How to plan a challenge badge!

Sam Morgan talks of how she produced her, very successful, challenge badge to mark the centenary of votes for women and the role of the Suffragettes

In August 2017 I saw a little phrase ‘Vote100’.  On investigation I discovered a whole range of events planned this year to celebrate the centenary of women starting to get the vote.

I had already created a challenge badge for my unit (1stRhiwderin Brownies) ‘Roman Challenge badge’ so thought maybe someone had put a challenge together for the centenary.

I asked around and kept getting the answer ‘No – but if you do create one we would do it!’.  So I decided to create a challenge badge.

I often tell people that my first thought at that point when someone mentioned suffragette was the mum in Mary Poppins so I knew I had to educate myself on the topic.

I knew of the names Pankhurst and Davison and they were my starting point.

Through the name Emily Davison I came across the amazing Dearsley Window in the Palace of Westminster and a recent drawing of it. Melanie Unwin is the curator at the palace and was also working on the Vote100 project and managed to secure the use of the image of the drawing at no charge.  Melanie also mentioned that she could put me in touch with Helen Pankhurst who she thought may be able to assist.

Helen turned out to be as amazing as expected.  She wrote the opening foreword to the challenge which reduced one of my Brownies mums to tears.

It took about 3 months to write the challenge – I even had a note book next to my bed just in case I had inspiration for an activity!

Then it came time to design the badge – I researched various badges that the different groups wore and came up with a few designs – finally settling on the design that incorporated the violets that suffragettes wore and gave to each other and a ribbon based on an actual piece of suffragette jewellery.

I thought maybe if I sold 1000 badges I could donate £200 to Care International – the charity that Helen is an advisor and ambassador. Fastforward to 1 year later and I cannot believe the impact that the badge has had.To date we have sold 20,000 badges with over £8000 being donated to Care International from badge sales and tea parties held all over the country. Money from the badge sales has paid for neckers for the girls – which are violet, green and white!

Our unit appeared on BBC news via TV and radio which was an amazing experience for the girls. 1stRhiwderin Brownies hosted a visit from Helen Pankhurst when she spoke about her book and it was attended by Jayne Bryant AM and unit leaders from across the county. We received so many letters of encouragement and photos from events that made the bagging up of thousands of badges every week worth it.

If you’re thinking of a way to raise funds this was a hugely successful endeavour – but I would go for something original, like a centenary that would grab peoples attention – such as GCHQ is 100 years old next year – but I’m not quite ready to create another challenge!

WOW 2018

Kathryn Benson describes her first experience of a WOW camp!

Despite having joined Guiding as a Brownie at 7 years old (more years ago than I like to admit), and going on pack holiday or camp almost every year since then, I had never been on an organised mass camp – until this summer. So, on the 22nd June St Julian’s Guides joined together with other Newport Guides from Pen-y-lan, Malpas and Pontir on the coach to Builth Wells to experience “All The Fun Of The Fair”.

Our first job on arrival at the Royal Welsh Showground was to set up our camping space. 4 tents and an event shelter later and our homes for the weekend were ready. A quick explore of the camp site followed before it was time to settle down for the night and prepare for an action packed, fun filled weekend.

A continental style breakfast of cereals and bread rolls, delivered to our sub camp early in the morning ready for collection, was enjoyed by all and set us up for the day ahead. A welcome opening ceremony brought together to 1500 people on site and launched the camp. The Saturday activities were a free flow for the girls who could choose what they wanted to do from the many options available, all split into four zones – the fun zone, creativity zone, challenge zone and adventure zone. As part of Green Sub camp the Guides started the morning with fast passes for the fairground rides in the fun zone, which meant that for the first session they could jump the queues. Other activities included as much craft as you could manage in the creative zone; the challenge and adventure zones allowed the girls to do activities that we are not able to offer as part of normal Wednesday night unit meeting. These included archery, zorb balls and football, street dance, bouncy assault course, foam pit, animal encounters with meerkats, lizards and a chameleon and human hungry hippos. The girls loved the freedom to choose what they wanted to do, and us leaders enjoyed the opportunity to wander around and see the girls enjoying themselves whilst experiencing new things; the only time we really saw the girls was over out sandwich lunch when we all gathered back at our camp to catch up.

