One of the biggest focuses for me as a new Guider this year is to really bring back traditional guiding values and ceremonies into my unit. While I agree that Guiding needs to change and adapt as our world changes and adapts, there are some core things I feel Guiding has lost.
Our area (Fraser Skies) is really encouraging leaders to get back to the core of Guiding. While the badges, program and uniform may change, there are some things that should not. One of these is horseshoe, a practice I’m really working on with my girls. Another is one I learned a couple weekends ago…
As part of my training for Guides I went to an overnight session called Bearly There, put on by the amazing folks at Area. We did our OAL residential camping module and I earned my shiny green camping pin. I am ridiculously proud of it. Not only did I earn my pin, but I got to connect with some amazing Guiders from all around the area. If you’re a Guider and you’ve never been to a large training event you should do it. It really rekindled my love of Guiding that took a bit of a hit in the busy-ness that is the beginning of the year. It’s a lot for a brand new leader to take on. Anyways… enough of that. One of the other things I learned was proper campfire procedure.
Campfire is different than Sing-A-Long. Sing-A-Longs are what most girls will recognize as campfire. It’s unstructured, the leaders take requests, and has no theme. It’s a lot of fun, and definitely has a place in Guides… but there is more than that.
What Does a Guiding Campfire Look Like?
has a theme
has a plan
There’s a whole bunch more to it than that, but those are the basics. Some of the biggest things I stressed to my girls is that no one other than the leaders are allowed to pick songs, and only the leaders are able to use flashlights.
Going outside to do a campfire every week in the freezing cold, on school property, is just not practical. So I wanted to come up with a way for us to have a campfire in the gym. We started by giving every girl a rock. Next week (because the paintbrushes mysteriously vanished out of my tote) the girls will paint their names on their rock. Each patrol was given a “log” (aka a small mailing tube) to decorate with their patrol names, and words that represent what Guiding means to them. My co-leader and I made flames.
The Girls working on their Song Books
We call the girls to come to the center and begin placing their rocks in a large circle and to sit around them. Once all the girls were seated the patrol leaders placed the logs, and then I placed the flames on top.
It’s not perfect, but I have to say… it worked! The girls seemed to really like it. My only regret was not being able to figure out how to turn the lights down in the gym… next week! Then we’ll add some glowsticks to the fire to make it really glow. We did a mini-evaluation and a couple girls commented that while they had fun, the ambiance wasn’t quite there.
As much as I know the girls love when we have crazy, fun, unstructured kind of nights… they do seem to enjoy when we get back to the basics and work on the traditional parts of Guiding. Even my third years got into “My Name Is Joe” so proud of them!
So, that’s how the 2nd Clover Ridge Guides solved their indoor campfire dilemma! Would totally welcome any suggestions to make it better.