Our Wildcats Time Comes to an End, Sadly

This week we received an email, letting us know that our Saturday football sessions with Crystal Palace Wildcats will finish.

H at SSE Crystal Palace Wildcats

Which makes several young girls aged 5-11 quite sad.

Wildcats are girls-only football sessions which we’ve been attending since we did some work with the FA. We have an awesome group of girls, we meet almost every Saturday whatever the weather and we play football. We train, we learn skills and we have fun.

But not for much longer.

I had noticed several clubs starting extra Wildcats sessions around the country, and Crystal Palace weren’t alone in this, starting three extra sessions.

Crystal Palace Wildcats sessions 2018

Which leaves me wondering – has it all been too much? Have SSE stopped sponsoring Wildcats and actually the clubs can’t afford to do this, so these sessions are the first thing to go? Has the FA pulled funding?

We don’t have answers, just that there’s an opportunity to move to Caterham Pumas.

But it does make me wonder, If that was the case, why didn’t they set up Caterham Pumas Wildcats?

Although then we wouldn’t have had our amazing coaches, Charlotte and Sophie. They have made such a massive difference to all of the girls, bringing a love of football to their Saturday mornings. H used to be someone the boys wouldn’t pass to, to now being someone who will try and get a ball from the boys.

They have been brilliant, and we’re all gutted that won’t have training sessions with them any more. They made a difference.

It does make me wonder. Is it about money? Everything to do with women’s football is to do with money. Look at the new league structure. Coincidentally, Crystal Palace Ladies were accepted into Women’s Premiership on the same day we got our email saying the sessions would no longer exist. I’m sure the two incidents aren’t linked…

So, onwards we go, having to find another club to play football. I can only hope any future coach gives H the support and confidence which got her to the level she plays now. I’m hoping that all her friends she made make the switch as well…

Thank you Charlotte and Sophie. You made a difference to a lot of girls and will continue to do so. Thank you for taking the time out to make a difference.

Volunteering with Girlguiding – Why I Do It.

I’m a leader in training at Brownies at the moment. Volunteering with Girlguiding is my way of giving something back. There’s a huge shortage of volunteers, so if I can do something to change that then I feel like what I do is worthwhile.

Volunteering with Girlguiding can be time consuming. I look after our accounts, and since we had a recent change of systems also look after our Unit membership on Go! which is our main admin system. The other two leaders can’t get in. Let’s not talk about Gift Aid right now too… I’m not ready. I know it needs doing, it’s just getting to the point where I do!

Volunteering with Girlguiding is fun. The girls crack me up – intentionally and unintentionally. 7, 8 and 9 year olds are quite funny characters to be around.

Volunteering with Girlguiding is something I find myself enjoying and feeling like I’m making a difference. When I helped at Rainbows and left, and a girl did me a picture saying “you’re my favourite teacher” (!!!) I knew I was doing something right.

Volunteering with Girlguiding means I have to join in from time to time. Like last week when I pretended to be a dog. I didn’t roll over onto my back or anything, mind. Or that time I was bandaged up when we were doing the First Aid badge.

Brownie leader first aid badge

Volunteering with Girlguiding means that occasionally the Brownies step over the line, squirt me in the face with their water bottle and when I look at them sternly they say “but Snowy Owl, SHE told me to do it!” while running away laughing.

Volunteering with Girlguiding means giving support to girls who need it. The shy ones, the ones who might have difficulties in certain situations. The ones you know will be fine when they find that confidence.

The girls who have learning difficulties who tell you “I want to be a leader when I am old enough” makes you feel like you’re doing something right.

We encourage girls to be kind and to respect others.

Brownie Activity - what they think of Snowy Owl

I was a Brownie and a Guide and left Guides because I felt like I had done my bit. I loved every minute of Brownies.

1970s Brownie me, these days I'm volunteering with Girlguiding. This was a throwback picture for the Lottie Brownie Pack in 2017.

Girlguiding has a shortage of volunteers right now. Our Unit waiting list is high, with many girls waiting to move up from Rainbows too. Another Unit here in Carshalton (or even running two units in one night) might solve the problem but there aren’t the people to run it.

Girlguiding has a campaign running at the moment, with a video to accompany it. The campaign is ‘Know Your Place’. Is your place helping the largest charity for girls in this country?

Then head here and register your interest. There are units desperate for help.

Volunteering with Girlguiding is telling a parent there’s no space for their daughter in our unit because there are so many girls who want to join, but not enough adults to make it happen. We’d love it if you could join us…

I think it’s worth adding this final note. Back, during the World War Girlguiding played a huge role in it. The skills the girls learned were essential to being a part of the people helping during the war. I’m reading a fascinating book, How the Girl Guides Won the War’ which goes into a lot of what happened. People, we’re training your girls with proper life skills here. Oh, and a few daft ones too, that helps keep it all fun.

