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Centenary April 18, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Lovely people.

I got a bit of a lovely surprise today.  This.

My old (read: former) Guide leader brought it round before I disappeared off up north again.  Before you go right ahead thinking er, pink, how nice of her, um, great – you will notice the big brightly coloured ‘100’ badge on my right boob.  Girl Guiding is 100 years old this year.  This is an official Guiding centenary t-shirt.  And I have been coveting it since January.  Midge has one, my mum has one, I noticed some while back that Captain Shakespeare’s little sister has one (massive envy purely from that) and now I have too and the world is wonderful.  I don’t care that it’s the colour of an embarassed raspberry, and about half the time so am I, for this makes me really happy.

I joined Girlguiding at the age of eight, when I joined the Brownies.  I was a six leader very quickly and started helping run activities for the whole pack not long after that.  I went up to Guides when I was eleven.  When I was thirteen I became a patrol leader.  When I was fourteen, I was too old to be a Guide so I came back to be a Young Leader, which I did until I left for university.  I’ve never been the sort of person who wins prizes at school, or who gets given badges or positions of responsibility, except for in the Guides, where they seemed to be throwing them at me.  I led walking groups, I organised activities and delegations to do the washing up, I taught people to tie knots and use knives safely and read maps and put up tents and knit.  I led wide games and water fights.  I’ve had my fair share of mud, baked beans and squirty cream chucked at me and egg in my hair.  I’ve probably given piggy back rides to quite a few more small children than most people have.

The Guides taught me to muck in and never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.  It taught me that if you give as good as you get, don’t be surprised if you do get it, and that the people responsible will most likely remember the occasion in five years’ time.  It is as a result of the Guides that I can, and probably will, sleep anywhere, and I have an unholy love of youth hostel-style fried breakfasts.  It’s also the reason I definitely want kids.

I’ve been thinking about being a Guide particularly this week because of listening to music that insists it’s dying out, that the English don’t get together to sing any more.  As far as I know, there are two places these days where people get together routinely to sing songs that they all know off by heart, for the love of it, and one of them’s church and the other is the Scouts.  I feel so much better for having the songs – the PC ones, as well as the ones you made up when you were twelve which mostly involved the man of eighty-two who did a fart and missed the loo.  God.  The world was so much simpler when you were that age.

Yeah.  Nostalgia.  Haven’t sung those in a while.



1. annadegenhardt - April 19, 2010

It sounds like you had a far more exciting Brownie pack than I did, which is why I left Brownies and didn’t go on to Guides.

Our Brown Owl was, well, in some ways a bit lazy. Either that or very nervous about life. The most adventurous thing we ever did was walk 2 minutes down the road to play ‘frisbee rounders’ (admittedly I did end up with a black eye because of that). And apparently the only brownie camp that happened while I was a member didn’t involve tents, or mud, or singing, it just involved going to another Brownie hut two miles up the road and playing ‘it’ there while Brown Owl looked on.

Whereas your experience of Girl Guiding sounds AWESOME. I want to have moved to Romsey when I was small, just so I could’ve had a go there.


2. Fiona - April 20, 2010

Brownies technically aren’t allowed to camp in tents – they have to be in a hall or something. You missed out on the singing. It’s one of the things I miss the most.

3. annadegenhardt - April 21, 2010

That’s a shame. they ought to let Brownies camp in tents. It would make life more interesting.

I do wish we’d also sung. Instead, we just played ‘it’, or occasionally that game involving an imaginary crocodile. And then we went home.


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