Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails

Certifiable – the life of the Rainbow Leader


I volunteer.  Too much.  I tried to make 2010 my year of not volunteering – it didn’t work.  I returned to the worldwide family of Guiding and became a Rainbow leader (oh, and started playing the piano for the school choir).

Rainbows are aged from 5-7, all my Guiding training is with Guides (10-14 year olds), and Brownies (7-10 year olds).  I’ve risen to the dizzy heights of Assistant Division Commissioner, been part of the consultation for the introduction of the new IT system and taken girls camping abroad.  I’ve spent 8 years involved with the St Albans Gang Show, met my husband and worked with something like 1000+ kids over the last 20 years.  Blimey, that makes it sound very grown-up.

I’ll be a Rainbow Leader until Easter when I return to the safer ground of being Tawny Owl at Brownies.  Not every week – the Cheetah Keeper’s sister needs to have some independence , but if she’s going to go to Brownies, my skills will be part of the deal.

So today, my 2 hours ‘real’ (paid) work took 4 hours which somewhat disturbed my volunteering schedule for today.  Then a trip to the osteopath to have my pelvis back together (again) and then to Tesco to buy supplies – some for home, the rest for Rainbows.

The Rainbows programme runs around 4 themes “Look”, “Learn”, “Laugh” and “Love”.  This week (being the closest to Valentine’s Day) we were working on Love.  We made cards for anyone they love (and yes, we have a 6 year old with a boyfriend…) and then we were planning on icing heart shaped cakes.

Crisis.  No icing pens in Tesco.  None.  Nada.  NOTHING!  Ignoring the fact there were no heart shaped cakes cooling beautifully in my kitchen – there were no *insert expletive of your choice* icing pens.

So what did I do..? (and bear in mind at this point the queues in Tesco are resembling those found on Christmas Eve – there is snow forecast, PANIC BUYING is compulsory…)

I bought royal icing sugar and made icing pens for them.  With my piping bags and a liberal dose of food colouring.

Whilst making nearly 4 dozen little vanilla cakes for them to ice, and some butter icing.

All between getting home from school at 3.30pm and leaving again at 4.35pm to run the meeting.

The cakes weren’t heart shaped but to be honest, making them in paper cases rather than silicone was a good plan (they catch the sprinkles better).

So, in the cold church hall, we played games, sang songs, made cards, iced cakes, welcomed new Rainbows into the family of Guiding, wished others well as they move up to Brownies, sung Happy Birthday to a Rainbow and one of our other fantastic volunteers who’ll be 16 this weekend (she came to Brownies with me when she was 7 – I love the fact she’s stayed…)

They had a fantastic time – in a safe, girls only space.  We’re taking some of them to see the Gang Show on Saturday afternoon and after half term we’ve got a whole load of other stuff planned – including talking about International Women’s Day and continuing our theme of “Being the best I can”.

Making icing pens for them is something that is just another box ticked on the list confirming that I’m absolutely bonkers.  You know what though?  The girls had a fantastic time and that’s what volunteering is all about.  It’s why I find it really hard to use that little ‘no’ word when someone needs a hand.  Which is why I was shovelling snow off the school playground on Monday morning (please don’t tell my GP…)

I work, I have children with additional needs, my health isn’t that predictable, I have a home that needs cleaning and and an ever overflowing washing basket.  Volunteering adds to the mix – it makes me better at all these things (well, maybe not managing the washing basket) and it’s given me friends for life.

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Author: Jenny

Life, photos and recipes mixed with family life, additional medical needs and a whole load of imaginary friends

16 thoughts on “Certifiable – the life of the Rainbow Leader

  1. You have some skillz missus! Not only did you save the day with some impromptu thinking outside the box but the cakes look yummy too !

  2. That’s what I say too. I know the girls get do much out of it but I bet I get more 🙂 I’m sure I did a blog post last year called ‘I must learn to say no!’. Good one on the pens. What I’m most amazed about is that you found time to blog it too!!

  3. You are evidently wonder woman – I could not do that – I get stressed out by one extra child for a playdate! My little girl loves her Rainbows though – well done you x

  4. By the look of things everyone had fun! Maybe next time (if you’re brave enough doing this again…) why not pick up some un-iced cupcakes rather than making them all yourself. They go for around £1 a dozen. {stopping by from BYOBH to say ‘hi’}, x

  5. You’re a super star. Went to teach little owen for his second week at Brass Roots yesterday to hear “Alice, I played that one all the way through on my own and I’ve started learning the next one all by my self and my friend archie wants to come next week because he says it sounds like fun!”. That makes volunteering feel worth it!!

  6. A real multi-tasker and a good heart to boot! Well done you. I am a reading auntie and have volunteered to help save our local library. I must say it’s a win win – you give and you get back. I don’t do as much as you though! Well done. You deserve to stuff a few of those cakes in your mouth!! Michelle x

    • have to say I haven’t tried one of the children’s creations – am planning on making some more grown up ones this weekend! You’re so right about the satisfaction factor – making a difference is a very rewarding thing

  7. Thats amazing! I bet it gives you such a sense of pride. Been thin,ing about guides for Molly. I did brownies and guides and got so much from it. There wasn’t rainbows in my day though!

    • wasn’t Rainbows in my day either! Get her on the waiting list if you’re thinking about Guides – so many girls, not enough places. Proud, yes, slightly scared when girls that I’ve been Guide leader for now have children older than mine!

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