Every year our County holds a training day for Leaders. It’s always good fun. You get two trainings – one in the morning on something to do with your section, and one in the afternoon on a random topic.
This year, as usual, I was a hostess for one of my sessions. It always confuses me that there are so few volunteers for being a hostess. It’s not a difficult job – turn up a few minutes early, meet your trainer and say hello, help her set up if she needs it (many of them don’t), take a register.
This year it was a little more tricky than usual – whoever set up the rooms had put the signs on the wrong doors so I had to wander around a little before I found the right trainer. Still, it took all of five minutes!
The morning session I did was on making the most of Go For Its.
GFIs are badges which Guides do in Patrols. They organise it themselves – choose activities from the pack, plan who is bringing what on which week, and run it themselves.
It’s very relaxing for leaders, apart from dealing with the inevitable panic when one girl is ill or forgets her equipment.
The session included some advice on helping them plan – useful for patrols with lots of young members, or where GFIs haven’t really been used much recently.
Some of the GFI packs are pretty chunky – they could spend an entire meeting reading it without even deciding what activities to do!
Our trainer suggested making a cheat-sheet for each one – like a slightly more useful contents page so all the activities are listed out in one place with a brief summary. Personally I would struggle to find time to do that, but I suppose it only has to be done once for each pack, and perhaps I could delegate to the girls themselves!
I think Girlguiding should think about building that into the packs when they design new ones, too. That would help everyone.
We also, obviously, tried out some of the activities from a few GFIs. That was lots of fun. Did you know it’s possible to balance a malteaser on a blast of air from a straw?
In the afternoon I did a session on outdoor cooking. It was brilliant. There were about six different methods of cooking, and we tried them out by cooking some random things. Some things which I would never have thought to try on a fire.
There was the traditional alter fire, some buddy burners, an oven, and a hay box, to name a few.
The hay box was interesting. It was a tea chest stuffed with hay. You make a hole in the middle the right size for your billy can. Fill the billy with whatever you’re cooking and heat it through on the fire. Then put it in the hay box and cover it over. Come back several hours later and enjoy.
The demonstration was done with a steamed sponge pudding, but it would work with stew – put it on in the morning, come back after your day out – or porridge – cook it over night for a breakfast that’s ready when you are.
It would need some experimenting to get the timings right, but that’s ok. I’m sure the girls would forgive a little experimentation on camp!
As a bonus, you can also store all your camp kit in the tea chest when not in use.
All in all, a great day. I love County Day, it’s training and socialising all in one.