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Virtual County Camp

Calling all Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and Young Leaders, Leaders and their families from across Girlguiding Cumbria South!

COVID-19 may have changed the way we do things, but it won’t stop Girlguiding Cumbria South from camping!

You are invited to our Virtual Camp on the dates of 18th-19th April for a fun filled evening of fun guiding activities done together but in your own space!

We want you to take up the challenge at home and join in with as many as the challenges as you can – these will include:

  • Packing a bag
  • Building a den at home / pitch a tent in the garden/ hang up a hammock (whatever you can)
  • Sleep in your shelter of choice
  • Build a ‘campfire’ (real or virtual) and join in with a Big Sing
  • Take part in a guiding activity
  • Help with cooking a meal
  • And Lots More!

MOST IMPORTANTLY we would like you to share photos, videos, blogs, etc. of you taking part using our social media platforms. Details of these will be given out once individuals have registered for the event so keep watching this space.

To participate in our Virtual Camp join the Facebook Group for more info

Details are still being worked out so check back often to see what we have planned!

Share them with your leaders and friends too to show that although we can’t meet face to face guiding doesn’t stop!


Back to Basics for Broughton & Barrow Guides

Guides and Young Leaders from Broughton and Barrow have just returned from a fantastically sunny camp!  They enjoyed traditional Guide activities such as cooking on a fire, making washing up stands from poles and making bedding rolls to keep their beds dry!

They also took part in raucous singing around the campfire, which including campfire stunts and very talented singers performing.  They had fun making crafts and armpit fudge and took part in archery.

The camp ended with a relay race involving leaking water bottles and a bit of a water fight to cool down!

The camp is one of the only ones in the county that relies on non flush loos and cooking on fires for the whole time.

Broughton and Barrow camp gallery

40 years service in Girlguiding

Girlguiding leader Margaret Shannon has accumulated an amazing 40 years of service to the organisation and was celebrated by Girlguiding Cumbria South at our recent annual Awards Evening, attended by many civil dignitaries and local as well as regional Guiding leaders.

Margaret, from Ulverston, joined the Brownies “because of all the fun stuff that Brownies
did”. She never left and now has a variety of roles in Girlguiding Cumbria South. Her
favourite memories are all about meeting like-minded women and girls on international
visits, “including one to the Sangam World Centre in India, where we had a monkey in the
room, plus we visited local families and enjoyed a tour of India”.

Margaret Shannon being presented her award.
Margaret Shannon presented with 40 year long service award by Julie Bell, Girlguiding North West England Region Commissioner.

Many of her current volunteering hours are taken up with making sure that every
Girlduiding leader in the area has relevant First Aid qualifications. “This is very important as it enables us to make sure that everybody is safe, that Guiding happens in a safe

Margaret has seen many changes in her years as a Girlguiding leader, including to the
uniform “from the bobble hat onwards” but also emphasises that many aspects of her
experiences are timeless: “The girl only space, the friendship and the fun, and the many
opportunities for girls” will always be essential.

South Lakes girls have sporting fun at ‘Energise’

Have you ever tried Tri-Golf, spinning or high ropes? Dozens of Girlguiding members from the South of Cumbria joined over 2,500 of their peers for a weekend of adventure and adrenalin as they took over Stanley Park in Blackpool for the ultimate sporting event, Energise. There Girlguiding members aged 5 to 25 rose to the challenge of trying out exciting new sporting activities, including BMX-cycling, American football and climbing.  

The event, organised by Girlguiding North West England, with support from Blackpool Council, aimed to encourage girls to get involved with sport. This is partly because a survey of girls’ attitudes found that many girls are hesitant for fear of being judged on their appearance or because they think that sports are seen as more for males than females.

Members of 5th Kendal Rainbows in kit ready for the climbing wall.
5th Kendal Rainbows all kitted up for the climbing wall

Eleven mainly 6-year-old girls from 5th Kendal Rainbows certainly had a huge amount of fun, trying activities from touch rugby to athletics and Zumba to yoga. For Ryleigh Bastille her “favourite thing was doing the inflatables and the conga and the Macarena”, whereas Katherine Conway “loved it all but doing the Macarena was my absolute favourite, and the climbing”.

Unit leader Jo Conway judged the event a “great opportunity to experience a number of new sports at a large event, with girls of all ages from all sections of Girlguiding.”

This was echoed by 11-year-old Naomi Oliver from 1st Burton and Holme Guides who, after thoroughly enjoying touch rugby, said that “it helped me meet new people that I would not have normally talked to.” Six girls, aged nine to twelve, from her unit also tried fencing, table tennis, high ropes and lacrosse. They thought that “high ropes was the scariest” but, as unit leader Jane Street commented, “they could do the lower course first which gave them the confidence to move up to the higher course and they loved it!” And Leanne Tummey (12) admired the Rainbows because “they had a go at everything”.

