My Journey – The Young Years

I’ve decided that I want to write up a lot of my journey in Guiding, as well as updating weekly with what we’ve been up to.

When I was younger, I wasn’t involved in many activities outside of school. We moved house when I was about 9 and one of the girls who lived in the development was a Brownie and encouraged me to come along. I turned up in full uniform, it had been donated by a family friend who had moved up to Guides and I was so excited to start!

I only had a year in Brownies, but I loved making my promise, making new friends and I even got to go on pack holiday! We went to the Ulster Folk and Transport museum and stayed in the dormitories there. I got to visit Lorne (Guide Headquarters in NI) for the first time and go to the shop.  On the last day of the holiday, we were gathered together for Guide’s Own (a bit like a church service but not following any particular religion), and they announced the yearly awards. I received a prize for best new Brownie, they thought I had thrown myself into the pack with enthusiasm.

You have to understand, I didn’t normally get those sorts of prizes, I’m a bit of a bookworm and always have been. Brownies was the first time that no one made assumptions about me and my intelligence. I got to try lots of different things, but I still did my book lover’s badge 🙂 I’ve since sewn my Brownie Badges onto my camp blanket (The picture also shows my Guide badges, I’ve rearranged them since).

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After my year in Brownies, I moved up to Guides. Once again I was in love with an organisation. The first year was pretty enjoyable, I learnt Captainball (Guiding sport, a bit like netball), and remember getting to cuddle animals for my animal active badge.

Things got really good in my second year, I met two Guides, Reef and Bowline, who became my two best friends. They both live in different cities in England, and I can still say that I would trust them with my life and that they are my first port of call when I need a shoulder or advice.

I started reading the Chalet School series, by Elinor M Brent-Dyer. It’s about a boarding school, which starts out in Austria, travels during the war and settles down in Switzerland. In the first few books, they start a Guide Company and I was inspired by how seriously they took their promise and tried so hard to be the Best Girl Guides they could be.

I got the opportunity to go on camp several times, including a mixed Scout and Guide Camp in Crawfordsburn with over 300 people attending.

By the time it got to our final camp, Reef, Bowline and I were pretty sorted with this whole camping thing. Reef was supposed to have moved on from Guides, as she is the year above me, however she had asked to stay with us, but she was also completing her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. That year we were staying in two man tents, but were an uneven number, we begged to be the ones that were in a three and didn’t mind squeezing into the small tent. However our Guide leader, Clove was so very lovely and brought her personal four man tent for us to share.

We had very strict rules for our tent:

  • No shoes in the tent – they live in the entry at all times
  • Beds were made up at the same time – to allow overlapping of the ground sheets
  • If it isn’t being used – put it back into your bag

This made it very easy for us, at the end of camp, to pack up and be ready to go. However, some of the younger Guides had not followed the rules we lived by and we spent a lot of time helping them get sorted.

When I finished Guides, I continued with my Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards with my Guide Leader, Clove and Bowline joined me. We walked our Bronze and cycled our Silver. I got to use a trangia and spent a lot of time having fun with Bowline.

There was no Senior Section near to me so I couldn’t continue into there.

And so ended my Guiding experience until I was 23. More on that next time 🙂

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