Our Chalet - My Volunteering Experience 

Georgie Moore

 

Hello, my name is Georgie, I'm from Leicester in the UK, and I am a spring volunteer here at Our Chalet!

 

 

Over the last two months I must have said these words almost one hundred times, but I never get tired of saying them. That's because I am spending three months volunteering in the Swiss Alps - something I never thought I would get the chance to do! My role as an Our Chalet Assistant involves everything from leading hikes to cooking dinner for 50 people, and I’m loving every minute.

 

Our Chalet is one of the 5 WAGGGS World Centres for Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. 2017 is not only the Centenery of Leicestershire Guiding, but it also marks Our Chalet's 85th Birthday, so this year is extra special for many reasons.

 

 

 

So what is life at Our Chalet actually like?

Located in Adelboden, a village in the Swiss Alps, Our Chalet is perfectly placed for winter sports - I have tried skiing, sledding and airboarding so far. Although skiing was great fun, it turned out to be quite difficult to learn from a YouTube video... I spent most of the time on the ground, trying to figure out how to get back up. Now the snow is beginning to melt away, and we alternate between snowy days and sunny days (of around 15-18 degrees), hiking is becoming even more popular. However we hike whatever the weather.

 

Hiking is also a popular activity that guests choose to do during their break at Our Chalet, so often the volunteers get to go out and about, leading groups on hikes. Recently, I have taken girls from Shropshire, Yorkshire and Lebanon on a hike to Switzerland's second highest waterfall, and a group based on the Belgium/Netherlands border to the local Woodcarver’s shop.

 

On a typical working day, I might start with preparing breakfast or running the on-site shop and reception (or enjoy a lie in if my rota allows). Every working day includes a morning meeting at 9:30am, where all the staff get together to plan for the day. Our morning tasks usually include preparing rooms, cleaning the common areas and each volunteer either helps prepare for, or clean up after,  lunch. Then the afternoon is an opportunity to relax, go on a hike or run, work on a special project, or attend a meeting or workshop about something specific, such as budgeting. Napping is also sometimes a popular option! Then we would prepare dinner, and eat with all the guests - a great opportunity to find out about the other countries represented at Our Chalet. In the evening we would tidy up the kitchen (which often involves lots of singing) and then join an evening programme with the guests, or return to the volunteer house for some fun, such as a chocolate fondue, movie night or campfire.

 

 

Back in Leicestershire,

I am a member of 1st Hinckley's Senior Section, and I first found out about the World Centres at the County International Selection Weekend. I am so grateful to the International Team in Leicestershire for helping me find out about this opportunity!

 

 

I have met so many amazing people and learnt so much already. Our Chalet is also a brilliant place to meet people from all over the world. As well as the guests, we have a truly international staff team representing Guides and Scouts from countries including Mexico, Sweden, Japan and Kenya. If you are a ranger or leader (or anyone in guiding over 18) I would strongly recommend volunteering at a World Centre. Guides of any age can also come to visit, or take part in events. Volunteering at Our Chalet has certainly given me plenty of Guiding goosebump moments already, and I can't wait to continue the adventure in May!

For more information you can check out the Our Chalet website: https://www.wagggs.org/en/our-world/world-centres/our-chalet/

 

Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM Categories: 100 centenary

Our Merchandise 

As part of our Centenary Celebrations we've designed our own merchandise range to all our members. Our merchandise can be worn all throughout the Centenary year, but remember this is only guiding wear. 

We have four different items on offer for you. All our items were picked by our Division Centenary Champions.

For our members we have a polo t-shirt (in navy and in turquoise), a navy zoodie (a zip up hoodie) and a navy, with navy collar rugby shirt. Also, for our younger members we have a navy zoodie.

Not sure what size you require or want to see what it looks like? If you pop into the Shop at County Office you can get a rough idea of the sizing (we do only have one sample item of each product, so we hope that helps you). Or look out at County events where our sample merchandise will be going on a little roadtrip.

Even though you can try the merchandise on in the shop, unfortunately you cannot order it though the shop. But you can order your merchandise herethrough the One Stop Scouting website!

