On 21st May The Friends of Deer Park held an Open Day and Barn Dance to raise money for our County HQ. Despite the heavy rain during the day, many Leaders, friends, family and supporters of Girlguiding came ad danced the night away to the live band. Thank you to those who organised these events and everyone who came to support them.
Girls from the Newent District Girlguiding have returned home from an exhilarating weekend trip to TRAC in Malswick. They took part in a host of exciting adventures during their trip including aiming to complete 100 of many tasks such as learning 100 words in other languages, completing 100 burpees and 100 star jumps. The weekend also included pedalos, zip wire, go karts, yoga, zumba, crafts and the more traditional guiding events such as campfire and a wide game. Nearly 100 members of Newent District Guiding joined together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Senior Section last weekend. From the youngest section of Guiding, Rainbows (aged 5-7), through Brownies and Guides to Senior Section (ages 15-26) and their leaders (ages 26 to 71). When asked what her favourite part had been, Celete, a Rainbow from Newent, aged 6, replied that the best thing was meeting all the different people. The group’s leader, Sian Green, said: “The trip to TRAC was a great chance for the girls to get away and make new friends, and enjoy each other’s company in a safe, girl-only space. “All the girls told me how much they enjoyed themselves.” The group of 5 who learnt the most languages could say 129 words! 14 different languages were learnt by another group. "In total 2557 star jumps, 247 push ups, 121 ski jumps, 181 tricep dips, 254 burpees, 751 superman stretches, 207 shuttle runs and 524 forward rolls were completed, so they certainly succeeded in the aim to complete the centenary!" said District Commissioner, Sian Green.
A very noisy coach load of Guides and their Leaders from Dursley District headed to London to watch the musical Wicked. They had a quick walk to see Buckingham Palace and Trafalger Square, before heading to the Victoria Apollo Theatre for a magical show.
Five Brownies and their parents (including one of our Leaders!) from 36th Cheltenham (St Nicholas) Brownies went to the South West England Region Roadshow today. It took place at the Bristol Athletics Academy and the girls had great fun with lots of sporty activities.
Meet Suki (left) and Sian (right). They, along with more than 20 Senior Section members from across the County, have headed off on the Celtic Cities Challenge. Watch the blog post unfold over the next few days as some head to Edinburgh, the others head to Cardiff and they all meet up once again at our County Headquarters, Deer Park, near Cheltenham for the final part of their adventure.
Day one #TeamSuki: The great train ride
Team Suki are heading to Edinburgh by train. They met up at Cheltenham Station and boarded for the long four and a half hour journey ahead. They have puzzle packs to keep them entertained plus a camera and a mascot, what else would you need?! Friendship bracelet making proves a great distraction from the long journey and Suki gets up to all sorts of shenanigans!
They arrive safely at Edinburgh station, posing long enough for a photo before heading for the youth yostel that is to be home for the next couple of nights. Suki hunts down fish and chips for everyone for tea before leading the way to The Edinburgh Ceilidh Club. There the girls soak up the atmosphere and dance the night away to some fantastic music.
Day two #TeamSuki: Edinburgh
Team Suki are up and leaving the Youth Hostel. They off to explore Edinburgh - the challenge has begun! They spend the day completing the various challenges, including squeezing into a phone box, hugging a tree and seeking out a Van Gogh. Sightseeing is also on the agenda and the team manage to spot Edinburgh Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle and Edniburgh's Jenners department store. They also manage to follow in Her Majesty The Queen's footsteps and jump on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. Belinda Bear, who had also come along for the ride, popped into the Girlguiding Scotland Scottish Headquarter's and Shop and bought the girls all a souvenir of their adventures - a badge of course! Dinner tonight consisted of the trandition haggis with neeps
Day three #TeamSuki: Heading to Cowley
This morning the team have a bit of a lie in but are still up, beds stripped, breakfasted and out to see a little bit more of this amazing city before boarding the train for the long ride back to Cheltenham. Suki is looking forward to meeting Sian.
