Last week we took a little field trip to the local Food Bank. I think the girls enjoyed learning and they definitely loved helping to sort some of the donations. We had collected donations recently during our Santa Claus Parade, so we brought those items and several of the parents also sent their daughter with money or food.
The biggest takeaways from the night – I hope – are to always check the expiry date before you donate something, and the realization that there are families right here at home who don’t have enough to eat. I firmly believe that charity starts at home.
We have been doing a lot of these little excursions lately. Part of the reason is to show the girls how many resources are in our small town. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or travel a long ways to help someone, or to have some fun.
The idea of community was really important to me and to the other leaders and we wanted to make sure that was our focus throughout the guiding year. Thankfully it is off to a great start, the girls are having fun, and parents have been very generous with their feedback 🙂
One of our most recent and successful meetings lately was at the our local police station. A female officer had been assigned to our unit for the evening so we could learn about the job of a police officer in a rural / small town community. She was AWESOME!
Officer L. was super friendly with the girls and did a fantastic job answering many questions – some inappropriate – in a fun, age-appropriate manner. We talked about her experiences as a female and smaller officer and the different types of officers.
She also gave us a tour of the station where we met some others on duty and explained how things worked. Each girl got a chance to climb into a police cruiser and turn on the lights, and also to sit on a police ATV, where we snapped a quick picture of each and sent it to their parents.
Officer L. had brought in a big ol’ box of Timbits with her for each girl to have a couple, which was super nice and thoughtful of her. She said she didn’t want them to be hungry!
We had an amazing experience and it was the best “night out” since I started with the unit. I definitely would encourage you to reach out to Fire/EMS/Police in your area for visits as well. We had a good time last year at the fire department and will try to visit EMS soon.
I am applying this experience towards a couple of different badges. It is one of the jobs in the community lessons we are working towards (Key to My Community), as well as safety badges, which we will build on later.
At the end of the meeting, I brought up some safety rules. I asked if they would ever get into a vehicle with, or take food from, a stranger; had them recite Mum’s/Dad’s first and last names and phone numbers, and their home addresses. About half of the girls didn’t know the phone number or address so I alerted the parents to this. I also used our next regular email to talk about a family safe word, and encouraged parents to build on these discussions to make one.
I always try to have books on a related subject. It helps reinforce the message and also is a great time filler when needed. I used them the next week as we ran out of time on this night, but here are some options:
Topsy and Tim meet the police
I’m afraid your teddy is in trouble today
Daddy, I worry about you
Police: hurrying, helping, saving!
Let’s meet a police officer
Big Mike’s police car
A day at the police station
Officer Buckle and Gloria
Keeping you safe: a book about police officers
Busy people, busy police
Officer Dan looks for clues
The other great thing was that at the beginning of the night, I had asked the girls who wanted to be a police officer when they grew up and only two hands went up. At the end of the night, about three quarters of the girls put up their hands. Success!
Wow, it has been an eternity since I caught you up on my Brownie Unit! Whoops!
We have been super busy doing a lot of excursions in the community lately (yay!) and I feel like we have almost been on vacation! It is my goal to catch up on blog posts in the next couple of weeks so hopefully I can share some new ideas for after the Christmas break, if you have been struggling with programming lately. If you have some nights your girls were super excited about, post them in the comments!
This week we are going to our local musical company’s production of Aladdin, Jr! We are actually attending their dress rehearsal. We reached out to ask if they would consider letting us attend, partially because their performances didn’t fall on a Tuesday night when we normally meet, and partially because the unit couldn’t cover the cost of the tickets and we didn’t want to ask the parents for money.
Thankfully, they were thrilled with our request! Our girls might not get to see the entire play tomorrow night, depending on how many times they stop the rehearsal, but hopefully that will entice them to either come back with their families or audition for the next production the company puts on.
One of the many benefits to watching the dress rehearsal instead of the regular show is that the girls will get to see the behind the scenes, and learn some of the work that goes into a show. This is the Junior show, meaning that it is kids and teens in the community performing, something that I hope will also inspire them.
By attending, girls will earn their Listen to This Badge, from the old curriculum.
Normally, when our unit goes somewhere for an evening or has a presenter in, we give them a couple of boxes of girl guide cookies as a thank you present. However, this wasn’t planned out far in advance so we actually don’t have any left. I think I’m going to go to Tim Hortons and buy a bunch of timbits for the company instead, to thank them? Anyone have a better idea?! And of course, we always hand out a thank you card.
Edit: The girls had so much fun watching the dress rehearsal! They were all disappointed to leave at the end of the night, and to hear we are back in our normal meeting space next week. Most of them left promising to beg their parents to bring them to see the actual show lol.