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Monday, 24 July 2017

Memories of Brownies #BrownieThrowBackPic

Lottie Dolls  have just released a new Brownie Lottie Doll and I'm delighted to be a member of the Lottie Brownie Pack.  Lottie Dolls are inspired by real kids.  They are designed to look and act like real children (they don't wear make up and are proportionate to a nine year old child) and they can stand on their own two feet.  The range was created to empower children to be themselves, to be imaginative, adventurous and most of all to have fun. Therefore, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ clear vision that, “All girls are valued and can take action to change the world” makes this partnership a perfect fit.

I absolutely loved my time in Brownie Guides.  I have so many happy memories from this time of my life.  My older sister started two years before me, so I couldn't wait to "catch up" and join in too.  When I eventually started I was asked to choose which pack I wished to join.  Everyone looked at me and expected me to choose my sister's pack  (I think she was in Elves) but instead I went with Pixies.  It proved to be a good choice and I loved my time as  a Pixie working my way up to Seconder and then a Sixer.

"Look out, we're the jolly Pixies, Helping people when in fixes."

  As well as weekly fun in the old church hall (with the spidery toilets!) we went on lots of fun packed holidays.  I loved singing songs around the campfire such as "I'm Taking Home my Baby Bumble Bee", "My Girl's a Corker", "My Sergeant Major" and "Cecil is My Caterpillar".  I still sing these songs with my kids.

Each week I looked forward to our pack meetings.  We had to be very smart in those days.  Mum had to iron our brown cotton Brownie uniforms and ties. We also had a belt and purse where we kept each weeks "subs" (20p a week).  I used to spend ages after school scrubbing my stubby nails ready for "inspection".  My nails never stayed clean and smart like my sisters (as Brown Owl constantly reminded me).   Our shoes had to be cleaned and polished and our hair had to be tidy.  Like all good Brownies we also used to always carry the following in our pockets:  a pencil, piece of paper (or small notebook), a piece of string, a clean handkerchief , a ten pence coin and a safety pin.  I remember wondering what would happen if I genuinely needed to use one of these on the way to Brownies and ended up not having one of the items for inspection.  I always breathed a sigh of relief once inspection was over and we could get on with the meeting.

As well as inspection, I remember other Brownie rituals- such a standing in a "Brownie Ring".  We used to sing the Brownie Guide Song:

We're Brownie Guides
We're Brownie Guides
We're here to lend a hand
To love our God
And serve our Queen
And help our homes and lands.
We've Brownie friends
We've Brownie friends
In North, South, East and West.
We're joined together in our wish
To try to do our best.

We also sang Brownie Bells:

Oh Lord, our God
Thy children call
Grant us thy peace
And bless us all
Goodnight, Goodnight.

We said our Brownie Promise:

I Promise that I will do my best,

To love my God,
To serve the Queen and my country,
To help other people,
And to keep the Brownie Guide Law.

The promise changed in 2012 to:

I promise that I will do my best

To be true to myself and develop my beliefs
To serve the Queen and my community
To help other people
And to keep the (Brownie) Guide Law.

The Brownie Guide Law was:

A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day.

Our Brownie Motto was to "Lend A Hand".

At our Brownie Promise ceremony we had a pond (a mirror) and a toadstool.  I'd forgotten about this until watching my eldest daughter's promise ceremony and all of these memories came flooding back.

At the promise ceremony we also completed our hostess badge by making and serving refreshments, usually tea and cake or biscuits to our parents.  I loved working towards our badges.  I still love crafts and learning new things.  This "have a go" attitude is definitely partly due to my Brownie years.

During pack holidays, we used to put up and sleep in camp beds.  Mum sewed us terry towelling toiletry bags (I want to make these for my kids) and packed our soap and toothbrush in plastic containers.  On one occasion at camp my trousers split.  You can imagine my embarrassment but my resourceful sister told me to put  my jumper around my waist to cover the rip and all dignity was saved.  During one camp, I remember us having to quickly pack up all our belongings on the beach as the tide was coming in rapidly and we were about to be cut off.  I learnt many skills at camp such as how to peel potatoes!  I'd been "let off" this chore at home due to my left handedness.  This was no excuse for Brown Owl (and from then on, no excuse at home either!).   I also discovered meatloaf (I'm vegan now!).  One camp had an "Alice in Wonderland" theme, we had to dress up and we played croquet on the lawn.

We also used to take part in events and shows.  I remember "The Gang Show" at a local secondary school.  We sang "Oh We Ain't Got a Barrel of Money" and "Sing".  I fell off my chair during the show making a "bang!".  When my parents greeted me at the end they asked "Was that bang you?"  They knew me so well!  In another show we sang "Riding on The Crest of a Wave". We also used to sing at the local old people's home.

 I remember one event where we met up with Guides from all over the World.  The leaders told us that we could travel with Guides as we got older.  My one regret is that I didn't stick with Guides so never had this opportunity.  My eldest daughter is travelling to the WAGGGS World Centre, Chalet in Switzerland this week with Guides and I am so excited for her.

I am so grateful to have experienced such a lovely time in Brownies.  Our Brown Owl, was an amazing and lovely lady.  I still hear her voice in my head to this day.  My daughters' are lucky to have amazing leaders who volunteer so much of their spare time to Girl Guiding too.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is the world’s only movement for every girl and any girl because it believes that each girl deserves to be the best she can be. Free to make what they want from the Movement, girls learn by doing, make friends and have fun. In safe, local spaces, girls develop the skills and attitude to change themselves, their communities and our world. WAGGGS keeps the global Movement thriving, united and growing.

I love this collaboration with Lottie Dolls.  Look out for a review of the new Brownie Lottie Doll and a competition to win a Brownie Lottie Doll coming soon!

Were you in Brownie Guides?  If so, what's your favourite memory?


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