This week, Pippa’s mum Samm Gee tells us about their positive experience with Girl Guiding. Thanks Samm for sharing with us!
Several years ago, Pippa became a Brownie (you know, like a Girl Scout). Jemima, her sister, is a Brownie too and I thought it would be nice for them to go together. The reasons I initially thought it would be good for Pippa were that it was with her friends, would help her social skills, would expose her to more adults in authority rather than just her Teacher, Assistant, Daddy and I, and overall I just instinctively thought she would love it. She did three weeks of trying it out before her big enrolment night. Brown Owl and Barn Owl, the two leaders, were very happy to have Pippa in the Unit and Pippa took to them, particularly Barn Owl, very quickly. All the other Brownies, even the ones that didn’t know Pippa, were very welcoming and kind (well, I guess they have to be, they are Brownies after all, it’s in the Brownie Law isn’t it?).
On enrolment night, Daddy, Dougal and I proudly went to watch as both Pippa and Jemima said their Brownie Promise, saluted and were awarded their Badges. We took some photographs to show Grandma and Grandpa and that was that………………..or so I thought.
What I hadn’t counted on was the huge opportunity for learning that this had suddenly opened up for Pippa. You see, Pippa was a little girl who found (and still finds) writing and holding pens incredibly difficult. She hates anything messy in case it gets on her hands and her co-ordination is a bit wobbly which makes doing certain tasks a bit tricky. All in all, this can make her a bit resistant to trying new things and a bit stubborn about what she thinks she can and can’t do.
However, in the new Brownie pack that she was given as part of her enrolment was a magic book; a book that would unlock new things and open Pippa’s mind to trying different activities. Yes, a magic book called……………The Brownie Badge Book!
Jemima, the type of child who lives to earn certificates, accolades and badges, immediately skimmed through the book working out which badge she could do the fastest and soon presented me with all the things she would need to complete her Artist Badge. During the school holidays she worked hard on this and I watched with interest (and pride) as she put together four masterpieces and duly earned her badge. As I was watching though, I was formulating a plan for Pippa who, although she had looked at the book, hadn’t taken an awful lot of notice. On the night that Jemima was presented with her badge, Daddy and I made a great fuss of how fabulous it was and Pippa chirped up “Me badge please, I do badge”.
That was it – the green light for me to get out the paint, glue, glitter and all the other messy creative things that Pippa wouldn’t normally go near! All her creations were planned together, with me working out the practicalities and her telling me what colours she wanted to use and choosing materials from the art box. When it started to get a bit more ‘hands on’, Pippa did initially show some reluctance, but I only had to remind her with the words “Brownie Badge” and she would come to the table to do some more. It took many days to finish the required four pieces and we definitely worked to the guidelines of working within her own capabilities but still being challenging for her! On the night she took her pieces along to show at Brownies, Pippa was so proud, holding each piece up with a beaming smile on her face and using wonderful speech to describe what it was and how she had made it. As Brown Owl presented her with her Artist Badge, the other Brownies gave a massive cheer and I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye!
I knew then that the Artist badge would be the first of many! And, as it turned out, it was not only the badges which Brownies brought to Pippa, but also many learning opportunities alongside her friends, camaraderie, adventures and new experiences from high ropes to campfires.
Pippa went on to be a Sixer (a team leader) at Brownies and she’s now a Seconder at Guides, still working on her badges – she has completed her Upcycling and Geocaching badges recently – and now aiming towards the Guide’s Gold Award.
Her sister made this YouTube film https://youtu.be/slqcUyTDyEs about Pippa’s Girl Guiding journey and how inclusive Guiding is for children like Pippa.