some scrolls arranged in a line on a white table

Sunday the 8th of March 2020, this was the date of the CGI Youth Forum that took place in the Marino Institute in Dublin. This was the last time that we here at CGI, had an in-person National Event. At the time we were all starting to hear the rumblings of what was going on but no one could have even fathomed what would happen next.

It took just over two years, but finally, we had our first National Event that we all could attend, the Chief Commissioner Award, where this years participants would receive their award from our Chief Commissioner, as well as the girls who missed out on a ceremony last year who would all be presented with a token in recognition of their achievements.

The event took place in White's hotel in Wexford on a gloriously sunny day in the sunny south east. Participants traveled from all over the country to attend this prestigious event. Participants and family members started to arrive early, uniforms immaculate and Unit flags all prepped for the occasion.

A Guide holding one of the CGI Unit flags

The ceremony began at 2pm in the afternoon with the traditional parade of participants and Unit Flags. After this the ceremony was begun by a speech from Cyan Doyle, who is a past recipient of the CCA, who told us the impact completing her award had on her, and all the wonderful memories she has from doing it.

After Cyan's speech the proceedings moved along to our Guest Speaker Councillor Maura Bell, who told us her lament of not sticking with Guiding and how she hopes to volunteer with us in the future. She spoke of how she had gotten into local politics and her drive to increase the number of female politicians to better represent women. She imparted on to all the girls that they had the ability to do whatever they set their minds to and they should strive to be the best at whatever they wish to achieve.

Councillor Maura Bell speaking into a microphone

Just before the start of the award presentations we heard from one of this years participants Lucy Williams from, Buion Francis Taylor Guide Unit. Lucy had to battle microphone problems early on but was able to keep her composure wonderfully. After the pesky technical gremlins had been disposed of Lucy gave us a fantastic speech on the importance of kindness. As part of her Chief Commissioner Award Lucy had painted rocks with messages of hope that she placed around her locality. For the ceremony Lucy painted a stone for each of the participants which were gratefully accepted.

With that, the  award recipients for 2021 were then called up to receive their awards from the Chief Commissioner to rapturous applause from those in attendance.

A trio of CCA Participants listen to the speeches at the awards

Once the 2021 recipients had received their awards it was time once again to hear from one of the participants, this time it was the turn of Evie McCourt from Holy Trinity Guide Unit, who, completed her award last year. Thankfully, Evie, didn't have any microphone trouble to contend with as she gave us a speech about her experiences while completing her Chief Commissioner Award during lockdown and how those participating formed a strong connection to help each other work their way through.

After Evie completed her speech it was the turn of the 2020 participants to receive their acknowledgement and gift certificate (as they had received their medal last year) from Chief Commissioner Emily McCann.

The presentation was paused for a speech from both Emma O’Brien and Ellie Lynch, who are from St. Stephen’s Guide Unit, both Ellie and Emma told us how the experience of doing the Chief Commissioner award had gained them great experiences that they can use going forward.

Once the presentations were completed it was time to hear from our Chief Commissioner Emily McCann. Emily spoke of how proud she was of all the participants who had given their all to the Awards and how fantastic their finished projects were. Emily also spoke of how this was her last Chief Commissioner Awards, as she is due to step down after National Council, and how she will miss presiding over fantastic events such as this.

To finish of this year's Chief Commissioner Award everyone was upstanding for the parade of participants as they left once again behind the Unit flags.

some af the arad particpants pose with their Leaders after receiving their awards