Ice Trip to Jersey
Twelve smart Guides and three Leaders met up at Manchester airport Terminal 3 with excited anticipation of the adventures to come. Some had not flown before but after hugs goodbye from family we headed through check-in and security successfully to settle and have lunch before heading to the gate. We had a smooth flight over and landed on the beautiful island of Jersey to be met by our taxi drivers and then to receive an equally warm welcome by Shelia at Girl Guiding Jersey HQ building right on the beach front. Kettle on, camp beds set up we sat to have a well-deserved cuppa. Next was to test the waterproofs to take our first look at the beach and then to buy essentials for the kitchen and order pizza for tea. The girls rounded off the evening with the desert island paper challenge before settling down for the night, still full of excitement.. The leaders slept well at least!
After being fabulously fed at breakfast we set off on our beach clean with a hugely knowledgeable Kevin from the Jersey Marine Conservation Society. This turned into more if a marine wildlife educational session investigating rock pools and the shoreline with finds like cuttlefish shells, sea hares, interesting seaweeds and half a lobster pot!! The girls were brilliant and the local beach is now 20.4kgs cleaner and lacking half an old lobster pot after our mornings work.
The dry morning rapidly turned into a very wet afternoon (for the girls only!) with them donning wetsuits and heading out to sea on team paddleboards with their instructors. They paddled off from the most beautiful beach on the island round to the next bay on a flat calm sea. Just in case they weren’t wet enough, the brave among them jumped into the sea from the end of the pier as we watched from the beach.
We then volunteered at Jersey Hospice shop’s collecting depot. The girls got stuck in with cleaning cloths and glass polish having been asked to start cleaning the crystal and china!!!! Silent glances passed between the Leaders but we needn’t have worried – the girls we’re amazing untangling jewellery, sorting shoes, cleaning shelves, sorting coat hangers, vacuuming tasks completed and may invitations to come back again to help, we waved our thanks and headed off to meet the lady from the British Heart Foundation for lunch at a Kismet Cabana beachfront café – delicious. Our next activity was to follow a map and co-ordinates to set up their geocaching course for Summer visitors to follow. We had a beautiful walk, albeit slightly muddy in parts, taking in coastal views and exploring some of the defence bunkers from the German occupation on the way before getting caught in the rain. There’s nothing like ice cream to revive wet Guides spirits and a gentle evening continuing crafts and card games back at HQ.
Eyecan is a charity for the visually impaired who have been active in Jersey for over 100 years. They were delighted to see us and had prepared borders for us to plant up with shrubs, some to weed and clear and 20-year-old buddleia roots to dig out which broke the handle of the spade. Some of the girls tied off bulbs and others planted strawberries and herbs. This rounded off our volunteering for the week.
The afternoon was spent visiting the War Tunnels with lots of history and displays to see and give us a sense of what life on Jersey was like during the Occupation in the Second World War and a chance to visit their shop. That evening the girls enjoyed a treasure hunt game in the HQ garden while the leaders laundered T-shirts and ironed neckerchiefs ready for some of the group’s stint of stardom on BBC Radio Jersey the next day.
Our last full day on the island and the morning of the Radio interview for three of the girls and Lauren! BBC Jersey Radio had heard we were visiting the island as part of the ICE project and invited some of the group to go to the studios for an interview to hear more about the volunteering work we were doing and we were not shy to ask for a special birthday shout out for our birthday girl! The girls were brilliant and took wearing headphone and being interviewed all in their stride. Listen to the interview here.
The high ropes and the zip wire course at Valley Adventure Centre was the next activity. All harnessed up and helmets on the girls worked around the challenges of the course like spiders in the sky with the leaders cheering and watching them with the sun shining. They all had an amazing time and everyone gave it a go and supported each other.
Our treat for lunch was to go to TGI Friday’s with much cheering and clapping when the staff brought out the cake and sang “Happy Birthday” loudly in front of everyone to our beaming (and slightly embarrassed) birthday girl. This was followed by a cinema visit and popcorn… none of the leaders fell asleep . To rounded off the last day we played raffle bingo and presented the girls with their badges and small Jersey gifts.
On Friday after the last-minute packing and cleaning, we had just enough time to have our last stroll on the beach before our fantastic taxi driver team collected us for the last time. We could not leave without collecting a bag of famous Jersey potatoes, so with the slightest detour on our way to the airport we’d got them – Mission Jersey complete! With everyone safely flown home to Manchester and met by their families with much hugging, they then said goodbye to their ICE 2018 friends to travel home again – hopefully taking happy memories of our fabulous trip, amazing volunteering opportunities, people we met and, who knows, maybe a thirst for further International opportunities with NE England Girlguiding in future….
ICE 2018 Briefing Weekend
Twelve Guides from across the region met at Barnard Castle HQ in October to get to know each other and begin to plan for the Ice final project in Jersey in 2018. The weekend began with lots of ice-breakers and a chance to get to know each other over supper. After a week at school and a long drive for some, it was time for a chill out and a film.
Saturday began with community games and the girls worked towards the Globalistic Go For It. They played the woolly mammoth game, baked cookies and made elephant mobiles. After lunch they all headed to the Bowes Museum to take part in the First World War 100 year anniversary celebration. On the walk to the Museum Kirsty, one of the leaders, had a frog jump over the wall onto her shoulder, she and the frog were very surprised. At the museum the girls listened to a talk on WW1 food which was very interesting and the Guides asked some great questions. The Museum has received further feedback from members of the public complimenting the Guides. They then took part in creating a canvas of a war scene with wet felted flowers in the foreground.
The Guides (and leaders) created their own wet felted flowers to add to the scene. After a quick look around the museum they returned to the Guide Head Quarters for some free time. After dinner they played a mixture of games and a film before a well-deserved sleep.
Sunday the girls started on planning for their final project in Jersey. The Guides produced a code of conduct, planned a menu and put forward ideas for the programme. They also selected uniform colours, this was defiantly the most difficult decision of the weekend, and came up with an A-Z of fundraising ideas. After lunch everyone headed for home, looking forward to seeing each other in January for the next part of the experience.