Connecting and Flourishing Together at the 2024 All Adult Gathering

As the sun rose on February 3, a sea of blue comprising 150 Adult Girl Guides Victoria members gathered in Moonee Ponds in Melbourne’s North West.

Our members were buzzing with anticipation for two days of learning, connection and adventure at the 2024 All Adult Gathering: Flourish Together (AAG). And judging by the anecdotes we’ve heard from attendees, the AAG well and truly delivered this year!

The All Adult Gathering was a family affair for Horsham Night Owl Guides Unit Leader Wendy, who attended with her daughter, a Unit Helper and young Adult member.

“It was great to introduce my daughter to Leaders I have met and Guided with. It was [also] good to meet faces of people I have only ever messaged, and talk to the staff at JPC.”

“I had a great time with the drones. Gresley [who spearheads the Dragon Fly Drone Guides Unit, which delivered the drones activities at the AAG] was great. She was very calm, and her instructions were very clear. We learnt lots, and again reunited with Leaders and met new faces.”

Wendy’s daughter Delie echoed her mum’s sentiments on the forging of intergenerational bonds that flourished at the Gathering, and the significance of physical gatherings in a digital age.

“It was great to meet others who have volunteered alongside my mum in Guide events that have not been able to attend. It was also great to meet people in person for the first time who I had only ever met on Zoom, and connect with old Guiding friends, including my Queen’s Guide Camp Leader, who I haven’t seen in over two years.”

For Gwen, Region Manager of Hume, the networking opportunities and marketplace stalls on offer at the Gathering were “invaluable”.

“The stands were well worth a look at the Marketplace, and it was great to see the Guide Shop on site. The speakers were very good and interesting, and dinner was lovely. It was a great day and well worth the drive.”

Gwen also remarked that “it was a privilege” to witness a very special part of the Gathering — the Presentation of a Girl Guides Victoria Life Membership Award to Marg Devlin, a long-time active Girl Guides member.

As attendees engaged with the bustling Marketplace and immersive workshops, the Gathering’s underlying theme of collective empowerment shone through. Speakers including Jana Holland, Alison Hill, and Auntie Karan Kent offered vital insights into indigenous wisdom, finding harmony with mother nature, environmental stewardship, and personal growth.

One of our members, who wishes to remain anonymous, was especially moved by a statement made from one of the speakers: All that we achieve, we achieve together.

“…that is so right.  We are all in Guiding to empower girls and young women, and we can only do that if everyone works together, helping each other with our own special skills.”

“All of the speakers showed us how to flourish in different ways.  There were a lot of great ideas to take back and use in Guide Units.  I’ll be trying a slightly shorter version of Auntie Karan’s ‘Wayapa’ story with my Guides.”

The same member gained plenty of value from the lighter moments at the Gathering, describing the dinner held on the first night as “a hoot!”

“The meals were great. Lots more time for catching up with old friends and making new.  I was part of the winning trivia team ‘The Young and the Restless’, showing that it takes a team with younger Guiding personnel, and ‘more experienced’ Leaders to maximise correct answers!”

When reflecting on the two days, Raya, a Leader in Training at Langwarrin Girl Guides, emphasised the way the Gathering allowed her to harness the transformative power of connection — with oneself, with others (of younger and older generations), and with her sense of purpose.

“I’m reflecting on how jam packed the [Gathering] was, and full of great workshops. One of my favourite things that I learned is the fact that Leaders can register themselves into a drones training course and then take that knowledge to their Unit and be able to fly drones at Unit meetings each week.”

“I also enjoyed seeing Leaders who I hadn’t seen in a long time which was nice, and participating in discussions with other young Leaders around advocating for more ways to include younger Adults into Guiding!”

The 2024 All Adult Gathering certainly was jam-packed with workshops and activities, but the weekend far surpassed mere knowledge exchange. Above all, it was a celebration of community, resilience and shared purpose. And a huge testament to the All Adult Gathering Committee, Girl Guides Victoria staff, and our many speakers and attendees who helped to make it so.

Until the next Gathering!

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