An adventure on their own doorstep awaited 170 members of Girlguiding Nottinghamshire last weekend when they gathered for a special sleepover in Wollaton Hall.
It is understood that this was the first event of its type ever to take place in the magnificent Grade One listed Elizabethan country house, which is owned by Nottingham City Council.
The girls are all members of Girlguiding Nottinghamshire’s Hemlock Castle Division, which covers units in Bilborough, Bramcote, Lenton, Stapleford, Trowell and Wollaton. Ten different units took part in the sleepover, including Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, supported by Young Leaders, Guide Leaders and adult volunteers.
First to arrive were the Rainbows, all aged between 5 and 7, for whom an evening of activities ranging from a mini-beast hunt to deer-themed crafts was planned. The Brownies came next, ready to get to grips with lamp-building, truffle-making and a twilight tour of Wollaton Hall, whilst the Guides were greeted by a welcome quiz, an escape room challenge and competitive outdoor games. The girls gathered round a campfire before supper and bedtime, with each unit allocated a different part of the hall in which to bed down in their sleeping bags.
The wake-up call came early the next morning: breakfast was at 7.00am, followed by time to enjoy some more craft sessions and then pack away before the gates opened to allow the usual public access to the park.
‘What an amazing and unique experience for the girls!’ said Rachel James, Chief Operating Officer at Wollaton Hall and Deer Park, afterwards. ‘This is one of the largest groups we’ve ever hosted, and a first for the hall as it’s never been used in this way before. We’re delighted to make these connections with the local community and to give opportunities like this to the next generation of young people.’
Hemlock Castle Division Commissioner Emily Hogan was also delighted that the event had proved such an exciting adventure for everyone. ‘It was a joy to see so many girls of different ages having such a brilliant time exploring the hall and its grounds,’ she reflected. ‘Wollaton Hall and the deer park are on our doorstep, yet many of our girls had never been here before. And, of course, we were extra-excited to be the first Girlguiding group to have a sleepover in the hall itself!’
Girlguiding Nottinghamshire supports and encourages girls of all ages and abilities to get the most out of life, and enquiries about membership and volunteering opportunities are always welcome. For details call County Headquarters on 0115 987 7220 or visit www.girlguidingnottinghamshire.org.uk