“Today, Tomorrow, Together”

I didn’t expect to be writing this but then none of us anticipated this time last year what an experience and challenge 2020 would be.

Our guiding year started well in September 2019 when we hosted Girlguiding Scotland Trustees at Blair for their executive weekend. Adults and young members were invited over the Friday evening and Saturday to chat with trustees and learn from each other. Our youth participants engaged in activities on how they see the future of Girlguiding to inform the Trustees on the best way forward. Thank you to Abbie Franklin, Lara Morrison, Nikki Donnelly and Ros Maitland for taking part.

The Leadership Qualification Team has continued to inspire new volunteers. They offered a day of training in September at Blair, and continued to support Leaders in Training locally until all face-to-face Girlguiding activity was suspended in March 2020. Four volunteers completed their qualification to become Assistant Leaders and many others have completed either Module 1 for their section or Module 4 to progress to Leader. Congratulations to you all! Keep up the good work. Thanks to our LQ Team for their tireless work.

It was great to be able to take a patrol of my own Guides to County Patrol Camp weekend at Blair. A lot of those who took part were all first-time campers from many units around county, and it was great to see the girls develop outdoors skills. Well done to Bethanie Bell and her team for organising. Bethanie and mentors continue to support those working on their Going Away With Qualification, and they held a successful ‘air and share’ event at Blair in January.

What an honour to be able to recognise our County President Kim Main for her 50 years of service to Girlguiding at our Annual Review in October. A truly humble and forever supportive friend to all. Many of our Vice Presidents were also recognised for their years of service, and I had the privilege of announcing three new Vice Presidents – Doreen Gray, Elizabeth Howie and Nan Mackay. We have sadly lost two of our Vice Presidents during the past year – Elsbeth Bruce and Camilla Young. We should be forever thankful for what these women will have done for county in the past.

Thank you to the young women who presented on their International Opportunity Trips of 2019 at our annual review – Abbie Franklin, Amy Bilham and Megan McCafferty. We should keep encouraging our young members to travel and experience. Well done to Issy Wilson for taking part in ICE (International Community Experience, aimed at Guides aged 11-13) which tool her to Inverness in January and then take part in a virtual event touring Europe!

Shiona and I were delighted to present Lesley Hamilton, Irene McIlwain, Isabel McNicoll and Ruth Winning with County Good Service Badges to show our appreciation for all they do in county. Well done to all who have received their long service awards throughout the year.

What an absolute honour to be Shiona’s ‘plus one’ at the Annual Girlguiding and Scouting Thanks and Recognition Service at Westminster Abbey in November. We were just thoroughly moved during the service to be amongst such amazing volunteers and young members. Shiona’s dedication to county has been 110% and so a perfect treat to have time in London to reflect on our term of office.

Thanks to Alison Murdoch and Rowan Carswell for hosting a Young Leader’s day at Blair which saw 16 young women given skills and tips for leading within our units. Good Luck to our Young Leaders as they become our future!

County recognised over 30 young members who achieved their Gold Section Awards at a short ceremony in Kilmarnock in December. To hear girls speak of their achievements just makes it all worthwhile and so encouraging to get family along to such occasions. The programme is going from strength to strength as volunteers get to grips with it, and great to see women of the future do so well.

It was great to attend the joint Guide and Scout Hospital unit and see the great work that volunteers are achieving with paediatric inpatients at University Hospital Crosshouse and how important youth work is. Shiona had the honour of attending their 10th Anniversary party.

Another successful county residential at FlipOut was organised by Ashley McDonald in October, and Ashley then lead the planning for and Wow’d us all with our County Thinking Day event “Ayrshire North Goes Global” at Greenwood Academy. In reflection, I’m so delighted this event happened. Over 350 participants from more than 20 units across county explored worldly activities from Cheerleading, Karate, Silent disco, Guiding Archives and much more. We even had our very own Thinking Day version of the Haka! We all renewed our promise together and shared in successes of many of our members. All this and more made it more than appropriate for Shiona and I to recognise Ashley with a County Good Service Award. Thank You Ashley!

Congratulations to Jenna Fee, Chloe Smart and Zoe Breingan for achieving their Queen’s Guide Award, and at time of writing Jemma Breingan was imminently due word of achieving hers. I had the privilege of presenting Jenna and Chloe their awards on Thinking Day 2020, and know that when circumstances allow Zoe and Jemma will be able to celebrate their success with family and friends. Thank you to all who supported these young women to achieve our highest award!

