There was a plan, a plan involving fun and work indoors towards their latest badge but…………..
a blue sky and sunshine beckoned
a large field was tempting
so, given the offer, it was never in any doubt that fun outdoors would be the choice.
Grabbing the bag of equipment and issuing our usual set of rules (keep shoes on/don’t climb trees/ stay in sight etc) we headed on out and the instructions were remembered for at least, oh 5 seconds or so…….
But, of course, the explanation was good – this was NOT climbing a tree, but this was a serious animal based game to experience life as a monkey!
A sack race was organised by some;
But they forgot to set a direction and so they bounced off in opposite directions.
But there was laughter and flying hair.
And it should be remembered that whoever created rules for parachute games was probably being rather rigid………… left to their own devices, they had tons of fun (although we did need to remind C it did not need to visit the toilet with her) and the impersonation of the Wellfield field ghost was rather entertaining.
However the best of the night was saved for the great shoe chase. So many had managed to become parted from feet that Eagle Owl was having great fun strolling round and dropping them all into a sack.
Finally some noticed and a chase ensued…….. but Eagle Owl is proud to say she stayed in the lead for an awful long time!!!!
and shoes were returned to feet with one explaining
that she had odd socks due to her others
being in the dishwasher…………………………….
It may only have been a few, but nevertheless 3 intrepid and energetic Brownies joined other Rainbows, Brownies and Guides from Burnley, Lancashire East and further afield at the Girlguiding North West England Energise event in Blackpool.
The packed schedule of lively activities should have left every kid exhausted but nope, in common with the rest, The Unit were full of energy from beginning to end.
With football and netball, and archery too, great fun was had all day.
The cycling kept everyone amused with Eagle Owl doing 30 mins cycling herself (and Granny Owl settling for a 5 min pedal whilst coffee cooled). And there were certainly and interesting array of bikes to try and, let’s be honest, who cares how many squash on a trike made for one????
P asked if it would be ok to shoot the seagulls (as she has a history of them giving her a “present” in Blackpool) and there was a strange reticence to eat ice cream – until they realised the leaders were paying, when they quickly changed their minds and were not going to be persuaded that they did not like ice cream!
After a fun on the adventure playground and inflatables (where Eagle Owl was happy to have a go too), it was time to head home and, whilst many children have a sing or a game of I Spy on a journey, the little trio (not realising Eagle Owl could hear every word on the seat in front) discussed:
– the pros and cons of ownership of a Fire Brigade Hooligan tool versus an archery set
– who could trump the loudest and longest and, most delightfully of all, what colour sick they would make after all the sweets they had been sneaking – so lovely but mums just took it on their chin that their little cherubs are “delightful”. But perhaps it is nice to spot that they are having a happy childhood where, through Guiding, they can do what they want without feeling pressured.
Week 2 at Fire Station and a remarkable 100% of those Brownies who were there (sadly 4 were unable to join us tonight) remembered their homework! Families had endured a week of planning and evacuating their homes but confessed their homes were actually the safer for it.
A quick test in “silence” (if you ignore the giggling, whispering etc etc and ever increasing decibels – it was quiet for at least, oh, 5 seconds or so). Following the interruption of a call out which led to an elepantine stampede to the window to watch a tender going out, The Unit manged to show they had actually remembered all the key information and so it was time for fun.
After admiring the fire station pole (and being prevented from sliding on it), the Unit had a riot trying out the hoses………. and being hosed down!!!!!!!!!
They admired the work of firefighter Lucy who had been training students on cutting casualties out of vehicles earlier in the day.
The fire house was explored and the heat sensing equipment was tested in the dark.
The Unit also showed they had remembered where the most interesting equipment (to them) was stored on a tender – ask the where the Hooligan tool, the axes and the cutting equipment are stored – they will give you information accurate to +/-5mm (but don’t bother with the “boring” stuff – after all what is there to get interested in when it comes down to a mere fan?)
And so the visit started to reach its end – with badges and certificates plus time for a last few photos.
We finished in the control room, where the alarm had to compete with the excited din and the job control printer was liberated of of souvenirs of a shout.
