Hello all (!) And welcome back to our second chief’s chat.
What a busy month we’ve had with lots of exciting news to share. I’ve had a busy time visiting different counties and presenting long-service awards – how lovely to show appreciation for the endless commitment that our volunteers have for Girlguiding North West England. I also presented an award to Di Bolton from Cheshire Border – it was great to join her at her unit sleepover.
A special Thank You to all the award recipients, over the past month, for all that you have done for Girlguiding and the difference you have made to so many girls and young women, who you have supported and inspired to go on and achieve so much more. My most favourite part of my role is seeing such amazing work!
I also had the pleasure of attending the Girlguiding Thanks and Recognition service at Westminster Abbey. It was a special day, with lots of leaders attending from across the region. We were all part of a great service with the most inspirational speakers. The service included a special renewal of our Promise, led by Amanda Medler, the Chief Guide. I attended the event last year but this time, being there as region chief commissioner made it even more special. It will be our turn to provide the speakers and colour parties next year and so I’m looking forward to having our exceptional young women speak at the service.
It’s been an incredible couple of weeks seeing our region involvement in the Juliette Low Seminar – the WAGGGS’ inter-cultural, inspirational and international experience. Our region international adviser, Miriam, attended the Maldives seminar while Kathryn and I visited some of the initiatives at Waddow, which included hearing our own ambassador, Nicola Grinstead, share her experience and answer questions from young women around the world – it really was remarkable to feel the power of the future of Girlguiding.
We’ve been on a winning streak with awards over the past few months, with Girlguiding Merseyside having the great honour of being recognised for their great work. The Liverpool John Moores University Corporate Award was presented to Cheryl Gregson, County Commissioner, in a special ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral.
We had another region exec meeting this month, in which we were pleased to welcome two new county commissioner designates, Rona Rommel from Girlguiding Manchester and Sharon Weaver from Girlguiding Lancashire Border, who were at their very first meeting. In February 2020, Rona will be taking over from Helen Salvini as county commissioner. We’re very grateful for Helen’s work leading Manchester county for the past few years. It’s sad to see her term end in that capacity but I’m delighted to say that we will still have Helen’s valuable input as she will be working with us on our new 2020 region strategy. Later next year, in May, Sharon Weaver will be taking over from Rebecca Minors, who has shown incredible commitment to Lancashire Border for over four years. I am sure she will keep up the great work and continue to inspire girls.
I have a few more awards to present before the first year of my term is up - what a fun year it has been and how quickly it has gone. Bring on another year of my appointment!
I would like to wish everyone a very peaceful end to the year, and very happy holidays to everyone. I love the Kindness cards available to download on the region website and have shared a lot of them with friends.
I hope some kindness comes your way over the holidays – you all deserve it. Thank you for all you do for Girlguiding North West England. I know that 2020 is bringing some very special events for all of us and I am really excited for it to start! Hopefully, I will see many of you at See it, Say it, Sort it at Waddow on 11 January.
I have been rather busy over the past month too (!)
I also enjoyed attending the Juliette Lowe Seminar. An international evening included a lot of dancing – not sure how well we would score on Strictly but there was lots of enthusiasm in the room as we learnt dances from Albania, Lebanon, Mali and the Caribbean, to name a few. We then also got to sample some sweets and treats from around the world before exploring the challenges and opportunities guiding faces around the globe. Albania, for example, has had guiding for less than three years and have only just recently introduced it to their country, but it was pretty clear that they appreciated connecting with Girlguiding members around the world.
We also came away with some lovely badges and other souvenirs; I particularly love the ones from Australia which are also quite seasonal.
I also headed down to London to visit Girlguiding CHQ for a meeting about our strategy. It was quite productive and I appreciated spending time with volunteers and staff from London as well as the external team who have been supporting us through this exciting journey. We explored how best to continue to ensure that guiding is safe and enjoyable. We also talked about how we can support unit leaders and local commissioners with their roles and responsibilities. As a group, we reflected on some of our recent projects that have delivered on our aims and objectives. Through this, we were able to understand what works well and why, and how we can use similar methods for future initiatives as part of the new strategy.
And to save my most exciting event for last, I got to join some brilliant and bright Brownies who received a visit from CBBC’s Blue Peter. 1st Gisburn Brownies were thrilled to receive a special Blue Peter badge drop off after all their amazing work during the #PlasticPromise week. During the day, the girls made a clean sea collage to illustrate a future that they would like to see. They also showcased their #PlasticPromises and decorated a cake with sea blue icing and sea creature decorations. To top it off, Presenter, Richie, also made his #PlasticPromise - result! Why not make an environmentally friendly new year’s resolution this year and make your very own #PlasticPromise here.
To end, I would also echo Julie’s wishes for a peaceful holiday for all of you and a very happy New Year!
Until next year, that’s it from us both!
In the meantime, don’t forget to follow on us on Twitter for regular updates. If you want to contact either of us, or share what you've been up to, drop us a tweet.
Julie and Kathryn