Hundreds of members of Girlguiding Gloucestershire enjoyed trips to LEGOLAND Windsor over the last couple of weekends, as part of a special Girlguiding SWE region event! Some Brownies were even lucky enough to sleep over before their day out in the adventure park. A fantastic time was had by all - here's a selection of photos showing just some of the exciting things we got up to!
District and Division Commissioners from across the county come together at the Girlguiding Gloucestershire Commissioner Conference to share ideas and learn new skills to help them in their roles. Several new commissioners were also presented with their badges by the County Commissioners - congratulations!
County Commissioner, Anne, says "It was fantastic to see so many of our Commissioners coming together. Lots of fun was had as well when they joined in with my Hippopotomus game! Thank you to each and every one of our Commissioners across the County for the vital role they play in helping us to Be Our Best."
To celebrate National Science Week 2017 we teamed up with Cheltenham Science Group who organised a wonderful science fair for Brownies in the County. 5 Units were were visited by CSG for 2 weeks this term where each Six learned about and demonstrated science experiments. It began with an evening of fun hands-on science activities. The girls experimented with harmonicas, investigated chromatography and modelled lungs. Then they had to come up with their own science demonstration. Following heats within their own pack, five teams qualified for the grand final that was held in Coronation Square during British Science Week. The girls explained their experiment to a judging panel including Prof. Adam Hart from the University of Gloucestershire, Countess Bathurst, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, Steve Mitchell from Business in the Community and Alex Chalk MP.
Before the event, Diane Paton from Ashchurch brownies said, “We are very excited about this and the girls have been working hard on their experiments.” The girls explained how pond skaters move across the water by using a paper clip to demonstrate surface tension. The judges thought it was an original idea and were impressed that the whole team were involved in the presentation. Lady Bathurst announced that this was the overall winner as it was the experiment that had taught her some new science.
Dr Lucy Clarke from Emmanuel brownies in Cheltenham says, “The girls have absolutely loved doing the science experiments.” Their entry to the final was an exploding rainbow. Birdlip brownies showed us how to clean copper coins and Bourton brownies created and painted a fantastic volcano so they could show off how vinegar and bicarbonate of soda react.
The competition was funded by a £1000 grant from the British Science Association as part of British Science Week. The second phase of the project will see each of the 5 packs visit the science centre in Coronation Square once it has been populated with exhibits. The Cheltenham Science Group team will also run a training session open to all Girlguiding Leaders to embed STEM activities into the Brownie programme.
"Bernadette and I have had the privilege of volunteering with 2nd Coleford Brownies for 5 years now! Last night we were both award with our 5 year award at our Division AGM & tonight we celebrated with Zumba!
I can't tell you all enough what a privilege it is to work with Magic Owl on a weekly basis & to have Girl Guiding as a family! It's so important that we continue to encourage and empower the girls we work with, no matter their age.
We all do such a fantastic job and I just want to say a big THANK YOU to you all for giving up you time (which is much more than just an hour a week), your money and, most importantly your energy. From someone who has been a part of Guiding since she was 5, the girls you work with are, and will be, grateful - I brownie promise!
PS. The girls loved our outfits!"
Charlotte Butcher, 2nd Coleford Brownies, Forest South Division
Last night, Rhiannon from 16th Cheltenham Guides had a special surprise visit from South West England Region Chief Commissioner, Carole.
Rhiannon was presented with the Chief Commissioner's Certificate of Commendation for her bravery and courage when the Bournside School coach she was travelling on was involved in an accident last summer, while in France on a school trip.
Rhiannon stayed calm and took action to made sure that the other pupils were safely off of the coach, including using her sleeping bag to protect them from broken glass and making sure they all had shoes on.
Huge congratulations to Rhiannon on such an incredible show of bravery and guiding spirit in such a challenging situation.
Our members have been busy celebrating World Thinking Day with all sorts of fun activities! World Thinking Day is a special day in the Girlguiding calendar, when we think about our 10 million sisters in guiding all across the world. Groups typically celebrate with activities to learn about other countries or the history of guiding, and often meet up with other local groups to help remind us that we're part of a huge global movement!
1st Yorkley Brownies were really proud to receive this letter from the Chief Guide this week. They have been nominated by our region for an award for our social action with Forest Pulse.
Lots of our members took part in remembrance parades all across the county. Many groups have also been undertaking their own acts of remembrance in their weekly meetings. Below are a selection of photos from some of today's parades.
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
The County Team are pleased to introduce our new President Sally Pullen.
Sally has her roots firmly planted in Gloucestershire. She is married to a farmer and they have a son, a daughter and six grandchildren.
