Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Surf Smart - staying safe online!

Have you been doing Surf Smart activities with the girls in your Unit?

Staying safe online is vital; adults and children need to be equipped to do this. Think of it as a survival skill of the 21st century!

WAGGGGS has partnered with anti-virus software company, Symantec, to produce a Surf Smart booklet in order to help girls and women become more aware of online safety.

The Surf Smart pack, which all Leaders should have received in November, is full of great activities and we hope you have been making the most of these! By doing these activities girls should learn about using the internet safely, connecting positively with others and respecting their own rights and reputation in a digital world.

We want our members to be able to identify any online risks and build their own knowledge to equip themselves with the skills to ensure they can enjoy the internet safely. We strongly encourage our members to be computer savvy and to make the most of all that the digital age offers us while staying safe online.

Don’t forget to get your Surf Smart badges, which are free to all IGG Units from the Dublin Distribution Centre, with IGG covering the cost of postage up to June 2017!

Did you know …
·        Nearly 40% of the global population uses the internet?
·        8,480 tweets are sent every second?
·        1,701 Instagram photos are uploaded every second?
·        95,156 You Tube videos are viewed every second?
·        2,367,473 emails are sent every second?
·        By the year 2020 it is predicted that over 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet, equal to 7 for every person on the planet? Wow!

·        Having household internet guidelines reduces the chance of children having a negative online experience by 30%?

Senior Branchers learn to use their voices at Girlguiding event!

Hi I’m Eimear.

I met up with Aoife, Louise, Emily, Amy and Abigail for a weekend of fun and excitement at the Use Your Voice weekend in London. This is what we got up to:

Day 1:
After a short drive through London we arrived at YHA St. Pauls where we would be staying for the weekend at around 9:30pm. After quickly dropping our bags and logging onto the Wi-Fi we headed out for dinner.

However, after strolling along the streets of London for about five minutes, we discovered that most places in London where we could get
food closed by 9pm (It turns out most people eat dinner before 9). After walking all the way to a busy junction we stopped to sum up our options, by which of course I mean figure out what to do, as there seemed to be no options to choose from.

However, after standing there looking confused for only a few moments, our knight in shining armour arrived (well, he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt but you know what I mean). He quickly drew out his iPhone from its scabbard and, after looking up several Asian and Chinese fast foods that were all closed, he eventually managed to direct us to an Express Pizza that was open till 11:30pm. Thanking him, we hurried off and were soon digging into some delicious pizzas.

We then sleepily made our way back to the hostel only to discover there had been a Pizza Express just around the corner from it all along. After that we all quickly climbed into bed and dropped off to sleep with the sound of the bells from St. Paul’s Cathedral ringing in our heads.

Day 2:

It was an early-ish start the next morning. And after a quick bite to eat we excitedly headed off to The Warehouse to register for the event. After registering and grabbing a goody bag full of goodies and, of course, that all important badge I scurried off to my first workshop ‘Using your Voice by Blogging’. This was a really interesting talk as we were taught a bit about how you can use a blog for activism. You really can reach hundreds of people just by going onto the internet. We even counted up all our social media followers to find out how many people in the world we could reach. I think it was somewhere in the region of 2,000. It really showed that blogs CAN help influence change.

Next up it was ‘Your campaigner toolkit’ where we were equipped with what we needed to enter the world of activism and campaigning. After that I attended a talk on ‘Three inspiring campaigns’. The campaigns we learnt about were all really different. There were big ones such as Greenpeace and its campaign against Shell where it targeted Lego but then there were also smaller ones such as the greenheart campaign that demonstrated that by doing something as small as wearing a badge that you can support a campaign and create a conversation about it without the need to jump in to far too fast.

We got lunch, which was when I got to have some fun trying to figure out pounds and pence, and then it was off to Westminster for me along with Emily and Louise to learn about the New Dawn art installation which is based on the suffragettes. It was incredibly interesting as the tour we were given was all based on the suffragettes and their campaign to secure votes for women.

When the tour was finished we set off for a bite to eat. Then full up, we all made our way to the top of City Hall for the ‘Live from the Living Room’ event. If we were full before we came we were bursting by the time we left. I don’t even want to think about the amount of chocolate I ate. We were treated to a powerful speech from a suffragette, a short concert by Eva Supertramp, a poetry recital by the youth mayor of London as well as a talk from WAGGGs chair Nicola Grinstead. They were all very inspiring women who had a powerful message to share with us: that we could change the world. In between these talks we had ‘mingle’ periods during which we collected badges, ate canap├ęs and even did a radio interview for GENE. It was a tiring but rewarding day and, safe to say, we had absolutely no trouble falling asleep that night.

Day 3:
Another day full of exciting workshops and talks awaited us on Sunday. First up, Aoife and I went to the ‘Science of Storytelling’ talk by Rebecca Baron.  This was quite an unusual talk as it was all about how storytelling works and how to capture someone’s attention and get them to relate to your character. It was also about how storytelling could be used as a form of activism as people remember things better if there is a story behind it which I found particularly interesting as I had never considered storytelling as a form of activism before. 

