A Leighton Buzzard Girl Guiding Unit for youngsters with additional needs is proud to celebrate its one year anniversary.
An excited group of Rainbows, Brownies and Guides were delighted to welcome the Town Mayor (at the time) Councillor Clive Palmer, as everyone enjoyed a special party complete with a visiting musician, therapy dog and plenty of fun and games.
The young ladies are all part of BIGG, the 1st Bedfordshire Inclusive Girlguiding unit, which opened its doors in April 2018 and is run by a dedicated team of Girlguiding UK leaders and unit helpers.
Vicky Hopkinson, BIGG leader, said: “Here in Leighton Buzzard we felt there was a need for a group offering more specialised support for girls with additional needs.
“Our young ladies are amazing; we see them growing in confidence and we’re proud that BIGG helps to boost their self esteem. We also have very supportive parents who like to get ‘stuck in’ alongside their girls.
“Our members enjoy getting messy and like to play games together. They also enjoy visits from ‘Grumpy’ a local ukulele musician. He plays songs for us to play instruments and dance along to.”
During their first year, the girls have completed lots of challenge badges, such as the Unicorn challenge and the Amey Engineering badge, while some also joined the bigger Girl Guiding family at district events such as the Remembrance Day Parade and Thinking Day Celebration.
They are currently working on their Rainforest badge, learning more about this environment in a fun and practical way; for example - making rainsticks, creating tree frogs from cake, and going on a ‘safari trek’.
Vicky explained to the LBO why the class structure and activities work well for children with additional needs.
She said: “Our members enjoy our practical resources and we always have a variety of sensory trays for the girls to use, for example our ‘small world rainforest tray’ has kinetic sand, water beads, play doh, rice and bubbles.
“They really like that our meeting has the same format each month with a visual schedule, and respond very well to having a choice over the order they complete our carousel of activities.”
The group has also made a BIGG impression on the parents.
Vicky concluded: “Our group has a relaxed and positive atmosphere where parents can spend one to one time with their extra special daughters.
“We’ve had very positive feedback, comments include that the meetings are ‘well organised and inclusive’, and some parents say ‘my daughter keeps asking when the next meeting is!’”
The BIGG group gets together once a month on Saturdays at Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Leighton Buzzard, from 10am until midday.
To find out more, search for the group on Facebook: ‘1st Bedfordshire Inclusive GirlGuiding Group - BIGG’.