Saturday 24 June – I’m a Brownie get me out of here!

The Aussies were up bright and early at 6.30am to get ready for the girls arriving later. Dame Edna treated us to lovely bacon baps then it was time to go and collect the girls. Usually, arrivals are very quick as parents just drop off at the house but this year due to the large group sharing the site, resulting in a full car park and no turning space, the girls had to be dropped off 200 meters away at the car boot sale field. Dame Edna, Matilda and Croc Dundee armed with high-viz vests and check lists went to meet the girls and bring them back to Seagull House.

Once arrived, the Brownies (henceforth known as “Nippers”) unpacked their tea towels and slippers and got changed into our spare Brownie holiday tops (yellow polo-shirts very kindly donated by another Brownie leader). The Nippers were split into 3 groups for the weekend. Croc Creek with Croc Dundee: Anya, Amy, Bobbin Charis and Olivia; Snake Rock with Matilda: Darcie-Bay, Emma, Emily H, Emily S and Hannah; and finally, Spider Valley with Dame Edna: Alicia, Darcy, Jess and Isabel. We had our health, safety and welcome brief and an explanation of the group competition. Due to the hot weather forecast, we decided to postpone our first craft and make our way to the beach as early as possible while it was still relatively cool. Daisy went ahead to bury our fossils in the sand as part of our Archaeology interest badge. While she was doing that, the Nippers made a start on their Australian activity/passport booklets which was full of information about Australia, a page of Australian Slang, quizzes and Aboriginal artwork to colour.

Water bottles filled, sun cream and hats on and finally bucket and spades collected, and we were off! We found Matilda who had roped off a section of the beach and took turns to dig up our fossils. We had buried 15 genuine fossils including crinoid, ammonite, echinoid, brachiopod and ray tooth. The rest of the nippers spend time playing on the beach, building sandcastle and hunting for seashells and rocks. The weather was perfect; cloudy so not too sunny and a lovely cooling breeze coming in from the sea. We had biscuits, plenty to drink and top up of sun cream. Funnily, Matilda had done too good a job at burying the fossils and it took all the Aussies and nippers combing the space to find them; in the end we had to leave 2 buried as we just couldn’t find them! After a few hours, the clouds were dispersing and the temperature was raising, so we decided to head back home.

Lunch was a choice of jam, ham, cheese or ham & cheese sandwich, a brownie biscuit, bag of crisps with a piece of fruit plus lots of squash and water to wash it all down with. Each table had one Nipper helping in the kitchen, one setting the table and one clearing up at the end of the meal; throughout the weekend, all Nippers had a chance to do one of these chores. After lunch, it was on to our first craft: boomerang bookmarks. The Nippers decorated their bookmarks using cotton wool buds to create a dot pattern for the Aboriginal symbols they choose.

After putting our paintings in the foyer to dry and cleaning up the paint, we made a start on the Archaeology interest badge booklet that Sheila had created to ensure we completed all 3 clauses for the badge. We then excitingly made a start on our challenge badge. In our groups, we had 4 challenges to work around:

Beetle Drive. Each Brownie took turns to roll the dice and attempt to roll each number in turn so they could draw a beetle. They had to start with a Number 1 first but after that the numbers could be in any order: 1 = body; 2 = head; 3 = antennae, 4 = legs, 5 = fleet and 6 = spots.

Elephant Bulldozing.  We had 4 pairs of tights with a tennis ball in the end of each leg.  The nippers had to put on tights on their head and had to swing their head from side to side to move their “trunk”.  The trunk was then used to knock over the water bottles.  Each nipper had 3 attempts to knock over the water bottles.

Marshmallow Towers. The nippers had a bowl of marshmallows, a stack of wooden skewers and a small piece of white tac. Working together as a team, they had to make the tallest, free standing structure.

Saving Sam” the Snake.  Poor Sam was a snake who was sailing down a jungle river. After encountering the deadly rapids, his boat capsized.  Sam cannot swim and his life vest is trapped under his boat.  He now sits on top of his boat with his oar, contemplating what to do next.  The nippers had to save Sam by flipping his boat (plastic beaker) back over, sitting Sam (a gummy snake) on it and popping on his life vest (a gummy ring).  However, they weren’t allowed to touch Sam but could use 2 paper clips as well as the “oar” (a lollipop stick) provided but couldn’t stab him or let him fall into the water.

Once we’d finished our first set of challenges, the tuck and souvenirs shops were opened. The nippers had 50p to spend on sweets and £3 to buy some Seagull House souvenirs. As the outside playing area was free we decided to go and play rounders. We had a great time, some of the Brownies had never played it before but thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Back in for a clean-up, refreshment break, and it was time to decorate our time capsules as part of the Archaeology interest badge. Sheila had saved 15 coffee boxes which had been covered with white labels. The nippers using the cotton wool bud dot technique with paints or colouring pens, decorated their time capsules with the names and anything else they wanted. The last part of the Archaeology badge booklet was to draw a map of where they were going to hide their time capsules at home. Then it was dinner time. Dinner was sausages or fish fingers with smiley faces and peas or beans. Pudding was Swiss jam roll with ice-cream. Yummy! After dinner, it was one to our Bushtucker trails:

Traditional Bush Tucker Trail.  In their groups, the nippers took turns to roll the dice.  They then had to try the delicacy which corresponded to that number.  Two stamps for eating the delicacy; one stamp if they spat it out: Frog Spawn (cold rice pudding), Monkey Snot (cold mushy peas), Kangaroo Eyeballs (glacier cherries), Bugs (liquorice laces), Minging Maggots (cold baked beans), Pickled Slugs (pickled gherkins)

The nippers did really well, only hesitating really with the monkey snot!!

Mystery Boxes.  We had 4 boxes containing 4 lovely surprises which they had to guess what it was. The boxes contained: plastic creepy crawlies; fake fur; golden syrup and cotton wool balls.  As their hands were very sticky and then covered in cotton wool, trying to guess the last box proved very tricky!

Nuzzle In.  We changed this slightly, so the nippers weren’t actually putting their faces into the flour and played it as we did at Parva House last year. Flour with lots of Maltesers was put into a bowl. The bowl was then flipped onto the tray with the bowl removed so the flour sat on the tray in a bowl shape. We had 3 domes, one for each group The nippers had to use a knife to cut away the flour to get the Maltesers without the dome collapsing.

Our original plan was to have a campfire with singing and toasting marshmallows but as the other group had taken over the campfire pit we didn’t think this was possible, so instead, we went outside with the parachute to play at the far end of the field. The nippers put on an impromptu circus show as we’d found a bag of circus skills props including plate spinners, diabolo, stilts, balancing see saws and bean bags to juggle. Anya took on the role of circus ring master and did an amazing job of giving everyone a number and introducing them before their act. The Aussies and rest of the nippers showed their appreciation with lots of cheering and applause. We were then invited to join the other group’s campfire which was lovely; so we asked the nippers what they would like to do, but they voted 12:2 to stay where we were and not join the campfire. The nippers then asked if they could run a Brownies got talent show so that’s what we did! Sheila was made honorary Simon Cowell complete with a red buzzer (red tennis racket!). Even the Aussies got in the act with performing Abba’s song ‘money, money, money’ to the delight of the nippers. It was brilliant and a great end to a fantastic day.

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