Llanyrafon Rangers hold an 18th birthday party

Caitlin writes “It was  my 18th birthday on the 11th of October and (to my complete surprise) my fellow Rangers threw me a surprise party the day before when we had our weekly meeting! As I walked in our usual meeting room the lights suddenly turned on and at least 5 or six Rangers screamed happy birthday in my ear (fortunately my hearing is still in tact) and I then saw that the room had been decorated with balloons and banners to celebrate my birthday!

Of course it’s not a British birthday party if there’s no classics such as Colin the caterpillar cake, party rings or a mildly competitive game of pass the parcel (only one fight ensued from this) all of which were all included by my fellow Rangers in the evenings celebrations. During the evening we also used our arts & crafts skills (mine being very limited) to decorate party hats to match the birthday theme.

After I was very kindly given an 18thbirthday card that was signed by everyone in my unit and sung Happy Birthday we were all also given custom made “celebrating eighteen” badges that celebrate any units young leader turning 18 and therefore becoming an adult.

Overall it was an amazingly fun evening that I am extremely grateful to my unit for taking the time and effort to organise (even though I usually hate surprises it’s safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this one).

Tredegar House adventure.

East District held a sleepover for Sixers and Seconds from Beechwood, St Johns, St Andrews and St Teilos slept at Tredegar House! We could take 30 girls and it would be 6:00pm – 10:00am (on the dot!)


The weather was dry and sunny so the girls were able to meet the Guiders, Curator (Emily) and Phil from Tredegar House at the main gate to walk through the lovely private gardens to the main entrance.


All girls were sleeping on the floor in the New Parlour Room and Guiders in the Morning Room.  Once girls were happy with sleeping arrangements we could start the fun! We went out into the private gardens for a scavenger hunt and some games they enjoyed the running around game; Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening amongst others.

As the sun was setting the girls went back into the house and down to the Servants Hall for craft!  Tredegar House stipulated that the craft the girls did should not have the following: glue, glitter or paint, our Guiders accepted the challenge and created some fantastic crafts for the girls.  Girls made wire pirate skulls, stained glass hangings, pirate masks and pirate treasure tea lights.  All their makes were put in a pirate box for taking home the next day.  One of the Guiders is an expert at making paper boats – the challenge was to see the smallest she could make!

As the girls were making their crafts Emily the Curator took small groups around the house on a torch lit tour. She took them up to the attics (found an old Architects office up there!) down to the cellars (no wine for the Guiders though!).  All unlocked doors were opened and girls could peer inside to see the hidden secrets of Tredegar House.

Girls had snacks in the Servants Hall and then got ready for bed.  Girls used the treasure tea lights in their sleeping area and they were placed to guide the way to the loos for night time.

All the girls had a fantastic time and it was such a great opportunity for them.  Huge thanks to all the East District Guiders who came along and to Emily and Phil from Tredegar House who give up their time to allow this for the girls.


How to plan a challenge badge!

Sam Morgan talks of how she produced her, very successful, challenge badge to mark the centenary of votes for women and the role of the Suffragettes

In August 2017 I saw a little phrase ‘Vote100’.  On investigation I discovered a whole range of events planned this year to celebrate the centenary of women starting to get the vote.

I had already created a challenge badge for my unit (1stRhiwderin Brownies) ‘Roman Challenge badge’ so thought maybe someone had put a challenge together for the centenary.

I asked around and kept getting the answer ‘No – but if you do create one we would do it!’.  So I decided to create a challenge badge.

I often tell people that my first thought at that point when someone mentioned suffragette was the mum in Mary Poppins so I knew I had to educate myself on the topic.

I knew of the names Pankhurst and Davison and they were my starting point.

Through the name Emily Davison I came across the amazing Dearsley Window in the Palace of Westminster and a recent drawing of it. Melanie Unwin is the curator at the palace and was also working on the Vote100 project and managed to secure the use of the image of the drawing at no charge.  Melanie also mentioned that she could put me in touch with Helen Pankhurst who she thought may be able to assist.

Helen turned out to be as amazing as expected.  She wrote the opening foreword to the challenge which reduced one of my Brownies mums to tears.

