So Piper has been an important member of my Brownie Unit pretty much since she was 6 months old, so it was no surprise that she would be joining us on our pack holiday.
Piper wears her own, specially adapted, uniform so she looks the part. She even had her own special camp blanket made to match the girls, isn’t that adorable!
So for those who don’t know, Pack Holidays are usually a weekend away (Fri eve – Sun aft) in a Guide House/hostel accommodation, 1-2 hours away from home. The whole unit is invited & we had nearly a 100% attendance rate which is great. The aim of the holiday is to encourage the girls to be independent; they have to pack their own clothes, make their own beds, wash up after meals etc. Pack holidays can be daunting for the Brownies, especially those who have never stayed away from home before. Having Piper there helped to relax a lot of the girls, and quite a few times I caught the girls going up to her & having a quiet moment with her. They tell her all sorts of secrets!
The theme for our pack holiday was “I’m a Brownie, Get Me Out of Here!”, as you can probably guess it was an age appropriate twist on the hit T.V show, “I’m a Celebrity”. The Brownies took part in a number of challenges throughout the weekend, including probably the most well-known, an eating bush tucker trial.
For this “Bush Tucker Trail” the Brownies had to try a mouthful of each of the 5 dishes to pass. Maggot Eggs (baked beans), Pickled Slugs (gherkins), Frogspawn (rice pudding), Scrambled Brain (cottage cheese & red food dye) & Monkey Snot (mushy peas)- fair to say they hated it. 80% of the girls completed this, the other 20% were left with a forfeit challenge!
The girls took part in many more activities and challenges over the weekend, the majority Piper had to just sit and watch. She didn’t mind this of course, as she loves people watching! On the Saturday though, we went to what I would class as Piper’s all time favourite place!
We packed our bags for the day, hopped on a train and headed to the BEACH. Piper was so happy to be able to run free on the sand. There were a few other dogs for her to chase around with, but she loved being able to play with her Brownie friends too.
As you can see from the photos, both Piper & the Brownies had the best time running about. All that playing in the sand soon worked up an appetite and it was time for lunch!
Whilst the brownies all enjoyed a packed lunch, Piper enjoyed a Soopa Pets chew. Win win in her mind!
We had to obtain permission from HQ for Piper to attend our event. I think the fact that she’s a Therapy Dog helped. A lot of risk assessing had to take place, to make sure that both Piper & the Brownies were happy and safe. Piper had a crate which she was put in for quiet time (the girls knew not to disturb her whilst she was in there) and she was taken upstairs away from the children for her meal times. Not many of the Brownies in our unit have their own dog so they adore spending time with Piper. But because of this, a lot of them didn’t actually know how to read doggy body language. We’re always refreshing the Brownies knowledge & helping them to understand when a dog is and isn’t happy. We found the Stop the 77 campaign really helpful in teaching the girls in a fun way which relates to their age group. After a little education, all the Brownies are great at handling Piper & respect her well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our Pack Holiday experience. The photos aren’t amazing as I didn’t want to identify any of the Brownies in them. I hadn’t actually planned to write this blog post, but I’ve had so many questions regarding it that I’ve put something together. Next time we go on Pack Holiday, I’ll have to take my camera & get some better photos!
Thanks for reading.
E & P x