But one last bit of learning …. when it comes to career choices in the future, Girls Can Do Anything:
Thank you to Firefighters Lucy, Stewart and Rick for putting up with us for 2 weeks – you have been fantastic
Week 1 of 2 – at the Fire Station who have the Brownie Fire Safety badge covered!
The masses met and fire officers to accompany us were upgraded to 3 for control of The Unit.
We were amazed that they actually knew all 5 emergency services available from a 999 call.
We loved G’s random fact that more people are squashed to death every year by a horse than get eaten alive by a shark (please do read this in a Hannibal Lecter type voice to get the “feel” of the relish it was delivered with).
The whistle got waved like a pendulum at one point and one of our “minder” firefighters controlled a fit of the giggles at this.
He silently left the room and brought along the duty watch to peer through the door at the rabble who were, by now, experiencing much pleasure in activating fire alarms – a noise level of exceptional pain!
The audience departed when the Unit took to their feet in a rather enthusiastic demonstration of what to do to stop smoke entering the room……… in all fairness it would have looked like a battle charge heading their way.
Demonstrating Stop Drop and Roll took on new levels of fun when the bum on fire demonstration was done by the whole gang with a lot of squealing and giggling. It was just like being in a room with 27 Zeberdees.
After a great deal of fun learning about safety, it was time for the main event – a visit to to the engines.
The Brownies explored the equipment and took great pleasure at things such as hydraulic car splitters, axes and so on.
As more and more equipment was viewed, an odd child could be seen pondering what use they could put the item to……………….
And so with homework, the Unit were despatched with anticipation of week 2 and the hope of fire houses plus a go with the hoses…………….
A resource, all planned out – and a badge included equals a set of happy leaders who are always game for a challenge.
Thus an exploration of the resource, Future Girl, was bravely entered into by The Unit and Owls, this evening.
It may not have resembled anything like a sci-fi novel, or indeed Huxley’s Brave New World, but it is always a brave set of leaders who tackle anything prescribed with this little crew.
As ever, we made a bright and breezy start with the warm up activity providing considerable entertainment and a rapidly increasing volume.
The emoji activity, deciding on those issues important to them in the future were also quite enjoyed although a serious complaint has to be raised to Girlguiding at HQ at this point; “Don’t ya know emoji’s are yellow? You gotta get the colour right!” from B, aged 7 so GG please take note of a young member’s complaint.
A quick tot up showed that perhaps one or two of the more savvy members already understood the finer points of vote rigging, as quite clearly a few had exercised a double vote on matters of particular interest to them – healthy eating and vegetables (or a desire to see less vegetables around) strangely featured here and it did not take much to work out those members who may just have objected there!
Selecting 3 top ones with a heart took a considerable amount of time – how silly we were not to realise that the hearts needed to be works of art!
Having a chat about other issues which matter to them was entertaining – dog poo featured strongly, as did guns, racism (or to use their spelling raisisum) among many others. It was also a poignant moment for leaders when one young member spoke about neglect and abuse, from the position of having been a victim of the same.
Working as groups on an issue and preparing a drama on the same provided constant entertainment and we had a discovery!!!!! A Brownie wanted more paper due to a mistake and Barn Owl revealed the future – apparently in the future every sheet of paper is going to have 2 sides………… and yes, the other side can be used!
And so, following some fairly confusing dramas, a mountain of notes to type up, a large pile of felt tips which did not survive the evening and the discovery we own 2 sided paper, another meeting drew to a close; celebrating a birthday and sharing sweets, we parted amidst a noise level of incredible proportions to gather our senses.
It was definitely one of those nights!
A night where The Unit were restless, having missed out on playtime at school due to heavy rain.
A night where the energy levels affected their hearing; their ability to comprehend even the most basic request.
A mum stifled her laughter as she joined in trying to tame a circle from a broiling mass.
With grim determination, the newer Brownies were all linked with a Brownie Buddy, Sixers and Seconders sorted out with a little bit of Six shuffling, after a few more moved up to Guides – with one potential Seconder (see the main picture) doing her demonstration of angelic in a bid to gain a precious badge and sought after promotion. We leave you to decide from the face (but her mother laughed hysterically at hearing her daughter’s name and the word angelic in the same sentence………..)
