Guiders like to play, too

April5_GuidersPlayLegoGuiding encourages girls to try new things, learn through playing, and to challenge themselves, all while earning badges along the way. You can tell a unit meeting is going well by the sound of fun, the sound of laughter and chatter. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can be an exciting part of our activities if Guiders are comfortable preparing a meeting based on this theme. But sometimes, we need a little help to spark our imagination.

The leaders in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon gather annually to ignite that spark at Multi-faceted. This March, about 200 women attended the weekend training in Red Deer, Alberta, to gather skills and ideas they can bring back to their volunteer work with girls.

It has been a few years since I attended a Multi-faceted weekend, but the robotic session drew me to the training this year. When I walked in, old friends immediately greeted me. Janet Melnyk and Marion Rex, both trainers from Edmonton, trekked us through a discussion of the differences between machines and robots. Our first exercise involved guiding our partner through a set of logical sequential instructions to pick up a pen and put it in a pocket, or to pick up a piece of paper and put it in the garbage. Giggles abounded as we realized the instructions we missed, and the assumptions we made.

April5_GuidersPlayRobotOur second task was forming a mechanical hand from cardboard, straws, elastics, and string. In addition to following the instructions, we had to figure out how to make the fingers bend while keeping the elastics in place after repeated use. Our third challenge was building our Lego robot and driving it through a circuit. We analysed and corrected the direction of the wheels and added balance and stability. Marion regularly guides her grade 5 and 6 classes through this same robotic challenge. We certainly sounded like her classes as we laughed and chatted and tried to maneuver our Lego robots around the pop cans.

The chance to try something new, play, create, and solve problems brings us back to the heart of what Guiding is all about. Inspired Unit Guiders provide creative programming for the girls, and encourage them to lead the way and demonstrate things they are doing in school if the Guiders are less familiar with the topics. Each spring Multi-faceted training weekend is OUR time to have fun and learn through play. I wonder if they will have video games next year?

Guest post by Sheila Morrison. A former girl member, Sheila is involved with a Trefoil Guild and the Calgary Area Camping Committee. Sheila is currently studying at Royal Roads University for an MA in Professional Communications. She is excitedly counting down the days to Guiding Mosaic 2016 and welcoming campers to Alberta as part of the Core Crew.

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