"We are the Brownies! Mighty, mighty Brownies!"
Like being transported back in time, I spent this weekend reliving my childhood as I watched a handful of my Brownies develop their own childhood camp memories. It has been a long time since I sat around a campfire, singing songs like Herman the worm, Bug on the wall and Brown Squirrel. I watched the girls picking up the words and trying to keep up with the actions, and I was delighted in finding some of my personal favorites coming back to me. Our site had a good laugh when I got up to teach Three short-toothed buzzards, and I was amazed at almost one hundred girls weaving into and back out of a snail-shell spiral singing the most ridiculous Snail Song.
It was an exhausting weekend, no doubt, but it was totally worth it. Waking up to the birds above my tent (and the rain in the middle of the night), to boiling water for dishwashing, and even cleaning the lats (outhouses), I regained an appreciation for the Girl Guide program. What a truly awesome opportunity for these girls.
All this does not even begin to include the basic skills the program teaches girls, including the opportunity to be themselves. As a Guider, it is the coolest thing to watch your girls try and conquer new tasks. It's even more amazing to see their ideas form and creativity come out.
During the Muffin Man, the Brownies were busting out dance moves that had me in awe. Then at campfire, 3 girls offered to lead Princess Pat, a repeat song that was new to me, and I was amazed at their excitement and energy after 14 hours on-the-go and little sleep the night previous.
I watched a little Spark approach one of our leaders in a 'wide game' yesterday.
"Are you going to the party?" She asked the all-important question in this game.
"No," the leader replied.
To which the little spark, all 3 1/2 feet of her, dressed in her pink rain coat and rubber boots, peered up at the leader and with the most solemn voice, said "Oh, you weren't invited eh?" My face melted into a big smile, and I immediately loved this program even more.
Guiding celebrates 100 years in Canada this year, in 2010. It is humbling to think how long this program has been in existence and how little I have been involved in it, yet I feel this is about to change. In the fall, another leader and I will take over our own unit, which is very special to us but also to the history of Guiding in Canada. It's rare a worldwide program takes root in Canada so early in its existence, but Guides was started in Canada almost very shortly after launching officially in England.
The heritage aside, it's not surprising Guiding is bringing former Brownies and Guides back to the program as volunteers. How can you not enjoy campfire songs, crafts and games? We're just like the kids, except a little bigger with a little more responsibility. Why else would we wear the camp-hats and be just as passionate about hat-crafts?!
Interested a little more in Guides? Check out this cool photo project on what the girls are saying!