Thank you to our outgoing chief guide, Amanda Medler, and her team
Amanda has been chief guide for the last 5 years
Since the start of Girlguiding in 1910, we’ve had a chief guide, starting with Agnes Baden-Powell.
And every chief guide has focused on helping volunteers give girls the very best experiences through guiding.
These days a chief guide is elected for a 5-year term. Amanda Medler became our current chief guide in 2018 and will soon be passing the position onto our new chief guide. Amanda’s team will also finish, this includes Julie Bell who was her deputy, and Emma Guthrie and Liz Brown, who were her assistants.
We'll welcome our new chief guide on 22 February 2023, World Thinking Day, and we'll soon be recruiting for a deputy chief guide.
We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the amazing work that Amanda’s team has done over the past 5 years:
Amanda started her role on World Thinking Day 2018. August was the first time the current chief guide team met as a group.
Day 1/50: For our first day of sharing some memories and reflections over the past 5 years, here's a throwback to August 2018 when we (then a three) had our first trip as a team. We visited Brownsea Island to get to know one another and make plans!#BrownseaIsland #Teambuilding pic.twitter.com/3aRg62YyZA— Chief Guide Team (@Chief_Guide) January 3, 2023
The new team started work on Strategy 2020+, celebrated 75 years of the Trefoil Guild and celebrated 10 years of Girlguiding’s advocates, our spokespeople who go to speak with high profile changemakers, at HQ.
Performances by the National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band was also a highlight for the team, with Julie saying these events were a ‘superb showcasing of such amazing talent, bringing together members from across the UK’.
The biggest moment of the year though, was the launch of our new programme. Amanda said: ‘A personal highlight of the year was the reveal of the new programme – the biggest change in over 20 years. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the excitement build as we led up to the day.’
In August, Amanda went to Split for the 16th Europe Guide and Scout conference, in November the team went to the National Scout and Guide service of celebration, and in December they went to the Royal Opera House, who hosted a special day just for Girlguiding.
We launched Future Girl and came to the end of our 5-year strategic plan, Being our best, and got ready to launch our new plan, Strategy 2020+.
‘As the chief guide team have travelled the UK, we’ve seen so many wonderful things that volunteers are doing,’ said Amanda. ‘The number of events, holidays and camps that have been held this year has been incredible. We’ve seen girls’ eyes light up at events like Big Gig and Wellies and Wristbands, and challenge themselves even more at Fearless Fun and Sparkle and Ice.
‘But more importantly, it’s the small things every day that I want to thank volunteers personally for. You’ve supported and encouraged girls and young women to try new things and learn new skills, every week.’
‘Thinking Day 2020 was absolutely awesome travelling through so many countries and regions between the three of us was such a pleasure and I have so many special memories of the people I met that day,’ says Julie, reflecting on 2020. ‘The whole Covid period was a challenge but there was so much learning and connection that we must never lose. The Christmas of 2020 when we connected with units across the UK was such fun and again a privilege to be invited into their homes and join in their activities.’
‘Looking back in reflection at the past year, who’d have known what was in store for us all?’ Amanda said, at the end of 2020. ‘To say it’s been a challenging year is a bit of an understatement. It’s at times like this that we can see and feel how strong our guiding community is and how much we all rally round and look after each other. Our community has shown and continues to show real determination and resilience.’
Emma speaking to the BBC about our impact.
Great to see Emma #ACG on @BBCNews explaining how @girlguiding is needed more than ever and talking about our amazing volunteers who have delivered guiding in different ways this year #ForTheGirl 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/GV1J94NILn— Chief Guide Team (@Chief_Guide) November 24, 2020
2021 started by signing the ways of working together agreement – all the countries, regions and HQ finding new and better ways to work together.
The team also fed into WAGGGS’ strategy, Emma became international chief commissioner, as well as assistant chief guide and Amanda presented volunteer May with her 70-year service award.
Amanda’s team has presented hundreds of girls and volunteers with awards, including the Queen’s Guide award, long service to leaders, as well as recognising the outstanding contribution of volunteers receiving the Laurel or Silver Fish award. She has also hand signed thousands of hero certificates.
Later in 2021, 92% of units went back to meeting face-to-face, we launched our diversity and inclusion plan and welcomed 4-year-old Rainbows throughout the UK. The chief guide team also went back to attending more in person events. In 5 years, the team have been more than 160 guiding events across the UK.
At the beginning of 2022, Liz Brown joined the team as another assistant chief guide, and Liz will stay for the next 6 months.
👋 Please join us in giving a massive warm welcome to our new team member and @Girlguiding Assistant Chief Guide, Liz Brown! 🥳🥳— Chief Guide Team (@Chief_Guide) January 13, 2022
In her role Liz will focus on key aspects of volunteer experience. We are so excited for Liz to join the team! 🎉 🎉 #Team #ForTheGirl #LetsDoThis pic.twitter.com/F98VRmeRaF
Amanda received an MBE for her services to Girlguiding and WAGGGS’ highest award.
Congratulations to Chief Guide Amanda on being awarded the WAGGGS Medal of Service!— Chief Guide Team (@Chief_Guide) July 26, 2022
The WAGGGS Medal of Service is the highest form of recognition that WAGGGS can bestow.
It is an incredible honour and we are very proud!@Girlguiding @wagggsworld pic.twitter.com/cMioj7rUvG
Emma also received the Silver Fish award, the highest award in Girlguiding.
Amanda represented Girlguiding at the WAGGGS European conference, the team celebrated the Platinum Jubilee with members and met with commissioners from across the UK at the Connect More conference.
In September, the team, along with lots of other members, helped at the Queen’s funeral, keeping their promise to serve Her Majesty for the final time. Amanda also went to the funeral representing all Girlguiding members.
And throughout their time as a chief guide team, Amanda, Julie and Emma have also been running their own units and giving girls in their local area a great guiding experience. They have also worked closely chief commissioners and lead volunteers over the years.
‘We’ve been so grateful for the wisdom and insight of chief commissioners during our term – especially through the newly formed operational delivery group. We’ve also had the pleasure of working with and recruiting a number of lead volunteers to support the wider work of Girlguiding – the changes that have happened over the past 5 years would not have been possible without their support,’ shared Amanda.
‘It’s been a privilege to serve the guiding community through the chief guide role over the past five years,’ says Amanda. ‘On World Thinking Day, I will hand over to the next chief guide. I know you’ll make her feel welcome, in the same way you did me.’
Do you have memories with the chief guide team that you’d like to share? Email [email protected].
Or follow the team's Twitter, where they're sharing memories and join the conversation.