March hit everyone with a bang, but in our own way many continued to rise to the challenge and adapt to the restrictions put on Girlguiding. Virtual Guiding became the trend for many whilst others felt it was the right time to focus on family and personal circumstances. It has made us rethink how we engage, and social media and use of video forums have flourished. What a joy to see parents and siblings take part during virtual meetings and events which included quizzes, scavenger hunts, baking. We Can Do Anything!

The biggest, most exciting challenge of the year for me was finding a successor! And, with pure delight and honour, Louise Crichton was announced as County Commissioner Designate and started to learn the ropes in May. Louise’s first task was to lead our County’s Virtual Camp in June and what a blast and success it was. We had the privilege of having Moira McKenna, Scottish Chief Commissioner, officially open our camp on Facebook live. From creating our flags and dens to mocktail and flower garland making; from learning how to Tik Tok to joining in with Claire’s Crazy Campfire, it was just full on fun from start to finish. The engagement from families was overwhelming and such a joy to watch the comments and photos from participants come flying in. Great effort from a phenomenal county team!

Today I type this with absolute pride at having had the honour of being the lead volunteer of this amazing county. For all the Tomorrows I will be beaming at what the new county team are doing for all of our members and thankful to be a part of it all. And, Together we can continue to offer girls and young women the forum to achieve anything!

I cannot believe that it is a whole year since I wrote my last report.  So much has happened since then, that it is hard to know where to start!

At the beginning of last year, units were busily making plans for autumn and winter activities connected with hallowe’en, bonfire night and Christmas and having lots of fun. Many units were able to have fundraisers, which are always welcome to help to pay for the upcoming census. Since then of course, things changed radically. After Christmas everyone started back and census was paid and then we all went into lockdown. What an unusual event for all of us to be caught up in, a global pandemic, the like of which has rarely been seen before. However, true to girlguiding spirit, people have proved to be incredibly resilient.

Modern technology has had a lot to do with this. It has been possible to hold “zoom” or “google” meetings when units have been able to communicate with the girls and hold virtual meetings. There have been some very interesting things happening, with virtual camping, outside meetings, quizzes etc. Even the adults have had to learn a lot of technology very quickly to keep up.

Some guiders have not felt able to cope with this technology, and that is not a problem either, as we have all had to decide what we can and cannot cope with, and how soon we feel able or brave enough to have contact with our girls. Please do what you feel is best not only for the girls but for you – without you guiding cannot continue, so please keep safe.

One of the things that I think has come out of all this, is that we know we can hold meetings virtually and in future, some meetings will be held this way, saving time, money and energy – you don’t have to get changed to sit in front of the computer! Also, we may have come to understand more about ourselves and how we cope in difficult situations. I know that many people will be having problems after this difficult experience and we must all make sure that we keep an eye on the girls for signs of problems, but also, on each other, so that we can be there to be supportive, if that is needed. One of the old guide laws was “ A guide is a sister to all other guides”, let us try and put that into practice.

The virus did come at a difficult time, as I think units were generally getting to grips with the new programme and putting into practice all the new ideas, only to be pulled up short. None of this is easy, particularly for some of us more mature ladies. I feel that now, the only way is forward, so good luck with the “not so new” programme.

Thank you all so very much for all you have done as County members to keep girlguiding alive, to helping keep spirits up and to being resilient. Here’s to the future and good luck for 2021, let’s hope we see the advent of a vaccination which can help us all.

Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and volunteers across Ayrshire North came together for World Thinking Day on 22nd February. World Thinking Day is the annual celebration of the birthday of the first Chief Guide, Lady Olave Baden-Powell (born in 1889).

On World Thinking Day, girls in Girlguiding speak out about issues which affect them and their community, fundraise for causes they care about, and learn about other countries and cultures.  The theme for this year’s World Thinking Day is diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The members in Ayrshire North honoured the anniversary by exploring Countries cultures through fun activities. These ranged from dancing at the Silent Discos, creating Dreamcatchers, and creating music through percussion and drums.

Lyla (9), who has earned her Brownie Gold Award this term, said: “I really liked the Silent Disco as we got to dance with music to ourselves. We learned the haka too and will make our own haka with my unit.”

At the finale of the day, the county came together to perform a thunderous Girlguiding Haka which filled the room and rounded off a fantastic day.

Returning to Guiding in these very strange times … daunting, very daunting, so I thought, right, let’s just do it!

At the end of last term we Zoomed with the girls, but out of a unit of 18, we only had 6 regular girls and it just wasn’t the same – don’t get me wrong, it was good, but just not the same.  So, I thought – let’s spice it up a bit and spend the winter term outdoors!