It took about 3 months to write the challenge – I even had a note book next to my bed just in case I had inspiration for an activity!

Then it came time to design the badge – I researched various badges that the different groups wore and came up with a few designs – finally settling on the design that incorporated the violets that suffragettes wore and gave to each other and a ribbon based on an actual piece of suffragette jewellery.

I thought maybe if I sold 1000 badges I could donate £200 to Care International – the charity that Helen is an advisor and ambassador. Fastforward to 1 year later and I cannot believe the impact that the badge has had.To date we have sold 20,000 badges with over £8000 being donated to Care International from badge sales and tea parties held all over the country. Money from the badge sales has paid for neckers for the girls – which are violet, green and white!

Our unit appeared on BBC news via TV and radio which was an amazing experience for the girls. 1stRhiwderin Brownies hosted a visit from Helen Pankhurst when she spoke about her book and it was attended by Jayne Bryant AM and unit leaders from across the county. We received so many letters of encouragement and photos from events that made the bagging up of thousands of badges every week worth it.

If you’re thinking of a way to raise funds this was a hugely successful endeavour – but I would go for something original, like a centenary that would grab peoples attention – such as GCHQ is 100 years old next year – but I’m not quite ready to create another challenge!

WOW 2018

Kathryn Benson describes her first experience of a WOW camp!

Despite having joined Guiding as a Brownie at 7 years old (more years ago than I like to admit), and going on pack holiday or camp almost every year since then, I had never been on an organised mass camp – until this summer. So, on the 22nd June St Julian’s Guides joined together with other Newport Guides from Pen-y-lan, Malpas and Pontir on the coach to Builth Wells to experience “All The Fun Of The Fair”.

Our first job on arrival at the Royal Welsh Showground was to set up our camping space. 4 tents and an event shelter later and our homes for the weekend were ready. A quick explore of the camp site followed before it was time to settle down for the night and prepare for an action packed, fun filled weekend.

A continental style breakfast of cereals and bread rolls, delivered to our sub camp early in the morning ready for collection, was enjoyed by all and set us up for the day ahead. A welcome opening ceremony brought together to 1500 people on site and launched the camp. The Saturday activities were a free flow for the girls who could choose what they wanted to do from the many options available, all split into four zones – the fun zone, creativity zone, challenge zone and adventure zone. As part of Green Sub camp the Guides started the morning with fast passes for the fairground rides in the fun zone, which meant that for the first session they could jump the queues. Other activities included as much craft as you could manage in the creative zone; the challenge and adventure zones allowed the girls to do activities that we are not able to offer as part of normal Wednesday night unit meeting. These included archery, zorb balls and football, street dance, bouncy assault course, foam pit, animal encounters with meerkats, lizards and a chameleon and human hungry hippos. The girls loved the freedom to choose what they wanted to do, and us leaders enjoyed the opportunity to wander around and see the girls enjoying themselves whilst experiencing new things; the only time we really saw the girls was over out sandwich lunch when we all gathered back at our camp to catch up.

Having spent the day enjoying the activities everyone was ready for the BBQ or hog roast tea on Saturday evening. After eating the girls had the option to go to a sing-a-long showing of The Greatest Showman, a band, or a quiz followed by bingo. Half of our Guides choose the quiz followed by bingo and the other half The Greatest Showman. They all thoroughly enjoyed their chosen evening entertainment and came back to camp afterwards bubbling with enthusiasm. All the exertion on the day meant that everyone slept well that night!

Sunday started with another continental breakfast delivered to our sub camp. Following this the girls split into smaller groups to go to their pre-decided activities. Our Guides took part in the Crystal Maze taking park in timed challenges to win crystals; got up close with owls and learning how they live, eat and are rescued; an interactive show with Techniquest exploring the mysteries of the fairground; and dodging the obstacles to be the last man standing; and the have a go area with zorbing and inflatable assault course. The weekend finished with all of the camp coming together again for the closing ceremony.

After a busy weekend in the glorious sun shine enjoying “All The Fun Of The Fair” and the wonderful things that WOW Camp had to offer it was time to head home. Everyone had a fab time in Builth Wells and we would definitely considered attending an organised camp like this again!