Thursday, 17 December 2015

Senior Branchers had a ball in Killarney!

This year the theme was a Princess Ball as it was the launch party for the new Journey Programme. My group and I headed to Killarney from Carlow. The trip was interesting as none of us had a clue where the hostel was, and as hostels are always behind some trees, it’s a requirement to drive past it about five times. When we finally reached it, we discovered that it was huge with loads of space and rooms.

Each room had a different princess picture on it! There was a Glass Slipper room, Princess Castle, Tiara etc. After making our beds we headed down to the kitchen for some lovely grub and a very chatty room filled with about 50 Senior Branchers and Leaders. The atmosphere was enthusiastic and friendly.

After dinner we all took part in a princess quiz. If you thought you knew nothing about Disney princesses, that definitely wasn’t the case after you took part in the quiz. There was a tie-breaker between my team and another, so we had to recreate a scene from one of our favourite Disney movies. Unknowingly, both teams chose Cinderella and the fitting of the glass slipper. The other team won due to their scene including Guiding and referring to hiking, but we had great fun doing ours too. The prize was a handcrafted Senior Branch Christmas star. That evening, before bed, we were given time to mingle in the front room, which had wi-fi. Wi-fi on camp? Who would have thought!

The next morning, after a lovely sleep, we were served breakfast of cereal, toast and eggs any way you could imagine them! There was scrambled, boiled, fried and even poached (we were that posh)! We were then split into two groups, one doing the Killarney Monopoly Run, the other visiting a famous place called Muckross House. I chose the Monopoly Run.

We were released into Killarney with a list of stuff to find, selfies to take and a group of girls from all over. One of the tasks was to sing a Christmas song under the big clock! My team drew in the biggest crowd as we were like Beyoncé singing. After completing as many of the challenges as we could, we headed back to check in before the monopoly time was up. We headed back for lunch and were told the winner would be announced at the ball! After lunch we were given red velvet princess cupcakes and, to say they were delicious, was an understatement! Tammy, our QM, had slaved over a hot stove while we were enjoying the previous night’s quiz (thanks Tammy)!

In the afternoon we had a guest talk from Sinead Cady - the ‘You Tuber’. She gave us a lesson on make-up, to help us be prepared for going out to the ball looking our best! She was lovely and it was great to listen to her telling us all her horror stories about makeup because we all have some too! She did a great make-up demo on her sister, then signed her book for us! Hopefully you saw us and Sinead on her Snapchat and Instagram!

We had two hours to change from Senior Branchers into princesses before our carriage for the ball would to take us to the Killarney Plaza Hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, we posed on the staircase like true princesses before proceeding into our princess decorated room for a lovely three-course meal. This was followed by a short Guides Own and a DJ! We danced till 12 o’clock when, like Cinderella, we too had to return home.

Sunday morning we had a relaxing wake-up call and a big fry up for breakfast. We then had a talk from a lovely lady called Mary Robb from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs who asked us what we thought could be done to improve IGG. Jenny then gave us a quick Q&A session, which was hilarious before we were all given enough food to last us two weeks!

Sadly, it was then time for us all to head back home. People had come from all over Ireland. I’d made new friends and met up with old friends - girls from Cork, Carlow and Dublin.

I can’t wait for next year and hope to see you all there!

Roisin Lowe ~ Senior Branch, Carlow

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Gold Awards at The Gresham!

Girl Guides from throughout the country received Gold Awards at a special ceremony in Dublin’s Gresham Hotel on 21st November. There was such a high number – 140, which is the highest number ever – that two ceremonies were held – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Each Guide was presented with a Gold Award pin by IGG President Maureen Dillon. Guides attending the morning ceremony were presented with a certificate by Dublin Lord Mayor Cllr Críona Ní Dhálaigh; in the afternoon certificates were presented by Cllr Janice Boylan.

There were a number of speakers at each ceremony, including several Guides at each. At the morning ceremony Michelle Usher and Ellen Collins of St Barbara’s Guides, Ballincollig, Co Cork, talked about the Outdoor Compulsory Challenge they undertook as part of the Gold Award:

Our names are Michelle and Ellen and we were asked to talk to you today about an activity we helped to plan, organise and run at our Guide camp last summer. Our chosen activity was a wide game to be played with all the Guides on the Saturday afternoon of camp. 

Along with the other Gold Award Guides at camp, Alannah and Alannah, Amy and Leah, we decided to run a mini-Olympics over several bases.  This involved deciding how many bases we would need and what activity to play at each stop. 

There were about 35 Guides at camp so we split them into groups.  Because it was a mini-Olympics, we gave each group a country to represent.  The games included events such as running races, jumping hurdles and trying to run in straight lines after being spun around. 

We were given a bag of equipment to work with.  This included various outdoor items like skipping ropes, balls, ropes etc and we used these for some of the different bases. The Guides had to work together as a team to get the best results in order to win each event. 

We had a great time creating this activity for the Guides and we hope they enjoyed it equally as much.

Áine Daly of St Rynagh’s Guides, Banagher, Co Offaly, talked about how she had attended two Senior Branch meetings to find out about their programme:

We met up on Friday evenings – we picked Friday as some of the girls were in college. They were all girls I knew from Brownies and Guides. We had a chairman, secretary and treasurer. My first meeting was around Christmas and we decided to plan an outing. We had to discuss what Leader was going to come, where we were going to go, the cost and the transport.

We decided to go to Dublin Zoo. We looked up what it was going to cost and looked up prices for the local bus company. Everyone agreed that they would like to go. We decided that that we would bring money to the treasurer at the next meeting.

The next Friday we all brought in the money and the other girls started telling us what they were doing in other Units. They were telling us how they did a Hallowe’en craft with Ladybirds and Brownies and how much they enjoyed it.

We went to Dublin but, when we got there, it started to rain so we decided to go shopping instead. It was a great day out for all of us. Now that I’m finished my Gold Award, I’m now a member of Senior Branch. As I got my Bronze Gaisce Award during Transition Year, I’m looking forward to getting my Silver Moon with Senior Branch.

At the afternoon ceremony two members of Lucan Guides, Susanne Moody and Sarah Brogan, talked about new hobbies and interests they had taken up as part of the Gold Award challenge.

Susanne: I joined Westside Performing Arts School for my hobby. I really enjoyed singing, dancing and acting and I’m looking forward to being part of a show soon.

Other girls in our Unit became helpers at Brownies, took part in their school play, started bowling and even learned how to play the ukulele.

Sarah: I began baking every week. I made some simple things, like cookies and cupcakes, and some very challenging things, like lemon meringue pie. I definitely enjoyed not only the process of baking, but also eating them!

Susanne concluded: I think we speak on behalf of all the girls when we say that the Gold Award has been a great experience and we are lucky to have completed this worthwhile award before the new system came in.

Well done to all 140 Guides on a well-deserved achievement!