Members of the Dunshaughlin Girl Guides Who took part in a Virtual international camp during the summer.

Guiding Lights: Navan leader on some of the benefits of joining for girls on what is the 110th anniversary of the organisation

A NAVAN-based Irish Girl Guides leader has spoken of how the core values adopted when youngsters take their ‘promise’ stays with them for life.

Regional Development Officer Anne Hyland was commenting on some of the benefits of joining for girls on what is the 110th anniversary of the organisation.

Anne has been involved with the IGG for a number of years as a volunteer, just last year taking on the more senior role.

The Irish Girl Guides are encouraging young girls to become members and learn skills that they will take with them into the future. Speaking on how joining as a child changed her life, the volunteer said:

“I’ve been involved for the past 12 years and have worked with the brownies, the guides and now I’m working with the senior. I just get such enjoyment seeing the girls grow in confidence through the years.

“As a child I was a brownie and guide until I was about 13 in the UK, it was a great way to get involved in the community.

“I remember those times with such happiness, it has kept me young doing all of the fun silly things. When you become a brownie or a guide you make a promise to do your best and do your duty to your god and your county and help other people at all times and that is the basis of me, I’m very helpful, I do think of others before myself, it is about lending a hand to other people, those core values have stuck with me for my whole life.”

By taking part in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities and challenges, youth members from age five to 30 develop teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills while growing in confidence, independence and resilience according to the association.

They make new friends, go on trips and adventures and learn to care for the needs of others – in their family, community and globally.

In a similar way, volunteers benefit too by gaining new experiences, developing new skills and having great fun with the girls and their fellow volunteers.

“Up until the pandemic we had about 12,000 members in Ireland I would guess there would be 1,500 would be in the north east and in Co Meath there are approximately three to four hundred members,” added Anne.

Girls take part in community service projects, like litter picks, bake sales and carol-singing, and are encouraged to think for themselves and to advocate for what’s important to them. In recent years IGG youth members have advocated for change in relation to climate, gender inequality and gender-based violence, to name but a few.

“Everyone is asked to participate to the best of their ability and badges are awarded for taking part. IGG has over 120 different badges on a wide range of topics – everything from Healthy Mind, Environmental Awareness, Performing Arts and Cultural Diversity to Aviation, Space and STEM – so there really is something for everyone.”