Gloucestershire County Commissioner recognised for her role empowering hundreds of girls and young women.
A Cheltenham Girlguiding volunteer has been honoured for her work supporting girls and young women over 34 years with the prestigious Girlguiding Laurel Award
Helen Welsh was presented with a specially-designed solid silver brooch in honour of her inspirational efforts by SW England Region Chief Commissioner Solange Rebours at a ceremony last weekend. Helen first became involved in guiding when she joined as a Brownie in Hampshire aged 7, became a Gloucestershire Girlguiding adult volunteer after moving to Cheltenham in 1981 and has volunteered ever since – providing amazing opportunities for girls and young women
Helen’s highlights during her time with Girlguiding include taking a group to a camp in South Korea, celebrating its Centenary with her Ranger Guides at the top of the Empire State Building, waving off a member of her unit who took part in a Tall Ships Race, and seeing many hundreds of girls grow in confidence and self-esteem as they completed things they didn’t know they could be capable of. More recently Helen has been leading a pioneering Holiday Brownies project giving girls waiting to join Brownies the chance to experience all that Brownies has to offer. Run by local students, many of whom are former members of Helen’s units, this new and flexible approach to Guiding is now spreading nationally. Helen’s current unit is also breaking new ground as it is a joint unit made up of local teens and students from the Star College. When Helen is not busy with her Gloucestershire Guiding, she also works on the world guiding stage training leaders, and helping them find ways to grow the organisations in their own countries.
Helen, said: "I’m extremely proud to receive this award. Volunteering for Girlguiding is such a rewarding experience and it’s been wonderful to work with so many young women and girls over the years and see the difference guiding makes to their lives. Guiding opens up so many fantastic opportunities for girls to grow in confidence and become a powerful force for good in their communities. I would like to dedicate this award to all of the girls and leaders in the UK, USA and wider world I have had the pleasure of knowing over the last 34 years."
Emily Green, 22, who attended Helen’s Senior Section Unit, was one of the first leaders of Holiday Brownies and is now volunteering with a charity in India during a gap year said: “being a member of Cheltenham Rangers opened up a lot of opportunities for me thanks to Helen. She inspired me to travel to places I had only dreamt of visiting, take organisational roles in events I never thought I could be a part of, and encouraged me to make an active impact in my community, both within Guiding and in other ways”
Chief Guide Gill Slocombe, said: “We are very proud of Helen’s contribution which has had a tremendous impact on the girls, volunteers and wider community that benefits from Girlguiding in S W England. Without dedication such as hers, we would not be able to offer the challenges, fun and friendship which are an integral part of belonging to Girlguiding.
In Gloucestershire there are currently over 450 girls who want to take part, and Girlguiding Gloucestershire needs lots more volunteers to give time to support their local groups.
By giving just one or two hours a week, volunteers can help local girls and young women enjoy a wide range of exciting activities, as well as acquire new skills and experiences – and have fun at the same time.
The charity welcomes volunteers of all backgrounds, ages, cultures, faiths and abilities. For more information about volunteering with Girlguiding, visit www.girlguiding.org.uk
Girlguiding gives girls and young women their own space to have fun, grow in confidence and discover their full potential. For more information, call 0800 1 69 59 01 or visit www.girlguiding.org.uk.
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.
A Brownie's perspective
I woke up at 4.06 in the morning as I was really excited. We had to be ready by 4.45am to go and collect Mia at 5am. We arrived at the station at 5.15am to get on the 5.30 train. As we set off we did an eye spy on the train booklet (by the end of the day we found most of them) Then we played a game and train surfed (making other people smile). As we walked we nearly fell over, Mia was being really funny.
We changed trains at Swindon to catch one to Paddington, London. I was going to sleep. Then me, Mia and my Dad had to go to first class to buy food. We had a croissant. We both listened to some music trying to get some sleep but we were too excited!
This was my first time to London and I had my first ride on the underground, we went from Paddington station to Victoria station. I stood up for most of it.
We had breakfast in a café near to Girlguiding headquarters, it was yummy!
After visiting Girlguiding headquarters we went for a little sightseeing. First we went to Buckingham Palace. We saw guards doing a funny march. The flag was up so the queen was there but we couldn’t see her looking out of her window. We went to watch the horse guards, they kept very still while everyone was trying to get a photo. When they got off the horse we saw them do a funny walk!