The beauty about outdoors – workload = hardly any – not much planning, a very straight forward risk assessment process with our lovely Division Commissioner (thanks Ailsa), loads to do without any resources and we can ask for the much needed subs – £20 for the term, but with no outgoings it will mean that we might have a fighting chance of paying the 2021 Census!

We’re meeting in ‘bubbles’ so we have split our 17 strong unit into a group of 8 and a group of 9 Rainbows:

Group 2 – the older Rainbows and the new recruits

Group 1 – the inbetweeners!  

Each group meets fortnightly (so we do the same thing 2 weeks in a row), we have me (the Leader!), Kendal – our newly qualified leader, Wee Louise – our Young Leader (who joined as a Rainbow at 5 and doesn’t seem to have ever left!) and a parent helper (thanks Shellie – Group 2 and Dawn – Group 1!).

How do we collect subs?  We hand delivered letters, calendars and consent forms to the girls, with instructions to meet in the carpark in Cathcart Street (near the park) – parents could stay at their car and the girls walk to us from there. I made a post box – out of a box and a bin liner – for waterproofness!  The girls posted their consent forms and fees in my unique post box (they loved that) which I locked in the car whilst we walked and then stored in a safe place at home and not touched for 72+ hours.

So, with oodles of hand sanitiser, a first aid kit, consent forms, warm layers (which we ended up shedding), waterproofs, facemasks (adults only) and we were off!

Weeks 1 & 2 – up the hills – and that’s what we did – went up the hill at Douglas Park and back down again, we counted steps, found painted love hearts everywhere and had running races.  We rested on benches and tried to spot our houses from the top of the world!  We even had a wobbly tooth full out – so much for social distancing with that one!  We loved it!

Weeks 3 & 4 – we’re going to have a good walk around Douglas Park, The Burns Garden, the pond, faerie trail and bug hotel within and of course have more running races, because the girls love them!

Weeks 5 & 6 – we’re going to go to Anderson Park (spicing it up a little) and play on the swings, might even take a football to kick about in the ball court.

Weeks 7 & 8 – an open air Promise Ceremony which our Young Leader – Louise – is going to organise as part of her Young Leader Qualification.

And so, what if it rains?  Well then, we’ll just have a ball jumping in puddles and getting wet and then sending all the girls home for hot baths and hot chocolate!

As for what we all thought of our new way of Girl Guiding …

New Rainbow, Quinn said “I liked meeting new people and seeing some of my friends 😊 and I liked when we had to run up the hill and have a race”

Young Leader Louise says “I’ve loved watching all the girls enjoying and exploring the great outdoors, and their happy faces seeing their rainbow friends after not meeting for months.”

Leader Kendal says “Having Rainbows outside has been a little different but a lot of fun – the girls seem to love it! Can’t wait to see how things pan out over the next few sessions and I’m sure no matter what the weather we’ll all have a blast exploring and adventuring outdoors😊🌈

Isabella says she liked having Rainbows outside. She loved running up the hills and back down again. And she especially liked that her tooth came out! 😅🌈x

Nina says she liked looking for the hearts 💕

Hollie – “I enjoyed seeing all my friends and going on a walk together”

Sophia – “I enjoyed climbing up the big hill and racing with my friends”

Paige loved being outdoors and meeting the new girls, she said that the race was definitely the fun part and her mum said – thanks again for organising it all. They love being outside.

And as for my thoughts – well, I hit my step count and had a wonderful time doing it, with great company who see so much more than we do as they are closer to the ground!  Lol!  I am seriously considering making outdoor Rainbows sessions a firm future planand can’t think why we haven’t done more of it sooner!


When I write this all I can think of is wow…what a year it has been. From having a very successful January and February (Thinking Day Event) we didn’t think it was going to lead to our unit physically stopping in March. We all thought Coronvirus was only going to be a month?….am I right! 

We didn’t want to disappoint our Rainbows as our girls love our unit so much, that’s why we took on the challenge of starting a digital unit via Zoom. After speaking to our parents, they were more than happy for us to trial it. Writing this in present time… we are still having our rainbow unit meeting every Monday night! The girls have done so well! From taking on six new girls ( On zoom which was very challenging at first as we never met the girls before but they have settled in really well and they have even become friends at school) As a Rainbow leader, I am so happy to hear. During the lockdown, we have done so many interest badges, skill builders and even was able to test out some UMA’s. The girls have loved the new Girlguiding Programme! They can not wait to start their next term for new badges! Not only were we doing Rainbow programme material we even decided to do an Easter badge and even a ‘Staying Connected’ badge which consists of activities that the girls could complete via zoom. This was not only fun for our rainbows it also got families together as I know this was and still is a very challenging time for the world. 

