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Sammie & Becky – WAGGGS Academy 2023

In November 2023, eight Girlguiding UK members travelled to Wiesbaden in Germany to attend ‘The Academy’, a Scout and Guide event hosted by WAGGGS and WOSM for leadership development and training. Two delegates were nominated to represent North West England region, Becky Hopkins (Sefton), and Sammie Haworth (Cumbria North).

Becky and Sammie travelled to Germany where they met the other UK leaders, and were part of a delegation of almost 200 guides and scouts from 36 different countries, mostly around Europe but a few further afield too!

There were a variety of different sessions and seminars each day to sign up for based on the interests and guiding roles the participants held, along the themes of Nurture, Enhance, Innovate, and Voice.

Sammie attended sessions based on ‘The Basics of Advocacy’, ‘Mastering Project Management’, and ‘Meaningful Youth Participation’, whilst Becky attended sessions such as ‘Mental Health in the Scouting and Guiding Context’, ‘Youth-Led Action on Climate Change’, and ‘Retaining and Inspiring Members through International Volunteering Experiences’.

As it was a Scouting and Guiding event, there was of course an international evening, where Becky and Sammie introduced the other nationalities to Percy Pigs, Kendal Mint Cake, and Jaffa Cakes. And a lot of cheese and chocolate was consumed from visiting the other stalls. Another evening was spent earning the German Scout licence by completing activities such as pitching the iconic German scout tent and learning a German campfire song.

Sammie says, “I learnt so much over the week and had a brilliant experience. I particularly took a lot from the WAGGGS leadership development session. I learned about the 10 leadership outcomes, and how they are behaviours rather than skills that make a great leader, such as – a leader can ‘treat herself kindly’ and ‘empower any and every girl to practise leadership’. It was really interesting to discuss how this framework isn’t just for being a good guiding leader, but a leader in the wider context of social, family and career areas. And how all member sections, even Rainbows, can be learning how to be leaders in their own lives at all ages. The WAGGGS website has some amazing resources about applying this framework at all section levels.”

Becky says, “The Academy was an amazing opportunity, and it gave me the chance to meet Scouts and Guides from across the world and learn how their organisations run. We shared experiences, successes from our programmes, our hopes for the future, and inspired each other through led-sessions and our free time. I attended workshops focused on driving our young members into shaping the future of our organisations, which inspired me to make changes in how I run my unit. We also shared games we play in our countries, which led to interesting evenings learning the rules!”

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