A Place to Grow Parent Ambassador

Name: Nigel Saffrey, Father of two Girl Guides 

Why were you keen for your two daughters to join Girl Guides?
We wanted them to experience being a part of a community. We also liked the idea of them having more adventure activities.

What were you hoping for them to get out of it?
Connections with the other girls and life-long friends.

Have your daughters’ experiences been what you expected?
It's been more than what I expected. I originally thought it was going to be camping and adventure activities. What it turned out to be was a lot more. There was a special night where they created their own theme. For example, my daughter, Madeline, organised an Alice in Wonderland themed night. This was a chance for the girls to come out of their shells. Madeline presented and spoke in front of a group of people, it was great to see her hold a room.

What are three things that you feel your daughters have learnt from being with Girl Guides?
My daughters have learnt lots of different skills. They have learnt boating skills and rope skills. They have learnt about hiking, caving and abseiling. There are a multitude of life skills that they have learnt with these activities.

What life lessons do you feel your daughters have learnt from Girl Guides?
The ability to interact with people from a very wide range of demographics has been important. As well as interacting with different girls without judgement has been a huge thing.

Do you know some of your daughters' favourite activities are?
Abseiling, caving, hiking and art.

Do you have a story about your daughters and these activities?
My daughter Sophie went to an Indian themed Girl Guides night, and we went to Liverpool shopping centre to get some Indian sweets. The whole night was incredible, everything was in-theme from the décor to a cardboard cut-out painted as an Indian bus. The idea behind the night was to tour different areas of India. It was a wonderful event that I enjoyed with my daughter.

Have you as a parent learnt anything in particular from your daughters, as a result of their involvement in girl guides?
I have learnt from their ability to get along with people from all walks of life. That’s a huge one because it carries with you into the future.

In five years’ time, what do you think you'll remember most about your daughters' time with Girl Guides?
I will remember that we gave them a good all-round community to be a part of. I will be proud of the time the girls have devoted to their community. Also, the satisfaction that both of them have built strong communication and leadership skills whilst being a Girl Guide. One of them is also on her way to get into the Queen's Girl Guides, so the fact that both daughters want to achieve more is pretty special.

Some people may feel the Girl Guides is not relevant to young people growing up with a digital life. What would you say to that?
I think you need it to counter the digital life. The digital life is isolated whereas, when you're with Girl Guides, it’s very interactive. You're engaging with the community and it’s very social and active. It's a good balance because as we go more into technology, our lives become more and more inwards of nature.

If I could put you on a stage in front of Australia, what would you like them to know about Girl Guides?
I would say it is an incredibly rewarding organisation. It’s a really good way to encourage our daughters to empower themselves and become better kids growing up. We need more inspirational girls and women in our community.

What do you feel is the role of Girl Guides in society today?
To empower women and help them to become inspiring role models.

Do you have any other comments you'd like to add?
My daughter Sophie was never interested in art. After joining Girl Guides, she started playing around with it and made a few drawings. One day, she created this inspirational artwork of a lady and came first place in a Girl Made competition. I think that’s what inspired her. The fact that she never really touched art and came first place was a proud moment. From there, she has been going to art classes and has become an amazing artist.

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