For our second meeting this year, we are heading to my place for a good old fashioned Brownie Campfire! We will be splitting the unit into two groups, Group A will head to the backyard for the campfire, Group B will go and learn more about the Brownie Promise.
1st Holland Landing Brownies
Date: Sept 29 2021 –Brownie Story Campfire
|Activity Description||Who is leading it?||Program to be covered||Materials Needed||Time needed|
|Gathering||In the Driveway||SO||na||none||5 min|
|Opening||-In Driveway-Chant and Promise-Split into 2 groups||RO||Spirit of Guiding||none||5 min|
|Backyard–Rainbow Owl and Sparkle Owl|
|Activity 1||Campfire Safety||RO||Camping Skills and Adventures||Campfire pit||10 min|
|Activity 2||The Brownie Story||RO||Our Story||-A copy of The Brownie Story-Brownie Story Puppets||15-20 min|
|Activity 3||Roasting Marshmallows||RO||Spirit of Guiding/Camping skills and Adventures||-Marshmallows-Roasting sticks||15-20 min|
|Frontyard–Tawny Owl and Silver Owl|
|Activity 1||Promise Hand Craft||TO||Our Story||-Paper-Colouring supplies-Scissors-Clear tape||15-30 min|
|Activity 2||Frozen Frog||TO||Spirit of Guiding||None||10-15 min|
|Activity 3||The Brownie Promise Relay–Cornhole Edition||TO||Our Story||-Scrambled Cards-Cornhole Game||15-30 min|
|Closing||Everyone come to the campfire–Goodnight Wishes, and what’s up next week||RO||Spirit of Guiding||None||5 min|
Gather and Opening
We meet in my driveway. It’s a good time to chat with the Brownies, see how their week was, check in with their feelings and energy levels.
Opening is done in the driveway while we are all still together. We do our opening song and promise and let them know what to expect at this meeting.
Throughout this activity, we sing Girl Guide songs! I use singing to help bring the youths’ attention back when they begin to wander or get over excited. Magically, after a song everyone is ready to sit and listen again! Some songs we sang last night were: Black Socks, Pink Pajamas, and Fire’s Burning.
Activity 1–Campfire safety
This skill is absolutely essential in Guiding. Kids need the tools and the confidence to keep themselves safe around a campfire, and this should actually start in Sparks. We think it is so important in Brownies that we give the Brownies a certificate to show that they know how to be safe around a campfire. This will be a refresher for the 2nd years, and they will now start learning how to build a campfire.
Also, don’t forget kids Brownie-age can be quite fearful in the dark, even with a roaring fire. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are scared! I reassure them that they are in Rainbow Owl’s Woods (I live in the woods), and nothing bad can ever happen here. You and I know that isn’t exactly true, but kids this age just need the reassurance and bad things are very unlikely to happen in your yard with a large group. Then I invite them to rearrange their seating so that the nervous ones can sit close to the confident ones, and the most nervous ones can sit beside me.
Don’t forget: Roasting marshmallows is a Yellow Activity. As such, you will need to submit your plan for a safety assessment.
Rules of Campfire Safety:
- A Safe Place
- A safe place is one in which the campfire can be contained, and is far enough away from any buildings, brush, or highly flammable objects.
- All sticks, twigs and leaves around the campfire pit should be removed
- Anything someone might trip over should be removed
- Circle of Safety
- We should place our Brownie Buckets or sit-upons 4 ft away from the fire.
- People should walk around the outside of the seated area if they need to move around, never in between the chairs and the fire.
- No playing or rough housing should take place within the Circle of Safety.
- Only people called up to cook or address the fire should be in within the Circle of Safety.
- What If?
- If a spark flies onto your skin or clothing: calmly brush it away. Move away from the fire and alert a Guider to the situation.
- No one touches, pokes or adds wood to the fire except the designated fire tender (Usually a Guider or trained PF/R).
- If your marshmallow catches on fire, point the flaming marshmallow close to the ground and wait for it to burn out.
- A Fire Tender may approach you to try and help put out the marshmallow (we used to blow on it, but in the times of Covid, obviously not).
- Make sure to reassure them that they will get another marshmallow
- General Safety
- You must never approach the campfire uninvited
- Yes, this is listed twice, it’s that important!
- Depending on the size of the fire pit, we allow only 4-6 youth to approach the fire to roast marshmallows or cook
- The Fire Tender will always have water, a shovel and a wool blanket on hand to deal with any fire emergencies.
- If the Fire Tender says, “Move away!” everyone at the campfire should calmly move several feet away from the fire and follow the instructions of the Fire Tender or other responsible person in charge
- You must never approach the campfire uninvited
When you feel your Brownies have understood and follow these rules, give them the Campfire Safety Certificate. Remind them of these rules at every single campfire (I still remind my PF/Rs, who are all trained Fire Tenders themselves.)
You can also check out my post on Brownie Campfire Safety!
Activity 2–The Brownie Story
Nothing better than reading The Brownie Story around a campfire! You can find the Brownie Story in the Brownie Guider Handbook, which can be found on The Platform under “All About Guiding” in the top tab. It’s in the appendix. A long time ago, I made up craft stick puppets for this story. Each Brownie gets a puppet to hold up and wave when they hear that puppet’s name in the story. They love this, of course!
I ask the Brownie’s to pay special attention to the part, “Twist me and turn me and show me the elf! I look in the water and I see….(MYSELF!)”. After the story I ask them to explain the story back to me and how exciting it is that there is a helpful, magical Brownie in each of us. Then I start to explain the Enrolment Ceremony and how they too will take a magical trip through the Forest to visit the Wise OLD (yes, always emphasize that word for extra hilarity) Owl by the pond and they will get a chance to look in the water and see if they can see their reflection. If they can, that means they are a Brownie too!
We also take this time to learn out motto, “Lend a Hand.” We discuss different ways we can be helpful, and ways to offer help without being asked. We talk about doing good deeds or a good turn.
Activity 3–Roasting Marshmallows
This part is pretty self explanatory! We roasted marshmallows! The Brownies all talked about how they like their marshmallows: puffy, barely roasted, burnt, twice-roasted, etc. This was an organic conversation that came up in both groups and it’s a good time to mention that “isn’t it wonderful how many different ways we can enjoy one single kind of food?? Kinda like friends, so many different people in the world, but we all share the same human heart. We are so lucky!!!!!!” or something like that (soon we will get into the Exploring Identities Badges and I like to drop little hints ahead of time, to get some of them thinking about such things already).
Front Yard–Games and Crafts
Because of the need to socially distance around the campfire, the Brownie Unit was split into two groups, one around the campfire and the other enjoying crafts and games in the front yard.
Activity 1–Promise Handcraft
This activity can be found on The Platform: Promise Handcraft. We did this activity as directed.
The basic idea is that you have the Brownies trace their hands on a piece of paper and then have them write the three parts of the promise on the three fingers they hold up. Then tape the hand into the Brownie Sign.
Activity 2–Brownie Promise Relay
This activity can also be found on The Platform: Brownie Promise Relay. We turned it into a cornhole game, cause why not?
Activity 3–Frozen Frog
Another Platform activity: Frozen Frog! This game is just for fun, and it rounded off my Brownie’s Spirit of Guiding Badge.
In this giggly game, one Brownie is chosen to be Owl (they all seem to feel very proud of this), and one Brownie is secretly chosen to be the Frog. The Frog’s job is to freeze the other Brownies by locking eyes with them and sticking their tongue out, without the Owl catching them.
We had so much fun!