SuffolkGirlsCan – Keep Calm & Carry On Guiding

Do you know your ‘hashtag’ from your ‘tag’? Have you had to ‘break out’ during a Zoom meeting with up to 29 young women aged 10-14 whilst remaining in your own living room?

For the past three months, this is what Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and their volunteer leaders across Suffolk have learned to do as Guiding has gone online.

Overnight from the 16th March, hundreds of Girlguiding Suffolk volunteers adapted the way they hold and run their unit meetings. A leader from 2nd Woodbridge (St Mary’s) Guides hadn’t used Facebook before 23rd March this year, but from tentative beginnings, she is now holding weekly Zoom meetings. This is reflected in all the sectional age groups within the county.

1st Beccles Rainbows (5-7 years) have posted a weekly activity and song in their Facebook group, and 3rd Britannia Rainbows (Ipswich) have been making sundials. 4th Kesgrave Brownies (7-10 years) have been working towards loads of different badges, as have 2nd Beccles Brownies, who held an Easter-themed family bingo night online. Two members of 1st Beccles Brownies have now gained all 18 of the Brownie interest badges.

Guides (10-14 years) in Felixstowe, Ipswich, Beccles and Martlesham have enjoyed Zoom meetings and recorded instruction videos to complete official badges. They have also taken part in quizzes and scavenger hunts, made mug cakes and armpit fudge, as well as traditional activities like knotting, semaphore, blitz cooking and community action projects.

Rangers (14-18 years) have also been powering through badges, many of whom should have been taking GCSEs and A Levels. Hopefully for them, and younger members too, Guiding going has provided a safe and friendly space every week, a bit of normalcy in these strange times.

Since April there have even been some national and international virtual events offered; an Adventures At Home Festival by Girlguiding UK, a global campfire by WAGGGS (The World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts), and a Midsummer Sleepover from Girlguiding Anglia Region. Many members camped out, made smores and sat around a campfire, all activities that they would be accustomed to doing at this time of year.

From bushcraft to blogging, gardening to geocaching, Girlguiding Suffolk is still connecting with its members, whether by letter, email, Facebook or Zoom.
A leader with 1st Tostock Rainbows has had some lovely feedback from parents including: “My daughter always asks when it’s Wednesday? She looks forward to her Rainbow zoom every week”; “Thank you so much for all the support and activities you provide for the girls. It keeps them going when schoolwork isn’t happening and has given them the opportunity to learn throughout this time.”

Girlguiding Suffolk would like to thank all its volunteers for everything they have done during the current situation, however small. In the words of our county song, rewritten for us by ABBA,

“We are Guides, we’re pioneering,
Sharing every adventure, The Way Old Friends Do”

Copyright Ulvaeus/Andersson, Universal Music

StaySafe Everyone!

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