Saturday, 7 September 2013

i promise that i will do my best..

Last week, I got to such a point of frustration with some administrative hold ups whilst planning our annual guide camp that I tweeted @Girlguiding to tell them I was seriously considering giving up my voluntary role(s). Thankfully, we managed to resolve the paperwork situation and go ahead with the camp, but it all got me thinking that, if we hadn't been able to, what would I be giving up?

I run two units (in two different towns, neither of which in the town I actually live in). One of them meets for 90mins every week and the other one fortnightly for two hours. With travelling, tidying up and locking up time built in (plus the time spent planning unit meetings, attending district meetings with other leaders from the area once per term (twice for me as I am in two districts) or waiting with a girl whose parent may have got chatting to someone in Tesco and lost track of the time) it's certainly more than the "hour per week" which seems to be the common myth. Or selling point, depending on which side you're looking at it from.

I also hold a role at county level on the PR team, which includes regular meetings to set up recruitment and media initiatives across the county, as we are always looking to raise our profile. We have been trying to match up potential new leaders with units which might be facing closure in the future, as well as generally raising the profile of Girlguiding across the county with attendance and displays at local fairs, shows and council-run events.

And, of course, I've recently completed my Queen's Guide award, which I know I've mentioned on here quite a bit. For anyone who's interested, you can find some more information about the sections which need to be completed for the award, here. It took a lot of work, and was pretty stressful towards the end, but that could have been down to my not giving myself enough time to get it completed in (the paperwork suggests 3years and I only had 2).

I get asked quite often why I do give up so much of my time for Girlguiding. People seem surprised when they find that you don't get paid for the time spent leading, planning or attending meetings, or for working towards the qualifications required to plan and administer a trip away, like camping or holidaying with the unit, which is something I try to do a couple of times per year.

I have to admit, this one was the furthest / most extravagent one I've planned on my own.; we took a coachload of girls from two different units a couple of hours drive away to Criccieth, to stay at Ynysgain guiding campsite. It's certainly a site I'd go to again, as the facilities (toilets, shower block and a shelter provided for each of the sites) were great, and it was pretty reasonable as site prices go. A major selling point for me was that it was less than five minutes walk to the beach (which turned out to be a really rather secluded one) and only a mile from Criccieth itself, where we spent a day visiting the lifeboat station, the beach and the castle.

For the rest of the weekend, we spent our time in and around our little campsite. We were very kindly sent a boxful of hand dyes by Dylon, so one of the activities the girls had a go at was tie-dye, but with varying levels of success, I must admit. The dyes were really good, and I was impressed with how many colour choices there are, but we didn't seem to tie our ties tight enough, so the circles and patterns we'd hoped for didn't really end up appearing. At least we've learnt for next time. {Dylon are running a Q+A on their facebook page with an X Factor designer who recently hit the headlines when she made a dress completely from Dylon Colour Catcher sheets, which was worn by Tess Daly. THe Q+A is on 13th September at 1pm , if you'd like to get involved}.

We were pretty lucky with the weather - no prizes for guessing which tent is mine..
This unsuspecting tea shoppe proved to be the source of Great Amusement. They serve Nutella sandwiches and tea for two, amongst other things..
Sandcastle competitions on the beach.
Keep stirring the dye for 45 minutes..
Our very own little beach..
Again, no prizes for guessing which one is me - one of the girls drew us all.
Basically, when I look at these photos, I know guiding is something I'd never be able to give up. No matter how frustrating it may be sometimes to have to answer ridiculous questions from my DC about why I'm not doing things the way she's done them for the last fifty years, or how annoying it might be to never receive a reply from any of the Rangers as to whether or not they'll be attending something they've asked me to organise for them, the fun and the happy memories we create, all of the time, for these girls outweighs that tenfold.

And if anyone out there is wondering whether or not they should get involved with a nearby unit, please do. I've been a member of Girgluiding for almost 18 years now, and I hope to be for many, many more, despite how annoyed I may have got last week.


  1. I really miss helping out at my local Brownie group :( I did it for years but unfortunately I can;t make it over for the meeting time anymore because of work. It is such a great way to get involved with the community though and SO essential!

    Maria xxx

  2. I guess Girlguides is like Girl Scouts here in the States. I loved being a Brownie, we did a ton of great things! Glad you're feeling better about things! :)