And so it arrived, there was no escaping the fact that the weekend of the pack holiday had finally arrived.
Brownies and luggage descended from a variety of directions upon a bemused coach driver and were loaded, the adventure had begun!
“Are we nearly there yet?”, echoing before we were even out of sight of school, meant the need of a new measurement tool for distance and 1000 lorries did provide that! The back row summoned Eagle Owl for various issues and discussions so many times, that Granny Owl decided they may enjoy her company. Eagle Owl was glad as she had been unsure whether it was safe to remain in an area where a child was gaining great pleasure from sniffing the inside of her shoes…………….

And so we arrived at Hazel House, Ripon; a lovely holiday home at the rear of the Workhouse Museum, got them in and beds prepared quickly before getting on with our first activity which was, dependant on which Brownie you looked at, t-shirt painting, or t-shirt cementing (on some the paint is so thick it is still drying).

Sweeties were “rehomed” on arrival in the largest cooking pot in the kitchen……. the sort that can be used to make stew for 25 people with seconds available… anything smaller would not have contained the sugar fest which had arrived from home. Over the weekend, these were brought out at sensible intervals; not necessarily those which matched a Brownie’s idea of sensible as they did try a riot chanting “we want sweets” just prior to Saturday lunch.

With some, not-so-quiet games to keep them amused,

And off to bed……… followed by leader after leader visiting until past 1am for the noise and the dancing. The gentle word, the hard word, the riot act, the bedtime story, the leader sitting in there with them (which some failed to see) were all insufficient to quiet them. When not in the room with them, the Brownies were confused as to how we knew they were out of bed, it was strange that we could work this out from their stampede!  Finally to sleep before, at 6.29.32am (yes we know the second) a large herd of elephants broke in to the buiding and invaded the toilets ……… it had to be the elephants because no Brownie was out of bed…………

A wet and windy day but they needed to be out……… so an exploration with crazy golf and an adventure playground filled the morning well. Give them the space and they do the rest (with the bonus that a nice leader friendly cafe is located at the crazy golf).

An afternoon of baking and crafting kept everyone busy (and every leader just a tiny bit fraught).
With beeswax candles, candle plunging, decorations to make and lots and lots baking.

With kite building, an exploration of the workhouse grounds – where the piggery, deadhouse and hospital fought closely for recognition as being the “best place ever”, plenty of energy was used.  Other visitors to the Workhouse appeared to think the urchin brigade running around were part of a living exhibit!

By Saturday Night at the Movies and the nearly birthday party the leaders were feeling quiet tired from the never ending energy (and bickering) of The Unit.

It was time for bed and Eagle Owl just knew we could not have a second night of totally hyper children?
So how to silence them?????? Some would say it was bribery, the leadership team prefer to describe this as negotiation and reaching a deal between 2 parties!  Eagle Owl hates slime with a passion, she has manage to avoid doing slime with The Unit for several years but had relented for the holiday…….. thus the no sleep/no clean up of bedroom in the morning = no slime agreement was negotiated between both parties.   Amazingly, the deal was honoured!!!!

Sunday and time to think about home, so packing was first order of the day! What a nightmare – the lack of requested labelling, the lack of care on where clothes had been put, meant that everything went home, just not necessarily with the right child (parents were told the issue and will be given a corner to sort the clothing out between them at the next meeting).  But the high spot came as a child advised she could not find her pyjamas……………. the fact she was still wearing them appeared to have completely passed her by, causing a leader to nearly choke with laughing (that is an upgrade required to incorporate in the next Risk Assessment).

Slime passes started to be distributed to those Brownies who were honouring part 2 of the agreement and this gradually encouraged those, who had thought they would get away without helping, that actually joining in might be a good idea.  The team that had initially thought they would get away with it, had a change of heart and leaders were called back to check the room to find this.

It was quite amazing and so leaders issued the highly sought after slime passes so they could make theirs too.

Pizza making and more outdoor play meant that the rest of the holiday quickly rushed away (to the relief of several exhausted leaders) and the coach appeared to take them home!

Back to parents and their comments are perhaps the best final word to this adventure:

“Thank you to all the Owls, P has had a brilliant time, she can’t wait for the next one xx”

“S has had an amazing weekend. She can’t wait for the next adventure. Thank you so much 😁 xx”

“Thank you so much to all the owls for everything g you have done this weekend and for putting up with my demon child! She’s had an absolute ball xx”

“Thank you to everyone involved. N has had a fantastic weekend xx”

“thank you Owls sounds like they’ve had a brilliant time!! 😃”

“Thanks to everyone for this weekend- J loved it 😁 xx”

“Thank you to all the owls for this weekend. C had a brilliant time xx”

“Thank you so much to all the owls 🦉P has had an amazing weekend I am exhausted just hearing about how much you all did 💜”

“She’s had the best time! Thanks so much. Xx”

“Thanks so much! She’s had a blast! X”

“Thankyou ladies for a lovely weekend r has had a fabulous time xxx”