Hello and welcome to the first Chiefs’ Chat of the year. This time, we are happy to include a new voice, Emma. She’ll now be contributing - as assistant region chief commissioner - to our monthly Chiefs’ Chat.
Happy New Year to all of you.
I hope you all had a lovely holiday, however you celebrated. For me, it is a really important time to share with family and we were lucky to host Christmas this year with my Mum, our daughters, son in law and our two special grandsons. It was Teddy’s first Christmas and at six months he seemed to thoroughly enjoy his presents, but most of all, the company of family. Rory, who is three, especially enjoyed helping everyone else open their presents. It was a really special time and I’m looking forward to lots more like it.
I hope that your New Years resolutions include some time for yourselves as well as the exciting opportunities we have coming your way this year! It really feels like Kathryn and I have fully settled into our role and we are delighted to welcome Emma to her role of assistant chief commissioner. Emma has some great ideas about how we can grow as a region and encourage members to take part in wider opportunities. I look forward to having Emma join us at our World Thinking Day celebrations at Fulwood Barracks. We’re delighted that so many of you are joining in and that the event is fully booked! The daughter of one of my work colleagues is in the Army and it’s nice to hear that she’s really excited for our visit.
I am also really looking forward to visiting Girlguiding Isle of Man during the half-term holidays with Kathryn, where we’ll be attending an awards presentation evening and working with the county executive. It will be great to get to know them a little better.
I have never been to The Isle of Man before but my Mum and Dad went for their honeymoon in 1962 so it is a special place for us as a family, especially since dad is no longer with us. They did have 52 years of a very happy marriage so I do think the Isle of Man set them off on the right feet! I am writing this the day before I head off to Waddow for our fist training of the year. We have three events this year which are all in partnership with Waddow Hall, with this being the first. I am looking forward to seeing more than sixty of you at ‘See It, Say It, Sort It’ - though by the time this goes out, we will have completed what I am sure will be a refreshing and insightful day.
As for so many, the holiday season was a period to get together with family. Since my children – all four of them - are all grown up and work some distance away, it's great to get together and catch up.
January came all too quickly and we have already had our first Rainbow meeting, with three new Rainbows starting, where we made a start on our new skill builder.
On Saturday we held our region training day at Waddow, and it was made particularly special as our newly appointed assistant, Emma, was able to join us. It was our first event as a full team of three and we had the opportunity to discuss some of our exciting plans for the year ahead.
The theme of the day was ‘See it, Say it, Sort it’. It was all about those difficult conversations we sometimes need to have. The session was full of hints, tips and approaches to various issues and how we can navigate them. I was happy to help with three of the afternoon sessions, where we explored difficult conversation that leaders need to have about finance.
Recently, I was able to do one of the best bits – in my opinion – of the role, which was to attend an awards event in Lancashire South county. I presented a region commissioners award to Rachel Starkie, former county commissioner. It was a well-deserved award, presented to her for all of her contributions to Girlguiding North West England. These events celebrate the great work that so many of our volunteers do, and it’s always a pleasure to recognise all their dedication.
Wishing everyone a very happy new year and every success in all their guiding adventures.
I hope everyone has had a lovely festive season - Happy New Year from me too!
I’m sure it won’t come as a shock to anyone when I say just how excited I am for this upcoming year (and beyond of course!). Thank you to Julie and Kathryn for putting their faith in me, and to everyone for the wonderful messages over the past few days.
I really can’t think of another organisation where a young person would be trusted with a role like this, and that makes me even prouder to be a member of Girlguiding and of this amazing region. Youth voice is such an important part of what we do and I feel it’s important to see this reflected everywhere. My biggest hope for the future is that it becomes so commonplace for there to be young commissioners at all levels of Girlguiding that the appointment of someone my age isn’t a big deal at all. Of course, experience is invaluable too, but it makes sense that the sooner we give young people responsibility, the stronger the leadership will be in the coming years. I could go on about young people in leadership, as well as my excitement for my new appointment so hopefully, I’ve kept that brief enough for the time being! I’m sure there will be plentiful opportunities for me to chat to those of you who are particularly interested in this too.
As for my December, it was a well-deserved break from university and was spent with my family, which was lovely. Before the term ended, I cooked my very first full Christmas dinner with friends (complete with Yorkshire puddings - a real debate starter in the student community it turns out!) and enjoyed lots of festive society outings. I’ve been grateful for the time off but am very much now looking forward to a normal routine, which for me, means a return to lectures and jumping back into unit guiding - this time with the extra excitement of telling the girls about ‘Night Owl’s’ new role!
Catch up soon!
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Julie, Kathryn, and Emma.