6th Brownies had a visit from Peter Blackman, from Guide Dogs for the Blind, who brought in retired…
The unit leaders in South Woodham Ferrers have a formal meeting every month or two to plan events, fund-raising, pass on information from Division and County. We also participate in lots of fun events together. In October 2013 a small group of us visited Sangam in India, which completed the four World Centres (London, Switzerland, Mexico and India) for several of the group and in February 2016 there was a trip to Mexico. They are now planning to visit all the Girlguiding Training and Activity Centres.
In February 2016 a group of four leaders from South Woodham with three others from Wickford and Laindon, joined other leaders from the UK and the Channel Isles to travel to Our Cabana in Cuernavaca in Mexico. We spent three days in Mexico City visiting the Anthropology Museum, the Sun and Moon pyramids at Teotihuacan and the floating gardens at Xochimilco, as well as the Guide HQ Ticalli.
We then travelled to Our Cabana and enjoyed meeting the local Rainbows (Girasols), Brownies (Haditas) and Guides (Guias) as well as running lots of activities for the children from a local orphanage. All the participants also had to prepare a table with items to show their home culture.
The highlight of the trip was a two day excursion to the Valle de Bravo when we then went to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary at Piedra Herrada. These amazing butterflies migrate all the way from Canada and over-winter in Mexico. There are just millions of them clustered in the trees and flying around.
The whole trip was an amazing experience - yet another Girlguiding opportunity!
Visit to Sangam
In October 2013 a group of six leaders from South Woodham Ferrers plus one from Wickford, joined 34 other leaders from across the country to travel to Sangam, in Pune, India, organised by Venture Abroad. We set off from Heathrow Airport and arrived very late at night in Mumbai, where we finally got to our hotel at about 3.30 in the morning! We were up again at 7.30 and were taken on a whirlwind coach tour of Mumbai before driving four hours to Pune to arrive at Sangam in the evening.
Sangam is the youngest world centre and we were there to participate in the Silver to Gold event, celebrating Sangam's 47th birthday during our visit, whilst hearing about plans to celebrate their 50th birthday in 3 years time. We were welcomed to Sangam in an official ceremony with the volunteers and staff all wearing saris. During the time we were at Sangam we learned a lot about Indian culture, how to cross the road!, how to barter, how to wear a sari, how to eat with our fingers, what was expected when visiting a temple or a family home. We learned about topical subjects around women - bullying, violence against women, poor education, discrimination, trafficking. We entertained lots of groups of children at Sangam and also went out to visit various projects in schools, a home for battered women, and other community activities.
After our time at Sangam we flew on to Delhi for another whirlwind coach tour, followed by an overnight stay in Agra and a morning visit to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, before returning to Delhi for the flight home. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience much enjoyed by all and demonstrates the opportunities that are available to girls and women in Girlguiding.