4th Hucclecote Brownies had some VIPs visiting their end of term campfire on 12th July. But they weren't the star of the evening. Regional Commissioner, Carole and County Commissioner, Karen presented Chloe Henderson, a very special Brownie, with her GUIDING STAR AWARD! Not many girls receive this national award, which rewards bravery and determination in challenging situations.
Chloe has Cerebral Palsy which meant she could not stand unsupported and used a frame to help her walk. This did not stop her joining Hucclecote Rainbows when she was 5 and making a huge contribution to the unit. Chloe was always willing to have a go at anything new however difficult it was. Her friendliness welcomed new comers and helped them settle in easily. Her openness about her walker, broke down barriers that often exist when confronted with disabilities.
In 2015 Chloe moved up to Brownies and has continued being an active member of the unit. She has attended Sleep overs, Division Activity days, Remembrance parades and Thinking Day celebrations. Chloe's Leader, Tracy wrote 'Chloe is always willing to share her own experiences to educate others. This was invaluable when we worked through the ‘Free Being Me’ resources. Chloe was able show that we are all special and should respect each other.'
In the Summer of 2016, Chloe underwent several operations that could help her to walk and stand unaided. But writing that statement does not covey the years of struggle and disappointment Chloe and her family went through just to get to there. Chloe had previously gone through a successful, three year process to see if Selective Dorsel Rhizotomy (SDR) would be a benefit; only to be told that NHS funding had been stopped! Even through this disappointment Chloe remained positive and never complained. Her family's support and determination led to a massive fundraising project to allow the operation to go ahead privately. It shows the impact Chloe has on her fellow Brownies and Rainbows, that when we suggested a cake and craft sale in aid of the appeal, they all agreed and wanted to help. The sale was well attended and raised over £400.
The operation was only the start. Chloe has spent the time since then, and will continue to do so going forward, on long physiotherapy and swimming sessions. Chloe has had to learn how to walk and stand and do things for herself that all 8 year olds take for granted.
Chloe is also a budding singer and dancer; becoming the first disabled child in the country to take and pass her pre-primary ballet award, using her walking frame. Chloe has always loved watching the Gang Show performances, with our unit trips and last October took part herself in the County Guiding Show. County Commissioner, Karen wrote in her support for Chloe's Guiding Star application, 'Chloe was one of the stars of our Girlguiding County Show in October. Chloe's contribution and her smile engaged everyone in the audience. I was so proud of her achievement and also proud to be part of an organisation that was giving her opportunities to grow and have fun!'
Chloe was nominated for the Guiding Star Award not just because of all she has gone through in her shorty life, but for the way she lives up to her Guiding Promise every day. Liza, Chloe's Divisional Commissioner wrote, 'Despite all the reasons she has not to try, Chloe still does. She tries every single day. She smiles every single day. She cheers us up every single day. She sees through every day with bravery and determination, never once even considering an excuse.'
Recently Chloe has taken her first steps unaided and only needs two sticks to help her now. Seeing her stride across the main field towards the campfire, unaware that the evening was to honour her, made me smile. When anyone meets Chloe, it is not her disability that they see first, it's her enormous smile and you can not help but smile back. That is why I started the nomination process and am so proud of Chloe for receiving her Guiding Star Award.
Our Annual Review of 2016 took place at All Saints' Academy in Cheltenham where we were joined by Leaders & Commissioners from across the County as well as our Region Chief Commissioner, Carole Pennington, and a variety of dignitaries and special guests.
Visitors had the opportunity to view a variety of displays from Divisions, County Events, International trips, etc. as well as browsing some fundraising stalls to support future International Experiences. We then joined together in the main hall to celebrate everything that we have done in Gloucestershire in the last year. We were also delighted to award Sarah Norton from Wotton-under-Edge our County Award, Jeannette McGhee from the Forest of Dean and Ann Jackson from Cheltenham a Thanks badge for all their efforts in getting Go ready to migrate to the new system as well as Long Service awards and a Trainers pin.
We would like to say a particular thank you to Louise and Ella, two of our Senior Section members who went to Finland in 2016 as part of a Region International trip, who gave a presentation about their trip.
Below are the presentations we gave at the event, one is a general Annual Review 2016 and the other focuses on the fantastic Senior Section Spectacular events which our County members took part in, both on a County level and beyond.
We received this lovely letter of thanks from the Mayor of Gloucester
A big 'Well Done' to Bishops Cleeve District Rangers (Senior Section)!
A fantastic celebration took place on Friday for all the hard work they have been doing to achieve awards and badges - from the Chief Guide award and Baden Powell Challenge to Look wider Octants and camping badges!
Carole Pennington, our South West Region Chief Commissioner, was invited to the event and handed out the Chief Guide Award to the Rangers who had completed it. She also surprised us all and the Rangers received a special Region commissioner badge too!
Thank you for spending the evening with us.
