Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Brownie Munchkins: Mother’s Day!!! Wait isn’t it April?!?

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Did you know that Mother’s Day is different in England? Apparently, the English decided Mother’s day is the first Sunday of April.  Day three of Brownie Munchkins was Mother’s day arts and crafts. The girls were allowed to decorate wooden frames for their moms and make cards from scratch. I was put in charge to patrol the girls’ sleeves from all the wet paint lying on the tables. However most of the time I was hoping the girls’ would let me squeeze in between them so that I could use the rubber stamps to make Momma Lopez a card. The plan quickly failed as I was reminded by a seven year old that I’m an adult and I was suppose to be watching over them and not playing next to them. When did that happen? I still love arts and crafts! I mean I still know how to color within the lines. Oh well I guess it’s time to accept I’m old.

But before I run away with how depressing it is to be called old by a child, I want to relate what I learned about the Brownies today. I learned from one of the girls, Summer, about the origin of the name “Brownies.” The name brownies originates from the title of one of the first ever children’s stories, written by Juliana Horatia Ewing in 1870. In the story two little children go in search of a “Brownie” is suppose to have magical abilities and tidy up houses without anyone’s knowledge. The children’s quest leads them to a pond where the children say “Twist me and turn me and show me the elf, I looked in the water and there saw…”.’
“Who? Who? Who?” hooted the Owl. “Look into the water and you’ll find your Brownie looking back at you.”This is part of the story is how the brownies of today get initiated, by going with a friend who knows the way to a pond where they see their own reflection. I found it very intriguing that the whole story is basically a morality story for children to behave as they are told by adding a little magic to it. If you’re interested in reading the full text of the story click on this link: http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/pud/browniestory.html

Supervisor: Sam Hubbard

Volunteer Hrs on April 1st: 3 hrs

Total Volunteer Hrs to date: 14hrs

Tags: 2010 Jamie

Brownie Munchkins: Brownie Intelligence Meeting

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Pampering Evening-

The night had arrived, two girls were going to be initiated into the group. However, before I tell about that part of the night I must tell you about beginning of the night. Unbeknownst to me until late Thursday the 17th of February my flat mate Vicky and I were in charge of planning two activities for the beginning portion. Vicky and I had a Brownie intelligence early Friday morning.  We carefully read the description of the night “Pamper evening- yoga, relaxation, incense, lip gloss, face masks, nail varnish.” I thought to myself all these tips were either messy or an opportunity for one of the girls to get hurt. After all, the week before I arrived one of the girls (Mary) apparently could not hit the brakes on time and stopped with her face in the wall. Seeing as the girls harm themselves all on their own I was not going to egg them on. Just like light bulb turning I got an idea. Vicky and I immediately proceeded to go to Tesco’s. We bought three king size slabs of milk chocolate, oranges, apples, and marshmallows. Our activity for the girls was fondue chocolate with fruits or marshmallows. The perfect solution for the girls, taste good and they won’t get hurt. WIN!

Like every child activity though the adults (i.e. me, apparently) end up doing most of the work to set up everything. Followed by intense cleansing of the girls sleeves. Whoops, guess we forgot the messy part. But it was completely worth it.

The final and anticipated part of the night had finally arrived. The initiation ceremony was equipped with the pond (blue construction paper) a tree ( a small pot with leaves) and a brown owl ( not a live one). Each girl was escorted from the back of the pack through the “woods” to the pond where they are suppose to see their own reflection and realize “they are brownies” (Brownie Munchkins being the indicated terminology). The Brown Owl, or Emma as I refer to her, asks the girls a series of Brownie questions with the final one requesting the brownie oath. The brownie promise is as follows: “I promise that I will do my best, To do my duty to God, To serve the Queen, And help other people, And to keep the Brownie Guide Law.” After this recitation the girls officially became Brownies equipped with first badges and pins for their sashes.

Again, I was taken aback with the weight of the words within Brownie promise. Girls of seven to ten are expected to take an oath stating to “do my duty to God, To serve the Queen.” It was at this point where I became fully aware of the enormous effects these organizations have upon new generation. I’m sure that at this point the girls of the  38th Norwich Brownie pack do not yet begin to understand the words they repeat every week, but they have them memorized, and one day they will realize how engrained this notion of patriotism is. The United States is not any different. The oath the girl scouts take is: “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.” Just subtract the queen and insert country and presto same Oath. The fears of older society that the new generations will not be loyal to their homeland are still very prominent in the 21st century.

Supervisor: Emma

Volunteer Hrs on Feb 18th: 3 hrs

Total Volunteer Hrs to date: 11hrs

Tags: 2010 Jamie

Brownie Munchkins: “We’re Brownie guides….We’re Brownie guides”

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments

“We’re Brownie Guides, we’re Brownie Guides

We’re here to lend a hand

To love our God and serve our Queen

And to help our homes and land

We’ve Brownie friends, we’ve Brownie friends 

In North, South, East and West

We’re joined together in our wish

To try to do our best”

My second day with the Brownie Munchkins took place on February 11th. On day two I am happy to report that I effectively learned the Brownie Guide song! My life as a college student is complete. If you have noticed the lyrics it definitely illustrates the original intentions of this organization: to create patriotic God fearing women citizens. The theme for day two was board games evening. Surprisingly, the Brownie Song was not the only thing I learned this night.  On this occasion the girls were asked to bring their favorite board games from home that can be played with at least four people at a time. Out of ten board games seven of those brought were Chutes and ladders or as the British people call it Snakes and Ladders. Can you guess which game I had never played as a child? That’s right Snakes and Ladders. Thankfully, my awesome Brownie Munchkins taught me how to play legally and illegally (7-10 year olds always want to win) seven different times. By the end of the night I was an expert class 5 snakes and ladders athlete. Also, Emma the supervisor (just for two more nights) announced that the following Friday would consist of the planned theme (Pamper evening) and the initiation into the troop of two girls. I was stoked to see how you initiate 7 year olds.

On side note, if you happen to be as cool as me and don’t know how to play Snakes and Ladders but arent surrounded by 7 year olds please follow this link:


Supervisor: Emma

Volunteer Hrs completed on Feb11th: 3hrs

Total Volunteer Hrs to date: 8 hrs

Tags: 2010 Jamie