The story behind the white paper birds in a tree on Brook Way

Photo of paper doves hanging from the branches of a tree.
Paper doves in the Tree of Peace on Brook Way.

By Sara Messenger, Rainbow Guide leader.

For those of you whose Brownie or Scout days are just a distant memory, or those who weren’t lucky enough to join us for scraped knees and jamborees, 22nd February is a special date for members of Guiding as it is our World Thinking Day, an annual event which is celebrated in 150 countries around the world by over 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. On this day, we celebrate Guiding and its impact on girls and young women. The date was chosen as it is the birthday of both our founder, Lord Baden-Powell (1857) and his wife Olave (1889).

Our theme this year is ‘Stand Strong, Stand up and Stand Together’ for peacebuilding. Peacebuilding is at the heart of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting and is as vital and relevant in today’s complicated and fractious times as it was 100 years ago. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), together with the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) have even been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, for outstanding contributions which have empowered millions of young people in their communities for more than a century.

Photo of a Brownie Guide hanging a paper dove on the tree.
A local Brownie Guide hangs a paper dove on the Tree of Peace.

Although we couldn’t all celebrate together this year, South West England Girlguiding organized a virtual sleepover from 20th to 21st February where thousands of us were able to ‘visit’ all of our five WAGGGS World Centres, where the activities included everything from a tour of the centre, cooking local food, playing traditional games, building models of famous landmarks, traditional crafts and dancing ‘Bollywood’ style! The weekend started at 10am with a welcome from Carole Pennington, Region Chief Commissioner, and ran until 8pm when the day finished with an international campfire and bedtime stories. On Sunday morning at 7am many of us renewed our Promise although I’m not sure if Carol knew at that point just how many of us were still in our PJs! And the day concluded at 11am with a closing ceremony. The girls had a great time and despite the huge amount of organisation and logistics needed the day went without a hitch, unlike You Tube’s subtitle software which put Bristol in South Austria and called Kusafiri our African World Centre everything from ‘Coo’s the theory’ to ‘Kiss the fairy!’

Photo of a sign on the Tree of Peace.

At a local level, parents were emailed ‘Wishing you a world of peace’ posters to put in their windows and in Bradley Stoke a tree was decorated with over 40 peace doves made by girls and their leaders, all with the word ‘peace’ written in different languages.

Advertise your business on the Bradley Stoke Journal website.

Although many units have adapted to life under Covid and are meeting via Zoom, we are hopeful that we may return to face-to-face meetings after Easter, although it will be up to each unit or venue when they do return. But Girlguiding remains hugely popular and wants and needs more volunteers so that we can offer girls even more exciting adventures and experiences. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, age groups and abilities, so if you would be interested in joining us, visit girlguiding.org.uk/get-involved

To register your daughter’s interest in Girlguiding, visit girlguiding.org.uk/information-for-parents

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 37). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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