A light-hearted look at a Leader’s Job Description!

POSITION: Guiding Leader

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long-term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and sometimes 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy and/or snowy weekends. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Must be willing to be temporarily disliked at times or at least until the next fun activity. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the other end of the room are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable until the time comes to move on. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million “things” made from funky foam, wood, string, wiggly eyes, feathers, glue and such like. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and caretaking work throughout the facility.

HOURS OF WORK: Variable – ranges from 1.5 hours per week to every available waking moment.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION: Your job as a Unit Leader will be to remain in the same position for years, dealing with individuals of different ages at different times, without complaining, but constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required. On-the-job training offered on a continual exciting basis. Training sessions also available, to be taken with a wide variety of people in exactly the same position you are.

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS – must have a dining room table to give to Guiding, as well as bookcases and a garage, infact space for boxes, craft supplies, camp supplies, and other paraphernalia.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Money-wise – none. This is however offset by smiles, hugs and tears, either your own or those of the people in your charge.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs and friends for life if you play your cards right.

Girlguiding Wirral Welcomes New Vice President


A huge welcome to Val Boyd our newest Vice President. Val has been an active Guide and Brownie Leader in Birkenhead Division for decades and recently completed her time in the Birkenhead Division Commissioners role. We are so pleased she was willing to be one of our Vice Presidents!

Girlguiding Wirral Annual Gathering 2016

County President Pat & County Commissioner Linda

County President Pat & County Commissioner Linda

Girlguiding Wirral County President Pat Turner and Lead Volunteer Linda Smallthwaite welcomed their guests to this years Annual Gathering and Awards night. Guests included Dame Lorna Muirhead, the Mayors of Wirral and Ellesmere Port, Region Chief Commissioner Julie Bell and Region Team Member Alex Dodd and County Co-ordinator Sarah Parkhouse, Girlguiding Wirral Ambassadors, Jane Owens, Annette Roberts, Gerry and Maggie Ellis, Trainer Simon Naylor plus Scouting colleagues, volunteer leaders, girl members and parents.

‘Tonight is a night for saying thank you to all of those who support Girlguiding Wirral to work with girls and young women across Wirral, Ellesmere Port and Neston. We have more than 3,600 girl members and 1,000 volunteers and we’re growing!’ said Linda. ‘Our members young and old, develop a fantastic skill set that helps us all whatever we do in life. It’s only through volunteers and wider support that we can offer life changing skills and experiences to girls across the area.’

71 leaders received long service awards for either 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40 years awards totalled 990 years of service from these wonderful volunteers.

County President Pat Turner said, ‘every year we are thrilled with what Guiding offers all our members. Our leaders offer fabulous weekly meetings which help girls grow into role models, many of whom go on to become our leaders of the future. Girlguiding is built on a 100+ year history of volunteers and we’re continuing to go from strength to strength changing girls lives for the better everyday.’

New Years Honour for Girlguiding Wirral Volunteer

Wendy Taaffe


Congratulations to Wendy Taaffe! Wendy’s volunteering for Girlguiding has been recognised with a British Empire Medal in the 2016 New Years Honours list. Wendy has worked with Rainbows and continues to run a Guide Unit in New Ferry as well as additional support roles for the wider Bebington Division area and volunteering in the Scout and Guide Shop helping on the Guiding side. Wendy’s volunteering spans more than 30 years. Well done to Wendy and thank you on behalf of Girlguiding Wirral for all your time spent volunteering!

If you’d like to make a difference to girls lives by working with girls or supporting our volunteers then why not join us?  www.girlguidingwirral.org.uk/adult-volunteers


Queens Guide!

Congratulations to Chloe from Bromborough on being formally presented with her Queens Guide Award at the Houses of Parliament with her very proud leader Ruth.Chloe & Ruth

Merseymoot 2015!

Happy Birthday to Merseymoot a 40 year old tradition held annually at Tawd Vale Scout Campsite nr Burscough. Open to all Senior Section girls who are Rangers or Young Leaders (14+yrs) and Explorer Scouts and Network.

More than 900 attended the celebrations this year. Want to learn more take a look at the website merseymoot.org.uk Trinity Hesketh Rangers have created this You Tube video of the weekend take a look and maybe see you next year!

Emma – Nightrider!

Emma Pugh Nightrider June 2015

Emma has undertaken the Nightrider cycle challenge through the streets of London last night fundraising for Girlguiding!

