The launch of our new Journey Programme in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, was a great success. The atmosphere was electric as we started off with our photo shoot in the courtyard outside, with girls from each branch posing with copies of the new programme, rucksacks and even a mini mountain!
During the launch, presented by our wonderful Girl Guide M.C., Anna Sexton, we were treated to a speech from our very own Jillian Van Turnout, who immediately captivated our audience (consisting of many Guiding and non-Guiding guests) with a taster of our new programme.
This was followed by two extremely impressive presentations from two Senior Branchers from Caherdavin, Limerick. Naomi Keays showed us how much training and fun she had while training for - and then completing - three summit hikes in the Swiss Alps, while Claudia Carey made us teary-eyed hearing about her work for a service project in Sangam, India, while she was working with disadvantaged children in the local area.
Later, we heard from the Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan, who said she was proud to support the Irish Girl Guides, and made us laugh when she perfectly recited the Brownie Song. We also were privileged to have Niamh Briggs present - the Irish Women's International Rugby captain. She spoke to us about her experiences as a Guide shaping her to become the confident and outgoing woman she has grown to be. We were all greatly inspired.
In between all of this activity, we sang songs (one in particular – Can a Ladybird? written by Pauline Kennedy - I'm hoping it becomes available for use in our units!) and saw the vast amount of interest badges available to our girls with the programme.
The evening was wrapped by our Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon, who encouraged us to keep up the good work and to keep instilling confidence in our girls. We ended the festivities with (you guessed it!) a dance and a song that even the men in the room joined in with.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I personally can't WAIT to start the programme with my Ladybirds next week.
Roll on the Regional Conferences, where we can all share in the excitement!
~ Sarah Condren, Caherdavin, Limerick