Fun with Rainbows and Mayhem with Brownies

June has been quite a busy month Guiding-wise and of course I wouldn't have it any other way!

I've been a leader with Rainbows now for about a term and am enjoying it more than I thought I would - before I started I didn't know much about the age group but I've been learning as I've gone along.  Personal space is a bit on an issue (no, please don't throw yourself in my lap, no, please don't hang on to my knees as I try to walk across the hall) but I think we're establishing boundaries (you can hold my hands instead).

At the beginning of the month we held a Fun Day in our Guide hall.  We had wanted to do a sleepover but didn't have enough interest so did a day event instead.  We only had six girls and two leaders but actually it was a lovely number and we had a lovely, lovely day.

With our Alice in Wonderland theme we played pin the smile on the Cheshire Cat, made cupcakes for our Tea Party, played a card game, had a picnic lunch and transformed spoons into White Rabbits (annoyingly, two different types of paint were used with one more appropriate for wood than another!).

We then finished the afternoon with a tea party of our decorated cupcakes and posh juice from M&S which came in bottles similar to wine bottles and the girls loved pretending to be grown ups!  Overall, it was simply a lovely day and definitely something we intend to do again in the autumn.   Hall hire + cost of badges + cost of activities came in at a few pence under the budget which was pretty good going on my part!

The following weekend I led my district group (over 30 girls and leaders from three units) to an event called Magic and Mayhem.  For some reason, we weren't expecting peace and quiet!  The event was held over three Guiding sites at the same time and we went to the one at Foxlease.  I haven't been to Foxlease since I attended the World Camp there in 1999 and it was lovely to be back!  The event had a circus theme and this massive tent greeted us on arrival.

It had rained very heavily the night before (although thankfully the rest of the weekend was dry and sunny) so the ground was a little bit on the wet side but I think this just added to the 'festival' theme the organisers were going for!

As always, I'm very limited in the photos I can share - I took plenty, but mainly of the girls which I don't have permission to share here.  Whenever I tried to take a photo without any girls in typically a small child would wander in front of me so it was rather an effort!  Handily, the top of the tent was far too high for any children to be in the way!  You can't beat a bit of bunting.

The Brownies had a brilliant time - there were six activity zones and we moved round each one trying out circus skills (Brownies on unicycles are a hazard), inflatables (bouncy), making lava lamps (messy), archery ("aim at the board, not the adults!"), balloon modelling (for some reason this kept making the leaders giggle), and dancing (hot).

One of my Brownies found an owl in her crisp packet.  I asked her to hold on to it so I could take a photo.  I then got distracted by another Brownie and it was a good few minutes before the first one reminded me she was still patiently waiting!  So I took a photo and then finally let her eat it.

We had excellent food for dinner (good proper sausages or burgers or noodles) and then a disco before bed.  Which was a bit manic.  There were 300 children sleeping over in the massive tent in the first photo and whilst I've been on a lot of Brownie residential events, that's the largest number of children I've ever tried to get to sleep at once!  Once the massive lights in the tent were turned off, there needed to be a leader to shout a general 'torches out' kind of good night thing, but no one seemed to be planning on doing this.  So I decided I'd take the initiative and stood up and shouted for all girls to turn their torches off and go to sleep.  Apparently I have a loud voice as everyone in the tent heard me!  A few leaders thanked me for doing it and in the morning one of my Brownies said she was proud of me for getting everyone to be quiet.  

After almost seven hours of sleep (which is pretty good going!) everyone was awake by about 6.30.  Then started the task of getting everyone up and dressed with all their possessions packed away before breakfast - this didn't seem to go too badly, most of my Brownies are well-trained by now in the art of residential events.  Their parents had also been very good at following our advice to name everything, which does make reuniting Brownie uniform with its owner much easier!

We then played a few games whilst waiting for parents to arrive.  We sent home lots of very happy but very tired children!  The following day at Brownies Brown Owl and I were given a thank you card and bunch of flowers each from the girls in our unit which was very much appreciated and we had lots of thank you emails and texts from parents as well.

It was obvious that the girls were having a great time, but from a leader's point of view there were a few things that annoyed us during the event - I was just pleased I was with competent and capable leaders who I get on with, as there were a few moments when we just needed to pull together and go with it.  It was the first year the event has run, though, so I am sure they can build on our constructive feedback.

The Chief Guide came to the event and she stopped to have a chat to some of our group.  She gave me one of her special badges as we were talking, just casually passed over to me.  One of the other leaders said it looked like a deal of an illicit substance!

That Sunday evening, I was in bed by half past seven.  Apparently I was tired!

We've got a couple more Rainbow and Brownie meetings left to go this term, that that's it until September.  Oh, wait, I'm off on two Guide camps during the holidays...that will be a few more nights away to add to my ever-growing tally!


  1. Camping with children *shudder* I remember it well. What can I say? I hope you've fully recovered and well done on the 7 hours sleep!

    1. Fully recovered now and ready for the two Guide camps coming up during the summer holidays!


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