Having spent the day enjoying the activities everyone was ready for the BBQ or hog roast tea on Saturday evening. After eating the girls had the option to go to a sing-a-long showing of The Greatest Showman, a band, or a quiz followed by bingo. Half of our Guides choose the quiz followed by bingo and the other half The Greatest Showman. They all thoroughly enjoyed their chosen evening entertainment and came back to camp afterwards bubbling with enthusiasm. All the exertion on the day meant that everyone slept well that night!

Sunday started with another continental breakfast delivered to our sub camp. Following this the girls split into smaller groups to go to their pre-decided activities. Our Guides took part in the Crystal Maze taking park in timed challenges to win crystals; got up close with owls and learning how they live, eat and are rescued; an interactive show with Techniquest exploring the mysteries of the fairground; and dodging the obstacles to be the last man standing; and the have a go area with zorbing and inflatable assault course. The weekend finished with all of the camp coming together again for the closing ceremony.

After a busy weekend in the glorious sun shine enjoying “All The Fun Of The Fair” and the wonderful things that WOW Camp had to offer it was time to head home. Everyone had a fab time in Builth Wells and we would definitely considered attending an organised camp like this again!



Foxlease adventure weekend

On the last sunny weekend in June, Llanyrafon Brownies, Guides and Senior Section headed off for a jam-packed adventure weekend at Foxlease.

The first days’ activities for the Brownies included Archery and the Crate Challenge and  for the Guides and Senior Section the Crate Challenge and Geocaching.

Fun was had by all when it came to the Crate Challenge, as all of the girls from each section managed to build their crates to the maximum height. Some fears were conquered whilst completing this activity and a lot of encouragement and support was given to those who were a little nervous too.

The second day’s activities for the Brownies were Orienteering and Low Ropes. Both of these activities promoted teamwork from all of the girls. The low ropes tested their coordination, balance and communication as each team navigated the way around wires, beams and other obstacles until the course was completed. Orienteering gave them the chance to wander through scenic woodlands whilst using a map to navigate their way around a nature trail.

For the Guides and Senior Section it was High Ropes and Raft Building. The High Ropes challenged the upper body strength and phobias of the girls. Teamwork was essential for this activity as the girls needed to hold the entire weight of the climber through the belaying method. Raft Building was the most popular of the activities for the Guides and Senior Section as they were taught how to build their own raft from wood, plastic barrels and rope. They then got to test the raft out on the lake to see if their construction skills were good enough to stay afloat.

After two full days of activities, it was time to go home. Various skills were gained, fears were conquered and friendships blossomed. All the girls had a brilliant time and said that they would love to something like this again.

Find out more about Foxlease – the Girlguiding centre in the New Forest at

GOLD Europe 2018

Sophie George successfully applied for The Go for GOLD weekend held on the Lorne Estate, Northern Ireland. The end goal was a place on a GOLD project.In her own words she describes her selection experience.

It was tough – but a lot of fun. I made some great friends, got some fab ideas to take back to my unit and was thoroughly exhausted. I can’t tell you what we did but I can give you some tips.

  1. Remember it is a selection – so matter how tired or frustrated you are put on your best game face.
  2. Take some simple resources with you – I took some things to light a fire (tampons, Vaseline, some matches), a print out of some useful knots, and a ball of string.
  3. Maybe consider sleeping in your clothes and keeping your day bag packed at all times.

After the selection weekend was the long wait to see if you’d got a place. There were around 80 of us at the selection weekend and only 40 spaces available so the competition was tough. Around 2 months later I receive the email. I’d been selected to be a member of Team Europe 2018. We were going to be the first team going to two countries in one trip – 10 days in Estonia, followed by 10 days in Georgia.

Once she had accepted the place fundraising had to begin in earnest to raise the £2000 required. Letters were written, badges sold, raffles run………

Sophie says “With just 3 months left until we jet off final preparations are under way – getting our kit and resources together, doing the final bits of fundraising. I’m a little nervous but mostly very excited!”

Find out more about GOLD adventures at