Two sides to volunteering.

I love Guiding because it is the one place I feel truly accepted. I know that I can be myself, and nobody will judge me. I’m not afraid of being wrong, and so if I can see a job needs doing, I’m happy to just get up and do it without being asked. As a leader I find initiative that I never knew that I had, and a confidence to talk to those not only much older than me, but also people that I’ve never met before. If you ask me to do it, I’m happy to give it everything I’ve got, regardless of weather it’s ‘stand up on that stage and dance’, ‘set this gazebo up’, ‘carry these drinks’, ‘rescue that kid who is crying at the top of the slide’, or just ‘mingle and make sure all the girls are happy’. I love volunteering, and I gain so much from every experience, however big or small. More importantly though, I like to think that the girls I’m leading are having fun, and gaining just as much if not more than me.

Sadly, what ruins big events like today are those leaders who get stroppy. Okay, yes, you’ve brought your Brownies here, and yes, I’m sure that you’re feeling a little stressed, however, there is no need to take it out on me. Leaders seem to forget sometimes that actually, the people running these events are volunteers too, just like them. To make it even worse for us 14-18 year olds, there’s something about being a member of The Senior Section that means that leaders feel they can pick on us. Many leaders wouldn’t dare to speak to another adult in the way that some (not all, I hasten to add!) speak to us. They see the difference in colour of tshirt, and suddenly you can be made to feel very much like a rabbit in the middle of a pack of lions.

I haven’t really been on the team at big events before, and whilst today was a lot of crazy running around and a bit of stress, I truly enjoyed seeing so many smiling Brownie faces. But one Brownie Leader made me cry today, and you know what? That’s out of order. I don’t think I need to go into all the details, and actually, she probably wasn’t the only person to contribute to the problem, but she tipped me over the edge. Shouting and snapping at me in front of 200 odd girls because you did something wrong isn’t fair. I didn’t do anything wrong, and I was quite calmly trying to rectify the problem, but you still shouted. When I backed down and allowed you to continue to do the wrong thing, you still shouted. What more would you like me to do? It was you that failed to listen to and follow the instructions, not me. Don’t take it out on me, just because my tshirt is aqua. I don’t see you challenging anyone in a navy tshirt, so don’t target me. Senior Section members shouldn’t be ‘an easy target’ for frustrated leaders. We’re only trying our best to do what we can with the information we have.

I do however love to be appreciated, and when the county commissioner told me today that I was an ‘amazing star’ I beamed and I beamed. Whilst I don’t do it for the praise, some parts of today have been truly rubbish, and it’s nice to know that actually, you are needed, and some people really appreciate everything that you have to offer.

Guiding truly is a beautiful organisation. I just ask that those stressed out leaders try wherever possible to keep their stress to themselves. If you’ve got an issue, you can just ask calmly, and we’ll probably deal with it much more quickly!

Living. Laughing. Loving. (And hopefully sleeping soon, too! I’m exhausted!)



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