Girlguiding Wirral Annual Gathering 2015

Linda shared a poem written by Lynne Scales the County Commissioner for Lancashire South East…..

The time you have spent as a volunteer
be it half a lifetime or just a year,
will have its effect in such far-reaching ways
it can never be measured in hours or days.

We want to say thank you for doing your part,
for giving your hands and giving your heart.

Thanks for the smiles when you wanted to weep,
for the camping trips when you couldn’t sleep.
For the running and phoning and meeting and waiting,
for hiking and swimming and roller-skating.

Thanks more than ever for the years yet to come
when someone remembers the jobs you have done
and memories brighten a young womans face,
in some other time and in some other place.


image001I am writing to tell you about PRIORY TALES which will be performed by young people from Creative Youth Development (formerly Wirral Youth Theatre).

The history of Merseyside’s oldest building, the 800-year-old Birkenhead Priory, will be told by the young people through dance, drama, music, film and photography.

It promises to be a magical journey around the Priory’s remarkable history and architecture, as seen through the eyes of the young people involved in the project, which is based at Pilgrim Street Arts Centre, near to the Priory.

More than 200 young people have been involved in creating the mixed media production, inspired by the building’s ancient history, and as it stands today.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Young Roots, Creative Youth Development has collaborated with The Lantern Company, MultiVox music project and VidA Creative Learning to produce this celebratory performance.

The performances will also be a lantern parade and a medieval market place with food and entertainment.

Performances will take place at the historic site on Thursday and Friday, 9 & 10th April 2015, with two separate performances a night at 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

Tickets are only £3 for young people and group rates can be arranged. To book please call 0151 647 3160

Kind regards,

Caron Drucker,

Team Manager – Creative Youth Development
Targeted Youth Support,
Pilgrim Street Arts Centre.

West Wirral Gang Show

It’s that time again!

Gang Show is open to any registered member of Scouting or Guiding on the Wirral, born before March 2007 so for us that’s Brownies upwards. The Gang Show will accept members from across the Wirral though we give preference to those members from within Arrowebrook, Deeside Wallasey and West Kirby areas as these are the equivalent to the West Wirral and Wallasey areas we cover in Scouts.

If anyone wants to attend the activity day they just need to e-mail on 2016@wwgangshow.org.uk so the Team can ensure you get a form and know how many people to expect.

We welcome past members of our cast, audience members from recent years, or complete novices who have no idea what the fuss is all about. We’ll show them just what a Gang Show is all about and why our cast and crew have so much fun.

Don’t worry if you know you definitely don’t want to appear on stage, the day is just a fun introduction to the Gang Show and we’ll also be giving out details about how you could get involved off stage too.

Have a look at our Website to see more from previous Gang Shows! http://wwgangshow.org.uk

Happy WTD2015!

7702-WTD-2015-badgeSo it’s World Thinking Day 2015 (WTD2015) which particularly means something to all my Guiding and Scouting friends. It’s the joint Birthday of Lord & Lady Baden Powell (and coincidently the day I happened to buy my VW Beetle – ‘Baden’ it seemed apt and no I haven’t previously named my cars….).


I do lots of things with Guiding throughout the year. Along with a fab team to support our Unit weekly meetings. We have around 50 Guides (10-14yrs) and Rangers (14-26yrs) every week at our meetings (yes we are that popular still!). We widen their lifeskills and social skills. We teach them to cook, take them to camps, we teach them about becoming independent, how to make decisions. We do this because we had a great time in Guiding as girls ourselves and because we want to give back.

It’s not always easy, it takes up huge chunks of time and I know it sounds a bit twee to those who don’t volunteer, but as leaders we have a shared goal to enhance the lives of girls and in return enhance our own lives through the fun times we have. It’s true!

I’m also proud to be the current Lead Volunteer (County Commissioner) for Wirral Ellesmere Port and Neston. We have 4,000 Rainbow, Brownies, Guides and Rangers (Senior Section) and 1,000 volunteers who give a massive amount of time and energy every week to enhancing girls lives.

Today we think about all the Guides and Scouts at home and abroad and how we can make a change through positive action throughout the year.

Happy WTD2015 maybe you’d like to join us to help change the lives of our young people!


Linda x

Lead Volunteer for Girlguiding Wirral

Follow us! @GGWLinda @GGWirral

Get Thinking!

