Thank you for continuing to support the Scout and Guide Fellowship UK (SAGF UK). This year sees us celebrating 10years since our formation. During this time we have supported Scouting and Guiding both at home and abroad. We have participated in several International Scout and Guide Fellowship(ISGF) projects including providing solar lights for children in Nepal so making homework easier to do and raising money to build solid shelters for Sudan refugees in Uganda. Most recently SAGF UK has helped scouts in Kampala with a project rearing rabbits and enabling them to study animal husbandry.
Earlier this year, at our AGM at Chester, we launched our Commonwealth Together challenge. This was timed to coincide with the Queen’s jubilee and the Commonwealth Games. This has been very successful with over £1100 raised through the sale of badges to help Tongan Guides after the tsunami and earthquake disaster in that area. Following the Queen’s death the challenge was tweaked and is still available on the website.
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 also reflected on the life of the Queen and her role within the Commonwealth. These zoom calls have been very well received and we hope to celebrate Thinking Day/ Founders Day in a similar way. If you would like to participate please email email@example.com and she will send the zoom link nearer the time.
Our 2023 Annual meeting will be held at Waddow – a Girlguiding Activity Centre in Lancashire. The application form is included in this posting and you will see we are in for a great weekend of fun and friendship. We look forward to seeing you there.
The committee look forward to supporting more projects in the New Year with your help. As the weather becomes colder and the days shorter we hope this newsletter finds you warm and in good health. Our best wishes for the Festive season.
During the past year SAGF has had displays at various Guiding and Scouting activities starting at the end of 2021 with a SAGF Christmas Tree in the Waddow Christmas Tree Festival. There was also 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. 2
It would be interesting to hear how members have spread the word about SAGF – did you know that there is a SAGF Facebook page, and do you visit it?
During our Fellowship Day Zoom meeting we had greetings from many ISGF members including the Chairman of ISGF World Committee Elin Richards who were 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 everyone on Zoom and we had about 30 people in all joining the meeting.
Mediterranean Gathering in Cyprus
At the end of October, two members of SAGF UK joined with 76 other ISGF members for the triennial Southern Europe/Mediterranean Gathering, held in a very sunny and hot Cyprus. With friends from Cyprus, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Libya, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland we toured the island, learning about it’s rich history spanning the centuries from pre-Roman times and The Crusades to the more recent division of the island between the Greek and Turkish communities. We also heard about the ongoing work to overcome the physical and cultural barriers from the partition, alongside presentations about protecting the unique natural environment of the island’s wilder areas and the surrounding sea and it’s inhabitants; throughout, it was clear that the Scouting and Guiding values of friendship and caring for our environment were being put into action to good effect.
Our first hotel in Ayia Napa was the amazing 5 star Adam’s Beach (some of you may remember it from a previous European Conference), where we were treated to great food, evenings with Greek dancing and had time for lots of very multi-cultural friendly conversations. After sharing Fellowship Day greetings with those on the SAGF UK Zoom meeting – all of us squeezing in to join through one phone – we had a campfire on the beach. I’m not sure what the other hotel guests thought about our singing in many different languages, but we were delighted to find we all knew “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes” – well, at least we all knew the chorus!
We moved to a hotel in historic Paphos for the after-tour, a very atmospheric place, just on the edge of the site of Roman villas with superb mosaic floors. Inspired by the Roman history, the hotel had painted every wall with scenes from mythology – even the bedrooms and bathrooms; I doubt I will ever forget sharing a bath with a larger-than-life-size Minotaur! Our tour of the local archaeological sites was done in an open-top Wedding double-decker bus. I’m not sure if the locals’ horn-blowing and waving was in response to the wedding decorations or more that we were a large group of (middle-aged) people in matching t-shirts and neckers, but we all waved back enthusiastically!
Our final day was spent at sea on a magnificent motor yacht, sailing to Aphrodite’s Bath on the East coast. We shared a lovely meal, spending the afternoon swimming, sharing stories and basking in the glorious sunshine. With lots of hugs, swapping of addresses and promises to meet again in Denmark (2023), Spain (2024) or Tunisia (2025) we all made our way back to the airport for home, happy that after the restrictions of COVID we were all able to meet once again to renew and make new friendships.
Commonwealth Challenge Badge
Throughout the summer lots of groups have been taking 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: 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.
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! We 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.
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 donation from Trefoil Guild member Jeannie MacMeekin whom we met at the Trefoil Guild AGM in Llandudno. Thanks go to everyone who has contributed to making this project a success.
Are you ready for a Challenge? – SAGF or order your badges from firstname.lastname@example.org. I know a few Trefoil Guilds will be incorporating the Challenge into their programme for the 2023, and I’m sure some of the badges will be going in with Thinking Day/Founders Day greetings cards in February, so there are still plenty of opportunities to contribute to the project.
During the year we have been able to share pictures and reports of the help given to the people of Ukraine by members of the Scouting and Guiding Fellowships in the Central Sub Region. In the village where I live there is a family who have described their journey to England which I share with you on the next page: 4
“I want to meet you. but I still don’t know the language well. that’s why I wrote a letter about how I got to you from Ukraine.
