This year, our unit was looking at new ways for doing things. As a multi-branch unit, some of our Guiders have been with the unit (and in Guiding!) for many years, as have a number of our girls. After a discussion with a co-worker about multi-generational programming, we came up with the idea of pairing the “Girlfriends Through Time” Brownie badge with a visit from our local Trefoil Guild. The Guild members would be invited to a meeting to share the way things were done when they were young and some of their favourite Guiding activities. We had hosted Trefoil Guild members in the past, and were always pleased to see how receptive the girls were to our special guests. The twist to this visit was that we would invite the Trefoil members back for a second meeting – the following week, the girls in our unit would showcase their favourite Guiding activities and experiences.
We planned a basic outline with the Trefoil Guild by email, and worked out the general flow of the meetings. Our first meeting in January was spent planning with our girls – we talked with each level (Sparks, Brownies and Guides) about their favourite Guiding activities, and the girls suggested crafts, songs and games that they would like to share. We talked to the girls about what the Trefoil Guild was, and also made sure that they were aware of anything that might impact the planning of their meeting (such as the mobility challenges faced by a few of the Guild members). The girls were thrilled to be planning a meeting, and came up with fantastic ideas that allowed everyone to participate. It was girl-led programming in action!
The next week, we hosted the first meeting. The Trefoil members joined us for a snack, and then shared how meetings were opened when they were young. The girls loved trying the horseshoe formation, and were intrigued by the idea of inspections! The horseshoe included the marching of the colours, and the girls had the opportunity to try out the knots used to hoist a flag. Next we had some fun with a dress-up relay game, and the Guild members led us in a campfire of songs they sang as girls or Leaders. The meeting finished with closing songs and Promises (old and new), and much excitement for the following week.
We were proud of how well our girls did sharing their ideas at the next meeting, and they took pride in sharing the activities they had planned. We started off with a snack, and the Trefoil Guild showed great Guiding fortitude in trying “goldfish in the sea.” We then shared our opening circle and songs, then divided up into small groups to make twisted yarn friendship bracelets. The craft was a huge hit, and some of the Trefoil ladies left with several bracelets, as all of the girls wanted to make one for their new friends! The girls had decided on “Telephone” for their game, as everyone could play (even those who were not able to get around easily), and there was much giggling as the messages became jumbled as they went around the circle. We finished off with a campfire of the girls’ favourites, and discovered that some Guiding songs never grow old!
This was a great experience all around – the Trefoil Guild members expressed how much they enjoyed the experience, and our girls have asked every week since when they will be coming back! As Guiders, we loved watching our girls take on the challenge of planning a meeting for others, and everyone, from our youngest Spark up to our oldest Guide, contributed something to make the visit special. We can’t wait for our next chance to share in the sisterhood of Guiding with our Trefoil friends!
By guest blogger and Guider ‘Glowie’, a.k.a. Megan Gilchrist. Megan is the Contact Guider for the 7th St. Catharines Guiding (multi-branch) Unit. Read Megan’s other contributions to GirlGuidesCANBlog: Swinging along the Road…, Inspiration to Guiding, I Bee-Lieve in Camp, Geo-What??? Or How to Hunt for Treasure in Your own Backyard, Hands-on History, Every Penny Counts, and “Multi-Branch” Means More Fun!