A day to remember

IGG Make a noiseOn the 7th of May 2011, the Irish Girl Guides (IGG) held a huge day fun to celebrate 100 years of changing lives here in Ireland. Over 6,200 girls and Leaders descended on Thurles, Co. Tipperary to join together for a day of exciting activities.

All the Branches joined in the celebrations – Ladybirds who are aged between 5 – 7 years, Brownies from 6½ – 11 years; Guides 10½– 15 years, Senior Branch 14½  - 26 years, and Leaders of all ages.

The day was started by our Gold Award Ceremony where 85 teenage girls, each received the prestigious Gold Award, the highest achievement that a Guide can attain. They later led the Member’s Parade, being given the great honour of kicking off our centenary celebrations, in recognition of the dedication and commitment required to achieve the Gold Award.

Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Children & Youth Affairs officially opened the day.  She said “this is a wonderful, historic, colourful day for you all, it is amazing to see so many young people, young leaders and people who are simply young in spirit! The organisation has an incredible role to play in supporting the young people of this country; helping them to develop to their fullest potential as they are our greatest natural resource.”

During the rest of the day, the girls broke into their different age groups to try activities such as Drumming, Circus Skills, Dancing, Animal Roadshows, Science Workshops, along with having time to enjoy the free flow area which included large scale inflatables, Helter Skelter, Carousel, giant paint by numbers and street entertainers. Mixed in amongst the fun activities were various opportunities to give back to the community (an important principle of Guiding) by contributing to the centenary charity fund which will benefit Barnardos and the Global Girls Fund. The excitement of the day was plain to see in the face of every happy girl.

IGG LeadersAs the day came to a close, there was a presentation of 30 year service pins to many dedicated Leaders by our President Maureen Dillon, our Chief Commissioner Emer O’Sullivan and our special guest Mary McPhail, Chief Executive of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). 30 years of service to the community is an immense testament to these Leaders’ dedication and commitment. This is especially significant in this; our centenary year; as 2011 has also been designated the European Year of Volunteering.

Mary McPhail, Chief Executive WAGGGS, said “It was a delight to walk around to see thousands of girls and young women having a fantastic time. It’s powerful to see how Guiding has made a difference in the world and you are all a part of that. I am thrilled to be able to recognise and honour the Leaders who make this possible. Long may it continue.”

To end the day on a high the girls and Leaders partied to ABBA tribute band, ABBA-ESQUE, dancing and singing at the top of their voices. The band led all 6,200 members in a rendition of Happy Birthday!  A once in a lifetime celebration for the Irish Girl Guides – or in the words of our Chief Commissioner Emer O’Sullivan, “a day to remember forever!