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All items, photos and data copyright © British Girlguiding Overseas 2019      Site updated on 21-05-2019

CHIEF’S BLOG

May 2019

Hello everyone,


I have had the very great pleasure of spending time with leaders and girls in the Middle East and also in Benelux and France counties recently.


I had a super time in Abu Dhabi. I went to visit the units, attend the district meeting and hold a Q&A session, give long service and thanks and recognition brooches and support the leaders by giving training on the New Programme and on GO.

I visited two Brownie units and the Guide unit and had a wonderful time at all.

One of the Brownie units was having a meeting on mindfulness and resilience and the girls were really involved in the session, it was great to see. They had loads of questions for me which included: ‘How much time does it take to do the job of a commissioner?’, ‘Have you met the Queen ?’ and ‘What do I need to do, to do your role ?’ For most of the questions I had a fairly quick answer to but the one about how much time it takes...was a bit more difficult! However I really hope that the young lady who asked me about becoming a commissioner will have the opportunity to do so and if it’s within BGO, all the better!!

The next visit was to meet the Guides, at a shopping mall, where they went to do tile painting. As all Guides, they were very chatty and looking forward to the meeting. They had a wide choice of designs to paint so it took some time to choose, but once made, they settled into the art of painting with serious concentration interspersed with lots of chat and laughter. I was delighted to present Ruth, one of their leaders, with her Going Away With licence during the meeting.

My final visit was to another Brownie unit where they were getting ready to join the Guides and other Brownies at camp. For some of the girls, this was going to be their first adventure with the guides and, boy, were they excited! They made name badges and played games to learn each other’s names, as well as mine, and I took away a new game idea which I’m going to play with the unit I guide with – thanks girls!  I presented a very surprised Claire with her 5 year long service brooch at the end of the meeting.

At the well-attended district meeting, I presented Mhorag with her 5 year long service brooch and I was honoured to present the first two BGO thanks brooches to Louise and Elaine the DCs. I also had the great pleasure to present Adele with a national Girlguiding good service brooch for all her hard work over the years in Abu Dhabi as well as for BGO.

My sincere congratulations and thanks to all.

I also presented the first new BGO ambassador brooch to HRH Sheikha Oshah Hamdan Mubarak Mohamed al Nehayan as she has kindly agreed to hold this role in Abu Dhabi.


I then moved to Sharjah and spent a very enjoyable time at their district meeting where I met a Rainbow, Brownies, Guides and Rangers as well as the leadership team. The Guides had made up games for everyone to play in mixed teams to really get to know each other as they were getting ready to celebrate Thinking Day with a sleepover at the weekend. They crossed ‘rivers’ and had great fun with bean-bags, played mind riddle games and had to create a song or rap about what they like about being in Girlguiding in Sharjah. It was great to see everyone being included and having their voice heard and the atmosphere was wonderful. At the end of the meeting I presented Megan with her Young Leader’s qualification which was a very special moment. After the meeting I gave a training session on the new programme and had dinner accompanied with lots of laughter, with the leaders when we had more time to chat about the challenges and enjoyable moments of guiding in Sharjah. Happily the enjoyable moments of guiding win hands down! Before leaving we visited Sharjah Girl Guides headquarters to continue our valued guiding relationship with them.


Before visiting Oman I had a flying visit to a sausage sizzle in Dubai. I met lots of new leaders and well as ‘old’ leaders over barbequed sausages expertly cooked by John, Caroline’s husband. I left several long service awards to be presented but was delighted to present Caroline with her 20 year award. I also presented Darya with her Chief Guide award and the Commonwealth award, again, a very special moment. I was also honoured to present BGO thanks brooches to Caroline and DCs Alicia and Katherine. Unfortunately Kylie was not able to come to the sausage sizzle but Caroline presented her with her thanks brooch at the division Thinking Day event. Congratulations and thanks to all.


For the first time since taking this role, I went to Oman and spent a super 4 days with Angi and her team of leaders. Unfortunately none of the units were meeting during my visit but I was able to give training sessions on the New Programme, took some young adult leaders through modules 1 and 2 of safe space while Adele gave level 3 safe space to the others. Adele also did a first response refresher course. While there I was pleased to present Angi with her 20 year long service award. It was lovely to meet yet more enthusiastic, dedicated leaders, many whom have not been in guiding for long. Thank you all for making Adele and I so welcome and I’m already looking forward to returning in the future to meet you all again and also to meet the girls.


Then it was the county training weekend for BeneLux and France.

Hazel, Jo Smith, Ali East and I made up the training team and what a fantastic weekend we had. 52 leaders were present in Toulouse from all over the county and were offered training on safe space, 1st response, new programme, giving the girls a voice, anticipating risks as well as craft, a wide game and an Q&A session outside in the sun! The weekend passed too quickly as ‘old’ and new leaders met up again or for the first time and as always at these occasions it was the chatting outside of the training sessions that was as important as the sessions themselves.

On Saturday evening at the county presentation time I was once again honoured to present a BGO thank you brooch this time to Christina from Brussels.

I also had the very great honour to present the first BGO Good Service Brooch to Lindsay from Toulouse.

I was also asked, and was extremely pleased, to present the Gold Voyage Award to Heather a member of the BeneLux and France Trefoil Guild.  I had never seen this award before and can assure you all that it is very pretty and takes a lot of hard work to achieve.

Congratulations and very well done ladies!!


While I was in the Middle East, Hazel was in Singapore and KL along with Lynne Armitage where they gave lots of training sessions. Hazel also had the honour of presenting some well deserved Thank you brooches to Jo, Clare, Julie and Melanie in Singapore and to Nicky in KL.

Congratulations ladies!!


Then at the beginning of April, I ‘attended’ via WhatsApp, the Maisons Lafitte Guide meeting and ‘joined in’ the celebrations as Lynn was the second recipient to be awarded the BGO Good Service Brooch. We had planned to present Lynn with her award at the Benelux and France training weekend but unfortunately at the last minute Lynn was unable to attend so Emma the County Commissioner presented the brooch on my behalf. Congratulations Lynn!!


I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of you at our bi-annual event held in the UK at Whitemoor Lakes in August this year. There are still places available for leaders who want to come to training and have fun and for girls wanting adventure and lots of fun. We also have the possibility to offer B&B to BGO families in a separate wing of the centre should anyone be interested. Please look at the page dedicated to the event on the BGO website – applications close at the end of June.


Thank you, as always, for all that you do for the girls in your care – you are stars!!


Best wishes

Diane