Members of Esker Riada Ladybirds, Brownies and Guides were among thousands of girls and young women who took part in a nationwide Camp At Home event last weekend.
The Irish Girl Guides (IGG ) Camp At Home initiative saw girls from age five upwards camping with their families in tents in their gardens or in makeshift dens or shelters they made indoors.
Many of the girls made campfires outdoors on which they cooked their dinners and made s’mores – toasted marshmallows eaten between two chocolate digestive biscuits – a favourite of Girl Guides throughout the world.
To encourage participation in the event, IGG produced a Camp At Home resource pack (available on the website www.irishgirlguides.ie ), which includes a variety of games, activities and challenges. The scavenger hunts, crafts and puppet shows proved especially popular, as did the traditional campfire songs.
Camping and overnight events are an integral part of the Guiding experience. IGG came up with the Camp At Home initiative as this year’s trips have had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were thrilled with the response,” said Michaela Barrington, area commissioner of Esker Riada. “Our youth members loved taking part in the Camp At Home and their parents were delighted with the idea. They told us their girls loved taking part and that it was a great boost to everyone.
“Children and young people are experiencing stress and anxiety at this time, just like adults are,” she added. “They are missing their friends and usual activities, so it’s important we come up with creative ideas and initiatives to boost their spirits.
“IGG excels at encouraging girls and young women to develop confidence, resilience, independence, teamwork, and leadership skills as well as a community spirit, and it’s great the organisation is continuing to provide non-formal educational opportunities for girls and young women at this time.”
Over the course of the weekend IGG’s senior branch members were especially busy as they also participated in an online 24 Badges in 48 Hours Challenge, which saw young women from age 14 to 30 complete 24 badges in 48 hours. The badges included STEM, Cultural Diversity, Active Body, Disability Awareness, Healthy Mind and Performing Arts. They were joined on Zoom by Maria Walsh MEP while they were earning their Europe badge.
Irish Girl Guides welcomes youth members from age five and adult volunteers from age 18. No previous Guiding experience is necessary and ongoing training and support is provided. For further information, see www.irishgirlguides.ie or phone 01 6683898.