Would you like to incorporate an international theme into one of your weekly meetings? With a little thought and some preparation, the possibilities are endless, and the girls have lots of fun too. Food, games, crafts and costumes can transform your meeting into a really special night. Here are some ideas to get you started, as well as badges and penpal opportunities.
Did you ever wonder what Guiding is like around the world? What kind of things do Guides do in Malaysia or even Australia? How do they celebrate Thinking Day in Finland? What kind of uniform does a Californian Girl Scout wear? Having an international pen pal is the perfect way to learn about Guiding in other countries. Its also a great way to make lifelong friends. Remember, there are Guiding Associations in 145 countries around the world. That’s a lot of potential friends!
Having a penpal covers Programme work too. Here's how:
Ladybirds - International parts of the Indigo Spot.
Brownies - International interest badge; international parts of Guiding World numbered challenges.
Guides - World Friendship badge; No. 24 ‘Guiding’ optional challenges
Senior Branch - International modules for Senior Star and Gold Leadership Cert
How do I do this?
Guides and Senior Branch can be linked with pen pals either individually or through their Units. Whether you choose to communicate by email or snail mail is up to you. Just contact the Postbox Secretary and you can get started!
There are no age limits either- we receive requests for pen pals of all ages, so if you’re a Leader looking for an international perspective why not get in touch?
Am I old enough?
For Ladybirds and Brownies, links are made through their Units and must have Leader supervision. We have many Units at the moment who would love to link with an Irish unit as pen pals. The girls can either write as a group or as individuals. Not only is it a fun activity, it teaches letter writing skills and encourages an understanding of the worldwide aspect of Guiding. You could also arrange to do ‘swaps’ with your linked Unit or exchange photos of yourselves and the place you live in.
Who knows, someday you might even plan to visit your pen pal! Email Postbox Secretary with your Unit Name/girl age range/amount of girls and we will try to link you as soon as possible.
The Olympia Badge is a fun way to get outside and active with your Unit. The activities can be run over a few nights or you could have an Olympia themed Day Out, Pack Holiday or Camp. The badges are available from National Office, just contact firstname.lastname@example.org to order. We can also post you out a syllabus if necessary. Click here to read more and to download your Branch syllabus.
Dressing up, eating yummy foods and playing different games make international nights a lot of fun for all age groups. The most obvious time to run these nights is around World Thinking Day but of course, they can be organised any time of the year. The Pax Lodge website has a very good selection of activites from other countries. Click here to view their games, facts and songs from Canada, USA, Argentina, Greece, Japan, Korea, South Africa, UK and Benin.
The week before your international night, ask the girls to pick a country they would like to represent. They can dress in a national costume from that country and perhaps bring in some typical food to share. The Irish Girl Guides Outreach Pack features recipes and crafts from different cultures and countries. Click here to download this section.