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.