A Place to Grow Girl Guides Adult Ambassador

Name: Ashleigh Armstrong 

Age: 22 

District: Baulkham Hills

Length of time in Girl Guides:
 13 years (10 years as a youth, 3 years as a leader) 

Occupation/School: Monash University (I live in Sydney but study online)
Why did you join Girl Guides in the first instance? 
My mum was a Girl Guide and even received her Queen's Guide, and she wanted me to experience Guiding too.

What are three things that you have learnt whilst being in Girl Guides that have surprised you? 
I have learnt how to say ‘no’, I have learnt how to say ‘yes’, and I have learnt that bugs are more scared of you than you are of them.

What life lesson/s do you feel you have learnt?
I feel that Girl Guides has taught me that I am capable, and I can be confident in who I am and what I stand for. Because I was able to do my best in Guides, I am also capable of doing my best outside of it.

What have been your favourite activities in Girl Guides?  
I’ll never forget that during my school camp in year 7, we were encouraged to go abseiling. When they asked for volunteers to go first, I was one of the rare people who put up their hand. We had done something similar with Guides a few weeks earlier and I knew that I could do it. After I had abseiled down, I noticed that one of the usually more outgoing and enthusiastic boys were sitting by themselves and when I talked to him, he said that he was too scared to have a go. I remember being so baffled because I didn’t think it was scary. I had just thought it was a fun challenge. 
Another favourite experience was when my Guide leader taught everyone about compass points and how to read a compass. When my school teacher tried to teach everyone the same information over a year later I finished the activity so fast that I was asked to help my classmates.

What characteristics of yourself have you developed that you attribute to your time with the Girl Guides? 
I feel that through Girl Guides I have developed confidence and a purpose. In school I was simply another student who did their homework on time and would rarely speak up in class. But in Girl Guides I was a patrol leader, a listener, a motivator. I was someone who went above and beyond to achieve badges and awards. Without Girl Guides, I don’t know if I would have found this part of myself.

In five years’, time, what will you remember most about your time with Girl Guides? 
In five years’, time, I will remember how warm and fuzzy I felt when my Pre-Junior Guides came up to me at the end of meetings and  told me how much fun they had.

Some people may feel that Girl Guides is not relevant to young people growing up with a digital life. What would you say to that? 
Why can’t you have a life that is both digital and outdoors? I think that it’s all well and good to be tech savvy, but one day when the electricity has gone out and you don’t know how to navigate without your GPS, cook without power or tie a knot, then you’re the one who won’t be relevant.

If you were on a stage in front of Australia, what would you like them to know about Girl Guides? 
We don’t only sell cookies. Instead it is a movement that empowers girls into young women.

What do you feel is the role of Girl Guides in society today? 
I think that what someone learns in Girl Guides is complementary to what is learnt in school. Guides is a fun way to learn basic life skills that are not taught elsewhere, such as an appreciation for volunteering, an understanding of the outdoors and the development of an awareness of the world around you. These ‘skills’ cannot be taught from a textbook but require experience.

Do you have any other comments or anecdotes you’d like to share about your time at Girl Guides? 
For me, Girl Guides does not fit a niche. Instead Guides is what you make of it. At my most memorable camp, all the girls were taught how to change a tyre and then straight afterwards we were taught how to cleanse, tone and moisturise the face. 

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