Dues – First Meeting

Girl Guides of Canada units usually charge a due of $1.00 per girl per meeting. To make it easier, we usually count up the weeks we are meeting in a year and ask parents to pay all at once at the beginning of the year, by cash or cheque.

Our due this year is going to be $30.00 This helps leaders to plan programming and gives you some cash to get the year started. It funds activities and Enrolment night and can also form all or part of the downpayment for a Autumn overnight trip.

My advice is to print out a copy of the roster and bring a large bag or envelope that can be sealed, and mark off the money as soon as each parent pays. This keeps an accurate record of who has paid what. Money should exchange hands between parent and leader, not through a girl.

I use this same technique for cookie money, and trip money.

In fact, I already have a roster printed and an envelope ready for each thing, because inevitably, there will be overlap between this cash intake. It also makes life worlds easier for your Treasurer and Cookie Purchaser! the

Make sure it is clear to parents on the first night what the dues are for the year, who cheques are payable to, and when cookies are available for pickup. Bring extra pens with you!

xx

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Brownie Law, Promise and Motto

The Promise

I promise to do my best,

To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada.

I will take action for a better world

And respect the Brownie Law

 

Brownie Law

As a Brownie

I am honest and kind;

I help take care

Of the world around me

 

The Motto

Lend a Hand!

(on hand, through your right hand up into the air)

**

Letter to Parents

Below, I have included a sample letter to parents that I have written for the 2018/2019 guiding year. Feel free to copy and paste although you will have to edit a couple of parts (mostly the introduction of the leaders). I also created a brief 3-5 question survey on surveymonkey to judge whether parents and Brownies were interested in certain activities.

Also, we used a wordpress blog to create a Brownie website that is just for our unit. You need a password to access this site which is given to parents at the beginning of each year. This is where we upload forms and communicate with parents.

 

Welcome Brownie Parents to the 2018/2019 Guiding Year!

Whether you are the parent of an experienced guide or this is your first foray into GGC, welcome to a fresh new year. We are SUPER excited to be guiding your daughters this year and have some big plans. First off, introductions!

Brown Owl (insert real name) – brief introduction on who I am

Tawny Owl – 

Snowy Owl – 

 

E-Forms:

Along with this email, you should have received an invitation to our Brownie website/ mailing list. This is how we communicate important details such as meeting time/location changes so please subscribe to these emails. We promise not to bombard you. You should have also received an invitation to a survey monkey webform. Please respond ASAP. It should take about 90 seconds but will help us to plan our upcoming meetings and trips! Most forms will be electronic this year to prevent unit money being spent on printing.

 

Important Details:

The first meeting will be held on (insert date). Meetings will normally be from 6:30-8:00. This could occasionally change for special events and we will notify you the week of in these cases. You must walk your daughter to our meeting place AND pick up her. We will NOT send her out unless you are in the building, for safety. Also, if someone else is picking her up, please inform us during the drop-off.

Meetings will be held at (insert name of building and street address), in the gymnasium. Parking is limited so we encourage families to carpool once they get to know each other. There is no water fountain at the church and we have found the girls always ask for water. Please send your daughter with a water bottle and indoor shoes (if rainy and in winter).

 

Changes to Girl Guides of Canada Curriculum:

You may have noticed that GGC has changed their logo and curriculum for this year, based on feedback over the past several years. We are excited about these changes, but there are a few differences that parents might notice. In particular, the Brownie book has changed. If you prefer to keep last year’s this is fine, but we are going to place a bulk order of new books, to save on shipping costs. Please send the attached form and cash or cheque made out to (INSERT NAME) with your daughter to the first meeting as we will be ordering these ASAP. Any badges and keys your daughter has earned in previous years are still valued and honoured and should remain on her sash.

If you haven’t found the uniform ordering page yet, it can be found here.

 

Cookies!

Cookie time is nigh upon us. Autumn cookies are the popular mint/chocolate kind and we ordered them for our unit back in August. The proceeds from our cookie sales benefit our unit and help us to do fun activities. When we raise enough, we even use the funds to help subsidize the costs of overnight trips! Please be prepared for the cookie campaign to start at just about the same time as unit meetings.

 

New Brownies and Anxiety:

A lot of kids struggle with anxiety, particularly in a new setting. We are totally aware of this and the first meeting is going to be all about ice breakers and meeting new friends. If you have a particular concern, please speak to one of the Owls and we would be happy to work with you to ensure your daughter has a strong start in our unit.