Next we went to Downing Street, we were talking to the police officers, they wanted to know who we were and if we would get a badge if we had a photo taken with them! We couldn’t go down the road as there were lots of ministers arriving. We also spotted Big Ben, the London Eye and a statue called Monty.
We made our way to Westminster Abbey, we were a bit early so we went into the shop, the lady in the shop was asking what we were doing in London and when we said we were there for the Thinking Day service she gave us both a chocolate coin. She said she remembered being a Brownie and Guide and carrying the flag.
We went and met up with two Rainbows, two Guides, two members of the Senior Section and their leaders. We also met Solange who is the South West Region Chief commissioner and Anna from Headquarters. Mia and I gave out Thinking Day cards to everyone that we had made. We had a tour of Westminster Abbey, the man showed us all the special things to look at. He told us who was buried there and we looked at lots of memorials.
We then went to the Evensong service and sat where the choir sings, it felt very special to be there. After we had a service with the scouts to remember Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Mia and I were chosen to lay the wreath with Angela who is the deputy Chief Guide. at first they didn’t have the flowers so we just had to bow our heads, then we placed the flowers on Lady Baden-Powell’s memorial.
Solange treated us all to a Black Cab ride to Zizzi’s, it was fun. Mia and I sat on the fold down seats and went backwards! When we were at Zizzi’s we met Gill the Chief guide. Solange and Gill gave us all a special badge. For tea I had a pizza it was really big but really delicious too, for pudding I had ice cream with popping candy!
We shared a cab with the Senior Section back to Paddington, they were really funny as they were counting down the time to their train and as soon as the door opened they ran as fast as they could to see if they could catch it – I wonder if they did?
It was a brilliant day, I really enjoyed it.
36th Cheltenham (St Nicolas) Brownies
A Leader's perspective
After receiving an email from the County Commissioners saying Gloucestershire had been asked to select one Brownie Leader and for her to choose two Brownies to go to Westminster Abbey for the Thinking Day service, you can imagine my shock, delight & excitement to find out it was me!!
We were told we would meet up with Solange (Chief Commissioner of South West Region) and there would be 2 Rainbows, 2 Brownies, 2 Guides and 2 senior section with their leaders.
On Saturday 20th February, my two Brownies (Samantha and Mia) and I caught the 5.30am train to London! On arrival to Paddington station we made our way to the underground. While travelling on the tube the girls tried a bit of “train surfing!!”
Breakfast time! Having found a little café near to HQ we stopped off for Breakfast, the girls tucked in while I panicked that the cooked breakfast would end up down their smart uniforms! The café owner was very impressed with the girls and gave us a discount for being in uniform!
Off we went for a quick visit to HQ, the girls had a look round the shop and bought a couple of treats with their pocket money before setting off for a bit of sightseeing. Some of the sights included Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Downing Street, Horse Guards, Houses of Parliament, London Eye and of course Westminster Abbey.
At one o’clock we started to meet up outside Westminster Abbey, Solange was there to meet us. Mia and Samantha handed out Thinking Day cards that they had made for everyone. We were then taken for a tour around Westminster Abbey, finding out lots and lots of interesting facts.
For the Evensong Service we were sat in the Quire stalls, not far from the male choir. It sounded beautiful.
We waited for the public to leave before being taken to the part of the Abbey where the memorials for Lord and Lady Baden-Powell are. We were joined by Angela Milln (Deputy Chief Guide) and the scouts for a short service and then Mia and Samantha were chosen to lay the wreath for Lady Baden-Powell.
After a quick photo shoot with everyone we were then treated to a black cab taxi ride (to the girl’s great delight!) to where we met Gill Slocombe (Chief Guide) for a meal.
We made our way back to Paddington station for our journey home – two very tired Brownies but who had both done themselves, myself, their pack and Girlguiding proud.
It was a fantastic day, with lots of great memories for the girls to cherish. They were very lucky to come away with special badges too. I would like to thank Helen and Carole for putting us forward and to everyone involved in the day making us feel very special and treating us to an enjoyable and memorable day.
36th Cheltenham (St Nicolas) Brownies
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.
We are delighted to say that one of our current County Commissioners who is due to step down from her post in May 2016 will not have time to draw breath before she takes on her next challenge. It has been announced today that from May 2016 she will become the new Region Chief Commissioner.