7702-WTD-2015-badgeThinking Day is nearly upon us. Every year we remind our members to ‘think’ about Guides and Scouts in other Countries as well as across the UK. This year we need to also think about what our organisation can do for the girls, young women and adult volunteers we come into contact with in our Units, Districts, Divisions and across Wirral.

I visited a Brownie Unit recently where the girls asked me questions about Guiding and my involvement. There were lots of really good questions including how long had I been in Guiding, was I a Rainbow, my first badge… but the most interesting question was ‘do you enjoy Guiding?’ when I answered ‘absolutely, I wouldn’t be involved if I didn’t enjoy it!’ the 9yr old Brownie asked, ‘but do you run a Unit because you want to or is it just that there’s no-one else to run it….’.

It’s important that we are the role models our members need us to be and that we’re volunteering for the right reasons. It’s important that we as volunteers remember that yes we should absolutely enjoy our volunteering but our main purpose is to be here for the girls.

What will we each do to encourage our girls this month? It’s time for us all to get thinking!

Happy Thinking Day! Linda x

Girls Can!

Guiding happened and happens because of girls and women. It happened originally because girls pushed to get what they want at the Crystal Palace Rally. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jul/30/bensummerskill.theobserver

Its inspiring to think that the Guiding movement was started because that’s what the girls asked for, what they were determined to have. How do we as leaders ensure that the girls have their say? For those quieter girls how do we ensure that they have the opportunity to put their point of view forward?

As leaders we gives girls and other leaders opportunities, we encourage, support, highlight things that might interest them and look out for their interests. What are the opportunities that you and your girls will have this Guiding year because of your support?

Congratulations to our two new Queen Guides – Chloe D, leader with 1st Bromborough and 1st Leamington Guides, and Vanessa N, leader with 32nd Wallasey Guides and brownies. Both these young women have spent three years working on their awards at a very busy time in their lives – Chloe has completed a PhD in chemistry and Vanessa was taking her A levels and is now studying vetinary science. As leaders we gives girls and other leaders opportunities, we encourage, support, highlight things that might interest them and look out for their interests.

How do you encourage your girls to do their Queens Guide, decide to do their Duke of Edinburgh Award, do a badge at home. Through supporting all our members we can show them that GIRLS CAN do anything they want to do.

What’s it like to be a girl? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

Get guiding! Linda Girlguiding Wirral County Commissioner

Oh what a night! 

Big Brownie Birthday World Museum Liverpool

Big Brownie Birthday World Museum Liverpool

A massive thanks must go to all the leaders who brought their Brownies and a smattering of Guides to the Night at the World Museum. I hope you’re able to find yourself on this fabulous picture by Suzanne Knipe one of our Leaders, who photographed the event for us! It was one of those memorable events that shows how fabulous our volunteers are. Our girls too were brilliant a real credit to you all and to our Organisation. We’ve received so many thanks from leaders and parents and girls for organising it but let me again officially thank Sue May Brownie Adviser, Lynne Chapman who was equally instrumental in the event and Geraldine who oversaw the logistics. There were lots of others who did literally work their socks off and we couldn’t have done it with out them.

Sue May accepted a Good Service Award at the event for ALL her contributions to Girlguiding Wirral whilst in the Brownie Adviser role. She is due to finish in the role post Big Brownie Birthday and I’m sure you’ll agree she’ll need a little lie down!


