Annual Report

2020/2021 Annual Report

Our GB Company has continued to operate despite the challenges of the past year. Having had to close two weeks before our annual display last year, it’s hard to believe we have not been able to meet in person with the girls since. However, we can be proud of the efforts made by our leaders and girls to stay connected through this difficult time. As part of the mission work of this church, through GB we reach out to girls to value, nurture and equip them for life as a Christ-centred organisation. A complete re-modelling of our work has been required to be able to do so. We have been blessed with the opportunities made available to us through technology even though at times it has been frustrating. Our private Facebook page and WhatsApp parent groups for each section have helped to keep all informed and connected. It has been through their WhatsApp group that the Explorer section have received weekly updates and videos from September-April. These have included Bible stories, prayers, craft, baking, dance and singing. We thank our leaders, and in particular Lee, for the immense amount of time and effort put into these. We trust that they will have been a blessing to the girls and indeed their parents who have watched alongside them. A special word of thanks also goes to Gwen for assisting Lee with the puppets; a real treat for all!

Juniors, Seniors and Brigaders had their first Zoom session as a Christmas quiz and since then Juniors met fortnightly while Seniors and Brigaders met weekly. Within the Junior section Naomi shared with the girls on the topic of ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’ As well as providing an opportunity for a chat and a bit of a laugh they have also been singing, accompanied by guitar, played games and made s’mores and Easter nests. For the Seniors and Brigaders there have been separate sessions covering the ‘Shaken’ resource from ‘The Big House Ireland’. As leaders we have found this to be a great tool for use on Zoom and hope it will have helped girls be better equipped for the challenges they face in life with a Biblical focus. They have also joined together for some of the sessions; making sock bunnies, playing games, dancing and games along with the favourite - baking…yes, it is possible on Zoom and a good exercise in listening to instructions – the mute button coming in handy at times! Mug cakes, Mini Egg cookies and cheesecake have all been undertaken and completed to a high standard. We’ve been very impressed with the skills on show at Zoom GB and  we displayed the results on our Facebook page to celebrate. Juniors, Seniors and Brigaders also ran a ‘camp’ night on Zoom, not quite the same as the real thing but worth giving a go!

Setting up for GB has been a very different experience in terms of planning and organisation both for leaders and families. We thank each of our leaders and every family for the efforts made in supporting their daughter/s to join in with us. Our last session was during the Easter holidays and with girls returning to school GB took a break. Leaders delivered our third pack to members over the holidays which included their Easter eggs, gifts and badges they would normally receive at the annual display. It is our hope that we can soon meet again, in person, once a mutually agreed stance on Covid 19 regulations has been agreed with GBNI, EA and the church.

We have had a terrific achievement to celebrate within our company with Nichola Allen receiving news that she had successfully completed her Queen’s Award, the highest award to be achieved in GB. Despite having to make changes due to Covid 19, all elements were completed to a high standard, culminating in her final interview which this year was conducted via Zoom saving a long journey to Antrim! Nichola has also achieved her Brigader’s Brooch in this her fourth year as a Brigader and has been a Sub-Officer within the company for this past session, having completed her training the previous year. Unfortunately, this wasn’t able to be marked in absence of our annual enrolment. Nichola will be missed immensely for her hard work, dedication and enthusiasm within the company and we wish her well in her future studies at university.

As a company we have also had Doreen and Gail as officers this year, like Nichola having completed training pre-Covid, and we look forward to getting back to the hall so they can put their skills to good use! A special word of congratulations to our captain Lee who has reached the milestone of 15 years as an officer in GB; we look forward to the next 15! Thanks are extended to all our regular GB leaders for the many hours they have put into the work of the company which is a year-round effort. Thanks also to Wendy Eaton for stepping in on a couple of the Zoom sessions. We are grateful to Naomi for setting up the meetings on her youth work account and for providing much support to the girls and leaders on a weekly basis.

This year we bid farewell to one of our helpers, Linda Emerson and we thank her for her contributions to GB over the last three years within the Senior/Brigader section. We also wish Louise Noble well in her plans for September; we are sad to be losing the sporting expertise she brought to the company and thank her for her help in this area.

The end of this session also draws to a close Linda Allen’s dedicated service to the company over the past eleven years, five of these as an officer. Linda has been with the older sections since she began helping in the company, leading the Senior and Brigader section for the last two years. With a real flare for anything arty she has been our tech expert as well as official photographer, designated first aider and mini-bus driver to name but a few. Her input has been invaluable and we thank her sincerely for all her work for the company.

Given the current situation we have not welcomed any new members this past year which has been a sad reality for our company. At this point in time, we do not know how we will be operating come the autumn but we really do want to encourage not only our current members to hang in there but for others to join us. If you know of any girl aged 3-18 years who would be interested in joining GB, please email or alternatively speak to company captain Lee McDaid (07762 547384) so that they can be included in our plans and updates. Girls do not have had to come up through the company and are welcome to join at any stage. We ask for your continued prayers and know that God will lead us through whatever difficulties we face in striving to help girls to ‘Seek, Serve and Follow Christ.’