It might be helpful if your daughter knows what to expect in her very first meeting as a Brownie so here is a quick run-down of the songs we will be singing and the Brownie Promise/ Law.

 

Opening Song:

We’re the Brownies, here’s our aim,

Lend a hand and play the game.

We’re the Brownies, here’s our aim,

Lend a hand and play the game.

 

Promise / Law:

I Promise to do my best,

To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada.

I will take action for a better world

And respect the Brownie Law.

 

As a Brownie I am honest and kind.

I help to take care of the world around me.

Lend a hand!

 

Closing Song:

Oh Lord our God,

Thy children call.

Grant us Thy peace.

And bless us all.

Good niiiiigggghhhhhtttt.

Now run along home and jump into bed,

Say your prayers and don’t cover your head.

The very same thing i say unto you

Is you dream of me and i’ll dream of you.

Goodnight Brownies, EVERYWHERE!

 

Hope this helps any new leaders to start their year off right!

xx

Closing a Meeting

Here’s a tip for any new leaders!

When you close a meeting, you go through a closing ceremony.

It varies slightly between the different types of units (Sparks, Brownies, etc) but in general, you gather everyone in the unit around in a circle. The brownie ring (toadstool, flag, etc) should be at the centre, or whatever is sacred to your unit.

This is a great time to recap the night and ask the girls questions to help the evening’s activity or lesson to have a deeper meaning. You can talk about what is coming up in the next meeting or talk about reminders for upcoming trips, cookies, etc. If you have extra time, sing some songs! You can check out the start of my awesome song list here!

Finally, you sing the closing song.

For Brownies it is:

Oh Lord our God,

Thy children call.

Grant us Thy peace.

And bless us all.

Good niiiiigggghhhhhtttt.

Now run along home and jump into bed,

Say your prayers and don’t cover your head.

The very same thing I say unto you

Is you dream of me and I’ll dream of you.

Goodnight Brownies, EVERYWHERE! 

(Shout the last word and throw both hands up in to the air.) Other actions at end of post.

The other units sing a different song. I’m not too sure why Brownie units evolved to have their own special closing song that is unique to them. Maybe some of the more experienced guiders can fill us in on this? I have always heard this song referred to as “Taps”. Here are the lyrics.

Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well
Safely rest
God is nigh.

Please remember, this is how we sing the songs where I am. I know that there are lots of slight (and sometimes significant) variations in other regions, so if things look slightly different from what you are used to, that is likely the reason.

Finally, at the very end of the meeting, we join hands with our arms crossed in front of us (Rhand on Lside and vice versa) and sing:

The squeeze is going around

The squeeze is going around

Let’s think of a good turn we can do

The squeeze is going around

During this, one leader starts the “squeeze” by squeezing one of the hands she holds. It keeps going around in a circle. We repeat this song as many times as necessary for it to go around once. Then a pre-selected leader (or Brownie!) yells stop once it starts the second pass. The girls are always super exited to be the one who is “it” at the end of the night. This person gets to do an extra good turn (our term for a good deed) and in our unit, we have them flush the toilets (because the girls always forget), check that the bathroom faucets are off, and turn off the lights in the bathroom.

And you’re done!

Don’t forget to monitor the girls leaving. It is your responsibility as a leader to make sure the right girls go home with the right parents!

*Actions for Closing Song*

Oh Lord our God, (no action)

Thy children call. (no action)

Grant us Thy peace. (no action)

And bless us all. (no action)

Good niiiiigggghhhhhtttt. (no action)

Now run along home and jump into bed, (run in place)

Say your prayers and don’t cover your head. (prayer sign with hands, then pull hood overhead)

The very same thing i say unto you (shake finger like someone is naughty)

Is you dream of me (put hands by one ear and tilt head like going to sleep)

and i’ll dream of you. (point with finger and do a circle around you to indicate you are talking to everyone)

Goodnight Brownies, EVERYWHERE! (shout last word and throw both hands in the air)

xx

Opening a Meeting

At the beginning of every Brownie meeting, girls and leaders stand in a large circle around the Brownie toadstool and flag. We begin by singing the opening song together:

Opening Song:

We’re the Brownies, here’s our aim,

Lend a hand and play the game.

We’re the Brownies, here’s our aim,

Lend a hand and play the game.

