I wrote this post three weeks ago. As you read this, I’m having my mentor visit in order to sign off the very last clause of my Adult Leadership Qualification with Guides. Three ALQs! Judging by my past record, I’ll be doing Rainbows by September.
If you’re involved in Guiding for a while, you might find you collect a few badges. I started as a Rainbow when I was four or five, so I’ve been in it for around twenty-six years and I’ve amassed quite a few badges. Not as many as the people who make it their aim in life to have every badge that has ever been in existence all over the world but a fair few. I always recommend to my girls that if they want to put badges on uniform, fine, but a really good place to put them is on a camp blanket. I started mine just before I went on my first Guide camp, aged about eleven.
Girlguiding now makes official blankets for each age group (Senior Section one, in our birthday year, has obviously been discontinued…) but you don’t have to use them. In fact, I recommend you don’t. For one thing, as you move up through the sections, you may feel silly for having a younger blanket. Many’s the Guide whose brown Brownie blanket (now replaced by a more cheerful but less practical yellow) vanishes only to be suddenly replaced with a blue Guide one. Second, it’s easier to spot yours at a glance if it isn’t the same base blanket as everyone else’s, although I know every blanket is at least subtly different. Third, they’re made of fleece which is nice and soft and warm but less fire-resistant than wool. I have a Ranger who can attest to this, having had a spark fly out of a fire and burn a hole like a bullet hole through four layers of clothing. Also, they’re more drizzle-proof.
Ultimately, there are no rules for camp blankets. It can be whatever fabric, colour, pattern, shape you like. It can have as many or as few badges as you like. You can wear it however you like.
So, here we go:
Mine is a red and blue tartan wool one that was produced from a cupboard. Somewhere in the family albums, there’s a picture of me aged about one year old sitting on it. Even without the badges, I’d recognise it anywhere, even though it’s actually quite a generic tartan blanket.
I don’t like the idea of cutting a hole or a T in the middle to wear it as a poncho. Lots of people do but I don’t think it works on your bed if there’s a hole in it. So I wrapped it around my shoulders, worked out where it should join and added a button and hole to wear it as a cloak, as modeled by the computer chair. On my front right, there’s my SWE Nights Away badge cluster and on my front left, the start of my Senior Section Spectacular collection. So far only the commemorative badge but I intend to add the SWE centenary challenge, Mission Spectacular and the Alton Towers trip badge at least. Missed Spark and won’t be able to make the Ball because it’s too far away.
In the bottom left corner, we’ve got my Rainbow Promise badge (the big triangle with the rainbow in it), an assortment of Brownie badges (the little brown triangles, the two sets of coloured squares and everything bounded by them, except the yellow circle which was a fun badge from Guides given on my first Christmas with them in 1996). Above are a few places I’ve been. To the right are most of my Guide badges, starting with the Kingfisher patrol emblem, Quarterjack 98 (a local “lightweight camp” – what we would now call plain “camp”), some other bits and pieces, Patrol Leader and Second stripes, a few interest badges, my Service Flash and you can just see my Patrol Purpose Patch. At the top, the big round collection is the On Your Marks Olympics set, a few other bits and pieces and the two Look Wider Octants I’ve finished. I’m technically too old to do them but I don’t care.
Bottom right – the rest of my Guide badges, a few commemorative ones I collected as a student and then we get into the Centenary. The Squirrel patrol emblem is actually for conservation work to help the red squirrels on Brownsea Island. The friendship bracelet I made on county camp years ago. The star is the Dorset Centenary set. Big Gig 2009, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then some of the badges I got as a Brownie leader.
Top left – more country badges, two Altitude Festival wristbands (impossible to sew those things on straight), collection of fundraising badges I accidentally bought at Wellies & Wristbands, badges from Switzerland 2014, YOYO, adult walking opportunities, assorted commemorative and fun badges. Towards the right we’re getting into badges we’ve got with my Guides.
Top right – Guide and Brownie badges, the pink one is when the county took over a local theme park for a day for the Centenary, there’s the Big Gig 2015, badges from last year’s Brownsea camp, Me in Mind etc. There’s my Nights Away set at the top.
I don’t like having metal badges on my blanket. In my experience, they either get crushed or they fall off or both. So I’ve put mine on an old Senior Section jacket I inherited which I wear at camp. It’s actually quite heavy and quite clunky. And in need of a wash. Sorry. I only wear it to camp and rodiburns.
Top to bottom, left to right:
Mini Our Chalet, mini Pax Lodge, Changing the World (centenary challenge), 1916-1932 Ranger promise badge, 1967-1994 Ranger badge
My Brownie promise badge (1971-1994), my Guide promise badge (1994-present, give or take slight alteration of trefoil shape), Young Leader promise badge (I never actually made my promise as a Young Leader but I did my time and I wanted my badge!), Senior Section promise badge (1994-present, give or take etc).
Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Mum’s Brownie promise badge (wartime? seems a bit premature for someone born in the late 50s. My grandmother’s?), 2010 20/10 20:10 promise badge
Yellow and Green trefoils, Brownie sash clip with owl keyring.
The collection that’s usually on my uniform, which is currently in the wash because it’s the Easter holidays and someone dripped purple paint all over it. I have the woodcarver’s Our Chalet name badge (not quite compulsory but pretty much), the Our Chalet pewter pin and on my badge tab (aqua stripe to show I’m a Senior Section leader), my adult promise badge (compare new trefoil with old in previous picture), my county badge, my World badge, my five year Long Service badge (I’ll get my ten year next year) and at the bottom, not wanting to show its face, my Adult Leadership Qualification badge, the one that took the most work out of any of the badges I’ve shown you.