That is why I'm a Brownie leader
Brownies often ask me why I do Brownies, especially when they find out the leaders all volunteer and that the subs the girls pay to attend Brownies go towards our unit running costs, not as wages for the adults! I always tell them I do it because I loved being a Brownie and I want to ensure today's Brownies have as much fun as I did, I tell them I've made great friends through Girlguiding and I love taking part in all the activities.
Sometimes, there are specific reasons I love being a Brownie leader, which the Brownies wouldn't necessarily understand, nor would I be in a position to explain it to them. Such a reason happened tonight.
We were making sand art pictures, using ready made kits. There was a design of a flower in a pot with paper that peeled off different segments (petals, stem etc) to reveal a sticky layer underneath. Coloured sand needed to be gently sprinkled over the top so it would stick, then the excess shook off on to a piece of paper. We encouraged the girls to do all of one colour at a time, to stop their sand colours getting mixed up and also to take their time. No need to rush!
I was sat at a table with five Brownies. They didn't really need any help, other than to cut small holes in the packets of sand and to start peeling off the paper segments. It was a great opportunity to sit and chat without always having someone shouting my name or tapping my arm to get my attention.
One of the Brownies on my table was one of the girls I don't know very well. Unlike some of the really loud chatty ones, or ones with a particular dominant interest, I don't know much about this Brownie. She's quite quiet (but not so quiet you worry about her), doesn't particularly like joining in (complains if she is out early in a game, or if she's not chosen to be in the middle) and often says she can't do something without trying first. She is easily led by some of the older Brownies, talking if someone else is talking, or copying someone's actions. Never annoying or rude enough to be a considered annoying or rude, though.
Tonight, sitting on her table, I mentally made a point to chat with her. I needn't have done so though, as she was incredibly chatty. She was so focused (bearing in mind she often says she can't do something) and was being very conscientious about not mixing her sand colours. The whole table used lots of pleases and thank yous and we were having a real conversation - not just questions and answers, but actual conversation (topics included cake, ice cream, PE lessons, year six SATs, Instagram and tattooing)
At one point, one of the Brownies got annoyed, her colour sequence was wrong. She said she didn't like the craft and she'd carry on but she didn't want to do anything with sand again.
Which is when the other Brownie said she was really enjoying it, it's the best craft she's ever done and she's really happy she came to Brownies tonight and she can't wait to take it home and show her mum.
I was so pleased with her. She was persevering with a craft (and doing very well), she was engaging in conversation, helping others and disagreeing politely with another Brownie! It was as though she'd broken through a barrier, or come out of her shell, or whatever other expression I can think of.
When we were tidying up, lots of the girls only cleared away their rubbish - there was lots of insisting the sand on the floor couldn't possibly be theirs! But this Brownie cleared away her stuff and other bits and pieces without being asked and without complaining.
I was so proud of her. That is why I am a Brownie leader.