Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hike #1

We went on our first hike of the year today! We had great weather for it--it was a beautiful sunny morning, a bit on the cool side. Everyone dressed in layers (like they were told!) and peeled the layers off as they got warmed up from the hike and as the sun warmed the day.

Before the hike, we sent an email suggesting the following:

  • Dress in layers. It'll be cool starting out, but hopefully, we'll warm up once we get walking and it's nice to be able to take some layers off.
  • Wear sturdy shoes--sneakers or hiking shoes/boots.
  • Wear a hat and mitts/gloves.
  • Bring a small backpack/day pack--to carry things you need and to hold clothing you may take off.
  • Bring a water bottle filled with water.
  • We'll provide a snack (the GORP we made on Tuesday night). You might want to augment it with an apple or banana.

We're planning to earn the Hike Nova Scotia hiking challenge crest this year, so this was our first hike of many. We brought the GORP we made at enrollment, and also gave them baggies containing their hike log book and a pencil, a small notepad in case they want to take notes on anything, and some supplies to make a small hat craft at home after the hike.

We knew there were lots of oak trees at this park and we'd be able to find acorns. So we gave the girls googly eyes and a safety pin, to create a little acorn man. It was almost too late in the year to find the acorns--most were buried under all the leaves--but on our way out, we found a good spot and everyone ended up with an acorn to take home.

While on the hike, we took a picture of the girls and talked to them about how the woods look in the fall. We will come back to this park in the winter and in the spring to do the same things. (Beyond You: Learn About Our Environment #1)

The girls had a great time on the hike. We had time at the end, so we stopped in a field and played Blob Tag and Stormy Seas.

On the way out, we tried to get the girls to sing. We tried Sippin' CiderGreat Green Globs (everyone has a different version of this song!), and some other silly ones, but the girls wouldn't join in until we did Everywhere We Go. This really piqued their interest and we sang it over again about four times!

Then we all filled in our log books and it was time for the parents to pick them up! We were out for about two hours and it was such a fun time. It's always nice to get out of the meeting place and do fun things and give the girls a chance to just socialize with each other.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meeting #5: Halloween Party! And Enrollment!

You in Guiding: Understanding the Promise and Law (YiG1)

Beyond You: Try New Things (BY3)

We had our Halloween party with the Sparks unit down the hall, and then had our enrollment after the Sparks left. Unfortunately, that meant the girls got enrolled in their costumes!

Arrival (10 min): The girls oohed and aahed over their costumes as everyone arrived.

Icebreaker (15 min): We played Circle to Square, a cooperative game the Guiders learned at conference a few weeks ago. First, the girls had to line up in alphabetical order. With older girls, you ask them to do this without talking, but since they were helping the Sparks get organized, we allowed it. Again, I'm getting used to working with quiet, reserved unit this year, and it took some work to get them all lined up in order. We're starting to see some leaders emerge though.

Once they're in order, form them into a circle, and then find four corners and make the circle a square (hence the name). Then the leader stands in the center and tells them to remember who they're standing beside and which part of you they are facing--front, back, left, or right. I held a pumpkin in one hand and a black cat in the other, to help them remember left and right. Then they all spread out, walk around, and get generally mixed up. The leader then yells "Circle to Square" and the girls have to line themselves back up again. The trick is that the leader can rotate 90° and the girls need to realize that they have to get back to facing the proper side of the leader's body, not to the exact spot they were standing originally.

The game went okay. There were 35 girls to organize and without a strong leader emerging from the Guides, a number of them were sort of lost at sea when they were alphabetizing themselves. It confused them when I rotated, but they eventually figured it out. This would probably work better with a smaller group, but it did help everyone get to introduce themselves and get the names out.

Grim Reaper game (5 min): A Guide and a Spark were picked to be It. Everyone else was to lie down on the floor and pretend to be dead, which meant no moving. The Its walked around and if they saw someone moving, they touched them and were out and then helped look for girls who were moving. Some of the girls were really good at lying still!

Crafts (15 min): We had three crafts set up. We paired each Guide up with a Spark, and the Guides were tasked with helping the Sparks make their crafts and providing any assistance that was needed. (BY3 #5)

Craft #1: Ghost Lollipops These were really cute. The Guides had to help the Sparks tie the string around the neck.

Craft #2: Halloween Witches Hat
Ingredients: 1 chocolate mint cookie, icing (a tube of gel icing works well and is quick and easy), Hershey Chocolate Kiss – unwrapped
The Process: Stick the Hershey Chocolate Kiss on top of the cookie with a small dab of icing to make the peak of the hat.

Again, very easy, and a great way to use up any Chocolatey Mint Cookies you have left!

Craft #3: Foam Halloween shapes (bats & pumpkins), googly eyes, sticky magnet strips. The Guides used a glue gun to help the Spark glue the eyes on and they drew the rest of the face on and put a magnet on the back.

