Getting back in to it all

So now nearly a month has passed since my break ended and I haven’t got back into blogging (I haven’t blogged for so long everything has changed and it’s now taking me twice as long to do anything!). That’s not to say I’ve not been busy with my Queen’s Guide – I definitely have! My documents are now looking far neater, with a cohesive theme and properly filed. This makes me feel better! I’ve been busy planning my twenty hour project for service in Guiding, element 1 which I’m super excited about (and suspect those twenty hours will multiply…). Then I’ve been working on my personal skill, much more of which to come in the coming weeks!

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I’m on a break

There is a reason behind the fact I have written nothing on here for months and months… I planned to take six months off from my Queen’s Guide to give me the opportunity to settle into university and get to know my new Guiding community. I’m very grateful to my very wise mentor for suggesting it – I was all for just ploughing straight on, but it has given me the chance to take a step back, engage in lots of different activities and I will return refreshed and revitalised! My six months are still going until March, but I am beginning to think about it again – I also have had the horrible realisation that all those drafted posts from the summer never got posted so that shall be happening in the coming weeks.

Revision periods are often times of Guiding inspiration for me. The mixture of being chained to a desk, with ample supplies of paper and coloured pens whilst getting very, very bored seems to have a strange effect! So this time I have decided my skill shall be knitting. I know I said I would do something sporty but I’m just never going to reach the hours. I had forgotten how incredibly short netball games are, so that shall have to just be for the good of my health! It has also led me to do lots of planning (I have a new Brownie unit – more of in another post), as there’s so many exciting things happening this term: the promise consultation, Thinking Day, Girls In Action (I’m excessively excited about this one!).

So I shall be posting far more frequently in the coming weeks (I know it’s not difficult), about both plans and actions, past and present!

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River Festival

This weekend was our town’s biannual River Festival and  we’ve been busy getting sunburnt and eating ice cream. Oh, and doing a spot of recruitment!

We had a joint Scout and Guide stall this year, which led to much competition to reach the girls first! Ultimately, though we were keen to recruit more girls, it’s new leaders we’re really after, as we have long waiting lists for Rainbows and Brownies in our division (like some many). We may have managed a few more, but most people I spoke to turned out to be leaders in other parts of the country! I did speak to some Senior Section aged girls who would be interested in being Young Leaders, which is a start. A few years time and they could be leaders too!

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Some More Community Action…

It has been such a long time since I’ve written a post about my community action, possibly because I’ve been very busy reading, analysing and doing lots of calculations! For example did you know that California has 42 science museums and the population of the District of Colombia has one science museum to roughly every one hundred thousand people!

Although I have been doing all of this I’m not going to tell you much more about it yet. Today I’m sharing with you a few photos from the practical project, as I have finally sorted out my camera software… It’s only taken me seven months!

This was the first day of the very popular edible DNA, and so I spent the first few minutes showing my fabulous helpers what to do before the masses (well we got about seven that day!) descended.

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Formal or Informal?

That is the question I’m going to try and address through my research project. More specifically my question I have decided on is:

‘Informal science education and the media have an equal impact to formal science education on pupils’ interest in pursuing science at a higher level.’

It’s a very broad question and there is a huge wealth of information on the internet, in books, papers and magazines. It is almost quite daunting when I look at my file of odd notes and printed articles and reports! That’s not about to put me off though, I’m really interested in this topic and it will be particularly interesting to explore the differences between local, national and international attitudes. It is also a fabulous opportunity to do some properly independent research.

So if anyone (particularly in countries outside the UK) have an  opinion about this, do comment – I’d love to hear! I really want to include plenty of first hand experiences. What made you study (or not) science at a higher level?

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Healthy Heart

Last week at Brownies we were working on their healthy heart badge. It is always interesting to see their different responses to healthy lifestyles and actually is quite encouraging that government campaigns to tackle obesity are getting the message across. The girls were all very well informed. Better than I would have been at their age probably having been a Brownie when turkey dinosaurs and potato smiles were de rigeur for lunch and tea, with maybe some peas if we were feeling really healthy!

I had been given the food allergy clause to do with them. It was a challenge to come up with an activity that would be different to the others and not just talking about it. I remembered a game about germs spreading in Guiding magazine last year so wondered if I could adapt that. Unfortunately allergies are a wee bit more complex than the spread of germs so it took some serious adaptation.

So it turned into an extremely involved version of stuck in the mud! Half the girls were one of the top four food allergies (milk, nuts, fish, eggs) and the other half were allergic to one of them. The allergens were then given four reaction cards that they could give to those they caught who were allergic to them. If caught those with an allergy then had to sit down and wait for someone else to bring them an appropriate medication card. We had moderate reactions (itching, rash) and severe reactions (difficulty breathing, throat and mouth swell), and antihistamine and adrenaline. The idea was that the best way to stay in the game was to avoid the allergen!

We did have quite a nice discussion at the beginning about allergies. I was really impressed by what they knew and how well they listened! I’m not always sure about how well I can keep control of them all at once when we’re talking, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It also meant that they were all able to meet the badge clause because I wasn’t sure how much they would actually learn from the game, but it’s the sort of badge that can end up very discussion-y and ours aren’t quite ready for that yet!

It also let me bring in a bit more science, which is always a GOOD thing! I did manage to refrain from teaching them the bits in my A-level biology course, but I brought it down to a more basic level, with the idea of big blobby things stop you from getting ill, but sometimes they get a bit overenthusiastic and attack something that won’t make you ill. It’s not the best explanation but I think they sort of got it!


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County Camp!

And a bit of science too.

Today was our county’s annual Training Day and Review, and it was fabulous. It’s the first where I’ve been to more than just the Review. When I got my Baden Powell I was invited to it along with everyone else who had achieved it in the last year. That was great, but this one was so much more fun.

I actually ended up doing bits towards both Service in Guiding and Community Action. I’m not actually going to tell you much about the Service in Guiding side. We were planning for County Camp in August, and I don’t want to spoil any potential surprises until I know they’re out there in Divisions! We have come up with the design of the necker (which sounds like it could become all singing all dancing), sort of the sub camp names, the opening and closing ceremonies and the organisation of the challenge day in quite vague terms at least. I’m SO excited! August seems like such a long time to wait.

Now for the science. I have discovered Anglia Region has a science resource, QUEST ( It is very good, with some really interesting ideas for activities. The session was really useful to me, not so much for the science itself, as I was able to talk to other Guiders about doing science based activities in their units. Some came from science backgrounds (research, teaching) but weren’t supported by their other leaders to bring science to Guiding or didn’t know how to bring it down to an appropriate level. Others didn’t have science backgrounds and either didn’t know how to incorporate science into their programmes or didn’t realise what could constitute to science. It made me realise how lucky I am in that I have a level of knowledge that means I have some idea about science but not so much I can’t take it down to Brownie level, and that the other leaders are more than happy for me to do something science-y! It’s given me yet more ideas about what to look at with my research for my Community Action.

Beyond my Queen’s Guide, today was just really good fun! It’s energised and enthused me about Guiding. Any time I think I’m starting to flag, I now know what to do – go on a training. It was great to do something just for me, and to talk to leaders outside my own unit. Also speaking to older Senior Section members about what they’ve done was great. My next plan – Innovate!

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