[fbls url="http://peadig.com/wordpress-plugins/facebook-comments/"]

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.