All the weird activities you were made to do at Brownies when you were a kid
11 years later and I have no regrets
It’s more than likely at least one girl in your friendship will have been in the girl guides, and will have a story to tell no matter how long they were in the Brownies for. You’re a Brownie for life, not just for your childhood. You make life-long friends and complete various tasks to fill your Brownie sash. Or, if you’re that little bit extra, blanket (there was always one).
Being a Brownie was the best thing I ever partook in as a child growing up, and no, it isn’t just because I was a Seconder AND a Sixer. But, looking back I have to admit some of the things we did were a little weird and I wouldn’t change it for a single thing.
Whether it was calling your leaders “Brown Owl” for a reason I’m still really not sure about, or that feeling of being an absolute legend when you were a Sixer and having your best pal in your six as your Seconder; we all had similar yet very strange experiences whilst being part of the Brownies.
1. The songs
The Brownie ring song will forever remain in my brain and I’ve come to live with that. When the Brownie meeting begins you all sing this song in your sixes and skip into the Brownie ring. This was all fun and games until your locked eyes with another Sixer and burst out laughing because honestly how could you take yourself seriously? Alas, more often than not you’ll have to start again until you can do the song properly without any interruptions.
If pledging your allegiance to God and the Queen wasn’t enough this song had you skipping about singing: “We’re joined together in our wish to try to do our best.” What a tune, right? A little bit pledge of allegiance vibes, yeah, but who cares – it’s Brownies!
2. Walking through an archway to become an official Brownie
This was one of my absolute favourite moments because if it wasn’t you being initiated you would hold the hand of your pal joining your six, going to Brown Owl, introducing the newest member that wants to join your Brownie unit. That responsibility is next to none in my opinion. Not only are you a Sixer but now you’re walking hand in hand up an archway for someone to make their promise. Chills.
Yeah sure it is slightly like a wedding ceremony and the preparation to remember your promise is an extreme duty. Sure you’ll be guided along if you stumble but you wanted to show who was boss by memorising it all the night before. Yes, I did exactly that.
3. Getting your Brownies promise badge
This comes straight after the strange initiation ceremony, you form the number three with your fingers and make the moment that’ll define the rest of your time as a Brownie for as long as you can remember. Making your promise was such a big deal, with all the parents taking videos and photos to be inevitably shared all across Facebook while you face the deep internal fear of stumbling when reciting the promise and Brownie Guide Law.
It is very possible the promise has changed since I was a Brownie but nonetheless the theme of the Queen being our saviour is apparent. You had to promise to do your best, stay true to yourself, to help others and to serve the Queen and community and to keep the Brownie Guide Law. The law was actually pretty cute and set a pathway for thousands of girls across the world: “A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day.” Respect to that. Good values.
4. Being a Sixer or Seconder
Now, this is how you know you’ve made it. I’ll start off with being awarded as Seconder, which meant that out of your entire six your Sixer rated you the most. Or you were just best friends but that isn’t really the point. You were essentially second in command and if your Sixer wasn’t in one week you would fill in temporarily until the next week when they returned.
Becoming Sixer was a whole different ballpark, there were two ways you could become Sixer. You were either a Seconder and when your Sixer either moved up into Guides or just left you automatically became eligible or, (and best of all), the leaders picked you to be Sixer for that six. It was just a type of accomplishment that when you went to school the next day, most of your friends could not relate and that is the satisfaction you needed.
5. Having a blanket full of Brownies badges because your sash was too full
Although slightly over the top, if you collected enough badges as your time as just a Brownie and there was no longer space, you will have had a blanket. Specifically, a blanket that your mum sewed the badges onto one by one and you brought on every single family holiday to flex.
Your sash was bound to fill up anyways with the size of some of those badges but to go that extra mile and buy a blanket AND fill it with badges? Congrats, that’s fame.
6. Having the national anthem installed in your brain
Something I think most girls who were Brownies can relate to is the weird obsession with the Queen being an underlying theme in absolutely everything we did. If it wasn’t your Brownie promise it was definitely making sure you knew the words to the “God Save the Queen” ready for church the next morning ahead of the parade, because if you mumbled and didn’t know the words – everybody would know about it.
7. Leaders being named after owls
I still find this bizarre to this day. Albeit at my Brownies we always called our leaders by their first name because the owl thing just never worked but all my friends at different units would refer to their leaders as Brown Owl, Snowy Owl, and Tawny Owl. Why? I have absolutely zero clue.
After a little research, it’s actually quite a cute story that makes sense for a group of six-year-olds to believe. In a story that gets told to Brownies, two children go into the woods to find a Brownie to help their mum tidy up their house and are guided by a wise owl. As the owl helps the children, Brownie leaders are named after owls.
8. The feeling of accomplishment when carrying the flag at a parade
I know I said nothing tops the feelings of leading a Brownie through the arch but THIS right here is the most sense of pride I had ever felt. You get chosen to lead your group holding up the flag through town to the church, usually on Remembrance Day. You are given the utmost amount of trust to hold the flag, despite it being so heavy we probably shouldn’t have held it on our own but regardless it was YOU that was chosen.
9. Group holidays
Brownie holidays were the best, whether it was a weekend away at a hut in the countryside or in a massive hall with a group of other Brownies from different units it was such a great bonding experience. It’s likely you don’t see the girls at your unit outside of your meetings if you didn’t go to the same school and there was no better time to spend the weekend hanging from bunk beds and snacking on treats at midnight.
I guess that one is rather wholesome, just like most Brownies were.