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Doing guiding differently: joining together at the weekend!

‘Different’. Goodness, haven’t things been ‘different’! But when things change; when they seem impossible to overcome, we are the girls that rise to the challenge!

Unit meetings run weekly, right? In the same place? With the same leaders? That’s what we have always done, and it works…but could that be different too? Well, do you know what, sometimes different is worth a go!

Being faced with a unit that might close due to not having a unit leader at all, another unit with only one leader and my own Brownie unit to organise and run was a bit scary. The thought of having no meeting place for any of those units was a bit more than scary! We were all ‘zoomed out’ and knew we had to go back to face to face Guiding to keep the girls interested, but how?

Three different meeting nights, only two safe space level three leaders and only so much time in a week. It seemed impossible.

However, it was a Monday night and I was doing the washing up. I always wash up in the same order that my Guide Captain taught me on camp; glasses, mugs, cutlery, plates, bowls and cooking things. Everything together and ordered so that the water stays as clean as possible and none is wasted. I realised that if we grouped the units together like the washing up, whilst I couldn’t make any promises about clean, we wouldn’t be wasting any time or resources! Captain would be proud! Rainbows in the morning, Brownies in the afternoon; we would have enough leaders for two meetings and nobody would have to give up more than the usual amount of time a week. All the girls could have a unit meeting together, making the numbers viable but also giving the opportunity for new friendships too.

But what if we met for longer? Combine all the monthly meetings into one session and then our already stretched to the limit leaders would only have to give up one day a month!

The plan was mooted and everyone agreed to give it a go. Despite our unusual thinking, the Commissioners backed us totally, as did our parents. Only one questioned our sanity as ‘that’s a long time to spend with my daughter for anyone! You really want her for that long?!’

So, we planned for longer meetings, outside at Carwynnen campsite. This solved our problem of no meeting places being open in Pool and meant we could do some outdoor cooking, fire lighting, den building and wide games that we don’t usually have time for. We could use the newly installed ‘outdoor classroom’ area when it rained and when it didn’t we would go for walks to the quoit; telling stories of giants and pasties, acting them out and scaring the local walkers as we went!

Over the last term, the girls have gone home muddy, covered in gunk, leaves in their hair and tired right out, having had a fabulous time! The leaders play ‘what’s this squishy thing in my shoe/pocket/bra!’ once a month and have three weeks to prepare (ok, recover!) for the next adventure.

So, ‘different’. Yes, things have been different in Pool. But different has been good for us. Different has been exciting. And scary. But not impossible. And definitely worth the challenge.


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