Brown­ies get­ting ready for a big 100th birth­day bash

Bray People - - ABOUT GREYSTONES -

GREY­STONES Brown­ies will be among 3,000 girls from all over the coun­try to take part in a mas­sive cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tion in Dublin Zoo on Satur­day, April 12.

The lo­cal girls have good rea­son to cel­e­brate as Grey­stones Brown­ies is one of the old­est Brownie packs in the coun­try.

Brown­ies is the Ir­ish Girl Guides (IGG) branch that caters for girls aged six to 10 years. The first Brownie pack in the coun­try started in New­bridge, Co Kil­dare, in 1914. It re­mained open only a few years, how­ever, re-open­ing again in the 1970s.

The Grey­stones pack opened not long af­ter New­bridge and has al­ways re­mained open, mak­ing it one of the old­est con­tin­u­ously run­ning units in the coun­try. Its first lead­ers were war­ranted in 1920 and the pack was of­fi­cially reg­is­tered in 1923.

The Grey­stones Brown­ies are among 4,000 Brown­ies in Ire­land who en­joy the op­por­tu­nity at their weekly meet­ings to de­velop their con­fi­dence and skills by tak­ing part in a wide range of games, ac­tiv­i­ties and chal­lenges in a fun and non-com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

Tak­ing as their motto since their foun­da­tion 100 years ago, ‘ Lend a Hand', they are en­cour­aged to think of oth­ers and to con­trib­ute to their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

The Brown­ies have been pre­par­ing for the mega birth­day bash by com­plet­ing var­i­ous cen­te­nary chal­lenges and mak­ing ban­ners to dis­play at the zoo as well as badges to swap with other Brown­ies they meet on the day. They love to cel­e­brate and the party will be very spe­cial for Grey­stones Brown­ies.

‘It's such a spe­cial feel- ing, sur­real in a way, to know that we are one of the old­est Brownie packs and to think just how many lit­tle girls have gone through Guid­ing in all that time,’ said Grey­stones Brownie leader, Angie Wo­j­nar.

Brownie meet­ings have taken place in Swann Hall, St Patrick's Church, since 2005. Be­fore that the Brown­ies met in the old parochial hall near the seafront, which was in use since the 1950s. Prior to that again pack meet­ings took place in the Pres­by­te­rian church hall on Trafal­gar Road.

Angie said she doesn't know much about the his­tory of the pack but is look­ing into it and hopes to com­pile the pack's his­tory into a small book.

‘I have the names of our past Brown Owls back to 1976 and will keep look­ing,’ she said. ‘I heard there were big party cel­e­bra­tions for the unit’s 50th and 75th birth­days and I know that Brown­ies planted many trees in Grey­stones over the years as well as thou­sands of daf­fodils!

‘We have a Brownie rug that we dance around ev­ery week that has “1916” em­broi­dered on it, so we think the pack may have started as early as 1916, al­though Ir­ish Girl Guides' Na­tional Of­fice records do not con­cur.

No-one is al­lowed to stand on the rug and, if any­one does by mis­take, as they are skip­ping around it singing their six song, a huge gasp goes out!’

Angie, who has just com­pleted a FE­TAC Level 5 Youth Work Cer­tifi­cate, has thor­oughly en­joyed her past 16 years as a Brownie Leader.

‘Dur­ing my time with IGG, I re­alise I have been em­pow­er­ing my­self as well as em­pow­er­ing the girls through our fan­tas- tic pro­gramme. I have learned to have such em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing of our young people, their needs and how we meet those needs. I now un­der­stand the im­por­tance of what we do as lead­ers - how we are pos­i­tive role mod­els – and that the girls’ de­vel­op­ment into re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens of their com­mu­ni­ties is done through fun ac­tiv­i­ties, like games, youth arts projects, hol­i­days and earn­ing badges that prove their achieve­ments.

‘ They learn by do­ing and, at the same time, they learn the im­por­tance of work­ing to­gether as a team to achieve their goal.’

Faith Brock, Chloe Caf­frey, Cather­ine Burchell, Angie Wo­j­nar (Grey­stones Brownie Leader), Alan­nah Achill, Chloe Hughes and Ruth Ferns-Kelly.

Grey­stones Brown­ies in 1941.

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