I arrived on Friday at lunchtime to the Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport, for our much anticipated national conference, a first for me, as previously I was unable to attend due to work commitments. The lobby was busy as the hotel had another conference going on, so I sat in the lobby as my room wasn’t available yet. I was on my own and a little nervous, feeling as though I didn’t belong there: lots of people were milling around, many in suits, some that were obviously travelling either to or from the airport but I felt very alone. The reason I mention this is that the feeling didn’t last too long: it disappeared as soon as I saw a lady wearing a uniform, the same uniform that I had packed in my overnight bag: the comfort of seeing a neckerchief was quite overwhelming and, although I didn’t know the lady, I was no longer alone. I had a kindred spirit and, very soon after that, many more ladies arrived and my sense of belonging came with them. The sense of excitement and anticipation of the conference ahead grew as the evening progressed, I met up with leaders I did know and recognise and my weekend began.
Now, generally speaking, I am not a morning person as any of my friends and, particularly my family, will attest to, but Saturday morning I was up before the alarm and headed to breakfast by 7.00 am: the joy of being able to sit with people I didn’t know but who are involved with Irish Girl Guides is a fabulous experience. The lobby of the hotel this morning, in contrast to the previous day, was startling as it became a sea of blue and purple with neckerchiefs galore, with friendly smiling ladies registering for the day’s events.
The launch of the new Journey Programme was exciting and I must say very professional and after the weekend’s events I can’t wait to introduce it to my girls I could wax on lyrically about each moment but I think I would end up with a novel: it is not every organisation that feels so inclusive and welcoming. I learnt a lot of things about the new programme but mostly I learnt a lot about this organisation of which I am very proud to be a member. We are an organisation that cares about our girls, our world and each other in a very positive way, without judgement or derision. Where else would you find so many women who give up their time so willingly on (as it turned out weather-wise) a very beautiful weekend to improve and enhance what we do: #givinggirlsconfidence.
~ Karen Frazer, Athenry, Co Galway