Did you know the logo on our merchandise is our Centenary badge? Do you like it? You can purchase your Centenary badges at the Girlguiding Leicestershire Equipment Store. Why not email the shop and get your badge order in now?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:39:00 PM Categories: 100 centenary

Did someone say duck? 

Have you been to a meeting or event recently and seen three duck waddling around? It looks like they have been on a little bit of an adventure recently so we thought we would get them to quack up a blog post!

Hello!

We are some of Girlguiding’s Centenary Ducks. We have been hibernating since 2010, but have decided to come out of the Duck House to party with Girlguiding Leicestershire as THEY celebrate THEIR Centenary. We like taking selfies, and LOVE this one of us with our badge – designed by a Brownie from Oadby – the badges are now on sale in “Guiding Essentials” at County Office! (If you pop in and there isn't any left, don't worry, there are more badges on order!)

It looks like it’s going to be a busy year! We went to 2 guiding events one day, we're very busy ducks!

First we went to a Rainbow planning meeting. All of our units have trained leadership teams who plan exciting programmes for our members. Between now and the summer holidays, our Rainbows are going to be taking part in activities from “Roundabout the World” – including some cooking – our Rainbows LOVE to cook – in between lots of other exciting events such as “Winter Wonderland”, a Division 30th Birthday Party for Rainbows, and maybe even a sleepover. When they have finished the Roundabout, the Rainbows will get a badge – like all members of Girlguiding, the Rainbows LOVE badges!

Our Rainbows are really lucky – in addition to our adult Leaders/helpers, we have 3 amazing Young Leaders called Charlotte, Phoebe and Ella, who are working on their Young Leader Qualification – they help the Rainbows learn lots of exciting things and play some great games with them – though it has to be said that one of their favourites is “Sandstorm”, where they all run around “singing” the alphabet (or at Christmas, Jingle Bells at the TOP of their voices!) – when the sandstorm hits, they all crouch down on the floor, one of them gets covered with a blanket and they have to guess who it is.

In the evening we went to a 'Membership Support' Committee meeting.

The 'Membership Support' Committee is a group of experiencedlLeaders who look after things like our membership database/joining system, training/qualifications, DBS checks and Awards. The meeting was quite serious in parts but as with all guiding events we also had a lot of fun – and we got to eat – there was a healthy option and a treat option – we’ll let you guess which one we chose!

As with all of our Leaders, the people at the meeting were all there in a voluntary capacity – they tell us they do it because they enjoy it. We got to meet the County Commissioner and a lady who has promised to knit us some of those fab orange hats that all the folks in Girlguiding Leicestershire seem to like (though she said she can’t also make us neckers). We also met a lady who threatened to kidnap us at our “Big Night Out” in July – we’ll be keeping our eyes out for her. There was a tentative kidnap attempt by someone else last night – we’re going to have to be on our guard!

Here’s wishing everyone in Girlguiding Leicestershire a quacking good Centenary Year – and provided we survive kidnap attempts, we may be back later in the year to share more of our adventures! J

Sunday, February 12, 2017 8:50:00 AM Categories: 100 centenary

Winter Wonderland 

A few weekends ago 240 Rainbows and their Leaders from across the county descended on a school near Hinckley. The Rainbows kicked off our county's celebrations of Centenary by exploring a Winter Wonderland themed activity day. The girls took part in activities from igloo building, melting snowman, making their own snow globe, fancy dress and much much more! There was even a disco with Frozen songs! Let it go, let it go...

So we thought we would show you some photos of all the winter themed fun we had!

Rainbows completing their scratch art

How many different ways can Rainbows dress up?

Do you want to build a snowman?

Penelope the Penguin meeting lots of new friends from around Leicestershire

She even found some friends in an igloo!

Have you ever seen a penguin come to tea?

 

These are just a small selection of photos from the Rainbows Winter Wonderland. Check our our Flickr here to view more of our Centenary adventures!

 

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 6:30:00 AM Categories: 100 centenary

100 Years 

One of our blogging members has written this lovely post about all the opportunities and experiences guiding can give you!

