When I think back about my favourite memories from my Guiding experience so far, I think about Charnwood, county camps, trips to Topstones and days to Drayton Manor; but out of all the memories, my time within the Leicestershire Senior Section stand out most.
Once I finished being a Guide, I couldn't bare to leave! But at the age of 14, I was looking for other opportunities, something different to explore. I was approached by my local Ranger unit to join their meetings every Thursday and to see if I fancied attending a weekend away at Topstones for Senior Section only; wow, this is what I was after!
I attended my first Leicestershire Senior Section only weekend – Go Wild! It was brilliant, we didn't have to have lights out by 10, we could stay up and gossip, we were aloud hot drinks when we wanted them and we could even go shopping with the leaders for our dinner! It was so different from Guide camps I had been on. I met a group of amazing girls from around the county, and before the weekend was over, we were already arranging the next weekend.
Between the years 2007-2009 I attended several weekends, they were held twice a year. Go Wild, in the Spring and Chillout in the Autumn. They were always In different locations around the county. We even had our own mascot, and slogan ‘living the dream’. I remember the volunteers fondly that ran the weekends, Abi Salter, Sarah, Catherine Bradley and Helen Olivier. All three of these ladies made such an impact on us all, they were approachable, friendly and gave us the space we needed. We respected them so much, and the feeling was mutual.
I felt like we had made a real Guiding family, when we weren't together, we would talk over MSN messenger and emails, arranging the next weekend away and who was bringing the snacks. We lived for Guiding events to meet up! We couldn't wait six months, that was too long to catch up on all the gossip, so we took matters into our own hands and arranged several meet ups between us, always involving eating!
And then came Buzz… ‘How does a county camp sound?’ I remember Abi saying to me. ‘Camping, in the rain, with no phone charger… I don't think so’ I remember thinking. Abi continued ‘we are thinking about heading up a Senior Section only sub camp, camping on your own’. My ears perked up. This was just the responsibility I needed. Before we knew it, there we all were, camping at the county camp at Topstones, together again, me and my Senior Section family. It was the best week of our Guiding journey so far, wet, but despite my reservations, amazing! It was bittersweet, we knew most of us were separating our own ways for college or university and this was probably the last in our epic adventures together, even more reason to make the most of it!
So where are we all now? Some of us are still in contact, some of us moved abroad and I even ended up at university with two of our gang! We often see each other at County Day and other County events, it's lovely to have a catch up with each other. Despite our different paths now, I can speak for us all when I say thank you to everyone that shaped our Senior Section experience in Leicestershire, you gave us so many life skills we wouldn't have got anywhere else and encouraged many of us to stay within Guiding for years to come.
Thank you Leicestershire.
We really ‘lived the dream’