Chief's Chat: Welcome to our first-ever blog

Hello (!) and welcome to our first-ever Chief’s Chat. We’re looking forward to connecting with you all and having you join our journey as the Region Chief Team.
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In early October, we attended the International Celebration Event at the Region office. It was great to see just how many exciting experiences we could offer to members this year. We heard from different international groups who went to places like Mexico, The Balkans, Finland, and Sri Lanka. We also heard about the incredible Tall Ships Voyage, World Scout Jamboree, and GOLD experiences.

One girl, who went on the Tall Ships Voyage, reflected on how she, very carefully, parked the Tall Ship, next to the Royal Yacht Britannia. What a fantastic experience! A girl from Balkans shared that she enjoyed an unconventional restroom experience – a hole in the ground! The Balkans trip also experienced different forms of transport, including white water rafting and lots of different buses.

The girls and leaders couldn’t wait to tell us about all the great things they saw and did during their trips. One of the girls talked about how it was the very first time that she had been on a plane without her mum and that she was super nervous beforehand. I couldn’t help but remember one of my first international experiences. I was 19 years old and I went off to an American Summer Camp. I wasn’t exactly nervous nor excited, but just quite numb because I was going to be all by myself for the very first time. But, it was that experience that gave me a great deal of confidence and steered my life. Now, I’m in the fortunate position where I get to see how such life-changing international experiences can elevate both our young members and leaders. 

I have also heard great things about the recent Girlguiding North West England European Jamboree Briefing. Our region is the largest contingent in Girlguiding. I look forward to hearing more about the preparation in the run-up of the trip, and, of course, all about the actual ultimate experience in Summer, 2020.  We’ll also be providing more international opportunities for Rainbows and Brownies in 2021 - you’re never too young to get cultural and discover the wonders of the world!

Elsewhere, after my final observed training last week, I’m almost finished preparing to become a Trainer.  Despite having been a secondary school teacher for nearly 30 years, it still makes me nervous! It was nerve-wracking but a new challenge nonetheless. There are opportunities to learn something new every day.

It was great to catch up with the county commissioners during an overnight stay at the Tickled Trout too. I enjoyed hearing about county plans and seeing the direct impact of Girlguiding North West England on the ground. 

I also visited Greater Manchester West County for a celebration of their Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, for their dedication to the Comfort bag Scheme; the region has together distributed 13,600 bags so far and they’re not stopping there. The very grateful Swan nurses had bought and inscribed a bench to be kept at the county holiday and campsite, Ashley Lodge – it is beautiful to look at and uber comfortable to sit on!

Lastly, I can’t forget the North West Charity Awards where we received a Highly Commended Award in the North West Charity of the Year category. It’s a very much deserved recognition for the incredible work all our volunteers do every day and it only drives us to provide more life-changing opportunities for more girls.

Julie
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I had the unique opportunity of visiting the House of Commons to celebrate the launch of Parliament Week. As a region, we have been a partner of the education team at Parliament, and Guiding regions have been very important in promoting the resource. The resource supports our key values and encourages our girls and young women to think about issues and to make considered decisions.

It was quite exciting to be able to show my invitation and be guided through the different gates & security. I also enjoyed being shown into Westminster Hall and walking through the building itself – a stunning piece of architecture. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, came along to speak to us; he was clearly committed and passionate about the resource and was enthusiastic about engaging young people in such important decisions. For those of you using the resource this week, I hope you enjoy the challenge. We can’t wait to see your photos on social media. 

I  also went to the Muslim Lifestyle Expo in Manchester at the end of October, together with some incredible volunteers who were super enthusiastic about what Girlguiding North West England has to offer. It was a fantastic event and it was great to engage potential volunteers and members. The event inspired us and helped us to think of more ways in which we can offer guiding to various communities. We made new friends and it was incredible to see young people take part in the engaging activities, including making their plastic promises, creating constellations from the fab Clever Cogs Pack, and expressing all the amazing things that #GirlsCan do!

Kathryn
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That’s all for this month’s Chief’s Chat. 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.

Until next time, keep up the amazing work! 

Julie and Kathryn