My name is Zhanna, I am 42 years old, and my husband is Evgeny. We are a Ukrainian family, we have 4 sons: Pavlo(20), Oleksandr(18), Oleksiy(16), and Platon (7 months). Our house was located near Chernihiv and 66 km from the border with Belarus and Russia. Therefore, on February 24, we woke up to explosions near our house and realized that a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine through the borders of our region had begun. I am writing this text now with tears in my eyes. Could this really happen to us?! Isn’t this a terrible dream? Unfortunately, no…
I was panicking from the beginning. At that time, I was 7 months pregnant. There was a high risk of premature birth, and it would be irresponsible to risk a little life. We planned and waited for the appearance of another son in the family for so long. The decision was made to flee to western Ukraine, 670 km from home to my friend. We quickly packed 3 suitcases and 4 sleeping bags because we planned to sleep in the car, and it was still freezing outside. The eldest son said that he would stay to guard the house and take care of his grandmother. It was very scary to leave them, and it was scary to go into the unknown. We went with our two younger sons. There were already traffic jams in Kyiv, planes were flying overhead, tanks were coming to meet occupiers, in front of them we saw echelons of military equipment going somewhere along the railway track. I looked out the window, as if watching a horror film in the cinema …but it was not a film, it was a terrible reality. We got to Chernivtsi in 24 hours. We hoped that soon everything would stop, and we could go back.
Furthermore, we had been following the news all week and our hearts are breaking from what we’ve heard. The enemy was advancing, reports of the death of friends and acquaintances began to arrive. Russian troops occupied a neighbouring village and started shooting at our settlement from there. The connection was constantly lost, the light too, the eldest son and grandmother already lived in the basement of the house. No one could help to get them out of there because there was heavy shelling all the time. The news came that the neighbours were fleeing and exploded with a mine. On March 5-6, we were informed that Russian troops were planning to attack our village in the coming days. I’m writing, and it’s scary because of what we experienced then. My car is left in our garage. My husband wrote very detailed instructions for his son on how to drive a car (at that time he had never driven a car), how to tape the headlights, where exactly to go so as not to run into landmines. We stayed awake at night, waiting for our son to get in touch and read the message. On the morning of March 7, the son and grandmother acted according to the instructions and were able to leave and stay alive! God gave them life, for which I am very, very grateful. On the evening of March 7, a rocket flew into the house and completely destroyed our house…
My husband didn’t tell me about the house for a while, so that I wouldn’t get to the hospital prematurely, and I would learn some details later. It is still very painful for us to lose our family nest. We started building it when our third son was born. For three years, we invested not only all our earned money, but also all our love, so that each son would have his own room, so that they would live better than we did at the time. We planted a young orchard near the house and dreamed that one day our grandchildren would come here, and we would gather as a large family for holidays. But….
There was not a single day before the birth without tears. When I was going to the hospital, it seemed to me that something bad was going to happen again. The doctor kept asking why I was weeping. An air raid started, everyone ran to the bomb shelter, and I went into labour. The birth was very difficult, but everything ended well thanks to the doctor’s professionalism. It was as if I was taken out of that world. Our Plato was born on the third of May. Finally, I heard my son’s first cry, so longed for, and calmed down.
At the end of May, we moved further abroad with our 3-week-old baby to pick up our youngest son, who was sheltered by a family in Germany for two months. All summer we lived with my friend in Germany and waited for a visa to England. The eldest son Pavlo stayed in Ukraine and continues his studies online at a higher education institution in Kyiv. Son Oleksandr was in Poland for 5 months preparing for the European Championship, as part of the junior national archery team.
Today we are already adapting in England, where we were temporarily sheltered by a family. We are very grateful to them for opening the door of their home and sheltering us. Only people with a big kind heart can do this.
Oleksandr and Oleksiy, went to college. The husband is learning the language and has started to earn a little. We still don’t know what’s next, but we need to regain our strength after what we’ve experienced, it takes time for the wounds to heal and for us to start all over again.
I always did charity work at home, supported orphaned children, single mothers and collected funds for the needs of boarding schools. I have now created a page on Instagram where I will support Ukrainians who stayed at home. Unfortunately, there are thousands of stories like ours.”
(For more information, please contact me email@example.com)
New Year Message from Elin Richards ISGF World Committee Chairmann
A year has passed and we take the opportunity to look over our shoulder and reflect on what has happened. Some of us had high hopes for a brighter future after long time of lockdown during the pandemic. There were hopes for being able to meet and spend time with friends and family. Some events were hold successfully others were postponed or were virtual. Every time we receive an article for ISGF website it is interesting to read how Guild members all over the world are coming back to work with interesting projects and gatherings. So please carry on with the good work all over the planet and send information on what you are doing.
In Europe we have a war which seems to get more aggressive by every day. The people of Ukraine didn’t ask for it and we are taken towards their suffering every day in the news. We watch and feel in our hearts how powerless one can be. Many Guilds especially in Central Europe have done everything in their power to help and support refugees. It is with great respect and gratitude we read about what they are doing, still it must be mentioned that others living further away also have contributed to this task. A big thank you.
ISGF as part of the scout movement are remembering the words of Baden Powell when he reminded us on “to try and leave this world a little better than you found it”. What if the whole world were scouts?
Every minute someone leaves this world behind. We are all in “the line” without knowing it. We never know how many people are before us.
Wish you all a happy new year with lots of opportunities. Let’s combine our prayers for 2023 that the clouds will be lifted and we can look forward to a brighter future for all mankind .
On behalf of ISGF World Committee Elin Richards, Chairman
Kampala Scout and Guide Fellowship Uganda.
In 2023 we are looking forward to developing a new project/ micro enterprise with the Fellowship and will be sharing information at the Thinking Day/ Founders Day Zoom meeting.
2023 Annual Meeting
At Waddow Hall Activity Centre. during the Weekend of 17-19 March all information is enclosed with this posting please book early. We have booked the Brownie House for the weekend.
Thank you everyone for all the work that you have done for Scouting and Guiding both in this country and abroad during the past year.
With every good wish for a Happy and Peaceful 2023 from the SAGF UK Committee