I have attended the Norfolk Guides 1940s camp three times.
This incredible camp takes place at Gressenhall Farm. The camp is open to Guides and Rangers, who over the course of the camp travel back in time! The camp is styled like an authentic 1940s camp; from the food served to the tents the girls sleep in. Girls take part in 1940s style activities and traditions. Each camp, girls who attend work towards different interest/proficiency badges that were available to Guides at the time.
During my time as a 1940s Guide I have gained my Needlewoman, Cook and First Aid badges as well 2nd Class Guide and 1st Class Guide rank. One of the badges that I enjoyed completing the most was Farmworker. This was the first ever badge that I completed at 1940s Guide camp and it remains special.
Completing this badge at Gressenhall was fantastic! I helped harvest crops and fed some of the farm animals. I learnt new skills and gained a lot of knowledge about farming and the traditional techniques used. For example, I learnt about hay ricks, where hay is constructed into stacks with conical tops. This allows moisture to run off sides of the hay. This is important because it prevents the accumulation of moisture and allows the hay to dry out.
Completing this badge gave me a much greater appreciation for farming. It revealed to me the effort and work that goes into creating the food on our plates. This is especially true in the 1940s when much of the machinery that has greatly speeded up farming today was non-existent. Completing this badge during a 1940s Guide camp was significant.
During the war, some Girl Guide units volunteered on farms as “land girls”. Many farms needed this help as there was a lack of male labour. Some units would help and in return were offered a place to camp on the farm. Exploring the history of this badge therefore helps us to understand one of the important ways in which Guides helped the war effort.
I think the Farmworker is an important badge which still has relevance today because it allows girls to understand the relationship between people and the land. Completing this badge made me more interested in where my food comes from!
In a time of phones, the internet, and social media it’s so important that we continue to connect with nature. So why not check out the syllabuses for the multiple variations of this badge and see how many points you can check off.
Are you a proficient Farmworker? Have a look at this website where you can explore different variations of the Farmworker badge.