She was a Non-Executive Director and Mental Health Manager with the former East Glos NHS Trust.
Her voluntary experience, has also been county based, including being a magistrate. She has worked with several local charities: Sue Ryder Hospice, Leckahmpton Court, Riding for the Disabled, WRVS, NSPCC and Friends of Gloucester Three Choirs Festival. She has been a Trustee with DART (Disabled Afloat Riverboat Trust) and LINC Leukaemia and Intensive Chemotherapy Fund). Currently she is a Trustee, Governor and Home Visitor with Barnwood Trust. In her spare time she enjoys the countryside, music, history of art and gardening.
cThis year, for the first time, Girlguiding Dursley District took on the task of organising the town's Bonfire night firework display. The town had been in danger of loosing it's annual fireworks display, which had previously been run by the local Round Table, unless someone else took it up and Girlguiding Dursley District rose to the challenge!
The event was held on 5 November and was attended by over 2500 local people and raised an amazing £8000+ for local charities and Williams Syndrome Foundation.
Local Leaders, parents, friends and family made up the teams who ran the stalls and the gates. Young members and their parents also baked lots of delicious cakes to sell to the crowds. Entertainment before and in between the fireworks was also provided by the local Rednock Swing Band.
Leaders who were involved have had some wonderful feedback from local people who attended the evening, with some saying that it was the best Fireworks display that they have been to in Dursley for many years.
Dursley District Co-Commissioner, Clare Fletcher said, "It was lovely to be able to bring this event back to the town and show everyone what Girlguiding can do. We had so much support from our members, their parents, local companies and the public, and thanks to them we raised so much more for our charities than we could have hoped for!"
Use Your Voice 2016, a 2-day democracy festival brought together 155 members of The Senior Section from all Regions and beyond, plus 70 volunteers. There were more than 50 sessions – workshops, talks, visits - across 8 venues together with 3 sleepovers and 1 once-in-a-lifetime event at City Hall.
The organisers said “We arrived with trepidation, ready to embrace the unknown; unsure of exactly what to expect, we took risks; we discovered, we grew. We left informed, equipped and inspired to use our voices, in the most vibrant, dynamic and innovative of ways.”
Two Girlguiding Gloucestershire members, Liza and Beth, from Coopers Hill, attended and shared their updates throughout the weekend:
"Having a great time at Use Your Voice 2016!! So far, we've done two fab workshops on body language expression, and making your voice heard through improv."
Girlguiding Gloucestershire members were invited to participate in the Spectacular Masquerade Ball organised by Wiltshire North and held in Royal Wootton Bassett. Over 20 Girlguiding Gloucestershire members attended and enjoyed a buffet meal, disco, sideshow games and displays from the archives, finishing off with a rendition of Happy Birthday. Some members then stayed overnight in a local Guide hut. It was a lovely to see all of the posh frocks and masks, and a really well organised event. Thanks are due to Wiltshire North for inviting us, and to the organising committee of Pam, Rebecca, Sam and Marybeth.
To help with the marking of the Senior Section Centenary, a display was held at St Mary’s Church in Newent during the Onion Fair. A large selection of old and current uniforms were on display, along with memorabilia, badges, books and flags. The oldest uniform was a Ranger uniform formerly worn by a Ranger from 10th Cheltenham Rangers. We had three flags on loan for the display, one of the flags was 1st East Gloucestershire Air Ranger Flight Flag that was kindly loaned from Jeannette McGhee.
We had a lot of visitors viewing the display, including the town Mayor, many visitors reminiscing there time as a Ranger, and we also attracted more young girls and potential leaders wanting to join either here in Gloucestershire or out of county. Two other special guests were Thelma and Tony Newell co-authors of The Consolidated Catalogue and List of U.K. and British Empire Girl Guide Badges who travelled from Devon. Their book was invaluable in helping to identify Ranger/Senior Section badges for the display.
A very big thankyou to Ricola and Carenza who helped during the display and talking to our many visitors. Without their help the display would not have been such a success. Another big thankyou is to Carole Pennington, S W England Regional Commissioner, Helen Welsh, Helen Murphy and last but by no means least a huge big thank you to Jeannette for allowing me to raid her Guiding archive and loan us many wonderful items for the display.
Jane Atkins PRA Tewkesbury Division and Pat Fazey Newent District President
Unit's from the County had an amazing time at Wellies and Wristbands at Foxlease over the bank holiday weekend.
This festival style event saw over 2500 Guides and Senior Section members from across the Country enjoy a weekend of exciting and adventurous activities in the day time and live music in the evenings.
Click here for information about Wellies and Wristbands 2017!