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FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations

future tottenham player, FA Girls' Football Week

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations are happening NOW!

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations are happening at the same time as the UEFA Women’s European Finals this year. England’s Lionesses are one of the favourites to win the UEFA Women’s European finals too. We beat Scotland the other night 6-0, and tomorrow night face Spain.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations happen this year from the 16th July to the 6th August 2017. It is a national campaign to raise the profile of female football and double the number of girls playing by 2020.

Last year more than 130,000 girls took part in sessions. This was in schools, universities, colleges, clubs, community groups and other organisations country-wide.  Activities include playing, training or just learning more about football.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats, FA Girls' Football Week 

Organisations can register their regular activities on the site, or start something new. It’s loads of fun and longer than a week this year too. It is a great chance to showcase female football from grassroots to England at the Euro’s, and to help inspire new players and volunteers.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations happen once a year every year – we’ve written about it before (2015 and 2016). We’ve always been lucky that there are football events near us, though a couple of years ago the word hadn’t really spread. As time has progressed everyone knows about it. Add to this the launch of a new website, For Girls.

For Girls is the FA’s website which is for women’s football – there are profiles for all our England players, with plenty of facts and information. There are news articles and loads of things which are relevant to the women’s game.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if England won the Euro’s? It was so close in the World Cup two years ago. Watching two years ago I felt a different sense of pride towards the game. It really meant something when I’d fallen out of love with the England men’s game. It was like we were the underdogs of our own country. Nobody expected us to do as well as we did. But we were brilliant! We came away so proud of the Lionesses achievement finishing third.

So now Girls’ Football Week is celebrating the Euro’s with the Lionesses and loads of activities for girls all tied in.

SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club, FA Girls' Football Week

We’ve been going to the SSE Wildcats at Crystal Palace weekly since our first session which H LOVES attending. I’m seeing a whole new side to her since we started, with far more confidence. She wants to be the goalkeeper or a defender and is bossing the rest of her team from the back and knows where her other players should be. Our Wildcats sessions are over (we can’t make the last two sessions) and are going to start again in September, going up to December – and I’m delighted. You can book here, sessions are based in Caterham and are £3 a time.

Girls' Football Week Euro Celebrations

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations with Coach Charlotte. H got a Lionesses sports headband (which is perfect for her) and a new water bottle – as well as player pictures, a wallchart and an SSE Wildcats certificate.

Today we had a Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations session, with games featuring the England players and goodies for the girls afterwards – Lionesses ones too! Right now H feels like she’s a part of it, and that’s brilliant. It helps the support and even if she isn’t the best football player out there, she’s playing and having fun. That’s what it’s all about – taking part.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations has a website – head over here for more information to find out what is planned where you live. Our group did their Salute for England (which is not yet online) – have yours yet?

This is part of the FA Project we have been participating in. We have received a fee for our time. 

ForTheGirl – Girlguiding’s New Campaign

Girlguiding recently launched the campaign ForTheGirl.

ForTheGirl is on YouTube and was shown in cinemas at the Girlguiding Screening of Beauty and the Beast recently.

If you have never been a part of Girlguiding you might not know what it’s all about.

If you were a part of Girlguiding years ago you might think it’s all about loving God and worshipping the Queen.

Things have changed.

Girlguiding has changed.

We still sing the same song at the start (it did change a few years ago) but Girlguiding is different.

Which is where Forthegirl comes in.

Girlguiding to me is recognising each girl is different. Each girl has strengths that others don’t. It’s about inspiring girls to do good things, to be the best they can be. To have fun. To work through their Brownie Adventures and have them come to me telling me they have done some badges on their own.

I want to inspire the girls we work with, and for them to make me proud because they’ve done it on their own. Every time a girl comes to me and says they’ve done a badge I’m delighted.

Which I’d say is the message in ForTheGirl. There’s so much more though.

I want each girl to do their best and have a brilliant time.

Having said that, getting 30 girls aged 7, 8 and 9 to listen can be difficult. But then it’s also challenging fun for the majority of the time too. I come out of a meeting buzzing with ideas for the next one. Hearing their voices and ideas is inspiring and gives us ideas in return.

I want to work with 30 confident girls who can turn around and say “this girl can”.

Because that’s it. We’re ForTheGirl. Each girl deserves a voice and to be heard.

I like to think Girlguiding is doing that.

Later this year Girlguiding is going to be doing a campaign to take on more volunteers as leaders. I made the step up last year after helping at Rainbows for two years. We all make a difference.

Read more at Girlguiding.