“I am never going to recover from seeing my Guide leader dressed as a hotdog, doing the Macarena!”

This is how 13-year-old Isabelle Walton describes the highlight of her Girlguiding Camp which brought together 160 Guides, Young Leaders and their leaders from all over the Girlguiding Cumbria South area, from Barrow, Dalton, Broughton in Furness, Ulverston, Askam, Ambleside, Kendal and Arnside.

At  Waddow Hall, a Girlguiding Activity Centre in Lancashire, the girls spent four days grass sledging, canoeing, kayaking, tree climbing, climbing, zip wire, archery, bushcraft, caving, ice skating, tubing, rafting, fencing, netball and belly dancing, and anybody who wasn’t quite exhausted at the end of the day could enjoy a disco and a campfire in the evenings.

Making friends

Whilst such camps are offered to Cumbrian Guides on a regular basis, this summer the Cumbrian girls were joined by two Guides and two leaders from Armenia, a visit for which the Cumbrian girls had raised money for quite a while. In this former Soviet Union country Guides and Scouts as organisations were only founded in 1996.

Guide unit leader Tina Jackson, on a visit to Armenia, had suggested that some of the Armenian girls and young women might attend the Curlew Camp. “A large percentage of the members of the Armenian Guiding organisation are extremely poor and have very few opportunities to travel in Armenia let alone abroad. So inviting them to the camp gives these girls the opportunity to gain experience of international travel, something that most of us take for granted,” she explained. 19-year-old Liana, asked to pick out her favourite activity, couldn’t decide, because “I liked everything and I enjoyed every moment.”

Girlguiding County Commissioner Sue Gudgeon agrees with their Armenian guest: “It was great seeing the girls enjoying themselves, growing in confidence  and having such an active time at camp, trying new activities and making new friends, especially with our guiding friends from Armenia.  Thank you to all our volunteer leaders that made it happen.”

Conquering fears

The Guides themselves clearly had a fabulous time: “I liked the zip wire, even though it was scary” said 11-year-old Leah McMullen from Askam, whilst 13-year-old Tyeisha Stamp from Barrow “even enjoyed the rain.  I conquered my fears and did some abseiling.”