This year, on Thinking Day weekend I ended up volunteering at a big Girlguiding Scotland event in Edinburgh attended by about 1,200 members of all the sections of Girlguiding. It was an event that myself and fellow leader Jo had spotted, but because it was in the city where our girls were based, plus we are finding it a challenge to have time to volunteer (all of us!) we ended up not being able to take them. However, for me it was a rare weekend with no plans or work so when an emergency call went out from our County Senior Section Advisor I agreed to apply to volunteer.
At the last minute I decided to bring Olave Bearen-Powell with me, as you know how Olave likes to come along to special outings…
There were several locations around the city with activities for the girls and women to enjoy and take part in. I was certain that I’d be placed in the West End or down at the station to direct lost looking groups – but in the end myself, Olave and a leader from the Scottish Borders found ourselves sent to Scottish Parliament. I was also shocked after walking through security and into the main foyer, when a staff member approached us and seeing me exclaimed ‘Oh!! It’s Olave!!’ (turns out not me she had spotted but the bear in my hands).
Turns out, Olave had been recognised from Twitter, as the staff member had been following the hashtag #WanderTheWorld on the train coming into work that morning.
Claire and I had a great day, welcoming groups from all over Scotland and explaining how they could tour the debating chamber, met 3 members of staff taking turns to do an interactive talk about Parliament with the girls and another member of staff doing activities for Citizen Girl. The staff were so welcoming to all of us, and even tried to see if they could get Olave into the First Minister’s seat for a photo (unfortunately not allowed without permission from Nicola Sturgeon – so Olave’s political aspirations may be put on hold).
I was also really glad I had brought Olave along, as she became a source of chatter and fun throughout the day. Some groups took her along to the talk (a Guide returning her telling me “She was very well behaved, and sat on my lap and listened the whole time”), some groups wanted their own mascots to have a picture with her.
The most fun was a group of Rainbows from Bishopton who were fascinated by her, asking about the badges on her camp blanket poncho, what they were for, where she had come from, her name.
They even practised their promise with Olave, as it turned out they had won a competition to go on stage to lead the Rainbow promise at the end of the day. I hadn’t understood when the Rainbows told me ‘they were making their promise’. The Rainbows were so excited to be allowed to take Olave around Parliament with them, taking turns holding her to make it fair. When they returned they said “She has learned all about how Parliament works and we’ve given her lots of cuddles”.
Of course Olave also wanted to check out the debating chamber and have a go with the gavel before she left.
She ended the day very impressed by the chandelier at the McEwen Hall, saying her Guide/Senior Section promise with lots of other adults, Senior Section members and Guides.
It was a fantastic day, and I hope it becomes an annual thing that Girlguiding Scotland put something on nationally for Thinking Day weekend.
And of course, at the regular Guide meeting we had the candle ceremony. If anyone is looking for coloured pillar candles and long dinner candles for individuals to hold, I recommend a trip to Flying Tiger. And Leslie, you’ll be happy to know that this year I finally remembered to pop a mention of Agnes Baden-Powell into the ceremony.
We have a number of new members to our unit this year, so for many this was their first time doing the candle ceremony. It’s always very special and something the Guides remember.
What did you do to celebrate World Thinking Day this year?