I went into the library on Monday. It felt odd. Still. Quiet. Ordered and orderly.
At midnight on Saturday it felt anything but. Books were off shelves. Books were on the wrong shelves. Books were clutched by one hand and torches pointed by the other, illuminating narrow windows into other worlds, from Rainbow Magic fairies and Hogwarts wizards to Michael Morpugo’s portrayals of life through other eyes.
Sleeping bags rustled. Airbeds squeaked. 62 Brownies wriggled and giggled. Leaders shushed and caught up on Facebook, twitter, online shopping and e-mail. We got to bed at about 1:30am. The first Brownies woke up at 5:15am. In between there was an almost rhythmic appearance of sensor controlled lights as a steady stream of girls got up for a wee. I had foolishly billed this as a library sleepover. Please don’t tell advertising standards, as there was very little sleep involved.
We did spend the night surrounded by books. We made book marks and book covers. We made a giant book sculpture to show what you can find at the library. We had a scavenger hunt around the library and looked for answers in books. We shared books we loved and discovered new ones to cherish. We all took a book home, and even left some behind for the library. We met old friends and made new ones. We ate together. We shared together. We worked and learned and had fun together.
Our Promise talks about serving our community. So living as a community, playing a part in that community, learning the roles that need to be fulfilled in a community is vital for our young people. Even if that community was only 14 hours long… At every event I am always amazed at the number of girls who say they favourite bit was eating all together, or just being with their Rainbow/Brownie/Guide friends. Together is important.
And so, although I was so tired I fell asleep at 8pm without finishing my glass of wine, what I will take away is memories of the library not still, or quiet, or ordered, but full of life, inspiration, friendship, fun and sleeping bags. As more than one Brownie parent has put it in their lovely notes of thanks “memories to last a lifetime”.
And that’s probably why we do this game called guiding.