Somewhere over the Rainbows


I think I let my confidence run away with me after I had led a session for the Guides when I then offered to run a session for the Rainbows. They didn’t have Rainbows when I was younger and it is for girls aged 5 to 7. The Rainbow leader, who at my Brownies would be called Brown Owl, was called Sally and was known as, Sally. Her troop was called the 1st Woodford Rainbows and was indeed the only Woodford Rainbows. I thought I better find out more so I agreed to visit and help out. I hadn’t really realised where Woodford was and I spent over an hour in rush hour traffic. I then couldn’t find the Scout Hut, mainly because it was sign posted the Cricket Club. There was a Cricket Club too so the sign wasn’t that wrong. This meant that I was 20 minutes late. Sally was happy to see me and several tables were laid out. The girls were around the tables with glue spatulas in their hands. Now this is something I remember from school. Had they not yet invented a better way to spread glue? They had managed to invent the Rainbows after all. Sally had come up with a very clever craft idea of creating elephants out of the tops of milk cartons. I would guess two litres or pint ones. Sally must have spent all yesterday evening cutting the tops off milk bottles and I wasn’t sure how much milk she had to get through before she had enough. Another great idea was to give the girls colourful sweet wrappers to stick on, saving a fortune in craft materials but then I again wondered how many chocolates Sally had also eaten. Being a leader meant thinking out of the box and eating all the chocs. Sally’s daughter is also a Rainbow and she joined the many girls called Grace in the group.

I sat at one of the tables to help out and started to make my own elephant. I chatted to the girls and asked them what they liked about coming to Rainbows. One girl covered in glitter said “making a mess”. The others agreed. The leaders were supporting the girls on each of the tables and the girls made the most beautiful creations ready to take home. I had a feeling that their parents would be still cherishing the items at their age although you couldn’t put the elephant on the fridge. The session ended with a game and the girls ran about often bunched together. They spotted me and asked me who I was with interest. By the end of the game I had several bunched around me.

I agreed to lead a session and Sally suggested doing some drama. Sally asked if I could include Spain in the sessions as they were completing a badge on Spain. I found this nearly impossible and could only think of bull fighting, flamenco and tapas. I couldn’t think of any way of doing an hour of drama based on those three things. I changed the date so I could just do drama and chose a story which I thought the Rainbows would like. Sally sang the welcome song and I mimed along to the actions. I explained we were going to do drama and lots of hands went in the air. Explaining they liked drama and go to drama classes as well as doing it at school. We got into sort of a circle and played some games. One girl did the splits and all the girls copied. Neither me nor the adults did I might add. I explained a game that I knew as ‘stick in the mud’ it seemed they all knew the game but as different titles such as ‘tiggy tiggy scarecrow’. Most of the girls wanted to be ‘it’ and a single person found it difficult to get everyone across the scout hut so I asked several people to be ‘on’ and then found it hard to keep track of who they were. We then acted out some characters from the story and created monsters in smaller groups.

The heater was stuck on hot and it wasn’t long before we were all at the door panting. Nearly every time I said something it was met with lots of hands going up with stories and examples. While we were at the door I told a Grimm’s Fairy Tale and the girls listened closely. They asked if we could act it out and lots of the girls wanted to play the same characters so we all had a chance to do it together. I was so very proud of the girls adding their own lines and playing the animal characters so well. I was presented with a bunch of tulips at the end and I was delighted. I really got a sense of how lovely it must be to run a group like this, lots of imagination and plenty of planning but great rewards in return.