Brownsea Island holds special place for guides
Brownsea Island holds a special place in the hearts of both guides and scouts.
It was here in 1909 that Lord Baden-Powell held his first camp, out of which grew guiding and scouting.
On a sunny weekend in April, Guides from the area from Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport areas ventured onto Brownsea Island.
Most of the girls and the leaders had never visited this historic site but they were there for a purpose.
The guides were taking part in their Baden-Powell adventure as part of their Baden-Powell Challenge award – the highest award in the guide section.
Ten challenges have to be chosen and completed.
These cover topics such as healthy lifestyles, global awareness, and skills and relationships.
The guides must also take part in an adventure where they are challenged do something they have not done before, with people they have not worked with before.
After a smooth trip across Poole Harbour, and settling into the old Hunting Lodge, the guides did what all guides promise to try to do – serve the community.
Over the years, guides have helped out with conservation projects on Brownsea Island, including cutting timber and preparing the campsites.
This time they cleared an area of dead bracken – hard work pulling the stems and piling them for composting.
Caroline, the National Trust instructor, explained that by clearing the dead bracken, the guides were helping the red squirrel population of the island, making it easier for the island’s most famous inhabitants to find their nut stores.
The island is a safe place to wander and that’s what the guides did after their afternoon’s hard work.
They saw red squirrels, deer and peacocks, and got chased by some less-than- friendly chickens.
Sunday morning was for something more creative and the group took advantage of the cold but gloriously sunny weather doing some beach art – one group made a map of the island using the natural materials they found around them.
Maz Francis, division commissioner for Gosport North, said: ‘This was a wonderful weekend, and a really lovely group of guides who got on really well together.
‘This was my first time on Brownsea. It’s beautiful and I’m coming back soon!’
For information about how to get involved in guiding, go to girlguiding.org.uk.