Day one #TeamSian: A drive to the seaside
Team Sian are heading to Cardiff by car. Someone accidentally packs Sian in the boot, she is not amused!! However they have made it to the great Barry Island near Cardiff and are sunning themselves on the beach! They enjoy a bit of crazy golf and building sand art before have a fish and chip supper on the beach in the sun.
Back at Caeglas, the group enjoy a quiz night with the Soup Dragons claiming victory. Before long though, they have their first casualty of the adventure. Sian lost her welly, leg and all!
Day two #TeamSian: Cardiff
Team Sian are up and ready for the day! Today they head into Cardiff itself. They are catching the bus and keep the locals amused whilst keeping themselves warm at the bus stop by making the word Cardiff using only their bodies. Once in Cardiff, they start n the challenge. They visit Techniquest, the local science museum, where some of the tasks prove a litte complex, but much fun was had with the light box and the thermal imaging camera. They also took a ride on a boat around the harbour which everyone enjoyed.
Day three #TeamSian: Sightseeing before heading to Cowley
Team Sian have had a more leisurely start this morning, cleaning up the holiday home before they can set out for the day's fun. A quick selfie in the car before the head to St Fagan's National History Museum, a wonderful museum feature the history of Welsh life through the ages. Before leaving Cardiff behind the team take a tour of the Principality Stadium, the iconic venue for sports, concerts, exhibitions and conferences. They then start the journey back to Gloucestershire, eager to find out what Team Suki have been up to.
Day three #TeamSuki & #TeamSian reunited at Deer Park
Team Suki have returned on the train and team Sian via car and everyone taking part in the Celtic Capitals Challenge have been reunited at our County Headquarters at Deer Park, near Cheltenham. They finish the evening with a good old fashioned campfire around the wood burning stove. Thanks to Christine for leading the singing.
Day four #TeamSuki & #TeamSian A final fling!
It's the last day of our adventures together but there's still time to queeze in a little more fun! We make memory frames to remind us of our time together and get messy with finger painting to create a Senior Section Spectacular logo. But soon the times comes for us to disperse back to the corners of the County from whence we came. Thank you to the organising team for helping us create these amazing memories.
We will continue to update this post sharing the goings on of the Senior Section throughout their trip.
Photos from events around the county, celebrating World Thinking Day 2016 and helping connect all 10 million guiding members worldwide!
Girls from the Senior Section in the County headed to Alexandra Palace in London for Spark, the spectacular national event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Senior Section. Here are a few photos of what they got up to.
Yorkley Brownies celebrating Chinese New Year in style by cooking a feast and eating together. Dim Sum, sweet and sour chicken, stir fry noodles and vegetables in plum sauce.
Members from all sections and all corners of the county came together today for a day of fun, all in the name of "Performing Arts."
From scarf juggling to unicycle riding, from drumming to singing, our members enjoyed a wide range of activities, building their musical skills, communication skills and confidence.
Guides from across the County embarked on a day out to London's SSE Wembley Arena for the Big Gig, Girlguiding's very own pop concert. Girls from Amberley, Quedgeley, Dursley, Salem, Hatherley, Mersey Hampton and Battledown travelled by the coach loads to join 20,000 members of Girlguiding including Guides, Senior Section and Leaders.
Ella Henderson took headline spot with other acts including Gabriella Aplin, Aston from JLS and Gloucester ex-The Wanted band member Nathan Sykes. Each act brought their own style and personality to the event and the girls spent 2 hours bopping to the fantastic music.
"Ella Henderson was the best because she interacted with the crowd" says Emily, 13
"Jagmac was the best because they were a family and the dancing brought great vibes to the arena" says Lauren, 12
"It was a really joyful experience because you got to see loads of different singers at one concert" says Heather, 10
The day was made extra special for some girls as they made their Guide or Senior Section promise and one Leader was even presented with her Adult Leadership during the event.
