Spring. A time of new beginnings and renewal. Spring, in the world of nature, runs from February through to the end of April. This is the time when we see a lot of birds building nests, planning the home for their new family. This is the time when the ground starts to warm up and we see snowdrops, daffodils, pansies and tulips showing above ground and giving a burst of colour to these otherwise drab months. The world is renewing itself in a visible way.
In the home, spring was always an alarm bell that sounded to remind ourselves that our houses needed spring cleaning. Some of us may still use this prompt to do these tasks. Traditionally it was the time when everything was cleaned as it was important to remove all traces of smoke and coal dust from the open fires and candles that warmed and lit our homes during the winter months.
In Guiding, spring is also a time for renewal as we hold our Thinking Day and renew our promise to run the best game possible for our members and the wider community. To remember what we stand for, (our Promise), and remember our code of conduct , (our Laws), within an organisation that gives such joy to so many people of all ages.
It is also a time for us to clear out our cupboards, take stock, and prepare for the longer evenings and the hope of summer camps and holidays.
How are you preparing for the summer months? During spring, it is a good time to check our camp and holiday equipment. Have you had a rodent problem in your storage area for this equipment? As it has been two years since we last used this equipment, is anything out of date, gone rusty, needs to be reproofed, or just needs to be replaced? Is your first aid kit up to date? A nice spring day when you can get your camp or holiday team together to go through everything will pay dividends when it comes to your event. If any equipment needs to be replaced, now is the time to consider your fund-raising strategy. You have time to make appropriate plans to do so.
Spring is also the time to think about our future outside events. In the farming community, it takes approximately 12 weeks from sowing the seed to reaping the harvest. It is the same in Guiding. It takes 12 weeks from you planning your event to attending it, and for your Residential Event Notification (REN) to be in on time. Just like the farmer and his crops, rushing things doesn’t make for a good harvest. Hoping that you will remember to do everything that needs to be done - at the last minute - does not make for a good event. Planning now will pay dividends later. As the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
In this, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, there are lots of events going to happen next term. Have you looked at all the options available to your unit and written them in your unit calendar? Have you downloaded the current forms that will be required, worked out your unit finances, informed parents of your plans?
Plan your unit meetings so that we can get our members outside as much as possible. We, in the UK, tend to see Guiding meetings as indoor events. Did you know that the majority of the rest of the Guiding world would only consider being indoors as an unusual activity? Nor does this only happen in “hot” countries. Nor does the season matter to them.
How about trying this and next term to hold at least 2 meetings outside every month? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. An update to your local commissioner showing that you have completed the event notification process and done the risk assessment for your activity is not such a big deal. If you haven’t done this before, now is the time to ask other members of your district for help. Once you have done one, you have a blueprint for many others.
Prepare yourself and your members for challenges that the weather may bring. As I said last time, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”, (Danish proverb). Get some wellies and a raincoat and don’t let a bit of water falling from the sky deter you!
You may choose to do a walk to the local park perhaps to make a daisy chain. Or have you tried a penny hike, a trip to the beach or a walk around the block to the local chip shop. If you have grounds surrounding your meeting place, this is ideal for running around games such as kick the can, football, stations, rounders. Do any of you remember how to do the playground games from your school days, such as the elastics that we used to put around a pair of girls’ ankles to jump over and make patterns from, or the skipping games? How about introducing your members to gadget making, den making, camp skills, fire lighting, hike cooking, orienteering, geocaching, pond dipping, chalk pavement pictures. There are so many activities that can be successfully used outside. A quick look on Pinterest or Google will show many more. Did you know that you can also find videos on YouTube from Guiding, showing many different activities that can be done outside?
All these activities can be done by any section with the minimum of equipment. If you are not sure how to do any of the above, drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know. I will do my best to help.
Let us lead the girls to explore their surroundings to ignite a love of being outdoors for fun - and not just because the playstation is on charge.
Karen Easton & the Outdoor team