Rockwell College Cashel hosts 1,800 Guides in Co. Tipperary

Historic IGGNITE 2017 International Girl Guides camp comes to Cashel

Rockwell College Cashel hosts 1,800 Guides in Co. Tipperary

By Eoin Kelleher @tippstar

History was made in Rockwell College on Sunday as it hosted its first IGGNITE 2017 International Girl Guides Camp, with up to 2,000 girls from all over the world descending on the beautiful grounds of Rockwell.

Some 1,800 Girl Guides from 12 different countries will enjoy campfires, outdoor adventures, and make lifelong friends this week for the biggest ever international Girl Guide Camp to ever take place in Ireland.

Joining Irish Girl Guides members are Girl Guides from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Georgia, Zimbabwe, the Philippines and St Vincent and the Grenadines as well as England, Scotland and Finland.

“After two years of planning, we’re so excited to be meeting the girls and finally setting up camp,” says IGGNITE2017 Camp Chief Jenny Gannon. “The girls will have a fantastic experience, trying out all sorts of team-building activities as well as enjoying fun and friendship with girls from around the globe.” Activities include water obstacle courses, kayaking, horse riding, building rafts and rockets and playing quidditch as well as drama, music, body confidence, yoga, meditation, and coding workshops.

“There is a serious side to camp too,” says Ms Gannon. “We are partnering with Trócaire, Concern, UNICEF, and Irish Aid to help the girls learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and how to stand up for refugees and to advocate for gender equality”

“It is hoped that their experience at IGGNITE2017 will ignite their imaginations and a passion to contribute to their local communities. The girls will be encouraged to ‘BE’ active, adventurous, unique, limitless, and to be survivors and advocates. In other words, they will explore their potential to make a difference to the world around them at home and overseas by speaking out on issues that concern them and inspiring others to take action too.”

Cashel and Thurles Guides

None of this would have been possible without the local Girl Guides in Cashel, Thurles, and Templetuohy.

Mary Jordan has been involved in the Girl Guides locally for the last 20 years. This week's event “has taken a lot of hard work,” Mary told the Tipperary Star.

“If it goes wrong, we're the local guides. It has been good, and it's a fabulous location. On the site I'm involved in, there are 39 Guides on my site alone. They would have been preparing for it for the last 12 months.” Local Guides are assigned to assist those visiting from overseas. “We have nine girls and three leaders from England on our site. We'll probably exchange with them again in the next few years. It's great, you get to meet lots of people.”

Mary's second eldest daughter got her involved in guiding, where she met Irene Reele, from Two-Mile-Borris. From humble beginnings, with only four parents, the local organisation blossomed into the thriving unit it is today, 30 years later. Mary was a District Commissioner for over 20 years, while Irene has occupied all the positions up to the top. Thurles, Cashel, Moyne Templetuohy, and Bruff are the local districts involved in stewarding IGGNIT2017.

Guide Helen Concannon explained how the Guides would survive for the week. “Each Guide is cooking for themselves. All of the food is brought in here centrally, so you can imagine the logistical nightmare. Like how much bread do you need for 1,800 girls for a week. But all of that food has been brought in, and we get fresh deliveries. We're delighted with our support from Supervalu locally, and we anticipate there will be no problems. Most people are cooking on gas this summer instead of cooking on fires.”

The week's events were formally launched at special ceremony in Rockwell at 6.30pm.

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