Chiefs' Chat: Keeping Up The Guiding Spirit

Hello and welcome to another Chiefs’ Chat

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I hope you all had a lovely World Thinking Day – we certainly did. Over the weekend we had the chance to spend time with lots of our members. Emma and I kick-started the weekend with a celebration evening in Swinton division, Greater Manchester West county. We had lots of fun activities and challenges to keep us busy which made us feel like Guides again.

On Saturday 22 February, almost 100 Guides and Rangers took over Fulwood Barracks during a fun day where they earned their Lead, Stage 5 Skills Builder badge. They spent the day exploring leadership and team-working skills – a perfect way to build new friendships, which is what World Thinking Day is all about. We were joined by Girlguiding’s Assistant Chief Commissioner, Emma Guthrie, at the end of the day, where we shared some Haiku that we had written. It was amazing to see what the girls came up with in such a short amount of time!

In other news, a huge congratulations to Su, from the Isle of Man, who was presented with her Laurel award recently. Kathryn and I were supposed to be there but couldn’t make it – thanks a lot, Storm Dennis. But, we’re glad that Su received her well-deserved award for the incredible contribution she has made to her county and to our region.

My visit to the Isle of Man wasn’t the only cancellation; I’m so disappointed that the strategy conference in Birmingham was cancelled due to the situation with COVID-19. It means that we won’t all get to be together to start the process of implementing the new strategy and to explore how we will use it for our region strategy. But, the most important thing is for us all to stay safe and in good health. On the flip side, Girlguiding has shared an introduction to the new strategy and it’s all very exciting! I am looking forward to working on it with the rest of the team, albeit virtually!

I am hoping that everything won’t be at a halt for too long but, as I said, the most important thing is for us to keep safe so that we can get back to the guiding life that we all know and love. 

Julie
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For me, World Thinking day was a recent highlight and I was particularly enthusiastic to see that the two Majors who took the lead were both female – it offered yet another role model for our Guides and Rangers, and demonstrated, quite accurately, that girls can do anything they put their minds to! 

There was World Thinking Day excitement a bit closer to home too, within my Rainbow unit, where we completed some activities using the WAGGGS pack. It was great fun trying to get them to imagine just how big guiding is worldwide. For them, 1000 was a big number and 10 million was beyond their grasp. It was quite entertaining to see them gasp with astonishment but lovely to see them appreciate just how big our movement is.

We also took part in the region ‘Mini Me’ activity. They absolutely loved drawing a picture of themselves and then describing all of the great things that girls are capable of. They were almost reluctant to part with their Mini Mes but that feeling soon disappeared when we got our exchange from members all around the region.

Kathryn

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This month has been a busy for one for me with my big lab module due date drawing closer and my dissertation due any minute now. It’s been nice to be able to escape my looming deadlines with lots of exciting guiding events across the region.

As Julie said, we both attended the Swinton Division Thanks Event which was brilliantly planned. The short activities throughout the day all worked up to the creation of a giant paper chain where each link represented the young members in the division. I thought it was a fantastic way to showcase the impact and immensity of volunteering.

I also had a great time at the Lead Skills Builder day at Fulwood Barracks. Kathryn and I attended on the Sunday as the takeover was across the weekend. We got involved in all the activities, listened in on some great discussions, and cheered on all the girls as they worked together to tackle lots of fun challenges. It was also quite nice to see the girls’ Thinking Day Haiku – a nice added touch to a special day.

Recently, I went to Liverpool to get stuck in with some science fun with Girlguiding Merseyside county. Hundreds of Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, and Rangers took over Liverpool John Moores University where they experimented with everything from chromatography to paleontology. One of the activities meant that the Rainbows and Brownies could test their hand-washing techniques with the use of UV magic - particularly important given the current situation!

On International Women’s Day, a few members of the Advocate Panel and I represented Girlguiding at the #March4Women rally where we marched from Southbank Centre to Parliament Square. The theme was Climate Justice - something I know so many of our members are passionate about - so it was a great opportunity to share the amazing work that Girlguiding is doing, with some of the influential faces we bumped in to, like Emma Barnett and Sandy Toksvig – both hugely influential women in media.

Emma
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A message from your Region Chief Commissioners

Thank you to our members for all of your support during this challenging time. In true Girlguiding spirit, it has been lovely to see all the messages on social media with ideas of how we can continue guiding in different ways. There have been some fantastic ideas about interest badges, virtual guiding, among other ways that we can continue to engage girls. It has also been great to see how supportive our members have been of the wider community during this challenging time. Keep up all the amazing work and most importantly, stay safe, healthy, and positive. This time will pass and we will get back to having fun together soon enough. 

We would like to take a moment to share some of Olave Baden-Powell’s words, which she shared in her last message to the movement in 1973:

“I trust that you will continue fully to use the system of work and play that our Movement provides, keeping up the fun and the friendships made at your meetings and in camps (...). In that way you will not only advance yourself in body, mind and spirit, but you will affect those around you, in doing what is honourable and right and wise, and in giving out kindness of thought and action, thus striving against all ills and helping to make the world a happier and a better place in which to live.”

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As always, you can find us on Twitter where you can ping us if you need any support or to simply share all the incredible work that you are doing. 

JulieKathryn, and Emma.