During the coronavirus restriction period, as per UK Government guidelines, Girlguiding - all over the UK - was forced to suspend all face-to-face unit meetings.
Over the past few months, our volunteers have been keeping members connected with their weekly unit meetings by delivering ‘virtual guiding’, allowing hundreds of thousands of girls to continue to have fun, learn new skills and keep in touch with their friends.
Now, with social distancing measures being lifted on the island, Girlguiding Isle of Man is delighted to resume face-to-face unit meetings, having gained exemption from Girlguiding’s national headquarters to return to face-to-face meetings before their UK counterparts.
Volunteers haven’t hesitated to get back into the full swing of guiding life after getting the go ahead. The first face-to-face unit meeting – since March - took place on Friday 10 July, and there were smiles all around as 9th Douglas Brownies reunited for a long overdue catchup. During their first meeting, the Brownies did some Irish dancing, learnt some Portuguese and played some fun games, before indulging in a well-deserved banoffee pie.
Scarlett, 10, a Brownie from 9th Douglas Brownies, shared: “There couldn’t be anything better than this.”
Nell, 10, a Brownie from 9th Douglas Brownies, shared: “It’s brilliant that we have been able to reunite. I feel super happy to do see my friends and to do fun activities with them.”
Girlguiding Isle of Man has lots of unit meetings planned over the next few weeks – some indoors and some outdoors, with one Brownie unit committing to meeting over the summer holidays (when guiding units usually take a break). Many units have plans to embrace the great outdoors with some beach and park visits. One unit will be completing their delayed Easter treasure hunt, while another will be completing their Skills for my Future badge. Many of our young members will also be in receipt of the huge number of badges and awards they have earned over lockdown.
Karen Walker, Island Commissioner, shared: “During the past few months I have been amazed at the guiding spirit shown by the girls and leaders, whilst having fun in so many unusual ways. They have completed Adventures at Home, shown kindness in their community and have completed Boredom Buster challenges, but, most importantly, they have all looked after each other and shown the togetherness of guiding. Now we have the great news that Girlguiding Isle of Man can meet face-to-face again, and we can go back to our unit meetings together.”
Over the past few weeks, leaders have been busy reviewing and implementing new guidelines, to ensure girls have a safe space to have fun and continue to have positive guiding experiences. Large-scale events and residential events are still on hold for the time being, with the charity looking forward to a time when they can resume.
Julie Walton, Region Chief Commissioner, shared: “I am really happy to hear that Girlguiding Isle of Man can reunite with their very best guiding friends. Over the past few months, all Girlguiding members have stayed connected, shown true togetherness, and continued with positive experiences, albeit virtually and at a distance. I am pleased to see that the island can now meet face-to-face – a very special occasion for units. We’re looking forward to a time when the rest of Girlguiding can meet face-to-face, but for now, it has been amazing to see the commitment, resilience and creativity of members, keeping us going during these times. It has been very much appreciated by our young members and their families, in whatever way people have been keeping in touch. I am eternally grateful to all of our members for that!”
We hope Girlguiding Isle of Man enjoy the next few months, and we are looking forward to a time where Girlguiding all over the UK can go back to doing what we do best - having amazing guiding experiences, providing positive experiences for our members, and having lots of fun!