Irish children invited to 'sustainable summer camp at home'
The 11,000 members of Irish Girl Guides (IGG) are all set to take part in a Sustainable Camp At Home this weekend [5-7 June 2020] and they are encouraging members of the public to join them.
You don’t have to own a tent. You don’t even need a garden. You can simply use rugs, duvets and your imagination to make a den or makeshift shelter indoors.
That’s what some girls did during IGG’s last Camp At Home in April. And the event was such a hit with their youth members (from age five to 30) that they decided to do the same again but invite other children and young people around Ireland to join in the fun too.
The theme ‘Sustainable Camping and Living’ was chosen to tie in with World Environment Day (5 June) and IGG has produced a helpful Camp At Home resource, which is full of ideas for sustainable activities and challenges that can be undertaken while camping at home. These include doing a nature scavenger hunt, recycling old items to make something new, doing a litter pick in your locality and, the favourite of Girl Guides everywhere, toasting marshmallows over a campfire (or a nightlight works too).
The resource can be found in the News and Media section of the IGG website – www.irishgirlguides.ie – and people are encouraged to share photos and videos of their Camp At Home on social media with the hashtags #IGGCampAtHome and #SustainableCamping.
Camping and overnight events are an integral part of the Guiding experience and at this time of year older Girl Guides (from age 10+) would usually be busy planning and preparing for camps in Ireland or overseas. With this summer’s trips cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was decided to hold Camps At Home instead.
“Our Camp At Home events are a great way to lift the spirits of young people and families at this time,” says IGG Chief Commissioner Amanda O’Sullivan.
“Not only for our members, but for everyone. We hope this fun initiative will help people find healthy and positive ways to keep active and busy at home while also taking time to consider the impact on the environment of their way of living and perhaps finding ways to live more sustainably.
“That could be by recycling and composting more, supporting local producers and suppliers and finding ways to cut down on water and energy usage. These are all small steps we can take and, if we all take small steps, together we can make a huge difference. This ties in with the Responsible Consumerism Badge programme we launched earlier this year, which sees our members learn about the importance of re-use and recycling and the impact of plastic on the environment. They learn how to make beeswax wrap, make games out of recycled materials and upcycle clothes,” says Ms O’Sullivan.
Last weekend over 130 Senior Branch members (IGG members aged 14-30) took part in Camp Echo – a Camp At Home that also had a sustainability theme. Participants upcycled T-shirts into shopping bags, identified ways to cut down on their use of plastic and, collectively, they hiked (within five kilometres of home) the distance from Malin to Mizen Head, the Atlantic Way, the Camino de Santiago and the distance from Dublin to London and back.
One 14-year-old member, Emily Halpenny, even virtually climbed Ben Nevis by running up and down the stairs of her house an incredible 470 times, while two others completed the ascent to Carrauntoohil! By hiking and camping outdoors, many of the Senior Branchers successfully completed the adventure journey section of their Bronze or Silver Gaisce Award. On the final evening, everyone joined in an online birthday bash to mark the 100th birthday of Senior Branch. They had made party hats out of recycled materials to mark the occasion and plenty of cakes were baked and enjoyed!
Irish Girl Guides welcomes youth members from age five-plus and adult volunteers from age 18+. No previous Guiding experience is necessary and ongoing training and support is provided. For further information, see www.irishgirlguides.ie