Granny Owl bravely ploughed on with the next section of the Brownie Skills badge and healthy eating. A game to search for a set of images descended into chaos as one Six cheerfully collected not only their own but those belonging to other Sixes too. Most were found and the ones hidden in plain view were missed time and time again. As Eagle Owl stood shouting loudly “are these some?”, the penny dropped with a few Brownies who came to collect, whilst others continued to wander declaring they could not find any.
It was a 2 whistle kind of night, the night where leaders sounded as if they were piping someone aboard, in their bid to get even 2 seconds of silence.
Granny Owl announced she needed paper for an activity and Eagle Owl ran to her car to collect some. She was gone but a minute or two but returned to Sixes cheerfully seated at tables, oblivious to all but making enough noise to travel several miles and the Leaders sat on the stairs of the Hall. As Eagle Owl looked across quizically, “We’re on strike”, they glumly said………..
Another blast of the whistle and sufficient peace was gained for a few precious seconds to tell at least a few Brownies what the activity would be and, by some miracle, those Brownies not only got it but managed to persuade the rest to join in………… and they enjoyed it. They enjoyed it so much, they decorated large posters and carried on for so long the game planned for outside (as the sun had appeared) was never reached!
Tidying up was a challenge with one Six suggesting they would carry on and were happy to be locked in school overnight – but we got some semblance of order back in the room (just not sure how).
So the end of the meeting was reached and the next round of chaos ensued as some letters for trips were handed out. In the midst of the chaos, Eagle Owl presented L-R with a First Aid badge for giving up her Saturday and completing a junior First Aid Qualification, even learning how to use a defibrillator. Somehow the Brownie closing song was sung (and even sounded reasonable), although the saying of goodnight to each other was disfunctional (and that is saying it kindly).
And finally peace entered the building as The Unit departed and left the last question to be asked, “Anyone for the pub?” because it sure felt like one of THOSE nights.
A new term, a new badge – Brownie Skills here we come!
So knots abounded everywhere.
The human knot was a tangle to behold – and holding hands seemed to ensure they would never unravel!
A hoop around the circle without breaking the chain also seemed to cause some highly entertaining maneouvres and a DoE assistant soon realised that you never join a game without checking what it is if you do not know what it is. However, her dignity was retained as she demonstrated a few class moves to get through a hoop far smaller than her.
Into 3 groups to have a go at 3 activities and fun was had making pet ropes, learning to tie their shoelaces properly (although judging by the still frequent reminders to do it, the jury is out on the level of success, but at least the leaders are not having to do them for them now!)
Reef knots with strawberry shoelaces should not be a challenge? OK we have the world champions in the granny knot!!!!!
But by and by (with a little hopeful thinking) new skills were learned and more games played.
The Division Commissioner popped in and was impressed by the relative quiet on arrival (although that did not last long) and Brownies who had done the Thinking Day walk were very pleased to receive a medal each from her!
3 new Rainbows arrived and L, on her last night before flying up to Guides, showed leadership skills by taking over introductions and introducing Becoming A Brownie Books before an Owl had time to blink (crossing our fingers we can have her back as a Brownie Helper in a little while as she has grown so much in confidence and ability in her 3 years with us).
Of course, there was a smile as they arrived and 3 Brownies shot across the room offering to be their buddies. When asked “is this for the badge” and the response was “of course”, it showed that the perils will do anything for a badge! (They were all happy after an incredible delay to finally receive their Parliament Week badges!)
So old and new, ever changing but the picture space at the top of page tonight goes to L and her pet rope as we will miss her a lot and her card (below) says it all:
We will miss you too and it has been a pleasure putting up with you and the rest of the little bunch of yellow perils that make up the Unit.
It was not the warmest Vernal equinox and, as the last meeting before the Easter holiday, hiding inside and doing chocolatey Easter activities was always likely to be a winner.
So armed with sugar, sugary items, chocolate and some more sugar (sorry this was a fail as a healthy meeting), Eagle Owl rocked up to a hall of hyper Brownies.
