On Saturday 19th March we held our Annual meeting in the Adventure House at Waddow Hall the Guiding.
By using the Adventure House, we were able in a small way to support Girlguiding in the UK.
During the meeting Muriel Rayner, our chairman, presented her report for the past year.
If you are a member of Trefoil Guild or Girlguiding you will probably have read of the plans proposed for all the training and activity centres in England and Wales.
If not, you can get up to date by looking at the Friends websites and Facebook pages for the houses and read about the work in hand to ensure the future of the centres for members.
Chairman’s report for 2022
Another year when we can be proud to belong to ISGF and the friendships that we form throughout the world.
Earlier this year, at our AGM at Chester, we launched our Commonwealth Together Challenge thanks to Helen’s hard work. This was timed to coincide with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games.
Following the Queen’s death, the challenge was tweaked and is still available on the website. Throughout the summer lots of groups took up the Commonwealth Together Challenge, fundraising for our project to help the Scouts and Guides of Tonga rebuild their units following the volcanic activity in January.
Just to name a few of the groups making use of the Challange: Shropshire Trefoil Guild used the Challenge as part of their County event, Trefoil groups in Leeds incorporated it into their Jubilee celebrations, and various Brownie Packs have proved the lure of both Kiwi Pavlovas and a special badge is too good to resist! Scouters at the Gilwell Reunion snapped up the badges and links to the Challenge packs when they visited the SAGF UK stall, and Guiders/Trefoil members at various events at Waddow have taken the Challenge back to their units.
To date, we have raised over £1,000 to share between Tonga Scouts and the Girl Guides of Tonga. This has been mostly from the badge sales and kind donations from SAGF UK members, boosted by a very generous individual donation from Trefoil Guild member Jeannie MacMeekin who some members met at the Trefoil Guild AGM in Llandudno.
Our Challenge has also gone well on the international front – the Kenyan group who contributed to the Challenge activities received their badges via a Trefoil Guild who were visiting Kenya on safari, the Guiding network being more efficient than international postal networks! Helen did a presentation on the Challenge at the ISGF Gathering in Cyprus, resulting in badge sales and donations from members from a range of countries, all keen to contribute to the fundraising and take up the Challenge. Thanks go to everyone who has contributed to making this project a success.
During the past year SAGF members have had displays at various Guiding and Scouting events including representation at the Scouting “Gilwell Weekend” in September, thank you Alan for publicising SAGF. Then there was a stall at the Midland Region Trefoil Guild International Meeting in October, this was visited by members and many non-members living in the Region.
Our connections with our friends in ISGF have been enhanced through our zoom sessions. World Thinking Day/ Founders Day last year was well attended with ISGF members from Kenya, Uganda and several European countries. The quiz set this time was on national costumes.
Fellowship Day again saw us joining ISGF members from around the globe on a zoom call. The committee showed the attendees how we celebrated the Commonwealth Together Challenge in our own Guilds. We had greetings from many ISGF members including the Chairman of ISGF World Committee Elin Richards who was in Cyprus for the South Sub Region Gathering. Two of our members attended the Gathering We were also joined by members from Ghana and Uganda it was great to see and hear all about the 30 people all joining the meeting.
These zoom calls have been very well received and we hope to celebrate Thinking Day / Founders Day in a similar way (actually this happened). If you would like to participate in these now annual regular events please email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send the zoom link nearer the time.
Our relationship with Matthius in Uganda is ongoing. The rabbit project we helped to finance is now up and running and we are looking forward to perhaps this year looking at supporting a bee keeping enterprise that will benefit Guides as well as scouts. These links not only help the groups in Uganda but give us a focus during the year.
Peter Short suggested sending a letter to Queen Elizabeth congratulating her on her Platinum Jubilee and on her role in the Commonwealth and then, after her death on one of our zoom sessions we reflected on the life of the Queen not only as Patron of Girlguiding but the head of the Commonwealth. The Palace responded with this letter…
I may be the named chairman, but I rely heavily on the committee. Advice, finance, activities, membership, PR are given by Jane, Alan, Audrey, Helen, Peter, Sue Beavis and Kim Melhuish. Unfortunately, Peter’s ill health means that he cannot join us today but with the media platform of zoom he has been able to join us at committee meetings.
2022 saw the Scout and Guide Fellowship celebrate its 10th birthday. I put together this PowerPoint and although it was shown at our Fellowship Day zoom meetings I would like to share it with you now to celebrate the achievements we can make together and look forward to another milestone.
