First Meeting (Brownies)

Hello and welcome to another year of Guiding! Here in Ontario, we are hoping to keep our meetings in-person! I am going to try this year to write about EVERY Brownie meeting we have! (GULP). Here goes!

Weekly Plan

Activity DescriptionWho is leading it?Program to be coveredMaterials NeededTime needed
GatheringFinding their Brownie Bucket.RO/SO(TO in parking lot)n/aBrownie Buckets5 min
OpeningWelcome to all the Brownies this year! Brownie “song” and PromiseROSpirit of Guidingnone5 min
Activity 1Read about Kate Sheppard and talk about the importance of our voicesROGender PowerGood Night Stories for Rebel Girls15-20 min
Activity 2Human BingoROMy Healthy RelationshipsHuman Bingo Sheet5-10 min
Activity 3You Make the Rules!ROSpirit of Guiding-Whiteboard & marker-Bristol board and marker 15 min
Activity 4Play Rainbow Owl SaysROSpirit of Guidingnone3 min
Activity 5Brownie GoalsROSpirit of GuidingBrownie Goals sheet10  min
ClosingLet the Brownies know what we are doing next week/Goodnight WishesROSpirit of Guidingnone5 min

Activities

Gathering and Opening

We always give our Brownie families 5 minutes from our start time to get their Brownies to the circle. One Guider greets the families at their cars (we are only meeting outdoors just now), one Guider (or Youth Assistant) leads the Brownies from the parking lot to our meeting space, and one Guider is with them at the Brownie Circle, engaging with them.

Because of the “No-Singing” restrictions currently in place, we are sort of “Cheering” the Brownie Opening song. Then we let the kiddos know what they can expect at tonight’s meeting.

Activity 1–Kate Sheppard

While we are all still together in the circle, I invite the Brownies to get a little closer (not too close, Brownies! We still need to be 6ft apart). We read about Kate Sheppard in the book Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. I can’t recommend this book enough. It has one-page inspiring stories of heroic women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. There are many versions, I think I own them all!

Kate Sheppard is a suffragette. I especially like this story for teaching the Brownies about how hard women have fought for the right to have their voices heard and counted because it touches upon several injustices that girls can relate to: dress codes, no sports, no careers, lots of cooking and cleaning. Brownies can really work up into a frenzy over this story, especially since few are aware yet of the grave injustices that face women today in society. It really gets them thinking about why their opinions and voices matter, which primes them for the activities ahead in the next couple of meetings as we set up our unit for the year.

Activity 2–Human Bingo

Human Bingo! This activity is always a hit, and it helps the Brownies to mingle around and discover a little something about one another. I put a copy of the Human Bingo card in each Brownie Folder and they go around asking each other if they fit any of the squares on the sheet. If they do, they can stamp that square with a special stamp (dollar store/Michaels). Then we all meet back at the circle. Get the free printable here:

Activity 3–You Make the Rules!

We have found that when the kids make the rules for the unit, the kids follow the rules for the unit. It always ends up being the same basic rules, but we make a pretty big deal about coming up with the ideas, discussing the idea and voting on the idea. This process really helps to engage the Brownies, and gives them some exposure to how and why rules exist.

We talk a bit about what are some rules we should have to get along? How about safety? What about trying new things, or opting out of things? Make sure your rules for safety and harmony are included. I usually find the kids think of them before I need to say anything, but obviously its important things like The Buddy System and Listening to the Guiders is essential. It’s also important to let them know that if rules aren’t working, they can be changed! And how do we change rules? Do we just go ahead and do whatever we want? NOoooo! There’s a process for that. During Brownie Circle, any Brownie can raise their hand to bring up a rule for discussion and change! We always work together to make sure everyone has a fun and safe experience at Brownies (see how that shifts some of the responsibility to the Brownies themselves?)

So, one Guider is writing down the rule-idea a Brownie has. Then we lead a discussion. Then the rule-idea is voted upon (sticker voting, head down-raise your hand voting, etc). If the rule-idea is voted in, then it is now an actual Rule and is written down on our Rules Board (just Bristol board with our unit name on it. There is an example of what it looks like in this post about Sparks: Girls Rule when they Make the Rules!

Activity 4–Play Rainbow Owl Says

You probably guessed it’s Simon Says but with your Owl name! I try to really make it silly though, “Rainbow Owl says shout out the name of your favourite vegetable!” “Rainbow Owl says jump up and down if you like to swim!” “Spin around if you’ve ever smelled a stinky cheese!!” etc.

After a session of thinking and concentrating, it’s really good to do something active and silly.

Activity 5–Brownie Goals

In their Brownie folders, I put in a sheet (listed below) that the Brownies can fill out. It has four categories:

  • New things I want to learn or try
  • Things I want to finish or achieve
  • Things I want to get better at
  • Places I want to visit

Grade 2 Brownies may need a good deal of help with their reading and writing. This is where the 2nd year Brownies get to shine! Everyone can help!

Closing

We gather again in our Brownie Circle and thank the Brownies for a successful first meeting! If there is time, we will do Two Stars and a Wish. We let the kids know what we are doing next week (always prepare them!). Then, because we cannot sing right now, we make a wish!

Starlight, starbright,

First star I see tonight,

I wish I may,

I wish I might,

Have this wish I wish tonight!

And we make a wish!

Then we have this thing we do in my whole Guiding Community where I live. Maybe others do it, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. We all back up taking a step each letter and we should: “G-O-O-D-N-I-G-H-T…” and then we run forward into the circle shrieking “Gooooooooooooooooooodnight!!!”

Then we walk them all back to the parking lot and tell their parents how awesome the Brownies are, alert them to any forms or whatever that need to be completed and handed in, and let them know what’s up next week.

2 comments

  1. Hi there, I am following you from Alberta, in same same position back to Outdoor 2. Was wondering what exactly is your ‘brownie bucket’ it sounds very interesting.

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    • I should make a post about that!! It’s a 5 gallon bucket with a sort of seat attached. Inside are the things a Brownie needs during the meeting—that stuff we can no longer share: pencils, scissors, pencil crayons, stuff for outdoor crafts like wire and paper clips. So they sit on them, and it’s like a little locker for their stuff. They sign out a Brownie Bucket when they join our unit and give it back and the end of the year for the next group.

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