Girlguiding BGIFC

February 2017

I cannot believe how late I am again with my Blog, apologies!

After a very busy Summer term the holiday period was very quiet, as was September, but in

October things really got cracking!

It was, as always, a pleasure to visit the Middle East and the beginning of the month saw the start of a whistle stop tour of Muscat, Sharjah and Dubai.

Firstly I was able to spend two days in Muscat, Oman, meeting with leaders and over lunch

persuading three of them to form a District Commissioner Team. I'm sure Nina, Lauren and Karen will do a splendid job supporting this busy, active district.

As part of my visit there I went to meet with the Oman Scouts and Guides in their beautiful purpose built HQ. After a tour of this impressive, tent shaped building with the International Commissioner for Scouts, Ali, I took coffee with the equivalent of our CEO, Khamees Salim Al Rasbi who explained the vision for the development and growth of Guiding and Scouting in Oman. Again I was able to express my personal thanks to the Scouts and Guides of Oman for all they do to include and support BGIFC.

I flew back to Dubai and was met by Sarah White, a leader in Sharjah, who kindly whisked me away to her house where I was made very comfortable. In the evening I met with the Leaders, older Guides and the newly formed Senior Section. I joined these young women as they painted their mugs for our Senior Section Instagram Challenge. Not sure my talents run to these artistic challenges but the girls' mugs looked great! After the meeting it was great to catch up over dinner with some of the leaders I had met two years ago and to meet the new leaders. I also took the opportunity to convince Sarah, who was a mum last time, that she would love to be DC for Sharjah, she accepted -result! At the end of a lovely evening I was presented with a customised BGIFC Sharjah inspired camel whom I have christened "Gloria" because of the lovely gold crown she was sporting! She also had 'diamond' hooves and the longest eyelashes I have ever seen on a camel! A lovely reminder of my happy visits to Sharjah and the Middle East. The following day Sarah and I went to visit senior members of staff from Sharjah Girlguides at their beautiful new purpose built HQ. It was my privilege to present Eman, one of the team who had been exceedingly helpful to BGIFC since we restarted there four years ago, with a BGIFC Good Service Brooch and a glass vase with our galleon engraved on it.

We had a tour of the excellent facilities the new building has to offer and we were pleased to be informed that our units in Sharjah would be very welcome to use them.

After Sharjah I returned to Dubai where we held our annual Middle East County meeting and Commissioner Training. Alongside this we held a Peer Educators' Training and welcomed 20 girls and young women from Dubai, Oman, Sharjah and Malaysia. The training team from the UK were excellent and all the participants went away from the weekend really enthused and ready to begin running sessions for girls in their districts.

A quick turnaround in the UK and a weekend in Manchester with the Chief Commissioners celebrating the end of the Senior Section Centenary at their Ball in Manchester, before my bag was re-packed and I was off to Cyprus for our Senior Section Centenary camp, "Aphrodite Rocks!".

I arrived on the Tuesday in time for a BBQ dinner and then during some camp stunts we gathered around an unsuspecting Jo Smith, joint camp leader and surprised her with the presentation of Girlguiding's Laurel Award for her outstanding contribution to Guiding. It was lovely to have other leaders and Trefoil members there, as well as Jo's husband Derek.

The camp was held on the British Forces recreational base "Happy Valley" and it certainly was a happy place during the seven day camp. The participants took part in visits to ancient Cypriot ruins, tried climbing near Aphrodite's rock, trekked through the beautiful, but very wet, Troodos Mountains, went go carting on the Naval Base and even went gliding! On the last evening the campers cooked their own Greek Cypriot Mezza. Everyone had a fantastic time, although two of our guests from Scarborough had to take a break, as you can see! A huge thank you to Jo Smith and Karen Pointon for all their hard work running this special event and to Cyprus Division for hosting.

I am writing this blog in Abu Dhabi whilst waiting for the Chief Guide to fly in to help the District celebrate 50 years with BGIFC. More about that in my final bog!