During Lockdown we had our very first rainbow promise ceremony. All parents and rainbows joined us on zoom for a very fun-filled night with Rainbow songs, Rainbow Awards and juice bottles pretending to have champagne! We may have not been together in person for many months but lockdown and seeing each other every Monday via Zoom has brought us as a team closer together. We are so happy that we did it and are still enjoying it to this day! I would like to take this time to thank our County for all their support during lockdown giving us resources that we could use on Zoom and Activity Pack ideas. We especially loved joining in on the ‘Summer Getaway!’ County organised! I also want to thank my team; Nikki, Nicole, Megan and Kirsty for all their support as I could not have done it without them. All those late night Face Time calls worrying about if Zoom was going to work – All that worrying for nothing!! 

For 1st Bourtreehill Rainbows, Lockdown Unit has been a great success and still is, we hope that we are back and In our Centre next year (fingers crossed) 

For units leaders that have not trialled Zoom, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am more than happy to share ideas and hopefully help leaders begin there Digital Unit Experience! 

Stay Well and Stay Safe Everyone! 

We started with a special celebration our leader Cheryl got married and all the Brownie and Guides went along to see Cheryl and James and make a Guard of Honour. Then we got covered in Tartan and glitter and off to the Tartan Gig we went! We had an amazing day as it was some of the girls first concert so was a special day for all.

We were working on the Take action theme learning all about recycling and upcycling. The highlight for the girl was making outfits out of recycling. This month also has seen Keira one of our Brownies getting her Brownie Gold Award which was an amazing achievement and a lot of hard work went into Keira achieving this.

Is the month of Halloween and Halloween isn’t complete without Glow in the dark slime! The girl chose to go to a slime workshop. Night fun was had by all.

We were lucky to have been chosen to have a cameraman from Parliament come to the unit as part of Parliament week to capture our night. Since then the girls have been part of 2020 campaign! 

This was a month of excitement and started with a Pack Holiday to “Elf Camp” at Nether Auchendrane where the girls trained to be Elfs for the weekend and we were so lucky as Santa sent some Elfs to visit is for an hour on Saturday. The girls all had a weekend of fun and giggles. They made biscuits, mugs, Christmas eve boxes, aprons to name a few. We even had our Elf on the shelf who were rather naughty! Later on, in December the girls decided to do a massive food shop of the Food bank as part of taking Action theme 3 trollies full. 

We topped our December off with a trip to the Clyde Auditorium to watch the Panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the girls were so lucky as we got to meet the cast after the Panto. What a way to end the year.

We started to work on Know Myself theme with nights full of UMAs and Skill Builders. 

We had Thinking Day and the unit attended the County Thinking Day Event. And a day full of fun with the HAKA, Silent DISCO, Karata, Cheerleading to name a few. Also, 4 of the Brownies were presented there Brownie Gold Award at the closing ceremony! 

Well March started with excitement we went to Edinburgh to watch Lion King musical little did we know what was to happen 2 weeks later and face to face guiding stopped. But we didn’t let that stop us to Zoom we went…

April, May and June 
We were on zoom and has so much fun the girls were all so excited to be continuing Guiding and seeing their friends on the screen every week. We had Silent DISCO, Brownie BINGO, Scavenger Hunt, TIK TOKs, UMAs, Skill Builders, and a Brownie mum did Muay Thia session with the girls. This time was so important to keeping the girls engaged and joining in. In the first 3 months of lockdown, the Brownies managed to complete over 100 badges as a unit which is amazing!!! We set the Brownies a summer challenge a badge from Girl Guiding Cambridgeshire West Walk Together Challenge the girls could work towards 5, 10, 25,50,75 and 100 mile badges and we achieved over 2000 miles as a unit!!!! I was so proud of the girls. They all smashed it! 

Since the summer we are back on Zoom and enjoying completing more Skill Builders, UMAs and Themes. It shows we may not be able to meet in person but the Guiding light keeps shining and we can make the most of whatever is thrown at us and keep going!

Since October 2019 we have been very busy working on Skill Builders and Unit Meeting Activities, doing “Take action and having Adventures Themes” we held the usual Halloween Party, attended a Bonfire night with Rainbows and Brownies, that one of the Rainbow leaders organised as part of her Queens Guide Award.

We also did some Christmas crafts Making advent calendars etc. We took part in the Shoe Box challenge. Each patrol filled a box with gifts for Christmas to go to the Blythwood challenge.

