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."
Huge congratulations to Gloucester Gang Show, whose members won a competition to sing on the official England Rugby single with Ella Eyre! They were invited down to Abbey Road Studios last Friday to record their part. The mixed guiding/scouting group included Rainbow leader Sam and Brownie leader Claire - we're very proud of them!
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
1st Guiting Power Guides are winners of Cookafest! They represented Gloucestershire in the ready steady cook style cooking challenge & had to cook a 2 course meal from a mystery bag of ingredients on a gas barbecue in 90 minutes. They were judged on the menu, main course, dessert, taste, texture, teamwork, time management, good food hygiene & presentation. Meagan, Grace, Grace & Rebecca are the best in the South West! Go girls!
The wonderful team from Gloucestershire Roads/Amey spent a day at Deer Park today and worked their socks off clearing and painting the stables and putting in a all-seater new campfire circle on Bubbs Hill. That block now looks great and would be super for a group evening meeting, basic sleepover or to support a camp up on the hill. We are also keen to get schools using it as an outdoor classroom for eco-education. If you know of someone in a school we could take round to show them the space and activities, please let us know. We are always happy to host volunteer teams from businesses in the area as there are always more jobs to do. A special thanks to Ann, Sue and Jean for the non-stop tea and cakes which helped keep everyone going strong throughout the day.
July saw our County President, Anne Cadbury, celebrating her 90th birthday and in true Guiding fashion we had to make a fuss of her at the County Executive Meeting. She was presented with flowers and it wouldn't be a birthday without cake!
Anne warmly thanks all members of Girlguiding Gloucestershire for their cards and good wishes for her birthday. She particularly appreciated and enjoyed all the handmade cards which were full of imagination and individuality.
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
These Rainbows from Dursley District had a fantastic day at Deer Park at the weekend, trying some outdoor cooking, having a go at grass sledging and exploring the tunnels! The girls had an amazing time trying out these new activities and particularly enjoyed the gooey fruit & chocolate wraps cooked on the open fire.
It's Volunteers Week and we'd like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all our volunteers in Gloucestershire who support us in a variety of ways every week. Have a pat on the back, you lovely people!
Here are a very small selection who chose to tell the world via social media why they volunteer with Girlguiding.
This weekend, leaders have been training other leaders in all the skills they will need to take girls away overnight in the outdoors. Providing a safe space to enjoy the delights of pitching tents and outdoor cooking is just one way our volunteers enrich the lives of girls. Well done to all of those who gained modules for their qualifications over the weekend.
Some smart Brownies from Fairford were lucky enough to meet Prince Charles this weekend as he visited the town for St Mary's Church fundraiser.
Over 160 Guides from across Gloucestershire came together for an action-packed camping adventure at the Girlguiding headquarters at Cowley.
Groups of four worked in teams to earn points on 22 different challenges to be the winner of the first ever Bubbs Hill Bash. Challenges included a tunnel maze, archery, code breaking, blindfold sandwich making, pistol shooting and low ropes walks, as well as more traditional guiding activities such as knotting and map reading.
The girls camped overnight, some for the first time ever, and enjoyed a campfire with singing before heading for their tents on Saturday night. The winners were announced on Sunday morning with 1st Chipping Campden Guides earning second place.
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