image imageWhile I was waiting for my last train, I could see a group of young people with large bags chatting together. The outline of an instrument bag instantly told me that these people where going to the same place I was! Before long I was chatting with them about the latest books and films, finding out what had happened in past courses and how Guiding/Scouting was involved their lives. After we had went on our last train to our destination, my group of new friends and myself headed towards a small mini-bus. Shortly after more people arrived from the trains. Our first challenge was to fit everyone in the mini bus as well as the suitcases/bags and our instruments.
Upon arriving we sat down to eat a large dinner. After this, we had our first full rehearsal where I met the brass section. Our enthusiastic conductor Leon soon had everyone playing the pieces together. Which truth be told needed a bit of work on them.
The week continued with full rehearsals (The whole orchestra), sectionals (Each section of instruments) and evening activities. I found myself meeting new people each day, getting better at my trumpet and strengthening new friendships. On the Wednesday a few others and I visited the local village to buy our sectional tutor some presents. The brass section got him a wooden map with dots showing where we were all from as well as some sweets. The woodwind section got their tutor a cabbage! It’s an inside joke, I’m told. The next day we said thank you and goodbye to the tutors and gave them their gifts.
From the Friday, we only had full rehearsals to get ready for the concerts. As the concerts drew nearer, the pieces got better and better. At our first concert, everyone was looking smart in their Guide/Scout uniform. You could see Scouts, Explorers, Guides, Senior Section and Leaders. It was amazing to know that all of us had been strangers a week before and now we were all working together to create this beautiful music. The concert went so well that we played an encore.
Perhaps one of my favourite memories of that day was on the coach home, when one person started singing a campfire song soon the whole bus was full of happy singing voices. It shows how Guiding and Scouting brings people closer. The camp fire songs continued until we reached our home for the week.
On the last night, we had finished both concerts and could all relax. Everybody was given a programme and then proceeded to get signatures from the rest of the orchestra. Then the talent show started. It was absolutely brilliant. There was a cellist group and whenever they shouted ‘change’ each cellist would move to the place next to them playing the cello there. They would continue at the place they had left off playing but playing a different part of the song (For example the person playing the tune would move and then start playing the bass line). Other acts included a brass group and singers (who sang a song about the week). The most memorable act was the bazookas group. These guys came on with their real instruments before putting then down and then played a song with the plastic bazookas. Everyone soon joined in singing along.
This week was an amazing experience with many unforgettable memories.

Katie Hodgson

Celebrating Birthdays

100 year Big Brownie Birthday & Port Sunlight Village 125 yr celebrations!

100 year Big Brownie Birthday & Port Sunlight Village 125 yr celebrations!

9th Bebington (St Andrews) Brownies were invited to share the Port Sunlight 125yr celebrations as this year it’s the Big Brownie Birthday 100 years of Brownies!

Brownies, their family and friends as well as their leaders helped to knit squares for this fabulous display. The Girlguiding Wirral Brownies knitting is displayed with others outside the Heritage Museum in Port Sunlight village. They’re well worth a visit!

Giant Parade in Ellesmere Port!

1st Ness is 50 years old this year and Susan is wearing the uniform from 1964 from when the Unit first began.

1st Ness is 50 years old this year and Susan is wearing the uniform from 1964 from when the Unit first began.



Big Gig 2014 – Backstage


Forgot Glastonbury, V Festival and Party in the Park: the place to be above all others Girlguiding BIG GIG at the Liverpool Echo Arena this weekend

I’ve just returned home from what can only be described as a ‘phenomenal’ day!

I took three of our Wirral County Youth Voice Group to the BIG GIG to interview not one, but eight celebrities!

Hannah, Alice & Lauren got the chance to interview Lawson, Tich, Leah McFall, Eliyar Fox, Pixie Lott, Kimberley Wyatt, Loveable Rogues, Stacey Dooley and Tinie Tempah.

BigGig Backstage 2014

When we arrived at the Echo we were taken to the press office where we were greeted by the Girlguiding PR Team and a lot of photographers!!

We had two sofa’s to use when interviewing the acts and were shown the positions best to sit in for photo opportunities.

The first photo we had taken was with Pixie Lott. We all stood in front of a branded wall and it was like being in a disco with all the flashes from the cameras! We had people shouting ‘look right’ ‘in the centre’ I really don’t know how the celebrities do this everyday.

The girls although nervous at the start were also very excited. Every time the door opened, they turned round to see who was coming through the door! I think we were all very excited about meeting them all but particularly Tinie Tempah and Lawson.

I’ve interviewed celebrities before but I forgot how nervous I also get when doing it!! I know they are real people just like you and me but my heart always starts beating fast!!!!

The girls had written a list of questions for each act and the questions were fantastic. They asked about every day issues teenage girls can face such as body image, cyber bullying, peer pressures etc. All the acts seemed very impressed with the questions.

When interviewing, the acts all talked about how important it is to remain positive, don’t stress out and be yourself. This was a common theme across the day.

One of the questions we asked all the female acts was about body image issues and low self esteem caused by the media industry. All the females agreed there is too much pressure on girls to look a certain way.

We also learnt how some celebrities will pay more for their pictures to be airbrushed, that it costs a lot of money to do this and some celebs choose not to be airbrushed. We need more celebrities who are ‘real’ and not afraid to show their real selves.

