GUIDE leaders across the Southside are joining Irish Girl Guide (IGG) leaders from around the country in adopting a new programme that will see girls and young women from age 5-30 grow in confidence, resilience and emotional well-being as they learn essential life skills.
Launching the Journey Programme, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan said it was an “impressive” programme that encompassed an outstanding range of activities, challenges and badges.
“Today’s Girl Guides are set to become the trailblazers of tomorrow, no matter what paths in life they choose to pursue,” she said. “The programme, which is based on 15 national outcomes, will allow each girl to achieve her best and to develop to her full potential.”
Senator Jillian van Turnhout, who is IGG District Commissioner in South Dublin and former Chief Commissioner, headed up the team that devised the Journey Programme.
Speaking at the launch, she said the new activities and challenges were designed to be progressive so that each girl would continue to learn and develop as she undertook her Guiding journey.
“It is all about challenging each member of Irish Girl Guides, whether a girl or an adult, to do their very best to achieve their full potential,” she said.
“We know from studies that women in particular tend to down-play their self-esteem and their abilities and competencies. What the Journey Programme will do is build the girls’ skills, their knowledge, their resilience, their emotional well-being and leadership skills.
“They will be helped to develop their own identity, and encouraged to take part in physical activity, team-building and problem-solving activities.
“They will learn how to speak out on issues that concern them and to inspire others to take action too. All of these skills are essential for modern living.”
IGG Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon said the new programme was built on the strong foundations of previous IGG programmes and provided a clear map for leaders to help girls along their Guiding journey. “Girls can join IGG at any time, so the Journey Programme is designed to meet the needs of both the girls who start at the age of five as well as those who jump on board along the way,” she said.
The Journey Programme includes 119 interest badges that girls can earn. Topics covered are wide-ranging, including everything from cultural diversity, healthy mind and disability awareness to independent living skills, voting, science investigator and community action.
Niamh Briggs, Captain of the Ireland Women’s Rugby Team and a former member of St Augustine’s Guide Unit in Dungarvan, also attended launch of the Journey Programme.
“Being a part of the Guiding movement gave me huge self-esteem,” she said.
“It helped me make friends and to take part in so many different activities and provided me with an outlet to express myself while learning so many life skills.
“My time in the Guides was hugely enjoyable.”
Irish Girl Guides welcomes girls from age 5+ and volunteer leaders from age 18+. See www.irishgirlguides.ie