The next talk on my agenda was ‘Being Nourished by Stories’. This was quite a relaxing talk during which we got to sit and listen to a story. I really enjoyed this as we could take our own interpretations from the story and have our own views of what it meant.

Leaving slightly early, I went off to a yoga session. This was a great time to just relax and stretch out your body. Finally, after a hurried lunch, it was time for our last workshop of the event.

Mine was improvised comedy and what better way to finish off the event than with a good few giggles. This was a very hands-on workshop and if I was anyway sleepy after the yoga session I was soon woken up after jumping out of a plane and dealing with a group of radiators that had decided to start a revolution. The best thing about improvised comedy is that it’s improvised! So absolutely anything goes.

Then it was a quick drive to the airport, some shopping and then at long last it was time for goodbyes, for me anyway as I was going on a different flight with Clare. I had an amazing few days in London; I met so many people and learnt so much. My advice to anyone who ever sees an opportunity that they would like to do but aren’t quite sure about is to just do it. You will never know how much you would have discovered if you don’t go.

~ Eimear O’Sullivan, Bishopstown Senior Branch, Cork

Friday, 13 January 2017

Let's Get Out There and Get Guiding!

Thanks to our President, Maureen Dillon, for writing this New Year message:

Maureen Dillon
IGG President
Happy New Year 2017! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break and are ready for the very exciting springtime ahead?

This week the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition is running in the RDS in Dublin. For those of you taking part, may I wish you every success? For those of you who have the opportunity to pay a visit, please do so as there are so many interesting things to see.

Next weekend members of the Branches and National Committees head to Co. Tipperary in the Mid-West Region for Next Steps. There will be a lot of work to do but it promises to be a learning and really fun experience for all participants and a great opportunity to renew old acquaintances and to make new friends.

On 22 February 2107 we celebrate World Thinking Day and this year WAGGGS  invites us to Celebrate and Grow. There are really brilliant ideas for fun things to do in this month’s International edition of Trefoil News

IGG members in Kells who took part in A-wear-ness Day 2016
Our annual A-wear-ness day falls this year on 17 February - a unique opportunity for all of us to go out into the wider world and be seen proudly wearing our IGG uniform.

The other evening I watched the latest in the excellent series of IGG You Tube videos – Free Being Me body confidence and empowerment. It is truly inspiring; well done to all concerned in yet another excellent IGG production.

Can’t wait for the Fun Badge Bonanza running this springtime, so keep an eye out for more information on Facebook.

Finally, Senior Branch members please remember to check out the Senior Branch Facebook page for upcoming international opportunities. A lot of these are highly subsidised and provide a wonderful chance to travel and meet other members of Guiding from around the world.

The evenings are beginning to stretch and get a little brighter, so let’s get out there and get Guiding!

~ IGG President Maureen Dillon

A Good Turn is not just for Christmas!

Clonmel Guide Leader Mena Timoney
pictured with Ryan Tubridy at RTE Studios
It is hard to believe that 2016 is already behind us. As I sat on the couch over the Christmas season reaching for yet another chocolate (just because what you eat during the Christmas season does not count), I started to think about all the work that the Irish Girl Guides had accomplished last year and one that stood out to me was National Good Turn Week.

I was fortunate to be asked to help on this campaign with a group of Leaders who are true purple to the core; they live to be a Girl Guide Leader. The campaign itself was a simple concept - do something nice for another living being without being asked. This concept reached across our ranks from Ladybirds simply folding their pyjamas in the morning to Senior Branch members holding the door for someone in a store. Just simple acts of kindness that may put a smile on someone’s face and, in some cases, it may be the only opportunity they have to smile that day as no-one knows what is going on in someone else’s life. 

It was a fantastic week and the opportunities gained during the preparation stage were enormous. Working with RTE was a highlight for me - seeing a radio advertisement built from start to finish and finally hearing it on the national airwaves was exhilarating. It was a super experience for our Guide and Senior Brancher who recorded the ad.

As the week ended and each of our Guiders gained their badges, I know that every Leader across all our districts (did not mean for that to sound like a scene from the Hunger Games) was
Abigail and Lara recording the National Good Turn Week
ad that aired on RTE Radio 1 and 2FM six times
proud but, to my shame as a Leader, I moved on to our next activity: in my case Christmas crafts.  

It was only when I was at home over the holiday that I realised that the purpose of the campaign was to instil a sense of kindness into each of us; we can be so consumed by our own lives that we forget to be kind to others. That is when I realised that ‘A Good Turn is not just for Christmas’: we should be aiming to do something nice whenever we can.

Hopefully National Good Turn Week’s 84,000 #GoodTurns will turn into 436,800 #GoodTurns in a year!

Finally a few words to think on:

So, do it, decide,
Is this the life you wanted to live?
Is this the best you can be?
Can you be stronger?
Kinder? More Compassionate?
(for those of you who are Greys Anatomy fans, you will recognise Meredith Greys’ words)

~ Mena Timoney, Leader of St Bridget’s Guides, Clonmel