It was very clear that each act definitely has their own style. Leah McFall definitely reminds me of Lady Gaga!

One thing I noticed is that all the guys had very good hair! Even their entourage!! I could definitely tell they spend more time on their hair than I do and use a lot of products!!!

The afternoon went so fast and I still can’t believe I have just met Tinie Tempah!!! He even mentioned the Wirral whilst on stage!! I did scream at that point!

The event was well organised and as I have said previously, it was phenomenal! Thank you to Girlguiding UK for giving us the opportunity to interview the acts.

I cannot describe how proud I am of the girls and how proud I am to be part of Girlguiding.

The futures bright.. the future is definitely blue!!!

Helen (Girlguiding Wirral County PR Team Member) @GGWirral

Girlguiding Wirral needs more Volunteers!

Come and Join Us!




Well Done Ivy – MBE

Ivy Gardiner MBE

What wonderful news to hear that Ivy Gardiner has been awarded the MBE. Read all about it in the Liverpool Echo link. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/2012/12/29/merseyside-celebrates-as-new-years-honours-list-published-100252-32509932/




‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas



Tis the Month Before Christmas

Tis the month before Christmas, we’re all going nuts;
With so much to do, there’s no ifs, ands or buts.
Buy presents, hang tree lights, pop cards in the mail,
Send gift packs, thread popcorn, find turkeys on sale.

Decorations need stringing up all through the house.
And you haven’t a clue what to buy for your spouse.
School concerts, receptions, open houses with friends,
Long lineups, short tempers, tying up the loose ends.

With all our mad dashing, we’re reeling from shock;
Let’s stop for a minute and really take stock.
It’s crassly commercial, the cynical say;
If that’s true, that our fault-it’s us and not they.

Take time for yourself-though hard as that seems—
Enjoy your kids’ laughter, excitement and dreams.
Take a moment out now, don’t get overly riled,
Instead make an angel in snow with your child.

The shortbread can wait, and so can the tree;
What’s important to feel is a child’s sense of glee.
The holidays aren’t about push, rush and shove;
They’re for friendship and sharing and family love.

Hear the bells, feel the warmth, light up with the glow
Of a message first sent to us so long ago:
Peace, love and goodwill, and hope burning bright.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Winning Christmas Card Design

Local brownie Wins Region Christmas card competition

Congratulations to Charlotte Oram, aged 9, from 5th Heswall Brownies who won the Girlguiding North West England Region Christmas card competition. Her design to bring Santa’s sleigh in to the 21st century was chosen from hundreds of entries. The judges commended Charlotte’s use of different technologies to help a modern day Santa deliver his presents and really liked her use of festive colour. The competition was part of the Region’s Inventor Challenge for all guides and brownies, in conjunction with Spaceport. Girls and leaders are being encouraged to participate in lots of different kinds of scientific activities with a little inspiration from Wallace and Gromit. ‘All the Brownies had a go at designing a modern sleigh for Santa and we were thrilled when Charlotte won’ said Melinda, her Assistant Brownie Leader.


Women who Change the World

There are women who make things better…. Simply by showing up.
There are women who make things happen.
There are women who make their way.
There are women who make a difference and make us smile.
There are women of wit and wisdom who-through strength and courage-make it through.
There are women who change the world every day…


Christmas Cracker

’twas the night before cracker and all over the site
The elves waited patiently for daylight.

The snowmen excited were waiting you see
For rainbows and brownies all filled with glee.

Santa too was checking his clock
And waiting for a morning knock

There was someone else getting his rest
Rodney the reindeer, another special guest!

Over 800 girls would be there very soon
And everyone hoped they’d be over the moon!


For every 100 girls in Guiding

4 will earn the Queen’s Guide Award – the highest award for girls

12 will have their first contact with a church

1 will enter the clergy

18 will develop hobbies used during their adult life

8 will enter a vocation that was first learned through the badge programme

17 will be future Guide Leaders

1 will use her Guiding skills to save her own life

1 will use her Guiding skills to save the life of someone else

A Wonderful Waddow Weekend


1st Bebington Guides, Pegasus SS and leaders had a great weekend in the Adventure House. We made bracelets, completed the confectioners badge, went on the low ropes course and also grass sledged. The girls also made these fantastic lanterns with willow and special paper. We got the lantern kit when a few of the leaders went on the lantern making course that West Division commissioner Angela told us about earlier in the year. The girls should be able to proudly carry them at the Transition Wirral event starting at Coronation Gardens West Kirby 5.30 on 11th November. Hope to see you there!

