SPECIAL REPORT: Girlguiding family brings girls together – but we need helpers
In the third of our features focusing on youth organisations in the area we look at the Girlguides.
It’s part of our ‘Why Don’t You?’ campaign, to help get our children off social media and trying something new.
From circus skills, to the love of film, to agility - and even chocolate - there are so many badges to be earned through Girlguiding today.
For an organisation that started over 100 years ago, Girlguides, along with Brownies and Rainbows are still going strong today.
But despite our local groups being well attended, an appeal is going out for more volunteers to help run them.
Jane Amess, who has been involved in Guiding for more 36 years, is joint district commissioner for Spalding District Guides, along with Bridget Scase.
It’s a very exciting time to join Girlguiding. This summer the programme is changing and being re-vamped.
She said: “We really need more adult volunteers for our groups.
“Working with young people and other volunteers helps develop valuable, transferable skills like event planning, time management, teamwork, leadership skills and budgeting, plus it makes your CV stand out from the crowd.
“If they wish, the volunteers can go on to complete their leaders’ qualification.
“This is a recognised qualification that can go on a CV.”
Covering Pinchbeck, Spalding and Crowland are four Rainbow groups (for girls aged 5 - 7), five Brownies groups (for girls aged 7-10), four Girlguides groups (for girls aged 10-14) and Pinchbeck also has a senior section (for ages 14-25). The senior section meets once a fortnight.
Jane said: “Two of the Brownie units in Spalding are full as is the Crowland one, which has a waiting list.”
While the Brownies groups have been well attended, Guide numbers have fluctuated and range from around 16-22 Guides at some groups.
Jane said they would also like to see more youngsters joining the Rainbows.
She said: “A lot of children come if their friends are in the group and we do ‘bring a friend evenings.’
“It’s a very exciting time to join Girlguiding. This summer the programme is changing and being re-vamped.
“What I enjoy most is that I have a lot of fun and I love going away with the Guides on camp.
“You see the girls growing in confidence during their time with us and they get so much out of it.
“You might get girls who have been bullied and it is surprising to see them completely turn themselves around.
“It is very rewarding. It becomes like a family.
“The senior section have just been away and they became firm friends and you get that between the volunteers too.”
The evening our photographer Tim Wilson went along to a meeting of the Guides in Pinchbeck, a group were working towards their Baden-Powell Challenge Award. This is the highest award a Guide can achieve.
To complete it, Guides need to do ten clauses (or ‘tasks’) that will see them trying new things and pushing their boundaries.
It can take 12 to 18 months to complete the award.
As part of the challenge, the girls had organised the evening’s activities and were celebrating World Thinking Day.
Each year, on February 22, they think about Girlguides and Scouts all over the world.
Jane said: “The girls organised crafts and food tasting, based on Australia, France and China.”
The girls also have to complete two ‘Go For Its’ a year as part of a patrol, or small group. It sees them learning new skills, or trying something they have not done before.
“They might choose ‘glamour armour’ (painting nails etc), keep fit or green issues,” Jane added.
“The idea is to encourage them to organise themselves and we ask them what they want to do.
“Some of the Guides that stay on later want to go on to become leaders.
“The Brownies at Pinchbeck have had the WI (Women’s Institute) in to teach them how to knit and crochet.
“We’ve had Guide Dogs for the Blind in to visit and the Rainbows had the local PCSO in.
“We’ve also had LIVES (first responders) to help them complete their First Aid Badge and they’ve learnt about fire safety with the fire brigade.”
More volunteers are needed for the Guides who meet at the Vista in Spalding; the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides at Monks House Lane; and Rainbows at St John’s in Hawthorn Bank.
To get involved, contact Jane on 01775 769729 or register your interest at https://go.girlguiding.org.uk/join-us/join-as-volunteer
The Guide Association was established in 1909 - following the efforts of many intrepid girls who refused to accept that scouting was ‘just for boys’.
It has since grown into a vast and vibrant network of members across the UK.
Badges have evolved over the years, and have seen girls earning badges in sailing, aviation and home electrics to interpreter, event planner and science.
Girlguiding members also made important contributions to the First World War effort – growing food, acting as messengers for government organisations and working in hospitals, factories and soup kitchens.
In 1966, six Guides broke the girls’ relay record for swimming the English Channel.
They also launched GOLD, giving young women - many of whom had never travelled abroad before - the opportunity to connect with guiding members overseas and lead development, training and relief projects.
Rainbows, their youngest group, came along in 1987.
For more details on all the Girlguiding groups available locally, contact the organisation via www.girlguiding.org.uk
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