Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meeting #8 & #9: Sparks Campfire

Meeting #8
You and Others: Learn How to Plan (YaO3)
6:30-7:00--Patrol Time: We gave them evaluation sheets to evaluate the Halloween party last week. (YaO3#1)

7:00-7:30--Horseshoe: We talked about each activity from the Halloween party and what went well and what didn't. Each activity had some positives and negatives. We had a couple of girls who took the constructive criticism poorly, but we explained that no one did a bad job--we were just discussing what could be done differently next time to improve things. The main takeaways this year were that they would prefer a craft to a spooky story, and the spooky story wasn't very spooky.

7:30-8:00--A Sparks group meets at the same time as us down the hall. They have all new leaders (plus an experienced Junior Leader), so we offered to come teach them some Guiding songs. We spent time this meeting getting ready.

I gave the patrols the table of contents from my songbook that I've put together of songs that I know. I have them organized by campfire order, and asked them to pick 3 or 4 from each section that we could teach the Sparks. Becky's Guiding Resource has a great visual on how to organize a campfire.

Once each Patrol had a list, we went through them as a group to see what they came up with and then whittled them down into a small program for next week. We asked them to keep in mind that Sparks can't read well, so they have to be songs that Sparks can  learn fairly easily. This is what they came up with:

8:00-8:30--We sang some of the songs, to make sure we all knew them.

Meeting #9

You and Others: Learn about Leadership in a Group (YaO1)

6:30-7:30--We went straight to the Sparks meeting room. They had their opening, and then we joined them in a campfire circle. We had an indoor campfire, made from wood and Christmas lights.

We went around the circle and everyone introduced themselves and then we had some fun singing! We overplanned and had more songs than could fit in 30 minutes. We skipped the yells and chants and some of the silly songs. We finished with On My Honour and Taps.

After Taps, the Sparks group served everyone Smores. They toasted marshmallows in a toaster oven, and then put them between two chocolate chip cookies. Delicious!

7:30-8:30--We went back to our meeting room and played some games. We started with one we had prepared last year and never got around to using. It's from the Cookie Rising section under Teamwork. You put the letters of the alphabet on cards and spread them out in a defined area. Then the girls have to touch them in order and each girl has to touch at least one letter. They need to figure out how to do it on their own. They started by going in order around the circle, which resulted in girls having to reach far across the circle to touch a letter. It took them 56 seconds. Then we helped them think up ways they could improve their time. It took some effort and some prompting but eventually they figured out if they each took letters that were close to them, they could do it faster. Then we had to remind them that every girl had to touch one. We have some competitive girls, so when some girls were slower to touch their letter, others touched it for them and then not everyone touched a letter. But eventually, they all touched a letter and could do it in 23 seconds! (YaO1#2)

Then we tried another "teamwork" game, which is really hard. The girls sit in a circle and can't discuss strategy. Then they have to count, but only one girl can talk at a time. There are some that insist on always saying a number or trying to say it faster than anyone else (again, the competitive ones) and some who never said a word, waiting for others to go first. I think the highest they got to was 8. (YaO1#2)

Then we tried "What Are You Doing?" again, but it seems to work better with 10-12. With 19 girls, the ones who are waiting get too disinterested. We tried splitting them into 2 groups for it, but by then they weren't interested so we regrouped.

Since they were lined up opposite each other, we tried doing Caimarusa. We could sing the song and mostly remembered the movements, but I think we had one step missing. It was still fun though!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Meeting #7: Volunteering at the Food Bank

We couldn't have the school for our meeting tonight so it was a perfect night to go to the food bank. Every day they get more leftover bread from the grocery stores than they can use so our job was to dump the old stuff. And the girls had a blast! We dumped 115 bread flats in about an hour.

We ran out of dumpster space and we had some time before the parents came so I taught them a game I learned at conference. 

What Are You Doing?--the girls line up in two single file lines, with the girls at the head of each line facing each other. One girl starts doing an action, say tying her shoe the other girl asks, "What are you doing?"  The first girl names an action she isn't doing, say eating an ice cream cone. The second girl starts doing that action while the first girl goes to the end of her line. Then they just keep doing this. 

I thought they'd ask to stop, but they seemed to really like it and played for about 20 minutes. It was a great leaving (or coming) game because the number of girls didn't affect game play. They could pop in and out line easily!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nova Scotia Guider Conference

This past weekend, I attended the biannual Nova Scotia Guider Conference. Every two years, Province puts on a learning weekend for all provincial Guiders (and Rangers this year). It's a great time with lots of learning and laughing.

On Friday, once we found the hotel (Truro is not that big!), it started with the Opening Ceremonies. Our Chief Commissioner Sharon Callahan was a surprise guest and said some words, along with our Provincial Commissioner Holly Thompson. The MC and Conference Chair Debbie Mellish was hilarious the whole weekend and did a great job keep things moving. Then we sang Make New Friends in a round and it sounded great.

Make new friends and keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

A circle is round and has no end
That's how long I want to be your friend.

Then we invited all of District Guiders who were there (6, plus our Area Commissioner) back to our room to hang out and we had lots of fun.

Climbing Jacob's ladder
In the morning after breakfast, we had a joint session on Social Media, let by @talya_talks, who moderates GGC's social media sites like @girlguidesofcan and the GGC Facebook page. Nova Scotia has just started their Twitter feed @GGCNovaScotia and Facebook page and Talya talked about how we can help build that up and why it's important. I don't tweet often--I use my Twitter for reading mostly--but I then spent the day tweeting all about conference #nsguiderconference.

