Rounding up the Tintookies
It’s my first night as the new brownie guide leader so I arrive a bit early to help Brown Owl clear away the furniture in the new kindergarten and set out all the activities.
My guide uniform is neatly pressed and I have my patrol leader whistle around my neck, the shiny whistle at the end of the twisted white cord tucks neatly into my pocket.
Soon the 1st Rowville Brownie pack starts to arrive, all bouncing and spinning and squealing.
‘Come and line up’ Brown Owl claps and calls to the girls.
“Now hold hands and we’ll make a big circle. That’s right – just push that chair away Michelle.”
“This is our new Brownie Guide Leader and she’s going to help every week from now on – she will help to keep the Tintookies busy and I’ll be taking the Moora Mooras and the Mullokas.”
I put the glue tubs out on the small tables for the first activity.
We trace Brown Owls onto card and cut them out, then stick brown and green tissue paper in little shreds for feathers. The brownies manage to stick the feathers on most surfaces except the card. Then we break for a biscuit and then it’s sports. Cross ball and tunnel ball.
Soon enough it’s time to return to the circle and have some songs before home time. A small brownie beside me leans affectionately on my arm. I look down and smile at her as she quietly wipes her nose on my sleeve.
“Katie!” Brown Owl calls sharply from across the newly formed fairy ring, “the new brownie guide leader is not here to wipe your snot on – please go and find a handkerchief!”
The TIntookie Brownie Patrol Badge
Girl Guides in their natural habitat
Girl Guides strike up KumBa Ya
The Ironing Badge
The Brownie Guide Leader Badge
Before Ritalin was deemed OK to administer to children, kids – who were once described as ‘full of beans’ rather than being labelled with a medical condition – were sent at least once a week to Cubs or Brownies.
Baden Powell’s great plan (which was a little misinterpreted in some places) was for the Scouts and Guides to be a way for young people to receive a different type of adult authority outside their parents and their teachers and learn some proper skills.
Every now and then the rewards would be great as camping, lighting fires and toasting marshmallows were all viewed as legitimate activities.
Responsibility at an early age was part of the scheme so leaving a ten year old in charge of a bunch of seven years was considered perfectly fine – albeit with an adult in near proximity – and no harm came of this that I’m aware.
My greatest achievement was earning my ironing badge (after being encouraged to try something I didn’t like so much.) When asked ‘Do you know how to iron in creases?’ by the towering and slightly scary guide leader – I replied ‘I thought the idea was to iron out the creases?’
Needless to say achieving the badge was enough incentive to never take up ironing in any serious or methodical way.
I was quite proud to receive my Brownie Guide Leader Badge though and had quite a pang when I found a picture of it on the web.
The aboriginal brownie patrol names which I loved because they so perfectly sounded of the bush and the character of the girls, are no longer used. Perhaps it was thought the words were being misappropriated to be used in this way.
I sourced the badges and nostalgic memorabilia from the sites below. There are also great stories and history about the Guiding movement here: