IGGNITE2017 Day 1

It was an early, slightly damp start yesterday morning, as about 100 of the staff team grouped together to greet all our campers and help unload their buses for them. With so many campers and buses arriving we were tasked with unloading the buses within a 10-minute time frame, to try to avoid having a queue of vehicles.

We were an amazing team and, after the first bus, had a system going – two people physically unloaded the buses and then everyone else took the kit to the holding bays, a further team then assisted with taking the kit down to the camp sites.

Each bus was greeted with a cheer and we soon were beating our 10-minute target and the average time it was taking to unload a bus was about two minutes (well, except a couple of buses that seemed to have been built by the same person that built the Tardis, but that’s another story…..).

Although we did have some rain in the morning, the weather did improve throughout the day and I’m sure that the campers were very happy to be putting up their tents in the dry! People were starting to walk about and explore the campsite, and lots of trolleys of food made their way down to the campsite from the supermarket.

In the evening, prior to the opening ceremony, we hosted a Welcome Reception for various people, including local dignitaries, representatives of various partner organisations (including Concern, Gaisce, Irish Aid and the National Youth Council of Ireland), the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Girl Guides, and lots of people who have assisted the camp in some way. In the reception we had a table where the guests could partake in a classic Guiding activity – making s’mores!

Then finally it was time for the Opening Ceremony. Making our way down to the marquee it was a real surprise to walk in and see the stage area and big screen. Live video showed us all the campers streaming down to the marquee and slowly it filled up. (The whole thing was also being streamed live on the Irish Girl Guides website).

I think it might have been the best opening ceremony that I have ever been to. There were super talented singers and dancers, girls in the different uniforms that you have worn throughout the years, a beautiful piece of video where we actually heard Olave Baden-Powell’s voice and, of course, the presentation of the different flags of the 12 international countries that are being represented at the camp. Declaring the camp open, Jenny wasn’t allowed to cut a ribbon, oh no, instead she had to saw through the branch of a tree!

At the end of the opening ceremony, there was a short break and then a band was playing live for the Guides to continue to party to. After a long day I’m sure everyone slept well last night 🙂