Well done Carole!
Upton St Leonard's Rainbows and Brownies held a Christmas Concert and presented Sarah Jones from the Royal British Legion with a cheque for £800. The girls raised the money by making and selling in the region of 500 crocheted and knitted poppies to family and friends. Well done girls!
On our Italian themed Baden Powell Adventure Weekend, we covered a wide range of activities, including pasta making. The pasta was very enjoyable, but unfortunately our pasta carrying skills were not as good as our pasta making skills and some ended-up on the floor! We got to discover the many different ways of booking a holiday by planning a virtual trip to Venice. As patrols we got to experience the responsibility of handling our own money and ordering our own food at a restaurant, which was very enjoyable and was a great chance to get to know one another. One of our outdoor activities was geocaching in which we were let loose in the countryside on our own to find boxes of treasure. We then spent our final hours making Venetian masks which showed us a snapshot of the culture of Italy as well as letting our creativity flourish. All in all the weekend was a great success and a lovely way to celebrate our achievements and get to know others who have done the same.
Written by Daniella and Josie, two of the Guides who attended the weekend
As a member of the WAGGGS European training and events team, I have been privileged to be working on both the European and World level in November and I would like to share some personal thoughts from the World conference on Growing Guiding. It's actually taking a while for them to settle in my brain. In the UK we help girls and young women develop their potential through Guiding and we have enormous numbers of girls led by exceptional leaders and supported by peer educators who grow up stronger and better equipped to face the world ahead.
In Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zambia – not only do they do this too, but they save lives too by giving girls the skills, knowledge and confidence to say no to violence, FGM, early marriage and child slavery. I feel humbled and amazed by both the young pioneers in emerging Movements and the ladies who have helped Guiding thrive in their countries through turmoil, war and awful threats to women's lives.
Over the next few weeks, I would like to give some real thought as to how I can support some of these organisations as they strive to meet the needs of even more girls in so much more challenging conditions than we will ever know. I feel sure out of this will come a new project and purpose at the end of my time as County Commissioner – Helen
Photo shows Pascaline from Rwanda with Helen, with all sorts of other international leaders in the mirror.
We would like to wish Sue Haines congratulations on being awarded with her 40 years award! Sue was presented with her award at Brownies as a surprise. We are sure that she has helped develop many, many girls and young women over her 40 years. Thank-you Sue for all you do for Guiding in Gloucestershire!
Above: Sue pictured with some of her Brownies.
A Senior Section member from Bishop's Cleeve organisaed a Christmas Celebration afternoon for the Leaders and Trefoil Guild members in the area. They really enjoyed themselves having tea, cake and sandwiches while watching 2nd Bishops Cleeve Rainbows and 1st Bishops Cleeve Brownies entertain them.
The girls had been hard working on a range of entertainment to go towards their entertainers badge (for brownies) and festivals badge (for rainbows). There were musical instruments such as violin, guitar and piano plus there were poems, dancing, gymnastics and acting. There was also some group songs that both the rainbows and Brownies sang together- 'Jingle bells' and a '12 Days of Christmas' Brownie Version, finishing off with 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas'. They also sang The Rain song which is where you use sounds like rubbing hands together, clicking, patting your legs and jumping, to make it sound like a rain and thunder storm - it sounded really good. The Leaders and Trefoil guild enjoyed the performances and were pleased with how well the Rainbows and Brownies behaved.
Later we also had a short Christmas quiz and a raffle.
Michelle says "The event was for my phase 3 Service in Guiding element for my Queens Guide Award. I had to take an active part in planning an event which involves at least 2 units. I did this by taking lead role for the event. I had help planning it with 1st Bishops Cleeve Brownie Leaders, Shirley & Dawn, and Bishops Cleeve District Trefoil member, Mary. They helped me with the catering, setting up the hall and the preparation leading up to the event. Also helping me on the day was Katherine (Bishops Cleeve District Rangers) and Jess (2nd Bishops Cleeve Guides) who helped serve tea and coffee and hand out raffle tickets while I ran the event. They also baked cakes too! And thanks to Dawn (one of Bishops Cleeve District commissioners) who also helped a lot with the catering for my event; baking cakes and helping make sandwiches. Please could you say a special Thank You to these people."
