On Saturday 26th April Lewisham Shopping Centre became the unlikely location for a Brownie camp and sleepover. The Forest Hill and Sydenham Brownies set up camp in the centre for a special girl-only event to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Brownies – more than 80 girls aged 7-10 years old and 22 adult volunteers joined in the fun.
The Brownies had great fun setting up their own campfire and attracted quite a crowd as they sang. They then had the run of the shopping centre once it closed for the night, holding a secret disco and munching through a giant picnic before settling down in their sleeping bags among the shops and cafes.
Sophie, one of the Brownies at the sleepover, gave the experience the thumbs up: “It was really fun being at the shopping centre after it closed – I never thought I’d see it! The disco was really good and I also enjoyed doing the treasure hunt round the shops with my friends.”
“We wanted to create an event to remember for the Brownies in the area and do something different to mark the Big Brownie Birthday,” said 9th Forest Hill Brownie Leader Rachael Mills, the volunteer event organiser. “The girls were really excited in the run up to the sleepover and were particularly looking forward to their own ‘night in the museum’ experience. It was great to see them choose crafts they wanted to do and decide where to sleep! Lewisham Shopping Centre has been really supportive in providing additional security as well as all the facilities we needed to make the evening a success. It was a fantastic way to mark the birthday and create some special memories.”
As well as disco dancing and singing, the girls also held a celebratory ceremony during which each of the Brownies retook their Brownie Promise and received a specially designed sleepover badge for their sash to mark the occasion. A suitably big Brownie birthday cake was also served at tea time!
Paul Redden, Centre Manager at Lewisham Shopping Centre, comments: “It’s the first time we’ve been asked to host a sleepover in the shopping centre and we were delighted to hand over the keys to the local Brownies to help them celebrate their 100th birthday. It was great to see some of the stores getting involved too, to donate food for the big picnic.”