I wanted to join Brownies because my friend had been going and it sounded fun. I was a Sprite. I can remember my brownie dress being incredibly long, although I have always been vertically challenged! I don’t think remember being there particularly long before I moved to Guides, but I do recall playing rounders on the field opposite, singing ‘who stole the cookie from the cookie shop’ and completing my first badge – collector, happy times!
During a recent BBC Radio Cumbria interview the Girlguiding NWE Region Marketing Adviser was asked what her first badge was … ‘hostess’ she said, apparently a popular choice. What was your first badge? A recent request on GGW Face book page resulted in a number of you responding and uploading pictures. It’s heart-warming how fondly we seem to look back on our early Guiding years.
Of course Guiding is looking forward too, about continuous challenge and improvement, be it through the girls completion of badges, attending events or overnight experiences or through us as leaders completing qualifications or attending leader trainings or events.
My sister and I have just successfully completed our Power Cruising on narrow boats qualification, and received nice metal badges for our efforts. We’ve been on canal boat holidays with the family for years and so when Region offered the course it seemed natural for us to book on. Now with our qualification complete we’re ready to offer a practice weekend for our Unit leaders and then hopefully a weekend for our Guides / Senior Section next year.
Narrow boating isn’t for everyone! We’re all unique and opportunities will excite and engage us all differently. This is why we endeavour to provide a ‘balanced and varied programme’ ensuring we ‘care for the individual’ and why we use Rainbow Chats, Brownie Pow wows, Patrol Leaders Council and Look Wider Team Meetings to ‘encourage girls to govern themselves and make their own decisions’ meaning they have the opportunity to challenge themselves to get the most they can from Guiding. Girls and leaders alike can gain confidence through ‘working together in small groups’ which is why as leaders we must look outside our Units, use the District / Division Teams, the Section and other Advisers, consider attending trainings and undertaking qualifications in order to keep our Guiding fresh and inspiring for the girls and ourselves!
Through support and confidence we are more likely to provide Guiding opportunities outside the meeting place. There are lots to choose from and we should challenge ourselves as a Unit / District / Division Team to take advantage of them. We mustn’t forget however, that our memories are just as easily made from our weekly meetings, ‘who stole the cookie…’ etc. Without a solid programme based on our ‘shared commitment to a common standard – the Promise’ we won’t have girls to whom we can offer the fantastic outside the meeting place opportunities.
Even if you can’t recall exactly which badge was your first, I’m sure you’ll have many happy memories from your Guiding years as a girl. Infact I’m guessing that’s probably why you’re still in Guiding….. Widespread appeal to all members will allow us to achieve our ultimate aim of ensuring our girls today move up through all the sections and become our future leaders. That’s our responsibility and it’s more likely to be achieved when Guiding focuses on fun, friendship and opportunities through the 5 essentials. As leaders we’re creating opportunities and creating memories for girls every time we’re in contact with them – let’s make sure they’re as positive as ours are.
5 Essentials of Guiding
1 Work together in small groups
2. Encouraged to govern themselves and make their own decisions
3. Have a balanced and varied programme
4. Care for the individual
5. Share a commitment to a common standard