Sunday saw us running the Waddow SOS day for the Guide age group. Around 60 girls plus leaders came from across the Region to get their Go for It I will Survive and their Active Response badge. We even managed to squeeze in the WAGGGS Surf Smart Badge! The internet is such a fantastic tool, but its like anything, we need to ensure we and the girls are aware of the risks. once you know them you can navigate around them. Take a look at the WAGGGS website!

It was great to see girls from Wallasey at the event and Sarah, Denise and Sandra! Great use of their mini bus licence.

So home, and the inevitable sorting, tidying and putting away, but a great weekend. I hope you have / had a great time I’ve you’ve taken the girls out for the day or overnight somewhere or you’re planning to.

I hope we’ll see many Rainbow and Brownies and leaders at the Christmas Cracker event. Last count we were up to 600 so it looks like its literally going to be a ‘cracker’!

Inventors Challenge – Blast Off at Spaceport!

Girlguiding Wirral saw the exciting launch of the Girlguiding North West England ‘Inventor’s Challenge’ badge available to girls of all ages in Girlguiding. The launch took place at one of Wirral’s leading learning activity centres, Spaceport, where girls of all sections from Birkenhead and Wallasey Divisions, accompanied by their leaders, were invited to take part in the fun and games at the launch event.

The sole aim of the new guiding badge is to encourage girls to enjoy aspects of science, creativity, and design, after a recent survey commissioned by GirlguidingUK, showed that 51% of the girls surveyed, said they veered away from engineering, due to the overall lack of interest and because of the extreme lack of female role models. The Wallace and Gromit Inventor’s Challenge was created by members of Girlguiding North West England, and the project is kindly supported from Cracking Ideas ® and Aardman Animations™. The badge includes activities and challenges ranging from invention and design, to learning about inspiration female role models in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers.Spaceport

The launch event started with a very special meet and greet with the lovable duo, Wallace and Gromit, which all the girls (and the leaders) enjoyed! After the meet and greet, everyone was invited into Spaceport’s dome theatre, to hear about how the Inventors Challenge was put together and the relevance of the badge in today’s society, but that wasn’t before a quick sing along to ‘Singing in the Rain’ with Wirral’s County Commissioner, Linda Smallthwaite, leading the way to a background of thunder and lightening overhead outside!

With the speeches and singing out of the way, the girls were then free to roam and explore Spaceport, participating in some of the entertainment and activities available to the centre and even including a very special visit to the ‘Wallace and Gromit in Space’ exhibition being held at the centre now. The rainbows were keen on drawing and designing their very rockets and spaceships for Wallace and Gromit, whilst the brownies and senior sections particularly enjoyed modelling with clay and experiencing what space is really like in Spaceport’s very own space simulator.

Gromit, Wallace & CC

‘We’re ready for blast off’ said Wallace

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the badges will go to the Wallace and Gromit Children’s Foundation, a national charity for poorly children in hospices and hospitals throughout theUK.

The Inventor’s Challenge pack is free and ready to download from the Girlguiding website, so get cracking on with the Inventor’s Challenge badge this term and let’s encourage girls to enjoy the excitement and wonder of science and design!

Spaceport has kindly offered extended Wednesday open hours until 8pm, for all guiding members from the 3rd of October. This results in members having an even bigger opportunity to gain inspiration and experience the galleries and interactive exhibitions that Spaceport has to offer. See www.spaceport.org.uk for more information.


If Guiding were the perfect dinner party…


If Guiding is like the perfect dinner party in the perfect restaurant………..

Division (and District Commissioners) are the Duty Managers and Supervisors – they ensure all the meals are available that the courses are all delivered in a timely and efficient manner and are of a good standard. They quickly pick up on problems, aid solutions and keep everything ticking along.

Chairs of Guiding Development & the Outdoor Activities Adviser are the chefs creating the meals based on customer demand and their advisers are the waiters and waitresses delivering the meals to the tables, listening to the Duty Managers and the guests to establish what is needed to ensure the perfect meal.

The PR Adviser & team have to be in a position to publicise the restaurant, so they need information and tasking! They can advertise events, parties, discounts but they need to know so they can show the restaurant off in its best light!