This year’s county Intops trip spent a whirlwind eight days touring France and Belgium. Three Leaders, nine Guides and one gnome named Bernard walked a total of 88.8 miles. Here is a run-down of the holiday:
Day one began by each member of the team getting themselves to Gloucester bus station for 4:20am. This was a heavy day for travelling, which included travelling by car, coach, foot, tube and Eurostar to Brussels. We managed to get soaked in rain when just about two minutes from our hostel, which was entertaining. That evening we simply explored the local area and found some dinner.
On day two we started looking for the famous comic strip murals, one of the key things that the Guides wanted to do whilst in Brussels. Another activity that they chose was visiting Mini Europe. As it happens, on Saturdays during August there is “Mini Europe by Night.” This meant that we could go and enjoy the Atomium, Mini Europe’s miniature iconic buildings and then stay until midnight. We stayed until after the firework display, which was well worth the late night.
To be kind to ourselves, we had a slightly lazy morning on day three. We split into three groups and asked the Guides to decide on where we should visit. One group visited Elisabeth Park, one group visited the palace and gardens and one group visited a beguine church and had a lovely time talking to locals. That evening some of the Guides chose to sample the local funfair, while others stayed in the hostel to avoid spending money on rides!
Day four was another incredibly busy day. We began by making our way to the EU Parliament for a talk and tour. It was really interesting to find out more about the EU, and wonderful to see the rooms where meetings take place. There was also some lovely artwork in the building. We then ate our picnic lunch in the park before bumping into a group of Scout Leaders from Germany, France and Belgium. They were in Brussels for the day and were working on a project about what Europe means to young people so asked us if we had time to stop and chat. Of course we did! From there, we then collected our belongings from our hostel and made our way to the station ready for our train to Bruges.
We had one full day in Bruges, day five. Again we asked the Guides to lead the sightseeing. This trip has certainly developed their map-reading skills. However, there are only so many chocolate shops you can visit before becoming numb to it all. The Guides might feel differently about this though!
Day six was our third big travel day. We got up nice and early, to get ready for our first train. Next stop Paris! We left our main bags at the left luggage and found a nice park for lunch. We then embarked on a two-hour walk across the city to get a good view of the Eiffel Tower. Many a selfie was taken! From there, we caught the metro back, collected our bags and headed off to our Disney hotel. The looks on the Guides’ faces when we arrived at the Explorers’ Hotel, having spent five nights in hostels, was priceless. There were squeals of “we have a bath mat!” and “we have a bath!” to be heard.
The morning brought with it the fun of Disney. All in all, we spent 14 hours at the park and studio. The park seemed fairly quiet, so the Guides were able to go on most of the rides that they wanted to: Rocking’ Roller Coaster, Armageddon, Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Pirates of the Carribean to name just a few. There were even a few nice, tame rides for me! The group was able to take in some shows while we were there too, including the Cinemagique show which travelled through time using clips from films such as Mary Poppins, Highlander, Titanic and many more…
Our final day came far too quickly. From the hotel, we travelled back to the left luggage facilities and then caught the metro so that we could have lunch at the Arc du Triomphe. We then took the metro back to Gare du Nord station ready to check in for our Eurostar train back to the UK. Our return journey passed with many a giggle, snore and memory shared. The Guides went home happy and tired, excited to tell their families and fellow Guides about their experiences.
If you would like to know more about future county Intops trips, either as a Leader, Assistant Leader or for information about putting forward participants, please contact Gloucestershire Guiding’s International Advisor, Alison Frusher.
Written by Susan Higgs, Intops Leader 2016
It’s still sinking in that I have achieved the highest award in Guiding and I’m a Queen’s Guide! The award is split into five sections: service in Guiding, outdoor challenge, personal skill development, community action and a residential. By making a realistic plan in the beginning and pushing myself to achieve the goals I set out, I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. Here is a sample of what I got up to:
I planted trees in Pittville Park
I joined Cheltenham Tree Group which involved weeding and spreading mulch on Leckhampton Hill and planting saplings in Pittville Park at weekends. It’s been really enjoyable walking past the saplings knowing I planted them and seeing them grow. After this, I created a presentation of my experience and also how it reflects internationally with deforestation to my Guide group who then, in turn created mini felt trees.
I explored Brixham, Paignton & Dartmouth
I went down to Devon for 4 days with 3 of my friends where we explored the area by doing activities beginning with every letter of the alphabet! For example, we went to the Beach, played Monopoly, visited the Zoo, walked around a Nature trail, stayed in a Caravan and much more!
The Queen’s Guide Award has been an incredible journey. I’ve grown and developed so much as a person and would recommend anyone even considering the award to go for it. You won’t regret it!
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