Snack (10 min): We had a veggie tray (carrots and cucumber with dip), a bag of Halloween sized chips, and cupcakes for the girls. The Guides stayed with their Sparks and helped them get their snack and sat with them at the tables. They all  did a really good job of helping the Sparks all night.

Enrollment (YiG1#6)
After the Sparks left, we began our enrollment. As we're planning to do a lot of hiking this year to complete the Hiking Challenge, we thought this Girl Scout Gorp Ceremony would be fitting.

We assembled all of the ingredients. Kix aren't available in Canada, so we used Corn Pops and my fellow Guider printed off the Kix box from the internet so it looked like we had Kix! I rewrote the ceremony to make it work for Girl Guides. GORP Enrollment (Word doc)

We started with Horseshoe and the Promise, and then we moved on to the ceremony. We have three returning girls and 13 new girls, so the returning girls took turns reading each paragraph and then each new girl got to dump an ingredient into the bowl and then receive her enrollment pin and patrol badge. 

When we finished, we mixed it all and bagged it up for our hike on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meeting #4: Be Prepared and Sock Puppets

You in Guiding: Understanding the Promise and Law (YiG1)

Discovering You: Discover Your Creativity (DY2)
Discovering You: Understand How to Be Responsible (DY4)

Our Guiders just went to a Guider conference and learned some new things to incorporate into our meetings. It works out well, as this was our first week with the Patrols. We're also planning to expand our meetings from 90 minutes to 2 hours, and we got permission from our meeting place that we can do this!

Patrol Time (20 min): This was new for us. When the girls arrived, they found papers on the table, telling them what to do. Patrol Time instructions (Word doc). The Patrol Leaders take attendance, the girls can present their badges to their patrols (with a Guider overseeing this) and then they spend time either working on Program work, planning upcoming meetings, or planning for campfire, depending on what we task them with.

This week, they were required to make a Be Prepared plan for a trip to the moon--Trip to the Moon (Word doc) (YiG1#3)

Horseshoe (20 min): Then we do Horseshoe after they've completed Patrol Time. This gives us as Guiders a chance to get organized while they are still accomplishing work. At Horseshoe, the Patrol Leaders told us who was absent from their groups and what badges had been presented and by whom. Then we discussed what we were doing that night and then the girls went back to their tables and we discussed their answers to the trip to the moon. (YiG1#3)

Sock Puppets (40 min): We bought fuzzy socks from the dollar store, and then had a ton of things for accessories--feathers, fun foam, buttons, needles, thread, glue guns, yarn, pom poms, felt--and the girls went town making their sock puppets. (DY2#2)

We also gave them take home work to do. They are to be responsible for their sock puppets and look after them for the week. They need to bring the sock puppet and their responsibility chart back with them next week, to show how they looked after them. Responsibility Chart (Word doc) (DY4#5)

Clean-up (5 min): After crafts, the girls cleaned up the floor and tables where they were working--they always end up with little pieces of fluff everywhere!

Closing (5 min): We gave them the choice of the Squeeze and Slow Taps, or Jamaican Taps. I never let them do the Squeeze with Jamaican taps, or we'd never do Slow Taps!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meeting #3: Patrol Elections and Code of Conduct

You in Guiding: Understanding the Promise and Law (YiG1)
You in Guiding: Learn About Guiding (YiG2)

We're still working on the You in Guiding square!

10 min: We spent arrival time collecting dues, cookie money, health forms, and uniform orders. We're putting in a unit order for everyone, to help defray shipping costs.

15 min: Practice Horseshoe--It's always amazing how quickly they pick up the horseshoe. They love doing it (so far!) so we went through it twice.

15 min: Patrol Leader speeches and voting--This is the first year we've done Patrols like this. We used to assign the Patrols and Leaders and let the patrols vote on their Seconds. This year, we opened it up and let every girl have a chance to be Patrol Leader, if they gave a short speech on why they wanted to be a Patrol Leader. The Patrol Leader also got to pick the Patrol Emblem. After the speeches they voted for three patrol leaders on one ballot, and three seconds on a second ballot, and they had to have 6 different names in total. Two leaders counted up the names while we moved on to the next activity. (YiG1#2)

30 min: Code of Conduct activity (Member Zone Log in): We decided to do the Code of Conduct activity for Guides. Last year's group was a really chatty group, so I thought this, with the talk amongst yourselves, would go over well, except our dynamic is quite different this year. They seemed to enjoy reading everything out and answering some questions about what the scenarios meant, but they didn't have a lot to add to the conversation. It's not a super exciting or active activity for them, but I think it's important.

