I feel incredibly proud as I sit and reflect on all that Girlguiding Retford has achieved during the pandemic. It’s been a challenging 18 months for all our volunteers, members, and their families but we have got through it together and have done some incredible things.
March 2020 saw our groups stop meeting face-to-face and our Guiding took on a whole new dimension. With the introduction of our national ‘Adventures at Home’ programme we followed some amazing activities online. Our local volunteers also emailed and posted activities for their girls to do at home. We celebrated Easter with virtual camps, enjoying craft activities, den building and of course we can’t forget the s’mores. Our groups also held celebrations at home to mark VE Day’s 75th anniversary with baking, dancing, tea parties and bunting designs.
In June, some of our volunteers came together and organised our Walk Around the World Challenge Badge with a competition for the girls to create the badge design. Themed around the seven continents of the world, we enjoyed a variety of crafts, games, food, and fun things to do to keep us moving. We walked, ran, and cycled just over 7,000 miles during seven weeks of the summer!
Autumn 2020 saw a few of our groups trialling virtual meetings for the first time. It was great for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides to have fun together again in new ways. When asked about virtual meetings, one Brownie shared that it wasn’t the activities that were important “but that it was just nice to see everybody again.” Virtual meetings continued through the winter months and some groups still posted or emailed activities.
In the new year we held our first virtual AGM with over 30 volunteers coming together to celebrate achievements of Girlguiding Retford during 2019-20. During the evening volunteers were presented with their long service awards and leader qualifications by our new Division Commissioner Karen.
As further restrictions have eased this spring, a couple of our groups have trialled meeting face-to-face again. This was a significant moment for everybody involved. To keep everybody safe, the activities were carefully planned to maximise the fun whilst remaining socially distanced. We are immensely proud of our volunteers and all their hard work enabling this to happen and to the families of our girls who have been so supportive.
As restrictions start to change, Girlguiding Retford continues to move forward by supporting all our groups as they aim to return to meeting face-to-face again. This will be subject to guidelines at all times. It’s proving challenging due to the number of volunteers able to offer a regular commitment and the limited number of suitable COVID-secure meeting places available. It is not just girl-facing volunteers that are needed, our area also needs help supporting groups with volunteer management, admin, accounts, fundraising, etc to secure the future of Girlguiding Retford. If you are interested in finding out about our range of volunteer roles please visit our website at www.Girlguiding.org.uk. If you would like to talk to us about supporting in another way, please get in touch by emailing retfordteam2020@outlook.com and we will get back to you. You can also follow us on Facebook @GirlguidingRetford.

Jane Cozens