Through the Summer a number of Girlguiding IW members have had the opportunity to undertake international trips.
These opportunities are offered to Girlguiding members every year and after selection processes there is the chance to visit a number of countries where there is Girlguiding or Girl Scouts.
With the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) having special accommodation in several countries and with the use of other accommodation most countries in the World are accessable to WAGGGS members.
Grace from Sandown tells of her experience:
Mexico 26th July-11th August 2019:
In 2017 I was lucky enough to be chosen for an incredible opportunity to travel to Mexico with Girlguiding through INTOPS (International Opportunities). This trip required me to raise £3,000 and was to take place this Summer (2019).
It was an amazing experience and I learnt many things about Mexican culture and about our planet and the importance of saving it. It offered life changing opportunities and skills.
In the first couple of days we travelled round Mexico City and then to Our Cabana. This is a Girlguiding Centre. Here we met Girl Guides from all over the world exchanging badges and taking part in a campfire with old and new Girlguiding songs.
The main part of the first half of the trip was based around working within the local community. As a group we worked in a community centre in an area of deprivation; here we worked with younger children and their families through games, craft, gardening and martial arts. We also assisted volunteer doctors and teachers. The main aim of the centre is to prevent young people and their families from living on the streets in danger as well as preventing older teenagers from becoming involved in crime. This taught us to really appreciate all we have and how privileged we all are, as well as teaching me that happiness has no language barrier and that children are children no matter where you are and are not born with any prejudice.
The second part of our trip was based on conservation. This was personally my favourite part of the trip. Here we learnt about our planet, the need for a reduction in our plastic consumption and how we can work together to achieve this. We also looked after turtles by feeding and cleaning them and their tanks.
As well as this we went out on night patrols collecting nests of turtle eggs and then placing them in an incubation site, we had earlier helped to repair and extend. We learnt how to monitor temperatures to ensure an equal number of male and female nests were produced. We also spent time planting mangroves and went on a boat trip to carry out a bird census. During this trip we also went to a crocodile centre, here we cleaned out the crocodile enclosures whilst the crocodiles remained in them as well as helping the two volunteers to paint and repair the area.
This part of the trip really demonstrated the importance of conservation and conservation projects in the bid to save our planet rather than destroy it and the animals that live here and were here way before we ever were.
This was an experience that will stay with me forever and that I am extremely grateful to have been given. If the opportunity ever arises for you to take part in an international trip I would strongly advise you to take it.