This article was written by Guider Heather Kikkert for the HKGGA Guider Magazine. Hopefully this is helpful to other Guiders looking for ideas.
To help local Brownies ‘link up’ to Guides, the 64th East Kowloon Girl Guide Company held a taster night where Brownies eligible to move up in the next term could experience a Guide meeting. The taster meeting outline is detailed below, with special attention to the link elements activities to show the elements of Guides that might vary from a Brownie meeting. The end of the article explains the resources used so the reader may recreate these if they wish.
Before the Taster Night
To build anticipation and reassure the Brownie visitors, a Guide Guider visited the Brownie unit the week before and handed out a ‘passport’ which would allow them to visit a Guide meeting. The passport contained a list of things to do that introduced them to Guides e.g. meet a Guide leader, find out what a patrol is, take part in an activity with Guides, etc. The passport was also a simple paper folding activity.
Link Passport showing Folding Instructions and words to Taps
As they had met a Guide leader they could immediately get a stamp in the passports. The Link Passport was connected with the eight-point challenges, which the Brownie unit had been discussing at their meeting. For example ‘wide awake’ (‘thinking for your self’) was to remember to bring the passport to the Guides meeting. The Guide Leader briefly explained what would happen at the Taster Meeting and took questions from the girls to help them feel more at ease.
The Taster Night
A Brownie Guider accompanied the Brownie visitors to the taster night, so there was a familiar adult present to help girls who forgot their passport to prepare another one. A representative from each Guide patrol sat at a ‘passport control’ desk. These Guides stamped a ‘visitors visa stamp’ with the date into the passport and assigned the visitor to a patrol by gluing in a patrol symbol. Visitors were told to find the patrol leader who was wearing a badge with the same symbol. To make the girls feel more comfortable, we were in our usual outdoor uniform and had the Brownies come in their outdoor uniforms. Hence, the patrol leaders and seconds were wearing a simple cardboard badge with a safety pin on the back, showing the patrol symbol and leader stripes.
Patrol Emblems to assign Brownie visitors to patrols, plus badges for Patrol Leaders
The meeting then opened officially with the horseshoe formation and into the regular meeting format: a game run by senior Guides, a patrol activity (this time chosen by Guiders to teach the Guide Promise and Laws), then a group activity. The night’s group activity was looking at colours and emotions (taken from the UK Girl Guiding ‘Aim High’ resource) then making bracelets from coloured beads. The bracelet activity was done sitting in patrols and the Brownies were encouraged to ask the Guides questions. The taster night finished with Taps (the words were provided in the Link Passport) and the Brownies left with smiles on their faces and a bracelet to show off.
Link Passport with the bead bracelets we made with the Brownie Visitors
Make a Link Passport
To make the Link Passport a more ‘old fashioned’ method was used and is described here, though those with the technical skills and software could easily make the template entirely on a computer.
The template was a PocketMod – one sheet folded into an eight page ‘notebook’ – modified to fit A4 paper. Basic text was printed using the PocketMod options online (e.g. lists) and then cut and glued onto an A4 sheet. This allowed for a more attractive layout with simple pictures and, when photocopied onto white paper, made the passport template. The template was then photocopied onto blue paper for each girl (blue being the colour for Guides). Please refer to the photographs for more details.
Link Passport showing each development stage