Dursley District Guides & Senior Section make it into the Gazette
35th Cheltenham (Salem) and 18th Cheltenham Guides make it into the Gloucestershire Echo
Yorkley Brownies were out and about busily finishing off some good deeds in the community this weekend.
They delivered 25 bags of books, clothes and toys to the British Red Cross to help them in their work supporting people in crisis at home and abroad.
They also visited Forest Pulse, a fabulous local group for children with additional needs, who they are forging links with. On this occasion they handed over a cheque for £118 from their sponsored walk. The Brownies have been keen to spend time together with the Forest Pulse children, not just send money, so they joined them at an activity play session and swimming, as well as having them join the Brownies for a Making Pizza night at their meeting last week.
Both groups seem to be really enjoying and benefiting from being together from time to time.
Leader Emma says "I am really shouting out for our girls! They have been ace and their parents very supportive for our activities."
Well done to you all!
Bright and early on a Saturday morning 38 girls and leaders from around Gloucestershire embarked on a mission in the capital. Tasked with getting photographed with as many different methods of transport as possible, we roamed around London for the day, with bonus challenges to complete.
The eight different teams came up with some imaginative ideas including handstands, gravity, sedan chairs and a racing mono-ski, as well as the more conventional buses, trains and Boris bikes! For the bonus challenges teams took photographs outside tourist attractions such as Downing Street and Trafalgar square as well as guiding locations like Baden-Powell House, Pax Lodge and Girlguiding CHQ.
It was lovely to see the wide variety of ages and roles taking part; from rangers to young leaders and a couple of adult leaders too! Some teams met on the day and had the extra fun of meeting new Senior Section members to complete the challenge together. The winning team managed to get photographs of a whopping 78 different forms of transport and completed six of the eight bonus challenges! It was a fabulous event to prepare Gloucestershire for the Senior Section Spectacular and we hope to see many more of you there next time! A massive thank you goes to Sarah Jones (Youth Participation Team Leader) for organising the event!!
Check out the Senior Section Facebook group for the highlights of the trip from the teams
themselves and to keep up to date with our future events!!
Charlotte Moore and Belinda Murphy (Senior Section Exec and 2nd place team members!)
It was a cold Friday evening in mid-September but that didn't stop 10 Guides, 1 Brownie and the County's outdoor team from coming together to camp for the weekend at our County's Deer Park, near Cheltenham. The girls, many of whom did not know another sole at the camp, soon made friends and worked hard to earn either their Camper or their Camper Advanced badges. They had fun playing getting-to-know-you games and a wide game as well as taking part in the Low Ropes and Archery activities available on site.
It is safe to say that a fantastic weekend was had by all the girls and Leaders alike and everyone went away learning something new. Even two of our experienced Leaders learnt that you can scour a grotty pan with the aid of some grass!!
Cheltenham Girlguiding FESTIVAL-GOERS give it some welly!
A group of Guides from Cheltenham have returned from four days of high-adrenaline activities, expert football training and entertainment from top pop quartet Only the Young. They attended Wellies and Wristbands, a fantastic girl-only festival exclusively for Girlguiding members over the bank holiday weekend (28-31 August).
14 members of 17th Cheltenham (Bethesda) Guides travelled to Foxlease in Hampshire to join more than 2,000 Girlguiding festivalgoers for the action-packed extravaganza.
This year’s festival included a unique opportunity for girls to develop their football
skills with some of England’s top female players – at special FA coaching sessions held over the weekend.
Thrill-seekers had their pick of the adventurous activities on offer at Foxlease.
In the evening they were entertained by former X Factor band Only the Young on the main stage, as well as a host of local bands.
Among the activities the Cheltenham group, chose to try out were such as football goalkeeper skills, whizzing through the trees on a zip wire, being a monkey climbing trees, making a leap of faith on a trapeze and lazing in the hot tub.