After the activity, we discussed a Code of Conduct for our meeting space, trying to find something for each of the five concepts we covered (Respect, Safe Space, Privacy, Set an Example, and Care). (YiG2#4)

10 min: Once we finished the Code of Conduct, we announced who got to be Patrol Leaders and Seconds. The Seconds got to pick which Patrol Leader they wanted to work with. Then the girls got to pick which Patrol they were in. We told them from the start that if there were too many girls in one patrol, we would ask some to move, and if that didn't settle it, we would have to draw names to see who would move patrols. We did end up with one patrol that had one extra girl it in. At first, I was worried that we'd have to draw names, but then one girl stepped up and switched to another patrol. Disaster averted!

We ended with a couple of songs. I chose On My Honour, as it seemed to tie in with the program work of the evening. Then we let the girls choose and they picked Alice the Camel (always a fun one, and we start at 10) and Baby Shark (this is the closest I could find to the version we do--it's the same up to Verse 11 and then we just say "I'm alive" and dance around, and there are actions that go along with it). Then we did the squeeze and slow taps.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meeting #2: Promise and Law

You in Guiding: Understanding the Promise and Law (YiG1)
You in Guiding: Learn About Guiding (YiG2)

Learn Horseshoe (20 minutes): We started the meeting by teaching the girls how to do horseshoe (Horseshoe formation, taken from GGC Member Zone). The first thing we did was teach the song we sing while marching: the Guide Marching Song lyrics and music. We haven't voted on Patrol Leaders yet, but we used the older girls as patrol leaders. We have 17 girls this year, so we're only going to have 3 patrols.

We started with "Company Fall In", "Left Wheel", and "Company March". We had them march in a circle and then did the split to make the horseshoe. We practiced marching it twice without the words and then we added the song, which confused the girls a little but eventually they'll get it. (20 minutes)

Learn the Promise and Law (15 min): Once they were in the horseshoe shape, we did the promise and law and motto. We have them written up on 11x17 paper that we can hold up for them to read, at least for the first few meetings. We talked about how we hold up three fingers to represent the three parts of the promise. (YiG1#1)

When I was in Guides (30 years ago!), we sang the Guide Law when we did horseshoe, and I can still remember it today. So I found the new song for the new law (lyrics and music) and played it for the girls and we tried singing along. We're going to do this at every meeting, to see if we can remember the law better when it's set to music. (YiG1#1)

I took the returning girls aside to talk to them about Lady Baden Powell Award while the rest of the girls played a Promise Relay. They were in three groups, so we had three sets of promises, broken into small pieces, written in different colours, on strips of bristol board. The first time they played, each colour was in separate piles and the girls had to run, one by one, up to get a piece of the promise and put them in  order. The second time through, the colours were scattered together and they did the relay again. (YiG#1)

Scavenger Hunt (30 min): Next, we did a scavenger hunt in the Program Book, to find out things about Guiding (Word doc). This is a great opportunity for the girls to learn things about Guiding and discover all the information that could be found in the book. We went over all the answers, so all the girls could hear the answers. (YiG2#2)

Handshake Dance (10 min): Finally, we did the activity suggested in the Program book. We played music while the girls danced, and then when the music stop, each girl had to find someone to shake left hands and make the Guide sign. If we had more time, we would have played lots of rounds like musical chairs and eliminated the girls one by one (every other round, a leader would need to play so there would be an odd number of people).

We closed with Jamaican taps.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Women's History Month Activity

You and Others: Learn About Leadership in a Group (YaO1)
This is a meeting we did a couple of years ago during Women's History Month as part of the Famous Five Challenge (Member Zone log-in) and Women's History Challenge (pdf file), which is no longer available.

Option 1 of the Women's History Challenge was to create a Women's History Wall of Fame. I found a website called Famous Canadian Women, which has the birthdates of a lot of Canadian women. I matched the birthdates of my Guides to the birthdate of a famous Canadian woman. I made myself a master copy (Word doc) of the information about the woman, and I made a document (Word doc) that listed the women, birthdates and accomplishments.

I cut out the short descriptions and cut them into shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles) and backed them with colourful construction paper in the same shape, but slightly larger.

At the meeting, I hung up a large piece of Bristol board on wall. Then I read out a birthdate and had the girls identify themselves if it matched theirs. We handed them the name to attach to the poster, and then they had to write their year of birth and something about themselves that they were good at or liked about themselves. While they were doing this, I read the short bio of the famous woman they were connected to.  As it was Women's History month, when we finished, we left the poster on the wall of the school cafeteria where we meet, so the other students could see what we accomplished. (YaO1#4)

The other activity was to do a skit, so I tied this to the Famous Five Challenge (pdf file), which provided some skits. I handed out the three skits to the girls to practice and learn and present. The skits provided the information they would need to answer the questions required in the challenge.

I also had the Word Search from the Famous Five Challenge on the tables for them to work on when they arrived.

I really enjoyed doing our Wall of Fame poster--it was one of those cases where I learn just as much as (or more than!) the girls who were doing the activity.

(this post was inspired by a conversation I had with @girlguidesofcanada today on Twitter, which also contributed to their blogpost Women's History Month)