Here we are at 100 years of Guiding in Leicestershire.  We are progressive, relevant, exciting and bigger than ever and as successful now as we were at the beginning. 

And yet despite being so relevant to the girls of today, I am sure if we stepped back in time our original sister Guides would still recognise who we are.

They would see our drive to make a difference to the world, our desire to achieve, to learn and above all to have fun. lots of it.  Even if we have a phone in our pocket ready to catch a moment for Instagram rather than a sandwich wrapped in brown paper!

Beyond the exterior of fun, challenges and change there is something right at our heart the means we are still adding a life long value to every girl and women that experiences guiding at some point in her life.

I've always struggled to explain why I know Guiding is 'downtime', a time without the pressures of school, exams or gradings and yet still challenges and develops them.  But I've found the best explanation I've ever heard.  It goes right back to the original foundations of Scouting, the organisation that was our Guiding  impetus 

In "27 Years with Baden-Powell" by EK Wade says Baden-Powell described it as 'The Essence of the Individual'.
I'm going to précis her quote slightly (indicated by *), as it was said in a different time when some words had a different  context to how we would read them today:

"....there is only one standard by which a boy is judged as qualified for a badge, and that is the amount of effort he puts into his work. This gives direct encouragement to the less academically able* - the boy who has seen* successive failures. If he is a trier* his examiner can award him the badge and this generally inspires the boy to go on trying till he wins further badges and becomes* capable."

He fought tooth and nail, against schemes for the standardisation of badges to the level of school examination or competitive tests. Scouting was a GAME.

"The great object and value of the badge system is that, if properly used, it will draw out the best in each boy* and give him his chance to excel* and so get him to have a try. It is the essence of the individual as opposed to mass training."

So whilst I have played a little with the wording,  what BP was saying is as relevant today as it was back then. Children are constantly aware of their grade, their standing on the rung.  "She gets better grades them me, he plays football better than me."  There are no grades in Guiding.  Yes, the best runners might get round the circle fastest but the girl in the wheel chair still managed to hear those keys being moved whilst blindfolded.  There are rarely 'overall winners' in anything we do. Sometimes perhaps a group may score the most points on a pack holiday.  Maybe a team will win in a game of ladders, but the teams are drawn so randomly that everyone will win or lose at some point and it is not dwelt on.

Guides do work in groups, large and small but the essence is in the individual.  The focus is on helping her to achieve everything she is capable of for herself and achievement at every level is celebrated.

In our Brownies every girl gets a go at 'responsibility'.  Not just Sixers and Seconders but also through the buddy system.  It's easy to be a buddy, just showing a new starter where a coat hangs or where to stand but the buddy herself gets badge, is recognised and, for those few weeks, is an important part of helping another girl develop.  It's a great way for everyone, no matter how timid or insecure, to achieve a level of responsibility.  Badges are sometimes passed on mass, the term's plan structured so if they turn up and participate fully they will get that badge regardless of the 'quality' of the craft item that went home or the poster made.

Of course some girls just love to work for extra badges alone. There is constant opportunity for achievement.  But it is not under pressure.

There is constant opportunity to throw off insecurity and self doubt.

A Ranger may organise a unit meeting night of games or quizzes or she might complete her entire Queen's Guide award.  Both are valued as equals within the unit. 

And this is how the Guide of 100 years ago would greet the Guide of today: with an equal hand, an equal smile, a respect for the different skills we all possess and a longing to just get out there and have a great time doing fun stuff.

I can't imagine why anyone would not want their child to experience what Guiding has to offer, and how lucky are we that the opportunity to develop and grow doesn't stop at 18.  As an Adult the opportunities are much greater.

Posted by Beck Jeffs Wednesday, February 01, 2017 7:04:00 AM Categories: 100 centenary

Smalls for All 

Some of you will have seen the charity survey which was distributed a few months ago. It was all about what charity we would as Girlguiding Leicestershire like to support during our Centenary.

So you’re all probably thinking, what is this Smalls for All charity people keep talking about?

