A Week of Fresh Air – Part 2

Continuing on from Sunday’s post, here is the stunning conclusion of our week of fun.

Thursday

Thursday was topsy-turvy day.  When we booked our activities and made up our programme for the week, we thought we were doing Pedal Karting in the morning, and activities on the campsite in the afternoon.  When we arrived and checked in to the site, they told us it was the afternoon for Pedal Karts, and it couldn’t be changed.

So we woke the Brownies by wishing them a Good Night, and telling them to put their pyjamas on.  We didn’t quite go so far as to serve dinner for breakfast – the cook would have had to have been up at some ungodly hour to achieve that – but we did switch the morning and the afternoon.

The afterning activity was decopatch teddies.  Brown Owl had found some cute little bear money-boxes and they all had a lot of fun decorating them.  After a pretty miserable week, weather-wise, the sun had finally come out and we were able to do it all in the open field.

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The mornoon activity, as I mentioned, was Pedal Karts.  Very entertaining, if a little tough for some of the girls.  The corners, especially, were very tight in places.  We had a few practice turns, and then raced around the course.  Myself and one of the other leaders raced against Alyssa and Barbara, two of our Guides.

I won’t tell you who won… but let’s just say I wasn’t unhappy with the result.

IMG_2411 CroppedThursday evening was pretty exciting too.  The night everyone waits for and longs for on camp – campfire night!

The site has a proper campfire circle, so we made our way down there.  The Guides had built us a fire, so all we had to do was light it.  That was a bit of a challenge, as it turned out – Alyssa, who had spent the entire first half of the week trying to persuade me to use firelighters in my cook-fire, had not used enough of them to get the damp wood going.  I must remember to tease her about that.

We sang a lot of songs, as you might expect.  The Crazy Moose was a favourite, as was Have You Ever Seen?.  We got to teach them a few “golden oldies”, too – This Little Guiding Light, and Make New Friends.  I think it’s important to keep the older songs alive.  A lot of what I would consider to be newer songs are fun and exciting, and have lots of actions and jumping around, but lack the message that the old ones have.  Songs about friendship and adventure are important!

At the campfire, we had a leader make her Promise.  Welcoming new leaders into the family doesn’t happen as often as it does with children, but it’s just as important.  It was an excellent addition to the evening.

Friday

We saved the best activity until the last day.  For several reasons – one of which was the very practical need to send the washing home as soon as possible.  Yes, Friday morning was when the Brownies discovered the reason they had been instructed to bring a set of clothes that they didn’t mind ruining.

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IMG_2451 One of the little darlings decided that her mission that morning was to get as muddy as possible.  She crawled on her hands and knees between the obstacles just to get in a little bit extra mud.

I bet her mother loves us right now.

I was very proud of some of the girls.  They went into it scared of small spaces, mud, and darkness, and came out the other side asking if they could have another go and helping to talk each other through the bad patches.  That’s what Girlguiding is about – pushing the boundaries, stretching yourself, and learning to try new things.

The assault course (surprise surprise) was swiftly followed by a series of showers – first with your clothes on, to rinse them through, and then without, to get clean.

The afternoon was mostly given over to packing, but there was just time to make some armpit fudge and play some compass-based puzzle games, before it was time for the closing ceremony.

Closing was extra-exciting this time – not only was there the announcement of the hotly-contested Brownie of the Week and Six of the Week, but also two Promises were made.  It takes a special kind of bravery to go on camp for a week with girls you barely know, before you’ve even made your Promise, and these girls had passed that test with flying colours.  A very warm welcome to the family!

Brownie of the Week

In the end, we had to choose two Brownies to win the prize.  There was just no way to choose between them.

Ariel is an experienced Brownie.  She’s been away with us a lot – in fact she has declared that her mission is to get her 50 Nights Away with Guiding while she’s still a Brownie.  Only 32 to go…  Every time she comes away she finds new ways to impress me.  This time, the first time we saw her was as she helped another Brownie carry her bag from the car park to the camping field.  She was consistently happy and helpful, even through the rain at the start of the week.

Betty is new – she’s only been with us for a term or so.  She was very good at looking after the tents – whenever she saw something that wasn’t quite right, she would either fix it or come check with a leader.  She got on well with everyone, and we were especially impressed with the way she mixed with the girls who weren’t from her unit.  New friendships abound!

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So there it is.  We had a wonderful week, and very few of us wanted to go home at the end of it.  I’d love it if I could become a full-time Brownie Leader, and I highly suspect that I’m not the only one.

What’s your favourite camping memory?  Would you do Guiding full-time if you could?

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