keeping track of my adventures in guiding!


Yesterday was “Girls Rock”, the annual state conference for Girl Guides Victoria.

And it was great!

HEAPS of information about new programs, projects, activities, badges, trainings, camps, activities… Overwhelming!

Highlights for me:
* the outcomes of the Learning and Development review, which although it will mean change for someone like myself who has only *just* learned to be a guiding partner and help someone through their quals, will definitely lead to better outcomes. The process is SO much less onerous, and I like the creation of the Assistant Leader role – I think it will be easier to get people into the organisation with that role available, and it genuinely is used a lot – certainly in our unit I would say of our current team of four, we would effectively have three full leaders, and one assistant. But, say, two years ago, it was pretty much me as full leader, and four assistants. People step up when they’re ready… in my old unit interstate, I would have been much more comfortable working toward the Assistant qualification, as part of my hesistation in getting qualified was around “being left” with a unit when I was only 22 and not even nearly ready for that level of responsibility!
* the changes to being made to state level outdoors/program which will give much more “rythem” to the year, and make it easier for us to send girls to events, as there will be consistent timing, branding, patterns to these events so both us and the girls will be able to know the events with confidence, even without going reguarly. A much easier sell to parents!!

The handbooks are also good – I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I think they will be really useful. Plan for our unit is that the other leaders and I will spend term one getting our heads around them properly, before organising purchase for the girls at the start of term two.

Guides goes back this week, woohoo! First night – Getting-To-Know-You beaded bracelets and games!

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Where to?

For a week where I didn’t actually attend my unit night (sometimes life gets in the way of Guides!), it sure has been a week focused on Guiding!

During the week co-leaders and I have been discussing options around developing a truly split program for our older girls (perhaps 13 and up) – we already have four girls who would meet that criteria, another who will by the end of the year, and I think one other at Sister Unit who could possibly move over… so, I think we’d have enough to at least begin an older group.

The issue is time – how much of my time am I able to give, how much other leaders would be able to give. So far this term, only myself and one co-leader have attended consistently. Two other co-leaders are tying to both work full time and study, so just can’t commit at the moment, and our younger co-leader seems to have a lot on personally at the moment, so also has not been along. Its been tricky – the age range of the girls currently simply can’t work with only two leaders consistenly (its not numbers, its the varying ages that are the issue), so potentially having a later session for just the older girls could be an option, especially if that was perhaps fortnightly. I don’t know, I guess we’ll see. Its difficult – you want to deliver the best possible program for everyone, but there is only so much time and effort I can give. I don’t want to find Guides turning into a chore or an obligation, I want it to continue to be a pleasure and the highlight of my week… afterall, I already have a job, I don’t need a second one!!

Interestingly, this week we’re trying out a split program of sorts, with just the juniors on the Wednesday for a bring-a-friend games night, and then just the seniors and upper seniors on Thursday for bowling and pizza at the local shops. So perhaps its worth discussing options with the kids, particuarly the older ones, as any changes will particuarly impact them.

Well, time will tell where we go with it, and how we get through this tricky patch. It may be time to start roping in some parents to help out on the odd occasion!


Entirely separately, last night I went along to the unit meeting of the leader who I’m mentoring, to see how she’s going with the unit, and to work through some of the clauses of the qualification. It was actually really great, I think we’ll prove to be a good to be a good pair. Her unit of girls seem interesting, and its really interesting to see another group’s dynamics, program, and how they structure things, all within the same overarching concepts and program.

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Taking a new step

This evening I began the next stage in my Guide leader ‘career’ – learning to mentor and assess other leaders, in the role of a ‘Guiding Partner’.

It was a little awkward, as this first meeting was between S, who I will be partnering to achieve her leader of youth quals, and E, who will be partnering me, to ensure I meet the qualifications to be a GP.

I’m a little unsure about this step – although I am reasonably confident these days in my role as a leader of our group (I even manage to stay relatively on top of the paperwork!), I do still feel that I’m a ‘new leader’. I’ve been fully qualified for about 18 months/2 years, and including my time as a Unit Helper, I’m up to over five years now of being in both the assistant and full leader role (yes, yes, I know that GGA has no such thing as ‘Assistant’ Leaders, but everyone who actually has done that role knows exactly what I mean – full participation in planning and executing the program, minimal input on the paperwork and finances). I hope I will be able to be useful in this new role, and that it complements my current work as a unit leader. I hope I am able to be helpful and encouraging to the people I work with, and don’t let my bossy side (or my ‘want to be liked’ side) take over.

I hope I learnt some ‘what not to dos’ in my epic journey to become a leader (yes, my quals took nearly 3 years and two GPs… in my defence, that did include moving States, so some things can be excused)… I hope I will not get too hung up on minutiae, and will be a source of support and help, and won’t be unduly particular or critical, as particularly my initial GP was.

This initial meeting does have me cautiously positive – the woman I’m partnering with is clever, open, chatty, and has been essentially ‘acting’ as the main leader for a while now, despite her youth. I really hope we end up being a good match.

This has turned into a more introspective post than I envisaged when I opened up the laptop… it would appear I am more cautious about this step than I thought….

Well, here’s hoping that it turns out my caution is mis-placed, and that this is the beginning of a happy new step in my Guiding history. I hope that I can truly keep my own Promise, and Do My Best.

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