Hello and welcome to another Chiefs’ Chat!
We hope you’re all doing well and are continuing to stay safe. Whether you're taking a break from guiding over the summer, or your continuing the guiding fun, virtually or otherwise, we hope you're having an enjoyable time! In this month’s Chiefs’ Chat, we’re sharing what we've been doing over the summer so far.
Whilst this continues to be a challenging time in lots of ways, and especially with the local lockdowns across a lot of our region, it has been great to see a return to some face to face guiding, with many of you finding time for meet-ups in the park, planning sessions and lots of training! Speaking of training, all of the levels of the A Safe Space training are now available virtually, so why not use any time you have over the summer to get up to date, or compliant. Lots of us are now ready for renewals, including me! I have my First Response renewal next week – it will be good to work with Girlguiding friends again. Speaking of Girlguiding friends, I went to a get-together last week and took part in a challenge walk in our local area - some even kept their promise by collecting bags of rubbish on the way around, although it was a shame that we needed to. It has been great to see the many fantastic examples of ways members have been keeping their promise during this challenging time. I am sure you have seen the range of region awards given out recently, and I have also sent out lots of our special “I promise to do my best” badges. I’m so very proud of all of you - keep up the great work!
Meetings are now taking place each week about the return to face to face guiding and the wider effects of this time. One thing worth noting is that, if we progressed every enquiry wishing to join us on GO and on our waiting lists into new members, we would have an 8% increase in our region membership. All of these prospective members could join as virtual members at the moment, whilst we continue with our adventures at home, which could continue for some time. I know you will do your best to do this and share the wonderful guiding experience wider!
I hope you have also had some time to relax with friends and family, and to make the most of the sunny weather! Moving to the seaside has been one of the best decisions we have made and has meant lots of fun days at the beach with our grandsons.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you all soon.
Is this a common phenomenon? I feel time seems to be moving at a completely different pace since the start of the pandemic and things that happened in the first couple of months of the year seem to be ages ago (and certainly a lot longer than just 7 or 8 months ago!). I have certainly been trying to be more mindful since lockdown started and looking after my family’s mental as well as physical health.
I have been doing a bit more gardening (I don’t really have a garden as such, but do have a lot of houseplants!) and have certainly spent a whole lot more time on Zoom than I ever did in Skype or other virtual meetings pre-pandemic.
On the positive, I think guiding, in common with many organisations, has discovered the benefit of the virtual meeting. We don’t all have to live in the same vicinity to join a meeting. I think this means we can get a lot more, different voices in both local and national meetings about important decisions affecting all volunteers and girls – and that has to benefit all of us.
I will be taking some time off (from work, but not necessarily guiding) soon, but am very enthusiastic about the new term ahead with my Rainbows and how we can offer them some new experiences. That is likely to be a blend of outdoor, virtual and maybe even indoor meetings before the end of the year.
Hope you all manage to get some time to yourself and feel ready to take on the guiding challenge in the Autumn term.
This month has definitely been a strange one with the local lockdowns across parts of our region. Half of my family live in Greater Manchester and the other half in Preston, so despite not having any extra restrictions myself, it does feel like being back in ‘proper lockdown’, given that I’ve stopped seeing my grandparents and some friends again.
To keep myself busy in my free time, I’ve been taking up lots of new hobbies - learning piano (I can now play a fair bit of ABBA!), embroidering, macramé and upcycling furniture... I was always very creative when I was younger, but since going to university I’ve never really had time to try new crafts, and my science brain definitely took over. It’s been really nice to be able to spend time learning new skills and using a different side of my brain, so I’ve promised myself I’ll still make time for this going forward.
Both of my guiding counties (home and uni) are also affected by the local lockdowns in some way, but there’s still been lots going on. Last weekend was Girlguiding South Manchester Division’s Virtual Camp, which was really fun - we had a Zoom room for each section with activities throughout Saturday and Sunday, plus a division room for opening and closing ceremonies, meal times and of course the campfire!
Without a doubt the best things that have come out of the difficult past few months are the virtual events which have been great fun for girls and leaders alike, as well as showcasing how fab Girlguiding is to everyone else in the room. Who knows, maybe there are some potential volunteers just out of view of the camera?!! Why not ask parents if they’d like to get more involved with the unit now they’ve seen exactly what Girlguiding is all about!
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.