This month my precious is my collection of badges from the time I was a Guide Leader. I can't show you a photograph because blogger is being difficult and will not allow me to upload from my computer or from another website.
I was never fortunate enough to be a Girl Guide or a Brownie when I was young so, when I grew up and had my own daughter we lived in a village about 8 miles from the town of Monmouth and this village had a Brownie pack and a Guide Company. My daughter was desperate to join Brownies with all her friends so as soon as she was seven along we went to see Brown Owl. She told us that unless she could find some people to help she could not take any more than 12 girls and there would have to be a waiting like. My dear friend Bev volunteered and so did I - well we had to didn't we there were at least six more girls desperate to be Brownies. We received our hand books and after a week or two obtained our uniform blouses and little strips of ribbon stitched to an elastic thing to go around our necks. When we were warranted we would be able to wear our badge on this. In time we did just that and I made my Promise as a Guide and Guider for the first time in the Parish Room, surrounded by Brownies and with my daughter, who had made her Promise several weeks before. Proud? oh you bet!
Guiding in Wales has a house. It is called Broneirion and it is in Mid Wales. It was Given to them by the wife of the man that built Barry Docks and training events are held there. I was lucky to be able to go on our County weekend. It was fantastic. I arrived home on Sunday evening full of all the things we had done and eager to get to Brownies on Monday to start. Half an hour after getting home the phone rang and it was the District Commissioner. "Are you sitting down?" she asked. "Yes" I said although I was actually standing at the bottom of the stairs. "H has resigned as Guide Leader so we need a new Guider. How do you feel about running Guides?"
"I, er, um, Guides?" I managed before she continued, "Well, let me put it this way. If you say no then Guides will close."
There's nothing like a bit of honest blackmail is there? What choice did I have? I said yes, I went to Brownies on Monday really worried that I was letting them down and when I arrived at the door one of the mothers asked me if we needed any help because she had been a Tawny Owl in the place they used to live so she had a warrant!
I took her to Brown Owl and then explained the situation about Guides and the following evening I went to the Scout Hut to meet the girls There were eight girls, including my daughter who had just moved up (the one big reason I had to do this thing) She had a face like a smacked bottom because I was deliberately following her. The girl who had resigned was there as promised. She was going to stay a week or two and show me what to do. We had great fun and so it began. I did all the necessary stuff and got my Guide Leader's warrant. My friend Viv came along to help and she agreed to stay as Assistant Guider on the understanding that she NEVER wanted to be in charge. We discovered that the company didn't have camping gear, had never been to a camp and so we changed all that. Girls from the surrounding area heard about us and our Saturday camps - I lived in an old water mill with 6 acres of land so it was easy - and they wanted to join. By 1979 we had two Guide companies with 18 girls in each. Two Brownie Packs with 18 girls in each. We joined up with two other Guide companies and took 56 Guides to a summer camp just outside Monmouth, where we were joined by an infestation of nits!!! but that's a whole other story.
So when I look at my badges - Brownie promise, Guide Promise, Camper's Badge, QM badge, Silver Jubilee and all the rest I can let my mind float back to those wonderful days.
Sorry there are no pictures but this has been written with confidence and pride, just like I learned on that training weekend so long ago.