Summer Sunshine

A few weeks ago, I got a lovely tan. I bleached my hair a little, and I stretched my legs. I ate hot food three times a day, and I partied in the evening. I went on walks, visited a famous town, and saw thousands of smiles.

I was volunteering at a Guide and Scout Jamboree. It was flipping amazing. A chance to keep busy, distract from the background thought that was the impending results day, make new friends, and have fun. I helped to provide activities for 6000 children this week, and I’m really proud of that.

Guiding and Scouting are both amazing charities that provide amazing opportunities to children and young adults, allowing them to develop and grow, and mark their spot in the world. I feel so privileged to have helped be a part of so many children’s lives. I’ve never been a Scout, but I am a Guide. Many would say that I have blue blood, and a complete addiction to Guiding. Here’s just five reasons why…

1. Confidence and Growth
As a child, I’d hide away when new guests came, and I wouldn’t dare answer questions in class. My transition interview at school resulted in five minutes sat opposite my new head of house in total silence, and for the first year, I couldn’t speak to my new flute teacher. Guiding has allowed me to grow, and through being a young leader and a ranger, to take on roles that I would never have dreamed myself capable of. I went on an international trip with eight girls and two adults that I had never met before, and made friends with people from around the world. Without guiding, these opportunities wouldn’t have been there, and I wouldn’t have been able to complete so many other things. A few years on, I felt happy in my University interview, and I can now give presentations when required with only minimal preparation.

2. Leadership
I had to learn to lead, and I was never a natural leader, but Guiding allowed me to nurture the few useful skills that I did have, and to develop new ones to allow me to become the leader that I now am. I’ve also been working in leadership teams, and so not only can I give ideas, but more importantly, listen to the ideas of others to find the best solution.

3. Friendship
As a child, Rainbows and Brownies was exciting because it was with different people. I wasn’t with my usual friends or peer group, and it meant that I got to meet new people from the surrounding area. When I moved schools, Guides gave me some stability because I knew that although I’d have to make a new set of friends at school, I would still see some familiar faces on a Wednesday evening. Now, as an adult, I find those who I meet in Guiding easiest to talk to, and get along with. We share a common interest and live by the same laws, meaning that conversation flows since you always have at least one mutual topic of understanding. I’m not afraid to ask questions and smile at new people in Guiding, because I know that they won’t turn around and be bitchy behind my back. There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or a defined expectation to which you must conform.

4. Safety
Guiding is a safe and friendly place for many young people, providing them with some stability and security in their lives. Guides was where I really learnt to communicate with adults, and I know that when times are difficult, there are always people that I can turn to in Guiding for a word of advice or a hug. There’s people there who are not only trying to make sure that I’m having a good time, but are also looking out for me, to make sure that I really am okay.

5. Belonging
I’ve never felt isolated or alone as a member of Guiding, and being in Guides made me feel wanted. The uniform brings some level of equality, but each person in Guiding makes the same promise, and so live to the same values and principles, meaning that we can relate to one another. Nobody is ever allowed to feel like they aren’t meant to be in a certain place, and as a volunteer, I find that I really am appreciated both by other leaders, as well as girls and parents.

And guess what? That week meant that I got nine days with my best friend, too! How fabulous!

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

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