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Friday 27 April 2018

One hundred years as a guiding light

Jason O'Brien

IT WAS a different era; a time when you were so close to the land, even the name of your camp was spelled out in turf.

A new book on the history of the Irish Girl Guides -- with images from the past 100 years -- was launched at the weekend ahead of the organisation's centenary celebrations in 2011.

They have come a long way.

The illustrated history includes pictures of a guide standing to attention in 1916, girls preparing dinner under a flimsy tent in 1935, that 'turf' camp in Blarney and eight young women proudly displaying their new Malahide Sea Rangers uniforms in 1958.

Well-known women such as Sonia O'Sullivan, Kathryn Thomas, Una Healy, Myrtle Allen, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and former justice Catherine McGuinness all passed through the organisation.

"Apart from the enjoyment and fun, I think the best thing I learnt from Guiding was a sense of self-reliance, and also to be observant, both of the material world and of people, which is something I very much value to this day," Mrs Justice McGuinness said.

There are more than 10,000 members in the country, ranging in age from the Ladybirds of five to seven years old, to Senior Branch members from 14 to 26 years old.

Some 180 volunteer leaders came together for two days of training and sharing ideas and the launch of Gillian Finan's 'A Hundred Years A-Growing'.

Emer O'Sullivan, chief commissioner of the Guides, said: "We have come together to reinvigorate our volunteer leaders to help them to motivate and inspire our future leading women in Ireland."

Irish Independent

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