Rainbows, Brownies and Guides from across the country took part in Blue Peter's record breaking longest ever super hero cape. Members from over 100 units took part, including units in Gloucestershire.
Well done to 1st Yorkley Brownies and 11th Cheltenham Brownies for being invited to take part.
The cape celebrates the community action spirit of Guiding and measures over 44 metres!
To view the unveiling of the cape on Blue Peter (about 21 minutes into the show), click here.
To view the backstage footage of the cape, including a glimpse of each individual spot, click here.
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.
Beryl was born in the Forest of Dean and lived there throughout her life.
She was a Forest Guide, Guider, District Commissioner, then appointed County Commissioner - a first for Gloucestershire. She later became a Trefoil Guild member and then County President of Gloucestershire Trefoil and Chairman of County Fellowship.
But in more detail, especially as County Commissioner.
She was ready to take risks for the good of Guiding:
Beryl was good with people and had great ability to see potential in people and to appoint them to key positions - and to place her trust in them. This, linked with great powers of persuasion! I went one afternoon to see her concerning a problem in our Division. I came away as County Chairman of Training. When I asked her what the job entailed, she said ‘Not a lot,’ - I found out! There are many of you who found yourselves in the same situation and because of her confidence in you, rose to the occasion.
She was a good listener and confidante and I know that many personal as well as Guiding problems were shared with her. She was caring and concerned, a supporter of people and upheld the right and was generous with her time. She valued the time we all gave to Guiding, and when the County Youth Service was threatened with cuts because of finances, she calculated the number of hours given and what it would have cost if we were paid as youth service workers and not volunteers. It helped to save the day for the Youth Service.
As a driver she was notorious!-and there were many escapades. Returning from a County Executive meeting one night, after dropping off her passenger, she made her way home, except that she found herself off the road and rather deep in the forest. Eventually she was found by travellers, and rescued by them and husband, Colin. The travellers were invited to stay the night, but had gone next morning, leaving money for their hospitality. This happened about the time, following the resignation of Betty Jones, that she invited me to be her Assistant, or was it to be her chauffeur? We certainly travelled many miles together.
Above all, there was Beryl’s irrepressible humour, used to help us see things more clearly or to ‘prick the bubble,’ or simply to entertain. Some of you may recall the launch of the Guiding Manual to replace POR, a rule book for Guiding. It was the World Chief Guide who said we needed to free guiding from the Red Tape and replace it with Green Elastic. Beryl always tried to bend the rules if it was more helpful. To demonstrate this we had a symbolic burning of a copy of POR before handing out the Manuals -with some Green Elastic.
At a county event in the Forest, our speaker was Lady Juliet Townsend, the then Chief Commissioner. There was a degree of tension in the hall as Beryl stood on the stage, so we thought, to begin the proceedings. However, she began by saying, ‘If any of you heard that I was locked in the girls’ loos with the Caretaker last night, it is perfectly true!’ She then proceeded to open the meeting.
We had a county Weekend at Foxlease and as part of the Saturday evening entertainment there was an international element. Guiders created costumes representing various parts of the world. Beryl appeared some moments after everyone had assembled, dressed in her son’s Welsh Rugby kit and complete with cap. Everyone was helpless with laughter.
Just a little of the Humour and Fun she brought to Guiding.
However, what showed through all that she did was her steadfast Christian faith.
The Guide Association recognised work Beryl had bone in many areas of Guiding, both at home and overseas, by presenting her with the Beaver Award. This was richly deserved.
Beryl remained true to the Guide Promise made when she became a Guide, promising ‘on her honour to do her best’ and to be trusted to keep this promise. I do not believe that she ever betrayed that trust and this she expected of us all.
As Guides we learnt a rhyme which helped us remember the ten Guide laws:
A Guide is - Trustworthy. Loyal Helpful,
Sisterly, Courteous, Kind.
Obedient, Smiling, Thrifty,
Pure in Heart and Mind.
This I believe was Beryl -a true Guide and an example to us all.
We will all miss her.
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!
PLEASE NOTE: THIS BADGE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
17th Gloucester (SA) Girlguiding have created a messy challenge badge, guaranteed to bring extra giggles into your meetings or holidays. The challenge is suitable for all ages, with lots of messy activities, including craft, games, food and mud!
You can download the challenge pack below.
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