Hello and welcome to another Chiefs’ Chat!
We hope you’re all doing well and are continuing to stay safe. Whether you're able to meet face to face for the first time in a long time, or you're planning on continuing the guiding fun virtually, for now, we hope you're looking forward to the new term ahead! In this month’s Chiefs’ Chat, we’re sharing our thoughts and reflections as we head into the Autumn term.
As I write, we have been battling with the new restrictions which will delay a return to indoor guiding in many areas. I very much welcomed so many of you joining the leader calls that we had at the end of August where our message was about blended guiding, which will obviously be our way forward for some time to come - doing what works best in whatever situation you find yourselves, what is right for you, your leadership team and the girls. We know that many have really missed unit meetings, so whatever you can do will be appreciated so much.
5-6 September was our annual meeting with the other chiefs and I got the chance to go to the Scottish HQ to meet distantly with Moira, the Scottish chief and deputy chief guide, Emma, which was really good. There were a few small hubs and we all linked up which worked so well, we are hoping to do the same for the next region exec. One of the sessions was 'A Brave New World' and that is exactly what we find ourselves in. I think we need to think about Girlguiding in a different way, challenge the way we have always done things and be open to all new opportunities. I will be looking closely at what we offer through WAGGGS and developing a much better relationship with them, and I would encourage you all to wear the World badge and share with our girls so they understand they belong to Girlguiding in their unit, in our region and across the world. They are a member of the biggest girl only space in the world and we should celebrate that. I have completed one of the WAGGGS challenges and will share that with you next time.
I am sure life has changed a little for everyone since 1 September - for me it was the first Inset day I didn’t attend in nearly 30 years as I took semi retirement from teaching to allow me more flexible time with Girlguiding, and of course with my two little grandsons - here is the obligatory back to school picture! Oh and one from Wellies and wristbands - hope you got to enjoy that too!
Bye for now, take care
As the Autumn term starts I am so looking forward to seeing us delivering a guiding offer for everyone.
I have been talking to my leaders in my Rainbow unit and we are planning our blended programme for the new term. One leader is going to need some help with the technology – and hopefully our young leader is going to be able to assist with that!
We have been talking to the Brownie leader as we see our girls who have turned 7 over the summer move up, and then we are contacting some on our waiting list to start the new term. It will definitely be a term like no other. We have outdoor, indoor and virtual meetings planned, and expect to be reacting to conditions as they change. We are all though committed to simply doing our best and having fun!
It is also a subject everyone is talking about – at the (virtual) Region Commissioners' Conference on Saturday we could not help but talk about what we are all planning and sharing ideas and offering support as we start the term. The overwhelming emotion is undoubtedly excitement! We just want to get back to guiding again.
I'm writing this just as I'm about to move back to university for my final year. This would usually be the point where I say my goodbyes to my 'home unit' until Christmas, and start the autumn term with my 'uni unit', but instead, the blended approach to guiding this term means I get to continue with both! My Guide unit in Manchester will continue meeting on Zoom for the moment, due to the extra restrictions there still, and I'm very excited to be able to continue regularly attending virtual Brownie meetings in Lancs North West, despite the fact that I'll actually be living an hour away in Manchester.
It's a big positive of blended guiding that young leaders who have moved to university will still be able to stay with their unit and join in with any virtual meetings. Thinking back to when I first moved to uni, I was almost more upset to be leaving my Brownie family than my real one (don't tell my parents I said that though!!), so virtual guiding would have been a great solution. I'd encourage any unit who are potentially losing leaders to university to still engage them in any virtual offer - it will mean you have an additional pair of hands for virtual meetings, plus I'm sure it will make their transition to university so much easier.
This month also saw me make my television debut! I was interviewed by Sky News about one of the early findings from the Girls' Attitudes Survey ahead of its full launch later this year. The story explored appearance pressures on social media - something I feel really passionately about, having grown up on the likes of Instagram and Snapchat - and how Girlguiding is key in supporting the wellbeing of girls and young women in helping them to overcome these pressures - something I can definitely vouch for. The Girls' Attitudes Survey is a great starting point for interesting and important discussions in the unit and I'll definitely be sharing it with my Guides when the full report is released. Do keep an eye out for it!
We hope you enjoyed catching up with us again this month. As always, you can find us on Twitter, where you can ping us any questions or simply share all of the incredible work that you are doing.
Julie, Kathryn, and Emma.