Then the girls skip around the centre set-up while singing their Circle songs (Fairies, then Pixies, etc). *songs at end of post if you need them

When every circle has taken their turn, everyone recites the Brownie Promise, Law and Motto together. This opening ceremony is something that the girls should all be striving to memorize.

The Promise

I promise to do my best,

To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada.

I will take action for a better world

And respect the Brownie Law

 

Brownie Law

As a Brownie

I am honest and kind;

I help take care

Of the world around me

 

The Motto

Lend a Hand! 

(on hand, through your right hand up into the air)

Circle Songs:

Fairies:

We’re the fairies shining bright,

Trying hard to do what’s right.

Sprites:

Sprightly sprites we’re on our way

Play and laugh and help today.

Leprechauns:

Happy leprechauns are we,

Helping friends and family.

Gnomes:

Here you see the laughing Gnomes,

Helping others in their homes.

Elves:

This is what we do as elves,

Think of others not ourselves.

Kelpies:

We’re the happy, friendly kelpies,

Smart and quick and ready helpers.

Dryads:

Playful Dryads strong and true,

Nature’s friend in all we do.

Lares:

Now you watch the Lares working,

Playful, singing, never shirking.

Nymphs:

Nymphs love water bright and blue,

Smiling, playing, helping too.

Pixies:

Look! We are the jolly pixies,

Helping others when in fixes.

xx

Brownie Circles

 

circle-color-colorful-2091

Need a little help setting up your group for next year? In Brownies, we use “Circles” to break the girls up into manageable teams. Circles can be used for activities and trips, but we mostly use them as a way to keep the girls busy at the start of each meeting, while waiting for everyone to arrive.

Each circle has a box of stickers, paper, colouring materials, etc. They are responsible for keeping their box orderly and putting it away each meeting. This is a good way to introduce responsibility and ownership of the unit to them. It also provides new and shy girls a way to make friends by providing them with time to meet with the same smaller group of girls each week, which is less overwhelming than facing the whole unit as one.

Every circle has a leader and a co-leader who are responsible for taking attendance for their group and then reporting that to the guider(s) for the night. We change leaders one or twice throughout the year. Everyone should get a chance over the course of the two years that they are in Brownies to serve in one of these roles. This gives you the opportunity to emphasize the qualities in a leader and remind them that they are not the boss of the other girls.

I favour circles that are 6 girls in size. There are a number of different circle names, each with their own emblem and song. You can pick your favourites and stick with them or rotate every year! Many of the badge emblems have been discontinued unfortunately, but I am hoping to find enough this year to give to the girls. I think it helps them to bond as a subgroup and helps assert their identifies.

 

 

**All copyright of the emblems belongs to GGC.

 

Fairies (example names – not real Brownies)

Circle Leader: Hannah

Co-Leader: Kandra

Members: Hannah, Kandra, Diane, Ewa, April, Jan

We’re the fairies shining bright,

Trying hard to do what’s right. 

(Each circle song is always repeated twice)

 

Sprites

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Sprightly sprites we’re on our way

Play and laugh and help today.

 

Leprechauns

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Happy leprechauns are we,

Helping friends and family.

 

Gnomes

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Here you see the laughing Gnomes,

Helping others in their homes.

 

Elves

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

This is what we do as elves,

Think of others not ourselves.

 

Kelpies

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

We’re the happy, friendly kelpies,

Smart and quick and ready helpers.

 

Now, for other circles that I am not currently using:

Dryad

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Playful Dryads strong and true,

Nature’s friend in all we do.

 

Lares

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Now you watch the Lares working,

Playful, singing, never shirking.

 

Nymphs

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Nymphs love water bright and blue,

Smiling, playing, helping too.

 

Pixies

Circle Leader:

Co-Leader:

Members:

Look! We are the jolly pixies,

Helping others when in fixes.

 

I assign girls to their circles BEFORE the first meeting so that I can organize them quickly and easily when they arrive. To do this, I first assign all the second years to the circle groups and choose a Leader and Co-leader for each circle, from the second years. Then I assign the first years to the circle as well. Ideally, each circle has an even mix in ages.

In each box, you should have thrown in colouring sheets, etc before the first meeting of the year, and also include a notebook that is for the girls to track attendance. Make sure you get boxes that have secure lids on them and pre-label them or have a colour code system so the girls can tell which boxes belong to which group.

xx