Regular readers of this irregular blog will know that the “editor” is a Guide leader who accidentally holding the fort for six weeks at the village Rainbow & Brownie unit. That was three years ago. As another (lovely) guiding blog says “when life gives you Brownies, make Guides”. And so that is what I have done. I don’t always remember that Brownies are organised in Sixes not patrols. I don’t always remember that “tidy up” is not specific enough for Rainbows who need to be told to put lids on pens, pens in boxes, boxes in cupboard… I haven’t changed the activities I organise, although obviously expectations, end results and assistance required are adjusted to be age appropriate. I have got much better at risk assessments (last term’s activities were focused on fire. Only one Rainbow set fire to her hair.)
A couple of weeks ago we held a Rainbow sleepover. 16 of our 25 Rainbows came along. They had chosen a Minion* theme. They asked for a bouncy castle (we found a Minion branded bouncy castle). They chose party food for their lunch. We did a glow-stick trail round the park. We made minion versions of everything. They didn’t go to sleep until gone 11pm, and the littlest ones were up during the night needing support.
In the morning we asked them to get dressed and pack their things up. When we went into the sleeping room 10 minutes later, all were dressed, almost all had their things (including beds) packed away and the older ones were helping & organising the younger ones.
Later that morning, after breakfast, the girls were baking cupcakes to be decorated (as minion faces); spontaneously they started singing. In rounds. With no help from us. In my humble opinion, singing girls are happy girls. I was thrilled to see how the girls cooperated with each other.
A Guide leader friend commented “who knew Rainbows weren’t rubbish?” My experience is that if you consistently set high expectations, and offer support to make those expectations achievable, the girls usually deliver. I wouldn’t hesitate to organise another similar sleepover for the girls, and the leaders really enjoyed themselves too.
Of course the following Tuesday, the “simple”; “5 minute” craft I had organised went spectacularly wrong. But that’s a different blog. And is equally true for Guides as for Rainbows…
*Other brand names may be claimed as the property of others.