CHIEF COMMISSIONER’S REPORT The voice of girls and young women is central to delivering on the vision, mission and strategy of Girl Guides Australia.
I am excited to announce that the newly formed Girl Guides Australia Young Women’s Forum has held its first meeting! The vision for the Young Women’s Forum is to help amplify the voice of girls and young women in decision- making nationally. Micheala Collins, Assistant Chief Commissioner, chairs the Forum. Congratulations to the ten young women who have been selected to be members of the Young Women’s Forum:
Hayley McCann and Claire-Marie Pepper from Girl Guides Queensland
Natasha Payne and Victoria Severin from Girl Guides South Australia
Lucia McAlister and Shay McClymont from Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT
Billie Tranter and Mandhree Ekanayake from Girl Guides Victoria
Roshan Evens and Laura Ives-Hicks from Girl Guides Western Australia
This network of young women will meet regularly to provide a consultative and reference group for Girl Guides Australia. They share a similar goal – to be a positive voice for other girls and young women.
I am pleased to welcome to the National Team Wendy Kirk as the National Coordinator – Youth and Joy Ord as the National Coordinator – International. These are new roles and I look forward to working with Wendy and Joy as they support and help coordinate the work in States.
Thanks to Kate Rumney as she finishes in the role of National Olave Program Manager. Applications are now open for the role National Coordinator- Olave Program – if you are looking for a new challenge and passionate about supporting the Olave Program network around Australia, this role might be perfect for you. Please refer to the Girl Guides Australia website for details.
Congratulations to Hannah Woodward (GGWA) who has completed four years on the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) Steering Group. Thanks to Hannah for providing Girl Guide representation. Congratulations to Dakshata Sharma (GG NSW, ACT&NT) who has been elected to the ERA Steering Group. Equality Rights Alliance is Australia’s largest network advocating for women’s equality, women’s leadership and recognition of women’s diversity. ERA brings together 61 organisations with an interest in advancing women’s equality.
Sincere congratulations is extended to Natasha Hendrick and Susan Campbell on being award the WAGGGS Medal of Service. The Medal of Service is the highest form of recognition that WAGGGS can bestow and is awarded to individuals (volunteers or staff) who have distinguished themselves in their outstanding service to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting at national and global level. The Medal of Service expresses gratitude to members of WAGGGS whose service is considered to be exceptional, noteworthy and/or extraordinary in nature. Natasha and Susan have both made a significant contribution to the world of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.
September is ‘Save the Koala Month’ with the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF). Girl Guiding in Australia has a long and proud tradition of supporting this organisation. In view of the threat to the Koala population and habitat after the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires across a number of States, Guides across Australia may consider supporting the Australia Koala Foundation or one of the other many organisations helping our koala population.
Please save this important date for your diaries too – 16th – 18th October will see Scouts host their digital online event JOTA JOTI! This event is all about friendship and global citizenship and is not to be missed. Register here: https://www.jotajoti.info/
Are the gardens and bush around you springing to life? I am noticing Wattle blooming in so many places. It really is quite glorious! It brings a reminder that Spring is just around the corner and with that is National Wattle Day on 1 September. Did you know Wattle is a symbol of unity and resilience? We have talked a lot this year about working together and the amazing resilience you have all shown to bring Guiding to girls even with the challenges of a pandemic. Let’s celebrate Wattle Day – maybe wear a sprig of Wattle, enjoy a walk in the garden or bush and wish others a Happy Wattle Day.
Stay well, stay connected, stay Guiding and Happy Wattle Day on 1 September.
GIRL GUIDE BISCUITS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
With the recent launch of our new Girl Guide Biscuits website, we are excited to be making Guiding history by now having our delicious biscuits available for direct purchase online! We have been so heartened to see such great support from all over Australia so thank you to those of you who have already placed your biscuits order.
THE NEW BISCUIT RANGE
Girl Guide Biscuits are baked by Snowy Mountains Cookies, located in Jindabyne, NSW.
Each box contains 16 x 50g gourmet biscuits and as well as being really delicious they are also:
made with free-range eggs
free from artificial flavours, colours, additives, preservatives or sulphites
free from palm oil
packed in recyclable packaging.
They make the perfect gift for friends, family (let’s not forget Father’s Day around the corner) and of course essential workers, such as our doctors, nurses, shop assistants, teachers and daycare workers.
When placing your biscuits order, if you wish to show support for your local Girl Guide Unit, please remember to name the Unit and State.
We had the pleasure of spending a morning with Channel 9 at Tingira NSW for the launch of our new national biscuit fundraiser. This year everything was different; not only was it a new range but, due to COVID-19 restrictions we are selling them directly to the public online.
Two young Guides experienced the fun, friendship, and adventure of going in a canoe for the first time under the watchful eye of our experienced Olaves and Leaders.
Our Chief Commissioner, Rosemary Derwin hosted the day and spoke to Mike Dawson from CH9 about the new biscuits, explaining how this year we are offering a modern take on a 60-year tradition. Whilst the biscuits are different the funds still support girls and young women across Australia to be the change in their worlds.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS
We have had some fabulous opportunities of late to showcase some amazing Guiding stories in the national media. We had a double-page spread in the August edition of National Geographic Kids magazine as well as a home page takeover of their website for the week that it launched! From camps at Taronga Zoo to regattas in Tassie and sleepovers at Snoozarella, it was just a snapshot of some of the opportunities Guides across Australia get to partake in.
SCIENCE WEEK 2020
National Science Week this year takes place between 15th and 23rd August. This year Girl Guides Australia is profiling some amazing Guides in STEM who are making a change to their communities and the world at large! Watch our social media channels for their stories.
The Girl Guides Australia Bushfire Relief Fund is a wonderful example of community spirit. The distribution of these funds to impacted communities has commenced.
Batlow Girl Guides was the first recipient of one of these bushfire relief grants. The small town in Southern NSW was badly impacted by the bushfires including with extended periods of evacuation from their homes and major loss of employment with loss of industry such as forestry and local orchards.
This grant means Guiding can continue in the community and provide a place where girls can belong. Guiding fun and friendships are so appreciated during difficult times. When the face-to-face restrictions from COVID-19 are lifted, they are looking forward to organising a camp with other Guide Units in their Region to foster connection and healing in the wider community.
THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Girl Guides Australia Bushfire Fund, your donations are really making a difference!