we won’t get ours from Division until early September. I’m hoping there’ll be more information online to keep us going.

Promise Activity

I wanted to keep this simple, but make sure each Brownie-to-be knew what each part of the Promise means. A lot of our newest recruits were Rainbows so knew what to say (with that little bit extra) but the main thing with the promise was understanding what each part means.

I have to stress to every single girl taking part in this, Brownies is NOT a religious organisation. You are finding the promise and seeing how you can apply it to what you do, and then remember what you’ve done when saying the promise. It seemed to help. Apart from the girl who said she has no beliefs, doesn’t help anyone and doesn’t do much. But we got there in the end.

I copied the text from the GirlGuiding website with each section of the promise, then created text boxes for the girls to write things they had done for each part of the promise. I couldn’t find anything like this online (which was surprising) and it helped the girls understand exactly what they were promising. It can probably be adapted even better, so I won’t upload my sheets just yet.

We sat in sixes, and wrote something we had done our best with. That was fairly easy.

Then we thought about beliefs. A lot of our Brownies attend church schools, so said god or jesus which was easy for them. However, a lot of other girls said they don’t believe in god. I pointed out that I wrote that I’ve been a vegetarian for over 30 years, and that I believe I shouldn’t eat animals. We chatted about things they believe in, and they worked it out from there. Unicorns, apparently.

After that, a surprising number of girls didn’t know what a community was. But we talked about attending church parade, helping or visiting their school fair, or even just attending the local carnival. They got a few ideas from that which opened up their idea of what a community is.

None of them knew why we say we’ll serve the Queen. They didn’t know she used to be a Brownie… (obviously they haven’t been reading their Adventure Book ;-)) but they found that interesting which was good.

Then it was covering the Brownie Guide Law – ‘A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day’ – so we thought about when we’ve done that. The girl I mentioned above struggled. I said “well, do you make your bed very often?” “no, I make it every day” she replied. VOILA! That’ll do nicely.

So I was hoping that when they said the following, this is what they’re thinking…

I promise that I will do my best, (I will listen to other people when they speak)
to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, (I believe in unicorns)
to serve the Queen and my community,  (I spent lots of money at the school fair)
to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law. (I make my bed every day)

Put like that it’s pretty easy to slot the Brownie Promise into everyday life, especially when you’re starting your GirlGuiding journey, I reckon.

A Quickly Thought Out Meeting

Tonight our meeting plan wasn’t quite ready. It’s my first week back as I was too jetlagged after visiting Australia. But I’m ready!

We’re doing the craft badge this term. I have a few bits planned, although I need to think how they’ll work with the badge syllabus.

Firstly, we’ll be making the shrinky dink necklaces – because it’s quick and easy. I’ll bring them home to bake and take them back in next week. We should be doing the First Aid badge next week, but finishing off the necklaces should be quick and easy – possibly one to start when the girls first come in.

Secondly, our Tawny Owl collected some rocks and pebbles from their seaside break in the school holidays. The girls can decorate each pebble which we’ll keep for Promise Ceremony time, when each rock will be placed around the pond. So they need to put their name on it and then do whatever they want. When they leave Brownies they get to take their stone with them.

Finally, an activity I spotted on the Girlguiding Brownie Leader Support Group. Each girl draws a picture of themselves, and the piece of paper is passed around everyone, where you have to write one nice word that makes you think of that person. Could be interesting… I think us leaders will need to join in too!

Let’s see how that goes….

The New Pond

It was enrollment week this week, and the new pond was finished in time. It also fits in our big cupboard which is a relief.

The total cost came in at around £10 and it is built to last a long time. The back is securely fastened with duck tape, and the mirror is lovely and shiny, with the letters showing nice and clearly. We had flowers and leaves scattered around the pond, and I’m quite liking another Brownie tradition I’ve heard of which I’ll come to in a bit.

So here’s the pond! Minus the leaves unfortunately as we had to get into the ceremony so I didn’t get a picture this term.

Brownie pond, Enrollment ceremony at Brownies

I love this tradition and want to start it next term. Each Brownie is given a pebble to put their name on and decorate. When it is promise time, the new Brownie puts their pebble by the pond alongside all the others. When they leave they take their pebble with them, so it’s something which lives with them throughout their three years at Brownies.

We have 30 Brownies and a (hopefully) big enough pond.

Looks like I’m going to have to have a trip to the seaside (such a shame 😉 ).