Erin, 11 said: “I enjoyed getting stuck in the mud, being with my friends in the hot tubs and having a go at the zip wire.”
Annie, 13 said: “I have really liked the activities and watching the concerts, especially meeting the performers and getting things signed.”
Millie, 11 said: “I really enjoyed pretending to be a monkey by climbing a tree and making karate poses on the top of a pole but the biggest thing was falling over in the mud when I got stuck, there was mud everywhere."
This weekend older Guides had a CSI themed Baden Powell Award Adventure at Deer Park with Guides from Glos, Wilts, Berks, Oxon & Cardiff. They solved a Murder Mystery, took part in a low ropes challenge and helped out with some wood collecting and splitting - to name just a few of their challenges! Well done, Guides! You're well on your way to earning the highest award a Guide can reach! Keep going!
On Saturday 22nd August a group of 12 members of Girlguiding Gloucestershire departed for a fantastic week in Switzerland.
After a flight from London to Zurich we traversed Switzerland by train, arriving in the pretty town of Interlaken. We spent 3 nights in the Youth Hostel, with beautiful views of the mountains, river and trains, and explored the local area.
The following morning we ventured up the mountain – taking 3 different trains to reach the top of the Jungfraujoch – the highest railway station in Europe, at 3571 metres. We managed to see the view for a few minutes, before the clouds came down, and then the icy hail/snow fell, stinging our faces, with a temperature of -1degrees. Forced inside we explored the sculptures in the Ice cave, and the tunnels through the mountain before returning back down to Interlaken.
That evening we met up with the Interlaken Scout group and had dinner with them in their Scout Hut. They were so welcoming, providing us with a fantastic Raclette dinner followed by games outside, laughter and swopping of gifts. The older adults amongst us were stunned to find that the Swiss Scout Association starts training the scouts as leaders from the age of 12, with leaders only being allowed to volunteer until they turn 25.
The following day was shared between a trip to the Grand Cafe Schuh and a visit to the Trummelbachfalle. The Head Chef/Chocolatier in the Grand Cafe Schuh showed us how the chocolates were made by hand, before we sampled them and spent our money on gifts to take home. We then took a train and a bus to visit the Trummelbach waterfalls. The falls collect the glacial water from the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, where it flows in cave systems inside the mountain, at 20,000 litres per second – a deafening and amazing spectacle.
We finished Monday by taking the cable car up the opposite mountain towards Murren – a first experience for some of the group – but not one everyone enjoyed!
On Tuesday we left Interlaken and took more trains and buses across to Adelboden, to spend the following 4 nights at our World Centre ‘Our Chalet’. On the way we called in to see Mr Trummer the woodcarver, and purchased our trefoil badges and ate lemon cake in the sunshine. We found the outside toilet with the best view across the valley, taking turns to stand on tiptoe in the toilet and take photos through the heart shaped window!
During the next few days we experienced the beautiful surroundings, exhausting hills and Guiding friendship that make Our Chalet the special place it is. We stayed in the Spycher House, with all the girls in the attic, with beds in rows like the 8 Dwarfs! We shared meals and activities with the International staff, groups from America, Canada, and Wales, and had a fantastic time. Our onsite day included a welcome flag ceremony, where we all received our pewter ‘Our Chalet’ pins, campfire cooking, orienteering, recycling awareness and getting to know our surroundings. The International night saw us dressed up in our winter and wet weather gear, reciting a poem about the rainy British weather – much appreciated by the American group!
We visited the Rehari adventure park, where we traversed the river 12 times each, attached to a zip wire, and watched some of the girls jump off a bridge over the river, attached to the pendulum swing – which Mirren decided to do in the most unusual upside down position (heart in mouth time for the leaders!). This was followed by climbing up the rock face, before huffing and puffing back up the very long and steep hill to Our Chalet.