Guide on the high ropes at Energise
10-year-old Erin Scott on the high ropes

According to Jane Street “it was a great opportunity for the girls to gain confidence through trying new things. We could see them really getting involved with activities outside of their comfort zone. It was great for promoting physical activities for girls and young women in a safe, girl only environment.”

‘Have you Herd?’ Come and join the the Herdy challenge

When the Lake District National Park donated 60 Herdies to Girlguiding Cumbria South for a very local challenge, the 1 st Hawkshead Brownies unit went one step further. Local Brownie leader Judith Myers persuaded local businesses to sponsor one of the cute little sheep each, and the Rainbows, Brownies and their friends dressed them up in knitted and sewn outfits, to fit names ranging from Glitterball to Petal. Some of the participating shops also dressed their own Herdy.

Hawkshead Rainbows with their Herdy toys.
Showing off a flock of Herdies: Hawkshead Rainbows with Nicky Belcher.

Now it is up to villagers and visitors in Coniston and Hawkshead to find around 20 Herdies
per village in two separate trails. Entries cost £1 and are available from the Tourist
Information Centre, Anne and Tony Butterfields or the Newsagents in Coniston, or from the
Post Office or the Honeypot in Hawkshead. The trails are open from May 26 th to the end of
September. Once the completed trail sheets have been returned there will be a draw, with
winners announced on 1st October.

Elsewhere in the south of Cumbria, local Girlguiding units dress their Herdies up and take
them to interesting sites, anywhere from Barrow Docks to mountain summits, where they
are photographed. The best images will win prizes. And there are even rumours of all 60
Herdies getting together, all kitted out in their finest, for a very special summer


Annual Gathering 2018


What an amazing evening!

Dozens of awards, including a Laurel (!), lots of presentations which were in turns hilarious, moving or thought-provoking, but absolutely all inspiring; lots and lots of laughter, three impressive Women of Cumbria banners and 78 portions of Sticky Toffee pudding. If you were at the Annual Awards Evening then you will know why that last one is important. If you weren’t then you might never find out.

Sue Gudgeon’s tree image admirably set the tone for the evening. She reminded us that “we discover, we grow”, that like the tree we have very solid roots but occasionally need support and pruning, that our volunteers provide the wow factor, and that in working with young people we keep planting seeds, and eventually they will blossom, some of them spectacularly.

We saw many excellent presentations, learning that around 150 Guides, including some from Armenia, enjoyed a dazzling mixture of outdoor activities at Curlew 2017 as well as learning some Armenian songs and dances, and how the Rainbow Jungle Fun Day in Ulverston involved make-believe but very hungry hippos as well as real spiders.

Ellie Tucker, young leader with Arnside Guides, humorously reported on a visit to the Big Gig at the Wembley Arena, a weekend that also included seeing a performance of “Matilda” and taking lots of selfies with waxwork celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s.

Maria Miln and Hollie Backhouse reminded us why city visits are of such importance for rural girls when they described their BP Challenge visit to Liverpool, “a weekend out of our comfort zone”, with visits to the Tate Liverpool including a painting lesson and taking the ferry across the Mersey.

Four leaders reported on their January 2018 visit to Cambodia, where the “Aziza’s Place” centre supports children who live with their families on rubbish dumps, feeds and clothes them and enables them to go to school. The Cumbrian women painted a world map onto a wall in the building, taught some English, helped prepare food, and finally organised a party where the children loved relay races and particularly parachute games. Since the children had never encountered parachutes before chaos ensued and great fun was clearly had by all.

Vicki Noble turned what was billed as a presentation about the Big Sing into a miniature version of that event so we all ended up “Sing it louder, sing it clearer, knowing everyone will hear you, make some noise, find your voice tonight” – we certainly sang both loud and clear. Thank you, Vicki.

And then to the awards. High Sheriff Simon Berry got the tone absolutely right when he declared himself “totally humbled” by the huge number of volunteer hours totted up by those in the room with him. Explaining that this was his first official presentation in his new role and that as this role encompasses encouraging volunteering he had clearly come to the right place. He awarded the High Sheriff shield to Beth Howard Henry who uses her background as a BAE Systems apprentice to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) for girls, starting with a STEM day for Guides and Senior Section and then developing the Clever Clogs challenge which is now North West Region’s “best seller” activity. She also enabled a recruitment drive which gained around 20 new volunteers, leading to the establishment of a new Rainbow unit in Barrow.

Region Chief Commissioner Julie Bell awarded the Jackie Fulton Trophy for craft to 12-year-old Annie Hodgson (Hawkshead Guides). The challenge had been to make something out of recycled denim and Annie’s design cleverly used bits of an old pair of jeans to create a highly individual ringbinder with pockets for essentials like pencils and a ruler. The Marian Salway trophy went to 1st Urswick Brownies who won the Brownie quiz, including for their clearly awesome ability to blind-taste crisps!

