Deputy chief guide Sally Kettle on her role so far

Our 2nd update from the chief guide team, Sally Kettle on her first 6 months as deputy chief guide

Sally Kettle, deputy chief guide
21 May 2024

I’ve been deputy chief guide for just over 6 months, and if I could describe the experience in one word it would be ‘whirlwind’!

The learning curve has been so steep that at times I’ve felt like Spiderwoman clinging to a wall and hoping I don’t lose my grip… but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

A whirlwind experience

It’s been a privilege and an eye opener to see the inner workings of our incredible organisation. I’ve definitely felt the passion of everyone I’ve met along the way - there’s nothing I like more than seeing people in real life, and the welcome has been wonderful too.

Whether it’s hanging out with hundreds of girls at a sleepover at Liverpool’s World Museum (highlight being a couple of hours kip on a camp bed in the museum’s photocopier room) or tucking into a cream tea at the Leicester Square Odeon with fellow volunteers and Anna McNuff at Girlguiding celebrates, being out and about is one of the reasons I applied for this role. I’d never have guessed I’d play such a key role on the project board looking after the re-design of our uniform too! If I could tell my 10-year old Brownie self that I’d be talking to a world-renowned designer about zips, sizing and trefoils, I doubt she’d have believed me.

Focusing on adventure

I also love adventure - it’s my ‘thing’ after all. And I’m passionate about ensuring girls have opportunities to experience adventure through Girlguiding. A good friend told me we should change the way we talk about adventuring, from ‘elite to everyone, from frivolous to essential’. And I truly believe we can do that for all age groups, in an inclusive way, and of course led by girls. We can’t do this without the support from volunteers on the ground. So I’m part of a team of staff, chief commissioners, lead volunteers and girls working hard in the background to bring ideas and experiences to life. Watch this space!

I do know girls are already experiencing adventures all over, so please keep doing what you’re doing. And please share your adventures with us, big and small. Role modelling really inspires others and is hugely important. So, as my favourite saying goes, ‘You cannot discover new oceans unless you have to the courage to lose sight of the shore.’