When I was five (or so) I started Brownies. Through several moves throughout Australia I stayed in the programme and progressed onto Girl Guides, Ranger Guides, and became a Junior Leader. I loved my time in Guides although must admit at certain times I needed a little more encouragement – moving will do that to you.
Last Thursday, we packed my daughter’s bags as she prepared to attend her first camp. We went through my box of memorabilia and pulled out old hats, scarves, photos, blankets, badges … my guiding history. I hardly recognised my fifteen year old self with her long skinny arms and legs. This was before my boobs showed up in all their glory. It was strange to look back at our formal uniforms that we wore to absolutely everything. It brought back memories of the rushed ironing job that occurred before every meeting. The shoes that were polished, the badges that had to shine. So different to the uniforms they wear today.
While there have been some changes in guiding there are still many things that have not. I didn’t get a chance to see the tents they slept in but we warned that there were no floors to the tent. Consequently, the girls still needed to bring a bed roll. A bed roll consists of a piece of tarp, a piece of foam to sleep on, some blankets, and a sleeping bag. You roll it all up, tie it up with some rope and some gorgeous knots … voilá.
So simple except for one little thing. The way Mum does it is different to how Amy has been told. So there were a few words which ended along the lines of “too bad”. And I must say, my version of the bedroll looks pretty good even after twenty years.
I loved camping when I was in Guides. So it was wonderful to see Amy’s smiling face at the end of the weekend. I’d been expecting a grumpy teen-ette who would be struggling from lack of sleep. Not this little bunny. She was giggling, running, and giggling some more. The 45 minute trip home was filled with the stupidity that my children delight in accompanied by endless giggles. She was missed.
And the joy didn’t end once we arrived home. She did what she was told, had a bath, washed her hair and ate all her dinner. Fantastic result.
Moving on a regular basis is a shared childhood for my children and I. It came with endless rewards but a few trials as well.
The opportunity to share a different experience that was such a large part of my childhood is huge. I am so pleased that my daughter finds enjoyment in activities that I enjoyed as a kid. I hope she sticks with it. I hope she continues to enjoy the unique experiences that guiding offers.
I hope she’ll continue to have fun.