Don’t tell anyone, but Guide Leaders are not super-human. We are not born with our minds brimming with brilliant program activity ideas or crafts to suit every occasion (I know, it’s hard to believe!). Instead, we see opportunity everywhere… oh, and we attend trainings.
I recently attended a Leader Training weekend at Bribie Island, open to all Leaders and Junior Leaders in the John Oxley Region. It’s an annual event and it’s always a great opportunity to catch up with Leaders I don’t see very often, as well as meet the new recruits.
Due to calendar restrictions, this year’s event was held at Toc H Coungeau House instead of the usual venue. It proved to be a worthwhile move as it provided us with the opportunity to inspect a venue that was new to many of us. Not only that, the Leaders in charge of the weekend had organised viewings (or drive-bys!) of the other three venues in the area. It was really great to see all the options available on the island.
Having never attended a Guide Camp at the beach before, it was all very exciting for me. The weather was fantastic and we all learned something new.
I’ve always been interested in the idea of geocaching. It sounded like fun, a bit like a modern treasure hunt, so when I saw that a geocaching training was on offer this weekend I signed up immediately! As it turned out, it was a friend of mine that was running the geocaching session. It was the first time she’d run a leader training session but she did a fantastic job (good on ya, Kinta!). She explained how to use the GPS’s and program them with the locations of the caches, she had set up a number of caches to us to find and at the end we had an evaluation session, where we each discussed how we could run the activity with our own Guides, taking their age and ability levels into account.
I had always wondered how I could use this activity with my Guides. How would I know if there were any caches local to our unit? Could I set up my own caches in a trail, where the Guides would have to find each one in turn? And how would I keep their interest? Afterall it doesn’t matter how excited I am by the idea of a treasure hunt, in reality it’s just doing the same thing over and over… look at the GPS, go to the required co-ordinates, find the hidden item, repeat. Kinta had thought of this too and had placed activity instructions inside each hidden capsule. Once we’d located the capsule, there was an activity for us to complete before we moved on. I couldn’t believe how simple this was, yet I had never thought of it.
And that, right there, is the reason we attend these training weekends each year. This is where our best ideas are formed. The formal trainings and sessions are very useful (as you can tell from my enthusiasm about the geocaching!), but the connections and conversations with other leaders are what truly “make” the weekend for me. If I had attended a training about geocaching anywhere else, or just read a few things online, I may never had had that “a-ha” moment about how to run this with my unit.
As well as the exciting, new activities we also covered off on a few traditional activity trainings – campfire, Guides Own and wide games. It’s always interesting to see different ways of doing things and sometimes it’s fun to get the opportunity to take part in the activities ourselves.
I feel so lucky to be part of such a wonderful Guide Region that organises an annual training weekend for us. Our community of Leaders is so supportive of each other, it doesn’t matter what idea you have for your Guide Unit, someone is always on hand to offer advice or help you out.
If you’re an Adult Leader in a Guide unit, what’s the most memorable training you’ve attended?