County President (and Vice Presidents) are the sommeliers (the wine specialists!) who can add value to a meal by suggesting accompaniments that could make it even better, but they have to be invited to the meal to see what’s on offer!

CC is the Maitre d’ she has an overview of the whole restaurant as a business, setting the standard based on head office requirements, regularly liaising with her Duty Managers to identify improvements or assist to solve problems and facilitating local communications between the team where necessary to make it the best restaurant in town.

So what about the meal???

Rainbows is like the horderves /appetiser. It’s a small snack before a the start of a meal. Usually they’re finger foods that are brought around by waiters at a fancy event, or small plates served at the start of an evening. Anything can be an appetiser. They’re supposed to entice the eye, excite the palate, they are an indicator of the standard of cooking for the rest of the meal, they often show off what the chef can do and leave you wanting more!

Brownies is like the starter. Again enticing to the eye, exciting for the palate with more to tuck into than an appetiser. It’ll take longer to eat and can sometimes almost be a mini main meal. However its intention is to further introduce the stomach to food so it can be ready for the main meal!

Guides is like the main course It generally includes proteins, carbohydrates and fats in varying quantities. The different elements allow for flavour sensations but be warned that we must ensure quality ingredients as while guests can sometimes forgive earlier or later courses from not being 100% Guide aged guests are super picky if their main meal isn’t up to scratch!

The meal works because each element is selected to go on the plate as it compliments the others. If it were all potatoes or all meat then its not a complete meal and we’d feel short changed.

Senior Section is like the dessert It should be a treat. We can have sweet puddings, sharp puddings, pastries, hot or cold puddings– who wouldn’t want a pudding at the perfect dinner party!

Leadership is like the cheese board Mature…….! At least in comparison to the age of the girls! Some are extra mature, but there are a variety to choose from, Cheshire, Cheddar, Double Gloucester, Stilton, Brie, Stinking blue bishop! Not all of them might be to our taste, some might make us screw up our noses, we might prefer one to another, or some maybe be better after certain meals but there is a place for all of them.

Trefoil Guild is like the after dinner drinks Coffee, decaf, latte, espresso, different strengths for differing tastes. Maybe instead you’d rather a liqueur, remember you don’t have to have had the meal to enjoy a tipple!

The aim of course is to keep your guests to the end of the party and not just to the end of each course! Whilst no one would be offended if guests had special dietary requirements as these can be accommodated, what is disappointing is if guests leave before the end of the meal because the quality or quantity or variety wasn’t good enough.


Girlguiding – Creating Memories………

I wanted to join Brownies because my friend had been going and it sounded fun. I was a Sprite. I can remember my brownie dress being incredibly long, although I have always been vertically challenged! I don’t think remember being there particularly long before I moved to Guides, but I do recall playing rounders on the field opposite, singing ‘who stole the cookie from the cookie shop’ and completing my first badge – collector, happy times!

During a recent BBC Radio Cumbria interview the Girlguiding NWE Region Marketing Adviser was asked what her first badge was … ‘hostess’ she said, apparently a popular choice. What was your first badge? A recent request on GGW Face book page resulted in a number of you responding and uploading pictures. It’s heart-warming how fondly we seem to look back on our early Guiding years.

Of course Guiding is looking forward too, about continuous challenge and improvement, be it through the girls completion of badges, attending events or overnight experiences or through us as leaders completing qualifications or attending leader trainings or events.

My sister and I have just successfully completed our Power Cruising on narrow boats qualification, and received nice metal badges for our efforts. We’ve been on canal boat holidays with the family for years and so when Region offered the course it seemed natural for us to book on. Now with our qualification complete we’re ready to offer a practice weekend for our Unit leaders and then hopefully a weekend for our Guides / Senior Section next year.

Narrow boating isn’t for everyone! We’re all unique and opportunities will excite and engage us all differently. This is why we endeavour to provide a ‘balanced and varied programme’ ensuring we ‘care for the individual’ and why we use Rainbow Chats, Brownie Pow wows, Patrol Leaders Council and Look Wider Team Meetings to ‘encourage girls to govern themselves and make their own decisions’ meaning they have the opportunity to challenge themselves to get the most they can from Guiding. Girls and leaders alike can gain confidence through ‘working together in small groups’ which is why as leaders we must look outside our Units, use the District / Division Teams, the Section and other Advisers, consider attending trainings and undertaking qualifications in order to keep our Guiding fresh and inspiring for the girls and ourselves!

