My inspiration, my friend, my Mum

I am so sorry that my Advent Calendar has come to such an abrupt end. Sometimes life takes some unexpected turns and it is with immense sadness that I announce the sudden (and unexpected) death of my lovely Mum, Ann Browning.

img_1458It was Mum who introduced me into this Guiding life. As assistant leader (“Lefty”) in Newton Guides, she took my sister, Catherine, and I to camp from a very early age and together we embraced all aspects of this great game of Guiding!

Mum had the Guide Promise in her heart and lived it throughout her life. She always urged Catherine and me to do OUR best and encouraged, persuaded and, sometimes, pushed us to have a go and do all sorts of things.

She was very involved in local Guiding and at Wales level and made so many lifelong friends. Over the years she had very many roles – a leader in Guides, Brownies and Rangers, Division Secretary, and helper then warden then chairman of Gorwelion our lovely Guiding home by the sea. She was Outdoor Activities Adviser for the county and then Wales, also Home Arts Adviser for Wales and part of a team creating several pageants as well the memorable Christmas Arts weekends in Broneirion. She was on the Broneirion House Committee and Broneirion was always a very special place for her (and me). She belonged to Central Glamorgan and Broneirion Singing Circle and was a regular at the Painting Group weeks run by Sheila Edwards.

Unit guiding was her passion. She went along to Newton Brownies to help out when another leader became sick and as Brown Owl over the next 40 years she helped shape the lives of countless girls.

She was so proud when I was asked to be President of Girlguiding Cymru and has been my number 1 supporter, accompanying me to many events and always encouraging and inspiring me.

I shall miss her so much but always carry in my heart the commitment to the Promise I made as a Brownie and that I saw lived out every day of her life.

So today I open the last window on my Advent Calendar with my favourite Guide song of all time – Peace – and I dedicate it to my lovely Mum.

Peace I ask of thee, O River
Peace, peace, peace
When I learn to live serenely
Cares will cease
From the hills I gather courage
Visions of the days to be
Strength to lead and faith to follow
All are given unto me
Peace I ask of thee, O River
Peace, peace, peace

Mum, Thank you, I love you forever xx
Helen

P.S. I will post details of her funeral on my Facebook page as soon as we know.

Boom, boom, boom

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Let’s start the week with a bit of action! This is a simple song that causes so much hilarity….and sore hips!

“Alice the Camel”
The illustrations in our unit song book are great too. The varying number of humps are always accompanied by a very glamorous looking camel with long sweeping eyelashes. She’s quite a looker, this Alice!

It all starts out so gently in the first verse and quite a sedate “Boom, boom, boom”. Then they get the hang of it and it gets a bit more boisterous as the song progresses………..often ending with a heap of giggling Brownies on the floor who then jump to their feet to complete the final verse. It always amuses me when they shake their heads and announce “Alice is a horse!”

Have fun!
Helen

Busy, Busy, Busy

11-somewhere-theres-a-forestIsn’t it great to see the girls throwing themselves into everything, diving into every activity and rising to a new challenge at every unit meeting. And their enthusiasm, exuberance and excitement is accompanied by a constant flow of chatter with multiple conversations going on at any one time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Rainbows, Brownies, Guides or Senior Section, they’re noisy and loving every minute of being in Guiding.

You know, we all live in a busy and noisy world. There’s always lots going on and lots happening. Like me, I expect you’re always doing something instead of just doing nothing and taking a little time for quietness and stillness.

Today’s song choice is all about making time for quietness and peace of mind. Sue Stevens summed it up really well when she wrote this song. Whether it is a forest, a seashore or a hillside‘, we all need a place for quiet contemplation.

The third verse, “Somewhere there’s a hillside”, refers to Broneirion and there’s nowhere better to take a short moment of “me-time”. I think, verse 1and 2 refer to Foxlease and Lorne and the same is true of those special places too. However, the real magic, of course, is that you can take YOUR special place with you and recreate it in your mind no matter where you are.

I invite you to sit in a comfy chair with your eyes closed and sing this song – like me, you’ll welcome the chance “to leave this noisy world behind for just a little while.”

Aaaaah,
Helen

Singing in the Rain

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OK, we’re back to “silly”. I love it when the song starts out all sensible and then falls into silliness…..and so do my Brownies (and the Guides!)
This is another song that makes me happy. I also like doing contortions whilst trying to keep the girls on track with the singing………..oh if only I could sing properly too, wouldn’t that be great! But with songs like this, I can get away with the lack of a singing voice! I’m very good at actions – which goes to show that we all have something to offer!

It’s all about fun! And joining in. And of course, a tooty-tat!!

Keep smiling!
Helen

Sing for Joy!

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This song makes me happy. It’s on my let’s-stay-awake-on-a-long-journey mix and I love belting it out when I’m on my own in the car!

It also has a rather serious side and highlights how each one of us can do something small that can have a BIG impact on others.

I’m full of hope that one day the world will sing along!
Helen

We’re all together again, we’re here, we’re here!

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Following on from yesterday, it’s just great when we do meet up with friends and “We’re all together again!”

 

I haven’t sung this for quite a while but it’s fun to do the different voices – the squeaky Rainbow, the saucy Brownie, the sassy Guide and the “posh” Commissioner. When I was a Guide, it seemed so naughty to sing it ‘like a Commissioner’. How things have changed – thank goodness!

I look forward to seeing you again…tomorrow!
Helen

Say why….

7-friends-openedBack to something a little more serious today! Today’s song is
“Say why do we have to say goodbye”

Friendship is a key part of Girlguiding. The friends you make in your unit, the girls you meet out and about at trainings, camps, international events and other guiding gatherings, and the people you “just bump into” and discover you have a guiding connection.

I have made friends through guiding throughout my life all over the UK and in many different parts of the world. And those friendships endure. You may not see some of those friends very often, but it is amazing how you just pick up again when you do meet up (in person or online).

This year I re-connected face-to-face with Mary at WOW camp – Mary was a Ranger when I was a new Guide and inspired me to be a Ranger “when I grew up”. Thank you Mary!
This year I’ve made new friends including a whole Brownie unit from Coity at the sleepover at the National Library. Great photos, girls!
And this year I wasn’t in uniform and didn’t even have my Guide badge on when I made new Guiding friends with (President) Karen and (Chief Commissioner) Marjoe in Malta a few weeks ago – someone introduced us and we immediately started chattering and hit it off straight away.

This song is all about friendship. About having to say goodbye (“Say why do we have to say goodbye”), wondering if you’ll meet up again (“Say when will we ever meet again”), but knowing that wherever it is you’ll still be friends (“Say where and I’ll meet you right there”).

Have you made new guiding friends this year, or met up with past friends? Share your stories with me – or just stop by and say ‘hello’, I’d love to hear from you…..
Helen