Fritz came up from the village with his Alpine horn to help us celebrate ‘Swiss night’. He played it beautifully and we all joined in singing songs including Amazing Grace and the Bernese Oberland anthem of ‘Vogellisi’ before competing in a quiz about ‘all things Swiss’, and winning the prize of Chocolate Fondue.
Our last day at Our Chalet found us taking the Funicular railway to the top of the Niesen Mountain, at 2336m. We climbed right to the top and ate ice cream whilst admiring the view. We then took the steamer boat across Lake Thun, to visit the beautiful fairytale castle at Oberhofen. The sun was hot, the sky was blue, and more ice cream followed!
That evening we hiked in the twilight to visit the Bonder waterfalls. We were joined by the Canadian Ranger group, and listening to the girls chatting, swapping stories and experiences whilst walking in the dark was fantastic. This was followed by a badge swopping session – and lots more chatting.
Saturday saw us waving goodbye to Our Chalet and walking down the hill to the bus stop, where one bus and 2 trains took us back to the airport to fly home. Just before boarding the bus we were delighted to see the farmers bringing the cows down off the mountains, walking the herd along the main roads, with their cow bells clanging loudly. The girls chatted together like they had known each other for a lifetime, and we were all sad to say goodbye when we reached home.
We would like to thank everyone who helped us with the fundraising / donations for this trip. We had an amazing time and experienced Guiding at its best – and it couldn’t have been better.
The 'Dream Team' had an amazing time in California this summer. California Dreamin' 2 camp was very well organised and not very dis-similar to camps we have been on before - just a whole lot hotter and not at all wet! There were 400+ Girl Scouts and Guides on camp, ranging from 10 years to 18 years from right across the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. We were organised into sub camps, ours Yosemite. We shared our sub camp with girls from Australia, Lancashire and a local troop from literally down the road!
We enjoyed off site activities, including whale watching, Alcatraz and learning to surf. We had whole camp excursions to San Francisco for a scavenger hunt and beach time at Santa Cruz. These were a much appreciated respite from the heat.
We also had on site activities which including crafts, belly dancing and Zumba - fun in 45 degree heat! A cultural exchange afternoon, where we shared M&S Percy pigs and rolled babybel cheeses down a cardboard Coopers Hill - much to the bemusement of our fellow campers!
Our few days in San Francisco and Los Angeles were great, with highlights including Universal Studios, Cheesecake Factory, limo tour of LA and time on the beach at Santa Monica.
Once we had departed Heathrow (experiences for another day) our trip was uneventfully and came in on budget. The girls and County will be refunded most of the contingency money.
The girls were a great bunch and got along really well together. They are a credit to Girlguiding Gloucestershire.
My jamboree journey started back in August 2013, when I saw an advert on the GOLD Facebook page. I made a note of when the applications opened, filled in my form and waited without really expecting to hear anything. Having never been involved in large scale Scouting events or a World Scout Jamboree before, I didn’t think I stood much chance of being selected.
Thankfully for me, I received an invitation to the South West Region selection weekend in February 2014. The selection involved working in a group to plan a potential jamboree activity, helping to build a campfire circle and a formal interview. Again, when I attended the selection weekend I went ready for a fun few hours but not expecting to be offered a place at the jamboree.
Imagine my excitement (my colleagues did not have to imagine this, as they heard me screaming in the corridors at work) when the email came through inviting me to join the IST team for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree! I had very little idea of what I was letting myself in for, but I knew that it was something that was not to be missed.
I spent the following 16 months fundraising, which included applying for grants, selling badges and visiting Units across Gloucestershire to run Japanese-themed sessions. I found it quite a challenge fundraising for the Jamboree and this was, in part, due to the fact that I didn’t know what kind of role I would have when I arrived there. When I visited the Units and spoke to the members, I joked about not wanting to spend two weeks cleaning toilets. Little did I know that for some IST members, this was a reality!
