Elaine’s Highlights of 2023

Scottish Chief Commissioner Elaine shares her highlights from the past year.


I have really enjoyed seeing all of the great guiding that has happened all over Scotland this year. I wanted to share with our members some of my highlights as 2023 draws to a close.


Looking back, so many of you have been involved in challenges, international trips, amazing community work and helping to growing our membership. I hope all of our members have had a good year and are taking some time to rest over the holidays, you deserve it. I wish you all a very happy new year and the best in 2024!


Awards and great achievements

Congratulations to all those who won an award in 2023. Whether you reached the latest long service level, gained a Guiding Hero award or were recognised at UK level with a Laurel or Silver Fish award you should be proud of your achievement. We are really appreciative of the dedication all our members show in delivering guiding across Scotland. Attending Girlguiding Celebrates with some of our Scottish award winners and nominees was definitely a highlight of my year and seeing all the ways our members impact girls’ lives and their communities is truly inspiring.


International Trips

Getting back into our International trips has been an amazing highlight of 2023. There were 38 trips throughout the year and 9 different countries were visited – Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Greece and South Korea! Over 20 counties were involved and I am so pleased that we are able to offer these amazing opportunities to girls. Seeing more of our volunteers gaining their international modules and building the skills and confidence to take girls away is really exciting.


We know that lots of you have more exciting trips planned for next year and beyond so we are excited to hear more.


Challenge Packs

This year, at a Scottish level, we launched 3 new challenge packs for girls and 1 for volunteers. The 2023 Out and About challenge saw over 6000 of you getting stuck in and making a splash over the spring and summer months. In August the Girlguiding Scotland Speak Out Champions launched their Own Our Zone challenge pack and campaign, helping to amplify girls’ voices and encouraging them to speak up to their local decision makers about the changes they wanted to see to keep girls and young women safe outdoors.


More recently we have partnered with Sustrans bringing you our Active Adventures challenge pack encouraging members to explore different ways to travel actively. The challenge will run throughout 2024 and I am looking forward to seeing all the fun girls will have with this.


Many of you have already made a fresh start with our latest challenge for volunteers. Seeing how the challenge has helped some of you shout out about your involvement in guiding, recruit volunteers and shorten waiting lists has been really inspiring. Why not start the challenge next year for the new term!


Guiding Star Award Winner

The Guiding Star Award celebrates exceptional young members and this year we had 1 young member from Scotland win the award. Eve, a Brownie in Forth Valley was recognised for her amazing community work supporting and raising money for the charity Scottish Autism. Eve has been on a journey to hike and backpack 1900 miles along all 29 of Scotland’s official long-distance trails in aid of the charity. Congratulations Eve, all of us here at Girlguiding Scotland wish you the best of luck.


Eve’s dad had this to say ‘Eve is an avid member of Brownies and is committed to the Girlguiding movement. Being singled out for recognition for something that, to her, is a fundamental part of everyday life is beyond anything we could have hoped for! Eve repeatedly asked us, before receiving the award “why?”. I will not try to answer that as being her father I am biased! Eve is home-educated and autistic, as such Brownies is such an integral part of her life. Being able to meet and interact with like-minded children of her age is so important, and her owls are without a doubt the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.’


Grants and projects

Our Membership Development and Growth team have been working hard this year to help make guiding accessible for all girls across Scotland. Thanks to funding from Gannochy Trust and Isobel Halliday’s legacy our Developing Guiding Grants and Joining Guiding Grants have helped us to explore new ways of recruiting volunteers and raise the profile of Girlguiding Scotland. We have seen a lot of great success stories from units and can’t wait to share more about this great work with you next year. This year we welcomed development officer Anna to the team to continue our Cashback project work for Phase 6. Anna has been working to support 44 units and has made great progress so far visiting 10 units to deliver everyday leadership sessions. She says ‘I have had so much fun with every unit I’ve visited and learnt a lot from all of the girls.’


I’d love to see what some of your highlights from this year have been so please pop up a post on social media and tag us @GirlguidingScot.


Sarah, Lyndsay, Alison and I look forward to what 2024 will bring and seeing what all of our members get up to. We can’t wait to continue our work as Scottish Chief Commissioner Team and help to deliver our 5 year strategy to fulfil our vision of an equal world where all girls can make a positive difference, be happy, safe and fulfil their potential.


Thank you all for making 2023 such a great guiding year and helping all girls know they can do anything!

Elaine Rough,

Scottish Chief Commissioner.