My morning was a double session, which was a hike and geocaching. Victoria Park is a 400-acre woodland park and trail system right in Truro--we could walk there from the hotel. We stopped to try to find a geocache at a small park on the way, but it was hidden too well! We were all around it but just couldn't figure out where it was.

At the falls
There are two main features at Victoria Park. The first is Jacob's Ladder, a 175-step climb! There is a break about halfway up, which most people took advantage of. The picture is from the halfway point, so we still had a ways to go!

The second are the falls--Waddell Falls and Joseph Howe Falls. We'd had a wet week leading up to the weekend, so the falls were flowing beautifully. We were hiking for 3 hours and it was great to get out of the hotel and in the fresh air. Brenda Harvey was our facilitator and since she is local to the area, had lots of great information and tidbits about the park and Truro.

Girl Guide tree carving
The streets of Truro have tree carvings that were commissioned when a lot of the old elm trees had to be cut down due to Dutch Elm disease. On the way back from Victoria Park, we went down the street that had the one that the Colchester Area Girl Guides commissioned.

My first session after lunch was called Trendy Crafts for Guides and Pathfinders. Jennifer Trott-Zisserson is a Guider who is also a Grade 5 teacher and she loves to craft purposeful crafts--more than just colouring and fun foam, which is good for the younger levels but the older girls do want more. She explained Pinterest to those who didn't know what it was and talked about some great craft ideas, like screen printing. Then we got to do some crafts of our own. She had three quick crafts for us to try.

Glitter balls--these are really easy and really pretty. You take a clear plastic or glass ornament ball that you can find at Michael's. You pour clear Pledge cleaner into the ball and swish it around to coat the inside and then pour the excess back into the bottle. Then you pour glitter into the ball and it sticks to the Pledge. It takes more glitter than you expect! And that's it!

Morse Code necklaces/bracelets: This was tedious, though smaller finger might do better with it, and I do like how it turned out. You think up a message in Morse code and write it out (mine says "4th HP Guides"). You add the clasp with crimping beads, then add your message, using long beads for dashes and round beads for dots. You can put crimping beads at each end of your message if you want to keep the message from sliding on the necklace.

Duct Tape Roses: I really liked these and they were quite easy to make too. Cut strips of colourful duct tape into 1" or 1.5" inch strips. You need about 20 (mine had about 10 on it). You fold one corner down not all the way to edge and then fold the other corner down to make a point in the middle. You can either roll it up on itself or around a pencil (like I did). Repeat this for all the other pieces, wrapping them around the first one and staggering the points.

My last session was Drama Queens--Using Drama with Guides and Pathfinders. I signed up for this because I'm not always imaginative and I don't enjoy drama so I wanted some new ideas. As a result, I was dreading it because I knew I'd be out of my comfort zone, but it ended up being my favourite session! There were 15 of us in the session and it was led by Charlotee Dornadic and Darlene Duggan. Charlotte is a drama teacher and has been a Girl Guide member for over 55 years. We learned lots of games and there were a number of outgoing, drama-types in the session, so we laughed a lot too.

We had a bit of time after our last session before supper so we worked on the Scavenger Hunt. With our registration package, we got a list of about 40 questions, and the answers were posted around the hotel. We were proudest of the fact that the largest Pathfinder unit in the province is found in our District!

Dinner was a sit-down turkey dinner. Though we did mix and mingle throughout the day, we had a lovely meal with all of the Guiders from our District. We were joined by some Guiders who had just come for the day, as well as some who we hadn't connected with the night before.

After dinner we had a short group session on the changes to Safe Guide, including the importance of everyone reading the SG4 and knowing what to do in case of an emergency. After that we had campfire, which is always fun. We learned some new songs and sang some old favourites. I finally liked the song "Three Sharp-Toothed Buzzards"! I never understood it before. And Ain't No Flies on Us brought out the competitive side in everyone involved!

We had another evening of fun and good times in our hotel room. We were all very thankful that the clocks went back an hour and we got an extra hour of sleep!

Sunday started after breakfast with an Ideas Market. People bring hat crafts and crafts and crests to sell to raise money for various things like CWFF or international trips. There were camps promoting their facilities and an Area promoting their challenge. 

And we ended the weekend with a closing, giving out door prizes and Scavenger Hunt winners. We ended with Go Well and Safely, one of my favourites, and Daytime Taps.

Conference is always a fun weekend. There are lots of sessions available. Commissioners did COGS, there were the Program Stream sessions, people skills, crafts, drama, outdoor skills. The Conference Team did an amazing job putting everything together and I can't wait until it's time to do it again in two years time!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meeting #6: Halloween Party

You and Others: Learn How to Plan (YaO3)

The Guides planned the party, so we didn't have to do anything! I love these kinds of nights!

6:30-7:00: They arrived and had fun looking at each other's costumes. When they got to rowdy, we corralled them into their patrol tables and told them to go over the activity they were leading that night.

7:00-7:10: We went down to the lobby and paraded around with the Sparks and Brownies units to see everyone costumes.

7:10-7:30: The Red Roses read the ghost story that they wrote the week before and then the Scarlet Tanagers led everyone in some Halloween songs.

7:30-7:50: Let the games begin! The Forget-Me-Nots brought in a drawing of a witch and made paper wands for everyone to play Pin the Wand on the Witch. Then they split the unit into two teams and they gave them five minutes to wrap the tallest girl in toilet paper to make a mummy. The girls had a lot of fun with both games.

7:50-8:20: Snacks! They brought in lots of good food and it was all delicious. There were cupcakes, brownies, cookies, fruit, and chips.

8:20-8:30: Cleanup and closing

They all did a great job with their assigned activities and they had lots of fun at the party that they created! (YaO3#1)