100 Years Of Girl Guides In Ireland Celebrated

Queen Elizabeth as a Girl Guide in 1937

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Girl Guides in 1937.

On the 7th of May 2011, the Dome, here in Thurles Co, Tipperary saw over 6,200 disciplined, spirited, inquisitive and members of the Irish Girl Guides gather to celebrate 100 years of their organisation, and what an organisation.

One of the disappointment felt by me, reflecting on the ceremonies organised for the recent visit by Queen Elizabeth II, was the visual absence of senior officials from the Irish Girl Guides Association. While we appear to have fitted in an invite for every other member of the ‘great and the good,’ there was not a sign of a Girl Guide anywhere in sight, despite celebrating their 100th Irish Birthday this year. The fact that Queen Elisabeth herself and her late sister Margaret were both Girl Guides, with the Queen presently the associations patron, this appears to have been a major oversight on behalf of the organisers.

Yes disappointing, no matter, no doubt this will be corrected when US President Barack Obama comes to Ireland on Monday, especially since his wife Michelle is President of the American Girl Scouts. But enough about this, ‘Dedication and Organisation,’ always has it’s own reward and real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination.

Against the background of our hallowed Semple Stadium, this Girl Guide celebration was packed with Avitars, Moving Statues, Circus Performers, TD’s, Government Ministers, Giant Pigs, Helter Skelters, Musicians, Line Dancers and to close off this fun day an Abba Tribute Band.

The day got off to a brisk start with a Gold Award Ceremony, where 78 teenage girls each received the prestigious ‘Gold Award,’ the highest achievement that a Girl Guide can ever attain. These same group a short time later led the Members Parade, themselves kick starting the groups centenary celebrations, which fully demonstrated the total dedication and commitment by not just Girl Guides, but their leades representing the whole of Ireland.

Fine Gael TD, Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs was on hand to officially opened this 100th birthday event. The Minister in addressing the large crowd stated “This is a wonderful, historic, colourful day for you all. It is truly inspiring to see so many young people, and their leaders of all ages, latter still so young in spirit, gathered together to celebrate 100 years of success and true dedication. The organisation has an incredible role to play in supporting the young people of this country; helping them to develop our greatest natural resource to their fullest potential.

The remainder of the day was spent by the girls becoming involved in their different age group activities.  These activities included Circus Skills, Drumming,  Dancing, Science Workshops, Animal Roadshows, together with having the time to enjoy a free flow area, which housed a Helter Skelter, many large scale Inflatables, a Carousel and numerous Street Entertainers. The excitement of the day’s events were clearly written and easily read, on the faces of all those in attendance.

Coming near to the close of events, a presentation of ’30 year service pins,’ were presented by IGG’s President Maureen Dillon, Chief Commissioner Emer O’Sullivan and special guest Mary McPhail, Chief Executive of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, to some of the older yet still dedicated leaders.

The girls and their officers ended the day singing and dancing with music and song courtesy of the ABBA tribute band, ABBAesque, and in keeping with the 100th anniversary celebrations, this band lead all in attendance with a wonderful rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’

A special thanks to Catherine Noone, Carmelia Jordan and PRO Catherine O’Connor for their kindness on the day.

Next huge event will be “Camp 101“, which is the International Girl Guide Camp, taking place in Lough Key Forest Park, Co. Roscommon in July 2012, with Guides from around the world in attendance. Camp 101 for Girl Guides represents the beginning of a new centenary, and the opportunity to further build on a most successful past 100 years of Guiding in Ireland.

Want To Join Irish Girl Guides? Please contact the Irish Girl Guides National Office:- Telephone 01-6683898.



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