The first stop in Japan was ISTokyo, a two-day event where 885 members of the UK IST team explored Tokyo. Included in the itinerary was a meal at a traditional Japanese restaurant which had entertainment such as a sumo wrestling demonstration (who knew sumo wrestlers were so flexible!), a visit to the earthquake centre and a trip up the 634m tall Tokyo Sky Tree.
Once our ISTokyo was completed, we then had the mammoth task of boarding a bullet train. Normally, getting Scout and Guide Leaders to board a train is nothing unusual. However, getting Scout and Guide Leaders to board a bullet train 300 at a time, carrying large bags and rucksacks, with only 90 seconds to do it in is quite unusual! We’ve been told that we made the national news.
Our bullet train took us to Hiroshima, when we were privileged enough to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Reading through the eye witness accounts and seeing the burned and melted artefacts was both harrowing and uplifting. To see such devastation alongside inspirational stories of hope was quite moving. Outside, we then explored the Peace Garden, saw the hundreds of paper cranes and had time to see landmarks such as the A-Bomb Dome. One key message came out of the memorial Museum and Garden: never again. Scouts from the jamboree were chosen to attend the 70th anniversary memorial on August 6th.
From Hiroshima, we made our way to the Jamboree site in Kirarahama, Yamaguchi. Arriving at 7pm, our first evening was spent registering, having our Safe From Harm certificates checked and putting up a multitude of tents. The first few days were a blur of trainings, making sense of the huge jamboree site and tightened guy ropes to ensure that the tents weren’t blown away by the forecasted tropical storm. Luckily, we survived the storm with only a little light rain.
The opening ceremony signalled the formal beginning of the jamboree. Seeing the flags of each represented nation brought onto the stage was like watching part of an Olympic opening ceremony! The majority of the 8,000 strong IST volunteers and 24,000 Scouts and Leaders joined together to celebrate the start of the jamboree. Scouts and Leaders across the world were also able to watch the ceremony live online so that they could also be involved.
July 30th brought with it the start of the programme for the Scouts and Guides, and the start of my proper work. I was lucky enough to be part of the calligraphy team. This meant that I worked with and made friends with IST volunteers from Japan, the UK, Sweden, Bulgaria, Korea and Slovenia. I have also picked up a lot of the theory of Japanese calligraphy and can now read a few basic characters.
Being part of this team also meant that I was lucky enough to meet Scouts from many different cultures and countries as well as have some free time to explore the jamboree site. Or hide in any shade available as the high temperatures and humidity were difficult to handle.
The jamboree continued until the closing ceremony on 7th August. The closing ceremony featured a Japanese pop group called °C-ute as well as the obligatory playing of the jamboree song, Come Together Now. It was only really at the closing ceremony that I saw the real scale of the 23rd World Scout Jamboree and its reach across the Scouts and Leaders who were present. The key moment for me was listening to the UN Secretary General’s Envoy for Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan, deliver a message from Ban Ki-Moon was just incredible.
The following day, I helped the transport team to help see off the 24,000 Scouts onto their buses to take them to the train station and beyond. Thankfully, they didn’t all arrive at the same time! On Sunday 9th August, it was our turn to leave. We departed from the jamboree site at 7am, having taken down our tents and removed all signs of us having been there.
I had signed up for a post-jamboree tour, so spent the next five days travelling around Japan. As part of the tour, we visited the Itsukushima Shrine and Hall of 1,000 Mats on the island of Miyajima. We visited the 5th station on Mount Fuji and had free time in Tokyo where a group of us visited the Imperial Palace Gardens and did plenty of souvenir shopping!
Of course, the jamboree wasn’t just about the holiday and shopping. It was about playing a part in the development of global Scouting and Guiding and ensuring that the participants received the opportunity of a lifetime that they signed up for. The Scouts who I spoke to all talked at length about their jamboree experiences and how much they were enjoying it.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me in this project, by helping with my fundraising or listening to my endless jamboree stories!
15th Gloucester Brownies & 1st Severn Robins Senior Section
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