The Flamingo Trophy, the highest accolade which can be awarded within the county, went to Janice Thompson for her work as Guide leader, District and Division treasurer and Region trainer, but above all for her tireless work, alongside her husband Alan, as First Response advisor for the North West region, ensuring that we all have up-to-date First Aid qualifications.

Julie Bell had made some attempt at working out the likely volunteering hours accrued by the long service award recipients but had understandably given up on that particular challenge. Present to receive their awards, often to thunderous applause, were Holly Wardlaw, (5 years), Karen Taylor and Helen Belton (10 years), Helen Taylor, Sharon Coid, Sarah Beale and Jane Asquith (30 years), Margaret Shannon and Molly Inglis (40 years) and Rosemary Hocking and Val Craven with 50 years of service to Girlguiding. More about this later.

The Good Service Award went to Kath Travis for her “non-stop guiding, her amazing attitude and particularly her optimism, drive, relentless effort and fundraising” which meant that the Ambleside “Guide Hut”, completely destroyed by storm Desmond, finally reopened in its new guise as the Pam Partridge building.

Rebecca Benson received the Queen’s Guide Award, which is especially pleasing as Rebecca has returned to Cumbria and is now volunteering in Barrow, thus keeping her expertise and enthusiasm in the county. Hannah Smith was given her Going Away Award.

Julie Bell then moved on to those awards which are given by the Region or on a national level. These included a Special Award for Janice and Alan Thompson because “we just couldn’t do what we do without them” and the Region Chief Commissioner Award to Caroline Gunningham from Bowness who Julie described as a “great leader, exceptionally committed and who never seems to sleep. I can’t put into words how amazing this woman is”. Lastly in this category Tina Jackson from Grange was recognised as an “excellent ambassador for Girlguiding whose enthusiasm rubs off on the work of others and who is such a great role model”, particularly for her untiring efforts in taking so many girls abroad.

Laurel Awards are very rare. They have to be approved on a national level and Julie had only ever presented a handful of them. How appropriate that one of them was awarded in Cumbria South, to Barb Littlewood, lauded as “a most dedicated and passionate woman who has the ability to nurture simple ideas and turn them into something great”. This recognises all her work for Girlguiding, with a specific emphasis on being the main instigator of the Express Group, the young people’s voice in the region who advise HQ and influence their decision making.

On a personal note, it was both a humbling and an uplifting experience to be able to talk to some of the inspiring award winners afterwards. What do they all have in common? Amazing energy and passion – having just spent a weekend in Waddow and looked after their units (often several!) during the week, they turned out in large numbers to celebrate Girlguiding and still managed to look fresh and enthusiastic, the slightly older members of the movement, if anything, even more so. A clear sense of the importance of what we are doing for girls and young women in our unique setting. A no-nonsense, common-sense approach without which our units just wouldn’t work. An unshakeable sense of values. And, above all, an appreciation of the friendships engendered and sustained by years in Guiding and the fun that comes with being part of such a fantastic group of friends.

As Sue Gudgeon said, on sending us home ”Keep being amazing!”

Maria Bates

Kendal Rangers celebrate 100 years of votes for women

2018 is the centenary year of women in Britain gaining the right to vote, a fact which is being commemorated and honoured at countless events up and down the country, including through the “Celebrating the Women of Cumbria” initiative. This creative project involved 11 museums working with girls and women from Girlguiding, the WI, the Trefoil Guild and Soroptimists International who collaborated with Cumbrian artist Karen MacDougall to create an artistic response to the anniversary. In Kendal, this involved Kendal Rangers on the design of a banner which has just gone on display at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.

Members of Kendal Rangers with banner
Left to right: Rebecca Tarney, Sophie Hansen and Josie Hardy

Rebecca Tarney, Sophie Hansen and Josie Hardy, three members of Kendal Rangers, were very happy to participate in the project since it “allowed us to celebrate women in general as well as the suffragette movement and also look at votes for people aged 16+” as Kendal Ranger leader Helen Belton explains. Rangers are aged 14-25 and the Kendal unit has been discussing a number of political issues recently, and for example coming to the conclusion that the so called “tampon tax” is unfair, and that the voting age should be lowered to 16.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed their work on the banner, particularly Imogen and Sophie Hansen who ended up as the models for the young voters at the bottom of the banner. They are now looking forward to all the Cumbrian banners being carried through the streets or Carlisle in a parade,

Barrow Brownie postcard pals

It is not every day that you receive a card from a fellow Brownie on the Isle of Man, but that is exactly what happened to Brownies in Barrow as part of Girlguiding’s “World Thinking Day”.


Hawkshead Brownies visit Coniston Mountain Rescue

How awkward is it to stretcher somebody off a mountain? And how do the rescue services communicate with each other? These were just some of the questions which 16 Brownies, aged between seven and ten, recently explored on their visit to the Coniston Mountain Rescue base.


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