Monday, November 06, 2006

Our little "Fairy" - Brownie

Our oldest daughter attended both Brownies and Girl Guides for several years, loving her time earning badges, performing community services and learning about the great outdoors. I still have vivid memories of sitting around many an evening, freezing cold (!) during rainy night cookouts, watching her group participate in a group badge effort, take a hike, or perhaps cook their meals within an empty tuna can over a fire, preparing for a local parade, roasting foods, singing and working on crafts for their camp hats.

As a teen, she cleared her room out upon occasion culminating in huge charitable offerings sitting atop my own bed for disposal. Her Brownie uniform, Girl Guide uniform and both matching badge sashes were within the pile during one of these fine organizational blitz cleaning days. I glanced over at them in the pile, lovingly removed and held them, running my hand along all those memory stirring moments sewn onto them she had once been so proud to achieve or attend, then decidedly separated them, finally laying them deep inside our family chest of keepsakes for the future.

I found a recent email from our older daughter filled with a special announcement, that of her own older daughter becoming a Brownie herself, complete with pictures included of the memorable occasion. I loved it! I loved the déjà vu of another generation to become involved with an organization her mother had so enjoyed.

Our grand-daughter's Brownie enrollment evening

Soon afterwards while picking up our mail and having a wee chat with the post office woman (wink), she told of the fun Brownie group her daughter was involved in, glancing down at my wide eyed youngest daughter seeking her reaction to having a daughter the very same age.(wink) Before I knew it, I was slipped a piece of paper with one of the leaders names on it and telephone number, the cost of uniforms, books, dues, location information and every pertinent piece of information one could desire. Not thinking much of it, I filed it away only to have this younger daughter catch me at my desk, inquiring into the possibility of joining this “terrific sounding” group called Brownies. I laughed at the thought (merely for the starry eyes she posed towards me while asking the question), as the other girls had been involved in our “Little Flower” girl’s group for years before her, loving this alternative to Girl Guides in general, with all the mothers sharing the teaching of womanly arts and so many interesting activities on a friend’s farm. Those were heartwarming years too for me I’m happy to have been involved with, making lifelong friends I have been so blessed with.

So, yes, in our home - once again, another déjà vu is before us with a little soon to become “Brownie” in the house being introduced to the wonderful world of Girl Guides. I must admit though, over the course of the past twenty plus years, the Girl Guide association has changed dramatically! Everything from the assigned and universal uniform, to the badges are now new and improved.

The lovely shade of brown, brown or brown uniform for Brownies (socks, leotards and once upon a time, even bloomers!) has been changed to a pastel pumpkin color with navy blue trims and either pants or skirt. An optional matching hoodie is available, and the t-shirts come in long or short sleeves. The badges aren’t brown anymore either, they are colorful, unique to the “keys” earned and fun to distinguish on the navy blue Brownie sashes, rather than (you got it) brown sashes of old. The same goes for the Girl Guide, changes plenty over the years. I chuckled when our older daughter mentioned she will join her daughter’s group soon, sharing her old uniform and badges with them, tell what it was like to be a “Sprite” twenty some years ago, how much her dues were then (I sent her $1.00 and $2.00 money bills to show what she used to hand in), and her fun experiences as a Brownie herself. What fun to hear she is sharing her memories, for she has many to share and her young daughter will be so proud to be there and say “that’s my mommy”…

Okay, so what about the world of “Pixies”, “Sprites”, “Fairies” and other interesting little gnome like groups?

I wondered; What would our young daughter's perception be about being plunked into a group of 26 little Brownies, none familiar to her, not even the leaders?

What about having to attend the first meeting where all the other young gals were being enrolled already into the Brownie organization with my daughter being summoned to assist?

How brave would she be in the end to fulfill her dreams of joining such a girl’s group? That answer I did not know until she tried it.

I was so genuinely touched when first entering the meeting room with my young daughter, chatting with the woman whose name was the contact from the paper given to me at the post office. While I was filling out information forms, three young girls came to my little gal waving meekly in front of her, inviting her to come along with them to the center of activity. Watching her from a distance, I knew something lovely was at hand, a new community filled with super friendly folks all pitching in to ‘make a difference’ in our lives here. As well, she was not the only one welcomed; I too was invited to other events outside of the group when hobbies were discussed for later sharing at future meetings. What a great bunch of women serving their community and blessing our daughters!

The first night our daughter attended was a double whammy. First she watched all the gals become enrolled and was involved in the cake party offerings later on. Then, it’s the annual Girl Guide cookie sales time, so guess what?

Off to sell Girl Guide cookies

Everyone was asked to sell a minimum of one case of cookies. Hearing that her niece had sold seven cases, this little daughter was so inspired by her sales record; she was yearning to be like her and see a bunch. In the end, she sold three cases in the allotted timing, all on her own and was so proud to be escorted to sell around the neighborhood and meet new neighbors located near us.

She was given a drawstring homemade fabric bag that would hold all her Brownie meeting items in to bring to and from meetings. It had a white fabric frontage for coloring her own picture on to make it uniquely her own, a kit to make a scrapbook with information on her Brownie group, given directions for the location where to buy her Brownie uniform, and though the pants/skirt were not mandatory in this group, she has opted to wear one of her sweet dark skirts with navy leotards to the meetings thus far, so we needed an extra pair. The Brownie pack separates the gals into smaller groups for book work and crafts, so our little lady in an official member of the "Fairy" group. Both she and my oldest grand-daughter Kassie both are so very precious, with their faces all aglow from the excitement of this new adventure! I am so proud of them both for taking the step into this little world of girly fun.

Like the slogan for Girl Guides;

“You Go Girls!”

Later this week, our little Brownie will officially be enrolled after attending the mandatory three initial meetings first, then will have her badges to place on her sash, and will be able to officially wear her scarf and Brownie pin. The pin gets placed upside down on the sash and must stay that way until she performs a good deed during the week, then it may be turned around as normal afterwards.

A quick photo after trying my new uniform on

We are invited to the little party after the meeting to honor this occasion and with her older sister flying in for a visit this week, she too gets to view this special time ahead of her. As well, she’s already flown ahead to earn three badges, so her sash will be decorated very soon too. She also made a simple first aid kit this week and learned all about first aid and safety issues, which she is allowed to keep here at home, proudly currently displayed on her bedroom dresser.

Brownie Promise;

I promise to do my best
To be true to myself, God and Canada
I will help other people
And keep the Brownie law

Brownie Law

As a Brownie I am honest and kind; I help take care
Of the world around me.

So, as you might imagine, our two children and grand-daughter are having an ongoing “Brownie” and “Cub Scout” love in happening (laugh).

The music teacher has been targeted already assisting our little Cub Scout to achieve his music badge requirements this week, which she very much enjoyed doing. He now has three badges earned in his short while attending the Scouting group.

Page markers for badges our son wishes to pursue next

Whoops of joy sounded this week when parcels came for both children from an Aunt & Uncle who generously sent hearty congratulations for being involved in groups they too love and have been or are currently leaders with, including a few collector Guide/Scout badges to them for their camp blanket collection beginnings, a song book her Aunt used when she was in Girl Guides, and a Scout magnet.

Goodie surprises from an Uncle & Auntie

As well this past week, our daughter was given a collection of Girl Guide magnets from her Brownie leader, making their way somehow to decorate the front of my bread maker, as our fridge is stainless steel and has no magnetism on it’s frontage.

Our bread maker now carries assorted Guide magnets