Linda (L) Katie and Racheal (R) in Salisbury.

Local volunteer Katie Charlton has been recognised for her role empowering girls and young women who are members of Girlguiding IW.

Katie from Newport has been honoured for her work supporting girls and young women for over 20 years with a Region Compass Award. She was proposed for this prestigious discretionary honour by fellow members of Girlguiding IW and presented with her Award, for her inspirational efforts, by Racheal Tattum Deputy Chief Commissioner Girlguiding South-West England at a ceremony in Salisbury.

Katie first became involved in Guiding when she joined 11th Newport Brownies, when she was seven years old. At this time the Unit was under the leadership of Marion O’Nions, Later Katie joined 10th Newport Guides and after training became an assistant leader with Marion. She has assisted or led a number of Island Units including Carisbrooke Rainbows, Carisbrooke Brownies and East Cowes Brownies where she arranged the 90th and 100th year celebrations for the unit. As well as providing amazing opportunities for girls, watching them grow in confidence and make life-long friends, Katie showed additional leadership skills when she was appointed Section Commissioner for Brownies.

Katie’s highlights during her time as Section Commissioner included organising a World Thinking Day event at Ryde and an all Island/all Section event at Sandown.

On receiving her Compass Award Katie said,” Volunteering with Girlguiding has given me such confidence. I now have self-belief  that ‘I can do it’. It has given me a ‘Can Do’ attitude.”

Linda Stone, Island Commissioner, said: “I can’t thank Katie enough for her hard work with so many Units over the years. She has helped hundreds of girls discover new things, make great friends and experience things for the first time. She has endless energy and enthusiasm and is committed to helping each girl. Recently she has started new Units at Northwood where she is looking forward to welcoming new members. ”

Katie with Linda Island Commissioner) (L).

Although Laura Cottey, Region Chief Commissioner, was unable to attend the presentations due to family illness she sent a message to the 30+ recipients from across the South West England Region saying, “We are delighted to celebrate the incredible volunteers who have received the Girlguiding South West England Compass Awards. This award is given to volunteers who give up their time every single week to inspire girls and young women and give them brilliant opportunities. From running activities for four-year-old Rainbows in Cornwall to encouraging girls to experience the great outdoors in Gloucestershire and having beach trips on our Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Wight, our volunteers also have just as much fun as the girls. We would love to welcome even more amazing volunteers to our organisation so why not join us to find out more.”

Region President Gill Slocombe CBE said that she was delighted to attend the event which showed how Girlguiding so helps its members with physical and mental health. A recent survey showed that present and past members of the organisation are more able to cope with the ups and downs of life. In congratulating those gaining Awards she said that this Region certainly has some excellent volunteer leaders and Unit helpers.

Katie’s citation read:

Katie has been an Adult Volunteer for over 27 years, sharing her incredible enthusiasm for Girlguiding with everyone she meets. She has held various roles over this time, from Unit Leader for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, Unit Administrator, District Commissioner and Section Commissioner on the Isle of Wight.

Having just finished another term as District Commissioner, she felt a challenge would be appropriate. Always wanting to grow Guiding on the Island, Katie saw a need for a Rainbow Unit to feed into the 2 Brownie Units she is a Leader of, so she is currently in the process of opening a Rainbow Unit. A part of this process is to grow and support a new leadership team until they are ready to take on one of the Brownie Units. She encourages people to volunteer for Girlguiding and mentors them while they learn how to inspire the girls to take the lead in their Unit.

‘Katie’s energy, kindness and enthusiasm for a Volunteer role is inspiring’ said one parent. Another stated, ‘She is truly a wonderful Brown owl!’. A third, said, ‘She gives 100% all the time’, and from a fellow Volunteer: ‘her enthusiasm is quite contagious’. The girls in the Units take part in a fun and varied programme with one Brownie commenting, ‘I love Brown Owl because she teaches me lots of Brownie things’. From dance-a-thons raising money for children in need, 100 year old Unit birthday parties, to decorating and exhibiting the Christmas tree in the Brighstone Christmas exhibition.

As Section Commissioner, Katie was instrumental in organising many popular Brownie section events. Katie’s ideas were pivotal one County weekend event with a nature theme, where Katie organised and lead many of the activities.

From Guiding events, ensuring the Units are engaged in their local community, celebration parades, making decorations for shop windows, to attending memorial events, Katie is there encouraging and enthusing Volunteers and girls alike.

A well-deserved Region Compass Award, Congratulations Katie.