We had a GOLD award party. 4 girls the first in our unit to gain GOLD. Hope and Amy Jaap, Rosie Alexander and Isla Jaffrey. They have all now moved on to Rangers.

Four more girls have completed their Gold award in the spring  Rachel Walker, Zara Brotherston, Jessica McMahon and Emily Johnston. However due to Coronavirus, we are still waiting for their presentation.

At the beginning of  November we held our annual indoor camp at Blair, The theme this year was Bonfire night. the girls had a great time. Baking, doing crafts and making Bee Hotels.

In December we had a visit to the cinema to see Frozen 2. They all seemed to enjoy it.

Some girls and leaders attending the County Thinking Day event,  a well organised event with good activities to do, the girls especially enjoyed the silent disco. Two of our leaders were presented with their Queens Guide Award. We are all  so proud of Jenna and Chloe on this amazing achievement.

As a result of the Lockdown due to Coronavirus. we did not meet from the end of March until the beginning on September, when we met outdoors, at Eglinton park, The beach park and Stevenston beach. It was so lovely to meet face to face at last with the girls, they had all missed each other during the summer months. Hopefully we will be able to get back to some sort of indoor Face to face meetings very soon.

Last year we were lucky enough to have received a grant from Cashback for Communities which we used for camping equipment including lightweight tents with the intention of using them to support our Rangers on DofE expeditions.

In November we decided we needed to check out our new tents but given the stormy conditions outside we decided to improvise and do a spot of indoor training instead. We reckoned we wouldn’t be too popular sinking pegs into the carpet so we improvised and tried out our knotting skills instead. We all had a great evening with a lot of laughs.

Obviously, as the DofE season was about to get underway in March this year things took a bit of a turn, but when we do get back to nearer normality we will be ready to go again!

NameServiceUnit Name
Sophie Thomas5 YearsFenwick Rainbows
Kirsty MacNiven5 Years1st Kilmaurs Brownies
Rebecca Craig5 Years1st Kilmaurs Brownies
Jen McGlashan5 YearsCounty
Alison Garrett5 Years4th Irvine Guides
Lesley Gourlay5 Years1st St Andrews Rainbows
Danielle Farrel5 Years5th Kilmarnock Guides
Fiona Cuthbertson5 Years1st Galston Brownies
Calix Winning5 Years1st Galston Guides
Chloe Barclay5 Years2nd Girdle Toll Guides
Rebecca Robertson5 Years3rd A Howard Rainbows
Elizabeth Batton5 Years1st Darvel Rainbows
Lisa Cowan5 Years1st Newmilns Brownies
Stacie Weir5 Years3rd Dreghorn Brownies
Allison Lennon5 Years1st Castlepark Guides
Kerry Elliott5 Years3rd Ardrossan Rainbows
Yvonne Lazenbury5 Years1st Newmilns Rainbows
Erin Mills5 Years2nd Kilmarnock Brownies
Jade Craig5 Years5th Dreghorn Brownies
Linsey McClurg5 Years2nd Kilmaurs Rainbows
Rachel McMillan5 Years2nd Girdle Toll Guides
Sarah Milligan5 Years5th Dreghorn Guides
Emma Harkness10 Years1st Dalry Brownies
Hannah Lamb10 Years1st Onthank Rainbows
Arlene Robertson 10 Years1st Stewarton Guides
Heather Mirrlees10 Years1st Onthank Rainbows
Laura Haggarty10 Years5th Kilmarnock Brownies
Debbie Butler10 Years3rd Beith Rainbows
Catriona Gilmour10 Years2nd Kilwinning Guides
Louise Boyle10 Years2nd Girdle Toll Brownies
Natassia Wallace10 Years3rd A Howard Rainbows
Helen Stuart10 Years4th Largs Brownies
Cheryl Campbell10 Years5th Dreghorn Guides
Sandra Rice20 Years2nd Bourtreehill Guides
Faye Carroll20 Years2nd Kilmaurs Brownies
Elizabeth Barrett30 Years3rd Beith Rainbows
Irene Renwick40 Years1st Pennyburn Guides
Zoe BreinganQueen’s GuideKilwinning
Jemma BreinganQueen’s GuideKilwinning
Lee-Ann McIntoshGrowing Guiding

Girlguiding UK (306016)
Patron: Her Majesty the Queen
President: Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex
Chief Guide: Amanda Medler

Girlguiding Scotland (SC005548)
President: Linda Urquhart
Scottish Chief Commissioner: Moira McKenna

Girlguiding Ayrshire North (SC036295)
President: Kim Main
County Commissioner: Louise Crichton