From a Dream to Reality….
A Modern Guiding Fairy Tale
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a lonely Guider called Abigail had the germ of an idea. Out there, in the area called Grass Roots Guiding, she knew there were lots of other lonely Guiders who would just LOVE to get together and share ideas. But as she was in Deepest Darkest Scotland, where even lonely Guiders are few and far between, how WAS she to get them together? "I know!" thought Abi, "I'll set up an Internet Group for ALL the Guiders in the UK so they can share their ideas and information and make new Guiding friendships all over the British Isles!"
And so she did.
And like all fairy tales, ancient and modern, they all lived happily ever after - only in this case that's NOT the end of the story!
For Abi's dream of an Internet Guiding community has indeed become a reality and the GuidingUK email list is thriving. Who would have thought, in those early days, that a small circle of a couple of dozen Guiders would have expanded to a membership of over 700. Members of the GuidingUK list have now spread beyond the British Isles to the USA, Canada, New Zealand and BGIFC, although of course the majority of list members are British Guiders. The List has proved a valuable source of support for Guiders of all ages and is a supplement to, not a substitute for, the Guiding network at local and regional level. It is sometimes more useful to be able to discuss a problem with someone not so directly involved, and beneficial to have a different point of view - and with 700 members, someone is ALWAYS going to be able to say, "Been there, done that - and this is how I dealt with it!"
Those 700 members have also been responsible for the creation of The Best of GuidingUK, a website of pooled ideas and resources, available for ANYONE in Guiding (and Scouting, for that matter) to use; in the seven months of its existence, the website has had over 14 thousand visitors, looking for things to do with their units, themes and ideas for camps, information on new initiatives, how-tos and instructions, the words to songs - in fact, all those things that we Guiders need to know to work successfully with our girls. We have held training camps for Guiders so that the experienced and knowledgeable can pass on their practical skills to the next generation of Guiders, we have a seagoing sailing trip planned for next year to introduce a not-so-familiar aspect of the Great Outdoors, and our latest resource venture is Go4Its - our own home-grown GFIs, produced in response to discussions between, and requests from, list members. They are not to be confused with the official programme but nevertheless we hope they will be a useful addition and resource for a busy Guide unit and its Guider.
Badges are also popular with the girls, and we Guiders are no different! Young Guiders, those aged 26 and under, are still members of the Senior Section and so eligible to work towards badges and awards, from the Staged Badges to Queen's Guide, but once past that magical age, there is nothing. The Guiders who form the membership of GuidingUK, however, are among the more active members of the Guide Association and so, not to be outdone, one member, Lucy, decided to follow the old adage that if you want anything doing you'd better do it yourself and created a complete set of thirty "interest Badge" syllabuses for the over 26s, encompassing Guiding skills, domestic skills, computer skills, vocational skills and hobbies, something to provide a challenge for anyone willing to take it up. The interest generated was enormous so actual badges were designed and posted, with their appropriate syllabuses, on the website, and so far over 100 Guiders are working towards these "Boguk Badges" (so called after the mascot of the Best Of Guiding UK group.)
Ninety-four years ago Robert Baden-Powell had a dream, a dream that we are proud to be part of and instrumental in carrying forwards into the 21st century. He could never have dreamt of the technological advances of recent years but we feel sure that B-P would have approved. The Internet is a vast resource and, used wisely, can benefit everyone involved. The speed of communication is paramount - last-minute requests and urgent problems can be dealt with speedily - and the pool of knowledge and experience is available to all to enable us to carry out the Founder's instructions - to Have Fun!
The Best of Guiding UK ( http://www.guidinguk.com ) is a compilation of ideas submitted by members of the GuidingUK e-group and is written and maintained by Dianne Davies, a list member and a Guide and Ranger Guider in East Yorkshire; submissions of material suitable for inclusion are always welcome and the site is in a constant state of growth.
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