March 2nd, 2012

Helen smiling in rain

Hurrah for the Girl Guides!

I loved this Guardian article about Girl Guides going from strength to strength! I loved the fact that so many people commented and most women valued the female only space that Girl Guiding gives them.

I was in the organisation from 7 to 27. I was a Brownie, Guide, Young Leader, Guider. I ran a Brownie Pack when I was a student in Sheffield. I went to Norway on an international camp when I was 14, played with the National Scout and Guide Symphony orchestra for 4 years when I was at Sixth Form/University. I worked as a volunteer in Sri Lanka for 3 months when I was 18 with Guides and I served on 3 national committees as a young Guider. And I got my Queen's Guide and went to Kensington Palace to receive it when I was 19!

And then work took off, real life took over and I just didn't have the time to volunteer. I am so grateful to everything I learnt in those 20 years. I can pitch a tent, light a fire and cook on it, do a bedding roll, make washing up bowl stands from wood! and sing any number of stupid songs. As an introverted, geeky, "not cool" teenager, Guides helped me find my space. It gave me the confidence to lead and be creative. I wish I had a daughter, so she could experience it too. I wish I had more time to volunteer again.

Long live Girlguidiing! Here's a photo of me and a mate on Guide camp! Happy days...