Three new members of our Ranger Guide unit (Senior Section) were welcomed and they made there promise at the event.
We hope that more girls aged 14+ will join the unit - plan your own programs, go on camps, international opportunities, work towards awards such as Chief Guide, Queens Guide and Duke of Edinburgh Awards and just have a space to socialize and chill out from school work or exams. If you are interested please let us know!
"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.
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.
Cheltenham Rangers had a great end of term BBQ (thanks to the National Star College students for organising not just the food but their College chef to cook for us) then we enrolled 7 new girls. It was lovely to have Anne Cadbury - a supporter of both Guiding and Star College and Karen McFarlane along to join in the evening. First time I have had a promise made to me using a voice synthesizer - great job Zoe! A video may follow. We also awarded lots of Octant badges and certificates to Emma and Millie who are both well on their way to getting their Chief Guide's Award.
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.
On the 12th of September 2015 our County Commissioners accompanied six of our amazing Leaders to the Region's Compass Award celebrations. These Leaders were nominated by their peers for the award because of the great Guiding they are delivering to girls and the support they offer to other Leaders in many, many ways.
Claire has been a Leader since 2001. During that time she has been a Rainbow Leader, a District Secretary and District Commissioner for Stroud Town District. Currently Claire is a Brownie Leader, Division Section Adviser, ID Verifier and District Administrator. Claire is also a Mentor for new Leaders.
Claire runs a popular Brownie Unit which enjoys a wide range of fun and meaningful activities. In 2014 Claire organised the Division Big Brownie Birthday trip; this was a hugely enjoyable event for all the Brownies and Leaders in the Division. Claire is also supporting a Rainbow Unit that was at risk of closing.
Claire is an excellent role model for Guiding. Her mentoring skills that she uses with Leaders going through both the Leadership Qualification and the Going Away Licence are so supportive and encouraging. She is a huge asset to both the District and Division. Claire is certainly deserving of this award to recognise her commitment and dedication to Guiding.
Kate has been a Leader for 18 years. Kate was a Brownie Leader and is currently a District Commissioner and Rainbow Leader in Gloucestershire County. Kate is also responsible at Division level for the allocation of new Leaders and is a Mentor.
Kate has always provided solid and helpful advice when faced with unit level challenges. Kate knows exactly what is needed in each unit to ensure that there is good Guiding practice in place. She regularly supports the Leaders to achieve what is necessary to ensure quality Guiding is provided for all the girls. Kate willingly takes on new initiatives and somehow manages to get all the Leaders on board, even the most reticent.
Kate inspires Leaders in the District to move forward with Guiding, She always finds the time to help and support others. Kate has the girl’s best interests at heart and brings the District together by putting on District events and encouraging newer Leaders to help organise these events. She was strongly recommended for this award.
Susan has been a Leader in Gloucestershire for over 35 years. During that time she has always worked with the Brownie Section but currently holds the additional roles of Division Outdoor Activities Adviser and County Adviser. Susan has also been a District Commissioner.
Susan works with Brownies in one of the more deprived areas of the County and works extremely hard to ensure the girls have a varied and enriching Brownie Programme. Susan sees each girl as an individual and provides them all with experiences and opportunities for personal growth. Susan works tirelessly in Inclusion and ensures that all girls and adults are included in all activities from holidays to roller skating. In her role as an Inclusion Adviser Susan works hard on educating all Leaders to ensure all girls are included.
Susan is a very committed Leader, she has dedicated years to ensuring the girls that she has in her Brownie Unit gain an excellent Guiding experience. Alongside this Susan works hard to support both local and County Guiding in any way she can and is definitely deserving of this award.
Margaret (Ann) Bailey
Ann has been a Leader for nearly 40 years. During that time she has been a Senior Section Leader, Brownie Leader, District Administrator and Division ID Verifier. Currently Ann is also a District Commissioner for Pitville District in Cheltenham Division.
Ann runs a very successful Brownie unit where her programme is varied and excellent in quality. Ann supports all her Brownies in a very caring way and was involved in planning events for the Brownie Birthday in the Division, which were extremely successful.
Ann’s unique contribution to Guiding is however demonstrated in her role of organising the placement of students into local units. Ann liaises with all the Division units to find out who needs help. She attends the Fresher’s Fayre to advertise Guiding and speak to students that may be interested in helping with Guiding whilst at University and co-ordinates the placement into units.
Ann is very keen to support the Growing Guiding initiative and her work with the students is one way of showing this. Ann’s tireless commitment to Guiding across the whole Division and producing Leaders for the future has resulted in many units getting the additional help they need to enable them to flourish.
Louise has been a Leader in Nailsworth Valley District for 20 years. During that time Louise has been a District Commissioner and worked with all sections of Guiding. Louise is currently a Leader of Rainbows, Guides and Senior Section as well as being a District Assistant.