Visit to Waddow
Though the weather for our stay at Waddow was uncertain we were able to pack a great deal into a very short time, We tried crafts, shopped for the newly released new style Guiding “promise badge” and the coronation badges., explored the grounds and enjoyed catching up with news. Saturday morning was the time for the AGM followed by a talk about the history of Waddow from, the chairman of the Friends of Waddow. This was followed by a visit to the archives and a look inside the house. In the afternoon we participated in Code Breaker activity / Escape room. This demonstrated great teamwork and mental agility.
After a leisurely breakfast on Sunday, we set about leaving the Activity Centre as we found it, or even better before we said our goodbyes and left for home.
11th European Conference
At the end of July Helen Watson and I spent two days in Aarlborg enroute for the European Conference which was held in Ranum. Aarlborg is a small city in northern Jutland, Denmark, and it has a mixture of beautiful old buildings and some extremely modern ones. I t was originally a large port and now is developing into a university venue. The first modern building I entered was a shopping mall as I shopped to replace the necessities I needed while I waited for my luggage to arrive the next day, one of the interesting shops was a hardware store with a children’s network of passages, ladders, and slides above the shoppers!
During 30th July – 3rd August 2023 a very successful 11th Europe Region Conference was held in Ranum, On Sunday 28th July our Danish hosts welcomed us to the college where we were staying in “basic “student accommodation. At eight o’clock we gathered on the sports field for the opening ceremony, and miraculously the sun came out. There was the sound of a light aircraft and we looked up to see three parachutists with flags signalling the opening of the Conference. After they landed we gathered in the conference hall for the official welcome . There were 130 participants from 22 European countries.
The next three days past rapidly with group activities, a local excursion for a day and a Conference Business day.
One highlight of the Conference was the speaker on Monday afternoon Connie Hedegaard who spoke inspiringly about Climate and Sustainability sharing with us a wealth of knowledge and a passion for her subject.
After three days of activities which included crafts, pancake making using wild plants a campfire and meeting the newly elected Europe Region Committee:
- Sue Page (United Kingdom – Chairman and sharing job Secretary
- Søren Silving (Denmark) – Vice-chairman and sharing job Secretary
- Lilian Sotelo (Austria) – Treasurer
- Thalia Xiromeritou (Greece) – Member
It was time to join a four-day tour of Denmark. This gave us a bird’s eye view of the country from the north of Jutland to Copenhagen. We visited historical sites, and also became true tourists enjoying the Hans Aderson Experience and ending at the Copenhagen waste incinerator/ Ski Slope. Amager Bakke or Copenhill (please research it on Google to see this fantastic building) Each day we were treated to lunch in Gilde House giving us the chance to meet other Danish Guild members who were not able to attend the Conference.
After the Conference the SAGF Committee decided that this year we will support the Guilds in Denmark who have a project called REACH OUT which is providing reuseable sanitary towels to girls in Sri Lanka to enable them to continue their schooling uninterrupted during the menstrual cycle. Sangam the WAGGGS World Centre is also joining the project and distributing the towels to partner community organisations in Pune India.
We will tell you more during the Zoom meeting.
How about joining us next year in September in Spain for the World Conference in Granada?
There will be a group attending the Conference from SAGF and we hope to spend two days in Madrid before travelling on to Granada and joining the after-Conference tour planned by the Conference Committee. During the Conference and the tour there are many opportunities to get to know ISGF members from different countries Look at the ISGF website for more information.
New about the WAGGGS World Centres.
Did you know that as a member of SAGF and ISGF that you are welcome to stay at the centres in India Sangam, UK Pax Lodge, Mexico Our Cabana and Our Chalet Switzerland?
Sangam in Pune has a programme of events open to members, some are for selected age groups and others for adults of all ages. Each October there is a Birthday event. There is a programme for community volunteers who work with many local agencies within the community.
Pax Lodge in London has this year, so far had a very busy spring and summer season. Being situated in London there was an extra attraction, the Coronation, which has helped to enhance guest numbers.
Our Cabana in Cueravaca, Mexico is now preparing to re-open to international guests as since closing during the pandemic it has returned to being a World Centre run by WAGGGS and now has a new team appointed to run it. So far this year groups staff have been recruited and the premises are being prepared for guests. A group of friends and supporters are visiting in the autumn as a working party to help with the preparations. there is a calendar of events for 2024- 25 on the WAGGGS web site. Our Cabana is well worth a visit if you are thinking about future travels.
Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland resumed its programme of events with a Winter Adventure programme at the beginning of 2023.and there has been a busy summer season.
Kusafiri the world centre with a difference as it does not have a permanent home in Africa but provides special sessions in countries within the Africa Region. This year there was a training session in Ghana. To find out more about Kusafiri and what the name means look at the Kusafiri You Tube Channel.
Looking forward to seeing everyone via ZOOM on Sunday 29th October.