>> Sunday, November 09, 2014
When we used to go on Penny walks with the Brownies, Brown Owl's penny was always magic and always managed to get us back to where we needed to be on time.
Let me rewind a little, on a penny walk a group of girls go out with a penny and no planned route. At each possible (safe) choice of a left or right turn the coin is tossed with a heads (or tails) for left and a tails (or heads) for right. And so the walk takes you off on a route to somewhere or nowhere.
I usually like to plan a penny walk to end at the chip shop, lovely in a cone on a sharp, cold evening.
So back to Brown Owl's magic penny that would start to guide the brownies back to the chip shop for the appropriate time....would it be the same with Rangers?
I gave the Rangers 2 two-pence pieces (in case of droppages) and 2 torches and left them to it with the simple instruction that if they were more than a 15 minute walk from the chip shop by 9pm they needed to head there.
I followed along at the back of the group just listening to their happy chatter. They discussed different junction possibilities and hopes but, from what I could see, at each throw of the coin they did exactly what it said.
They passed the coin and torches around the group, I was pleased to see some of the usually quieter girls becoming very good leads. I wondered why this was, was it the dark or the fact that the coin was the true leader that meant they felt they could be a bit more vocal?
As the witching hour (or the 'getting close to needing to finish' hour) approached the route started to head back towards the chip shop and at the most important turn on a road that could have taken us a long way out of the way it came up trumps and chip shop bound we were, perfectly on time.
So I'm starting to wonder after all these years of believing that Brown Owl was using a little 'influence' over the coin that perhaps these things often do have a wonderful way of working out after all.
As we were leaving for the night 3 of the Rangers separately said to me "I really enjoyed tonight." I really like it when there is feedback from them, sometimes it's hard to tell whether they are enjoying it or not.
I also found it interesting that a couple of older ladies (leaving a church group) said something to the girls as they walked past in a group about the 'being teenagers walking about in groups'. They weren't being rude but it seemed a bit pointed so I put on my best chirpy persona about us doing a penny walk, hoping to get to chip shop etc and then they twigged "oh you are Guides" ('Rangers!' I corrected them) "oh marvellous, marvellous, Guides out on a walk, marvellous, marvellous." So to the general community eye a group of guides walking around the streets and hanging out at the chip shop is socially much more acceptable than a group of 'just' teenagers doing the same thing! It's a funny thing the way we perceive 'youths'!
If you are a Guider and plan on doing a penny walk you need to look at the Girlguiding Manual on ratios for your type of unit and also the rules for walking in easy and lowland countryside under activities (this covers urban areas.)
Or as a family just give your kids a penny one day and all go out for a walk. Much like geo-caching, it's a good way to add a spark of interest to a walk.