Rainbows is the first stage in Girl Guiding and takes girls age 5-7. There isn't a massive commitment that a five year old can offer, so Rainbows was purely for fun. Every week we made something new and exciting. We were a small group of about 14 girls and two leaders and I remember thinking it was marvelous. We used to wear little dark blue tabards with badges on. The highlight of Rainbows was definitely taking home the Rainbow Bunny. It was a giant toy rabbit, about as big as us five year olds, it proudly wore a tabard like us. Each child could take it home for a week at a time and look after It - then tell the group what adventures you had had the next Wednesday.
Two years whizzed by and it was time for me to leave. The rainbow group was held in the village school and later on Wednesday nights was a Brownie group. The Brownies came early to initiate me to the next level of the guiding family. I remember the exchange was beautiful. The rainbow leaders had made a large cut out rainbow which stood in the centre of the school hall, at one side stood the Brownies and at one side stood the Rainbows; I had to run over to the rainbow and the leaders swung me over. Thinking about it now it was a lovely way to symbolise growing up.
Brownies is the next stage in Girl Guiding and takes girls age 7-10. There were a lot of 'big girls' at Brownies and at first I was frightened. I was allocated a 'Brownie Buddy' to show me the ropes and who's who. The group was split into six sections: Foxes, Rabbits, Badgers, Hedgehogs, Squirrels and Moles. I started Brownies as a Hedgehog and really enjoyed it. I took Brownies very seriously, I made my brownie promise in another lovely ceremony.
The hall was darkened and all the brownies were sitting in a circle. My patrol leader lead me to the centre of the circle and took me by the shoulders and rotated me slowly...
Twist me and turn me,
and show me the elf,
I looked in the water and there saw...
She stopped the rotating and I said 'Myself.' In front of me was a small washing up bowl of water with a yellow promise badge in the bottom, I reached in and everyone clapped.
I worked very hard at brownies trying to earn as many little cloth badges as I possibly could. I had lots in the end and they were all neatly sewed on to a sash which went across my body, shoulder to waist. In my last year I was the seconder in hedgehogs (second in command!) but then moved to Foxes in the hope of becoming Sixer and I was very lucky because I did lead the Foxes in the end! This is probably when my love of leadership took place, right then when I was only ten years old. I loved taking in the sub money and filling in the register. My favorite bit of all was introducing someone new to Brownies and being their Brownie Buddy just like I had had one when I was new. I cried so much when it was time to leave.
I had a brief break from guiding whilst I moved up to secondary school. There were no Guide companies in the village so I had to look elsewhere. I met a friend called Hannah at secondary who was a guide. Guides seemed very complicated when she explained it to me, but never the less I went along to the 3rd Beverley guides. It was more serious than Brownies but just as fun. Instead of sixes there were patrols - I was placed in rose with Hannah. There was a patrol leader and a patrol second like in brownies and the leader was called QM and her helpers, SO, CC and Laura. I was now a confident 11 year old who had been transformed by guiding. I took my promise meaning every single word and got a badge just like my yellow promise badge, but the more recognised blue. I had only been a guide for a year when I became rose patrol leader, I was the second youngest in my patrol still. My leadership kicked in again and I enjoyed setting up activities for my patrol. I showed my patrol how to help me with my vision problems and they caught on immediately. The would put stuff directly into my hands, and keep the floor clear of potential trip hazards.
In 2009 I went on Guide camp as a camp patrol second with Hannah having a go at leading. I remember that Holiday so clearly its amazing. Me and five guiding buddies had a tent in a field. We had great fun with the rest of the company but even more fun when the leaders went to bed! We danced, sang and laughed a lot. Sadly we weren't all made for the wilderness and some people in my tent got a bit cold and fed up of the duties around camp. This resulted in me becoming patrol leader. I had the lovely space behind
I am still patrol leader of rose and I am working on my Baden Powell and challenge badges. I am a proud Guide and one day I might lead my own rainbows, brownies or Guides. Guides has given me a love of leadership, power to make a change and a love of the world. I am going to be in the Guiding family forever!