Strangely, her suggestion that the leadership team would sit and eat the chocolate in front of the Brownies, to save them contact with a nasty sticky set of substances plus, of course, pass on helpful tips on the best way to eat a Creme Egg, was not accepted by the Brownies as a good evening, so back to plan A and allow them to have a go.
Showing them the “here is one I made earlier” selection, the gruesome mob started to tear off lumps of fondant icing as they decided on whether to make a chicken or pig (as shown) or go off on a creative route to make a unicorn or “thing” (end concensus was 1 unicorn and 3 “things” – we may never know what the “things” were).
The questions began, very random questions
– “how many legs does the pig need?”
– “does a chicken need wings?” (answer from another “no, they can’t fly, so make a hairbow instead………”)
alongside other intellectual questions and observations (if you are Brownie age)
“Eagle Owl my creme egg is damaged, I need another” met with “Why does the hole have your teeth marks around it then?” on 2 occasions and they were sent away to work with what they had! Only one genuine broken egg and, with a replacement duly issued, Granny Owl took the hit for the team and ate the wreck!
Easter Day Gardens were also made and, as can be expected, along the manufacturing route for both, many Brownies managed to munch their way through biscuits, lumps of icing and score a few licks of their creme eggs.
And so, with surprisingly little mess (but that may have been due to the amount of munching going on),
plus a lot of concentration, every Brownie duly produced something to take home, with a long, long line of items appearing………. and the only debate that was left to go on was “……… when can I eat it?” as they made their way home!
Ever had one of those days? You know the day where;
- the planned visitor suddenly cannot come
- Granny Owl is off on holiday with the Trefoil Guild
- Crystal Owl suddenly cannot come due to “affairs of the heart”
and you recognise that plan B is just going to have to be devised and implemented at short notice?
Well yes, today was just “one of THOSE days”!
Charging the cup for coffee and a wander round the house to look at the various accummulated tat (sorry treasured and prized Guiding resource material) and an idea formed! It only needed a quick veer past a shop for one item as everything else was to hand and, so, with a bit of speedy typing, plan B was prepared.
After a warm up game of marshmallow relay – much enjoyed and utilising that random large collection of chopsticks, the spare dishes (and a quick veer to purchase marshmallows), the hastily prepared code-breaker sheets were produced …… and went down a bomb.
Cracking the code, the Brownies came to quiz Eagle Owl and obtained a teddy bear, newspaper, sellotape and such other random equipment, eg, scissors, as their six boxes could conjure up!
Not only were teddy tents produced, but bedding, eye masks and even a mobile phone!
The Brownie promise was made into code, the teddy bears were made an odd toy or two from the surplus plasticine (which has been nestling amongst the handbooks for over a year left over from… who can remember what).
So plan B was a great success and the bears were much cuddle – well it is not every day they get to see the Girl Scout of America BaB Teddy Bear Collection.
The whistle was able to remain the pocket and despite depleted leader numbers ie, Eagle Owl, 2 DofE and Rainbow Leaders next door, the Unit were pretty easy, albeit very noisy, going for the night (but not sure the parents will enjoy the manky plasticine that was taken home at the end of the night…… well no self-respecting Eagle Owl would have deprived them of it………. it was actually rather horrible!)
After snow inconveniently stopped play last week, the Owls started to worry when they heard quite a few Brownies would be missing due to illness – but why let down those members of The Unit who were bouncing?
And bouncing they certainly were! Those without the lurgy landed with an endless supply of energy and a new worry emerged – would they actually sit quietly for long enough to do a Mother’s Day Craft as had been requested some months ago????
It actually appeared the Owls need not have worried – glue, buttons, marker pens and the Brownies went uncharacteristically calm enough (if not quiet) to do their chosen craft justice.
With great focus, pencils and glue spreaders were wielded for long enough to make a creation their mums should (with any luck) love.
Of course, it could not last for ever and as soon as the craft was complete and carefully laid to one side of the hall in safety, the noise level rose and games were required.
The Owls expected a noisy game to follow so were astonished when Eagle Owl’s car keys were required and a quiet game was played!!!!
Will the new silent order continue?
Can The Unit really do extended periods of relative quiet?
We will see!