Louise works tirelessly for Guiding. She was running a successful and full Guide unit when the need arose for a Rainbow unit; Louise stepped in and opened a Rainbow unit and a few years later a Senior Section Unit as well.
Louise’s units are always near capacity and the girls enjoy weekly meetings, trips out, residential experiences, fundraising activities as well as supporting District events.
Louise is an active member of the Church as well as working full time, coping with a family, and helping elderly neighbours.
Louise is inspiring with the tireless energy and time that she gives to Guiding and others in her life. She is unflappable whether it comes to coping with a wood fire in the woods to doing teas at the local church. Louise offers huge support for others and has kept in contact with a local Leader who has been in hospital long term, with regular visits to take her out for a change of scenery. Louise is passionate about the ethos of Guiding which runs through everything she does and she is thoroughly deserving of this award.
Lorraine has been a Leader for 20 years in Girlguiding Gloucestershire and has always run a Brownie Unit. Lorraine has also run a Rainbow unit for the past 9 years and is a Division Mentor.
Lorraine runs both Brownies and Rainbows every week with a full programme of activities for the girls. Lorraine organises regular trips, residential experiences and visits. The girls come from an area where fundraising is often needed, so this is also part of Lorraine’s many talents ensuring that girls do not miss out on the opportunities offered. Her caring manner and individual attention to each girl ensures they have the opportunities they need for personal growth. During a period of health problems she continued to support the other Leaders in the unit and even attended a residential with bandaged feet!
Lorraine is a selfless and caring person and puts the needs of others before her own. Lorraine mentors and supports new Leaders encouraging them to take on roles that they are comfortable with. Lorraine has an unwavering commitment to Girlguiding and richly deserves this award.
For more information on who may be eligible and how to nominate someone for a Compass Award, visit the South West Region website.
Brownie Elizabeth Green has achieved the amazing task of completing all 57 Brownie badges. Ten year old Elizabeth from Highleadon completed her final badge, the Camper Advanced, to complete her set. The badge was awarded by County Commissioner Carole at Deer Park.
Elizabeth says "I did my first badge at Brownies in December 2012 and soon after I decided that I'd like to complete them all because not many Brownies do."My mum helped me with some of the badges by setting things up and taking me to lots of different places."
"I've kept busy most school holidays with one badge or another."
"I've learnt so much by completing all the badges."
"Each one taught me something different and new."
"My favourite badge was Disability Awareness because it was an interesting experience going around town in a wheelchair."
"The hardest was Advanced Swimmer because I've had ear problems and couldn't get water in them, which meant I didn't swim well. I had to persevere with it."
A huge congratulations are in order for Jen Wallace and Kate Fleming who are 2 of the first Leaders to receive the SW Region's new Young Guiders' Award. Well done to them both. Looks like the Brownies agree that Kate deserves it!!
For more information on who may be eligible and how to nominate someone for a SWIYG Award, visit the South West Region website.
Kate is a leader with two Brownie units and also stepped up and trained as a Guide leader when a Guide unit also needed her. She has ensured the programme fully meets the needs of today’s girl. She is also a Division Adviser AND a peer educator in our county. Kate has been instrumental in growing Guiding by working to encourage Holiday Brownies (who are girls on waiting lists) to switch their choice of unit so that they could find a space in a regular unit. She re-opened a previously closed unit with six girls and it’s now thriving with 24 Brownies, an additional Leader in training and a student helper. Equally, her involvement in organisation of the Big Brownie Birthday Centenary celebrations in 2014 has enabled even more girls to experience all that Guiding has to offer.
Kate is always willing to try something new for the girls and experiment to ensure all girls have access to Guiding. She has made a real difference to the lives of lots of girls in Cheltenham.
Kate, 24, said: “I love volunteering for Girlguiding because it gives girls their own space and a voice to try new things and have fun. When you spend months organising events and activities it is worth every second to see the girls excited and having fun!I am extremely lucky to be have such fantastic and supportive Unit Leaders.”
Jen is a Senior Section Leader in Gloucestershire and is also the County Marketing and Communications Adviser. Jen has helped lead the 1st Gloucestershire Holiday Brownies and has mentored the Student Leaders to help them gain their Adult Leadership Qualification.
Jen in her County role has bought Media and Communications in Gloucestershire into the 21st Century. Jen has only been in the role since September 2013 and in that time Jen has done so much to support Guiding in the County.
Jen has set up an internal private Facebook page for adult volunteers to promote opportunities, share ideas and discuss the challenges that we face. Jen has set up an external Facebook page which acts as a shop window for Guiding in the County. Jen created a twitter account sharing news of what is going on in County and has developed a Social Media plan for major events so that if you cannot attend you can follow it almost live.
Alongside this there is now a new County website which was overseen by Jen, she has supported the newsletter editor and developed an excellent rapport with the local newspapers and local radio stations, ensuring Guiding is visible in Gloucestershire
Jen is also a terrific Senior Section Leader. A truly remarkable Leader
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