Through support and confidence we are more likely to provide Guiding opportunities outside the meeting place. There are lots to choose from and we should challenge ourselves as a Unit / District / Division Team to take advantage of them. We mustn’t forget however, that our memories are just as easily made from our weekly meetings, ‘who stole the cookie…’ etc. Without a solid programme based on our ‘shared commitment to a common standard – the Promise’ we won’t have girls to whom we can offer the fantastic outside the meeting place opportunities.

Even if you can’t recall exactly which badge was your first, I’m sure you’ll have many happy memories from your Guiding years as a girl. Infact I’m guessing that’s probably why you’re still in Guiding….. Widespread appeal to all members will allow us to achieve our ultimate aim of ensuring our girls today move up through all the sections and become our future leaders. That’s our responsibility and it’s more likely to be achieved when Guiding focuses on fun, friendship and opportunities through the 5 essentials. As leaders we’re creating opportunities and creating memories for girls every time we’re in contact with them – let’s make sure they’re as positive as ours are.

5 Essentials of Guiding

1 Work together in small groups

2. Encouraged to govern themselves and make their own decisions

3. Have a balanced and varied programme

4. Care for the individual

5. Share a commitment to a common standard

New CC’s Comments

As we all know Girlguiding is about providing fun and enjoyment, life skills & opportunities for girls and women and it is easy to think that we’re doing a good job when we have girls who continue to come to our weekly meetings, holidays and camps – infact the latest publicity says that girls are joining Girlguiding UK at a rate of 1 per hour so we must be doing something right…

Some of you may remember the Girlguiding Shout out report that surveyed girl members a few years ago. Girls were asked who their female role models were,

– some of them picked the latest female celebrities; some of them picked sports personalities; and 77% unsurprisingly picked their Mum’s however the girls top role models were actually their Girlguiding leaders what a responsibility for us.

If I think over my time in Guiding this would be correct, numerous leaders I have come across in Girlguiding have influenced and affected me and my life.

Margaret Clarkson was my Guide leader and she gave me opportunities even when I didn’t know I wanted them! Camping, catering, event planning, training.

Pat Turner was my first District Commissioner and when I was a YL she invited me to District Meetings early so I could stay for my dinner. This meant I had no opportunity to weadle out of the meeting!

I’m sure now when I think back, that Pat used to ask me about matters that were likely to come up in the meeting so she knew my thoughts and then was always able to prompt me to speak up during the meeting.

I remember being touched that a busy Joyce Mcleod at an International camp at Hadlow took time to speak to me (at 19 years old) and then months later still remembered my name.

Judy Upton and Margaret ensured I was involved in Lift Off event in 2000 at Blackpool Winter Gardens and both Judy and Pat Turner encouraged me into the County Public Relations role.

Wendy Graham our previous Region Commissioner was my training mentor, Sue Dutton encouraged me to take on the Camp Manager role for our Funfest and Guidefest events the list could go on and on….

I run a Guide unit, I’ve run camps and events, had District, Division and County roles and had experiences and opportunities because Girlguiding leaders have enabled me to have those opportunities. Infact I think I probably only had the courage to go away to University because of the confidence I gained through Guiding.

What stands out to me is that at any age I have been, these and many other Girlguiding women have taken the time to listen and engage with me on a personal level, through that they’ve got to know me, they’ve opened doors for me, sometimes giving a less than gentle shove through those doors and sometimes I’ve been pulled through doors without even realising.

I want to say that no-one in Guiding has ever said ‘you can’t do that’, ‘you’ve not got enough experience’ or ‘you’re too young’ or the latest ‘you won’t be able to do that because ‘you work full time’, I’ve certainly heard those comments both 1st or 2nd hand throughout my Guiding life – fortunately for me the ‘can do voices’ drown out the ‘can’t’ do’s.

So, with that I want to tell you how thrilled and honoured I am to take up the Girlguiding Wirral County Commissioners role – I look forward to all the ‘can do voices’ and if there is one thing I want us all to take away from this evening then its this…

That every one of our 3,747 Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Senior Section members has the potential to be a leader of the future. Lets ensure we have a positive effect on them and that we provide positive Guiding experiences and as many opportunities as we can – so that we know we’re providing girls and women with the skills to be our leaders and commissioners of the future then Guiding will be available for future generations of women to enjoy as much as we do.