Smalls for All is a charity based in Scotland which collects, in association with Freedom from Fistula Foundation and Kenya Children’s Home UK, bras and pants for girls and young women in Africa.

So what would we like you to do?

We would like to collect as many gently worn or new bras and new underwear. These will then be collected and transported, through a long road trip up to Scotland and then off to Africa. Once they have travelled hundreds of miles to Africa they will be gratefully received by the girls and young women.

Why do these girls and young women need underwear?

We take having underwear for granted. You wouldn’t dream of going out without wearing any underwear so why should women and children in Africa go to school without underwear? We have an amazing opportunity in 2017 to allow these women and children to gain some dignity, self worth and access education.

Did you know, young girls can miss the opportunity for education because they do not have any underwear? Think of the difference you could make by donating today!

Let’s see how many bras and pants we can collect as a county. If we all donate one bra, we could provide over 8000 girls and young women in Africa with a piece of underwear.

If you would like more information about Smalls for All and what they do, head over to their website

Posted by Beck Jeffs Tuesday, January 10, 2017 7:56:00 PM Categories: 100 centenary

How to Blog? 

We would love everyone in Girlguiding Leicestershire to blog so here is a short how to guide about the things you need to know.

Remember your blog could be about anything and everything! We want to shout about everyday guiding activities from meetings to all the exciting things your unit is up, to what the county teams are doing behind the scenes or what happened at an event near you. This could be in the form of a written post, a poem, a video (or a vlog) or a collection of photos.

To submit to our blog complete the form here. Once you have received confirmation of your request head to our submission page here and voila your post will appear as if by magic.

 

We’ve also created some handy tips and tricks so your blog post is as amazing as you are!

  • If you just want to post photos or a video, that’s fine, please remember to gain photo permission for all members within the photos. If you have any doubt do not share the image. If your photo/video includes those over 14 years of age get their consent to share.

 

Handy Photo Tips:

  • Natural images that represent positive behaviour and relationships are the best.
  • Don’t show girls on their own, looking isolated or always looking at the camera for a posed photo.
  • Action photos are better than posed photos.
  • Do show girls engaged in activities working in groups or laughing with each other
  • Photos and videos can be submitted in all formats (from JPEGs or PNGs or YouTube video link or a MPEG/MOV etc.).
  • Within your post, do not use full names of members or other information which could identify individuals.
  • Do not leave writing your post until the last minute – be realistic about how long it could take you to write your post and collate your photos after an event.
  • Remember to write your post using the font Trebuchet MS

 

If you have any queries about blogging let us know and we’ll happily help you out!

We look forward to reading about all your exciting and fantastic adventures you are up to during the Centenary.

Posted by Beck Jeffs Tuesday, January 03, 2017 9:00:00 AM Categories: 100 centenary

Our First Blog Post 

Here it is! The first blog entry. Let’s hope it’s the first of many as we showcase the exciting events around the county, our “everyday” unit meeting activities and the adventures of Girlguiding Leicestershire.

It’s the beginning of Girlguiding Leicestershire’s centenary celebrations. 100 years of fantastic fun for girls of all ages. Maybe you’ve signed up for a surprise parcel to exchange this month or perhaps you’ve booked onto the Winter Wonderland with your Rainbows or Stargazing with your Brownies. Some people have begun to collect bras and pants to add to our collection for our chosen charity “Smalls for All”. As usual, there’s plenty to choose from. The Centenary Challenge will be launched shortly with places to visit around the county and a wide variety of activities.

Just to keep everyone busy, I’ve decided that I’ll challenge you with a County Commissioner’s challenge too. How many different ways can we make 100? Make the number 100 using tent pegs or Brownie t-shirts. Take a photo and share it by emailing it to the office on office@leicestershireguides.org, messaging the facebook page “Girlguiding Leicestershire” or instagramming it with the hashtag #girlguidingleicestershire. I made a start with these helium balloons but I’m sure you’ll all be far more imaginative. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

 

Happy 2017. Happy Centenary.

 

Love Rachelxx

Posted by Admin Saturday, December 31, 2016 6:39:00 PM Categories: 100 centenary

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