Darwin District, Northern Territory
- In Guides—Unit Leader
- Out of Guides—Paediatric Nurse
Length of time in Girl Guides:
How and why did you become a volunteer/ adult member? What were you hoping to get out of it?
I started Guides as a youth member and just kept going. When I turned 18 the leader happened to leave so I took over the unit I had been in. It was the opportunities it provided and the friendships I made that kept me in Guides.
Has the experience of Girl Guides been what you expected?
Absolutely, it is up to you how much you get out of it – opportunities are endless from working in your local community, national engagement to working at the United Nations to advocate for young women around the world.
What are three things you feel you have gotten out of being a volunteer/ adult member in Girl Guides that has surprised you?
I became a nurse to travel yet I have done more travelling with Guides. I have been lucky enough to make lasting, meaningful friendships whilst on these camps and conferences with Guides all across Australia and the globe.
Guiding has given me the confidence and leadership skills to know that it is okay to make mistakes and be afraid, as long as you try. Knowing that I am supported by my Guiding network has helped shape me into the person I am today.
Being the Olave Manger in the NT and the Assistant State Commissioner for the NT were both amazing opportunities that I never imagined would be given to me as a young Guide. It is an organisation that seeks to includes its youth members in its running and allows them to make a meaningful contribution to its future.
What are some of your favourite activities in Girl Guides?
There are so many things I love doing with Guides, but what I love most is when the girls come up with an activity themselves and are given the opportunity to make it happen. Such as when they suggest a campfire, so are given the responsibility of planning and running it, with supervision and assistance. The look of pride when they complete the activity, and everyone has had a great time is priceless. Watching them develop the ability to be flexible in their thinking if a hiccup comes along, such as a total fire ban, and having to think outside the box on how to make a fire (glow sticks, cellophane and lights) is such a wonderful thing to be a part of.
Have you as a volunteer/ adult member learned anything in particular as a result of your involvement in the Girl Guides?
Self-Belief. Specifically, leadership/management skills that are usable in the real world, people management and conflict resolution. Confidence, in myself that I am capable of doing what I set my mind to.
In five years’, what will you remember most about your time with Girl Guides?
Who knows what amazing Guiding opportunities will come my way in the next five years? But I know the friendships will always be there. Seeing my daughter make her promise will always stick with me. The laughter shared with friends, the catastrophes that we now laugh about (hiking in the rain in Scotland, missing the bus to camp), the interesting camp foods, becoming the unofficial meeting point for a camp at the Brisbane Airport, camping in a paddock with 2000 other Guides from around the world, each badge that sparks a smile, there has been too many moments to select just a single aspect or event.
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?
In a time where doctors are prescribing play for children in the US, I think Guiding is incredibly relevant. Learning through play is what we do, giving girls opportunities to explore the world around them and get dirty. Guiding focuses on the community as well, so encouraging girls to think about more than just themselves and encouraging them to give back to the world around them.
If I could put you on a stage in front of Australia, what would you like them to know about Girl Guides?
Guiding has very much helped shape who I am today, I have belonged to Guiding for most of my life. Guides has given me lasting friendships, fantastic adventures and opportunities to travel and explore the world around us.
What do you feel is the role of Girl Guides in society today?
Providing girls and young women a safe space to become the best version of who they are. Providing them the chance to tackle fears, develop skills, make mistakes and be supported along the way. As they grow and become young women giving them the opportunity to stand up for what they believe at local, national and global events.
Do you have any other comments or anecdotes you’d like to share about your experience with Girl Guides?
Strangely enough one of my closest Guiding friendships is with someone whom I have never met, but the Global Guides community is so strong that it has not stopped us! We actually met through our husbands who are both in the Military. My husband, who serves in the Australian Army, was deployed overseas with the United States Army and discovered that the wife of one of the Americans he was deployed with was also a Girl Scout! What started as a way to swap Guide Biscuits and Girl Scout Cookies has turned into a great friendship that allows us to share ideas, stories and support each other’s Units.