Working with the Outdoor team is my dream job

When Ellen Wilson saw a role that was centred around outdoor activities development, she jumped at the chance.

Where it all began for me

I've been interested in outdoor adventure ever since my Dad bought me a thermos flask and a sleeping bag, at the tender age of 10, and sent me off to Guide camp. Since then, I've basically just been looking for excuses to get out on the hills and have adventures. 

When I saw a role that was looking at outdoor activities development, I jumped at the chance. I always wanted to work for Girlguiding. Having been a young member and Leader in the past, I know what an amazing organisation it is for girls and young women. 

When I saw a role that was looking at outdoor activities development, I jumped at the chance.

What I do

I am one of the staff contacts on the Outdoor team. This means I work in partnership with the Outdoor team to manage projects developing outdoor activities. I also organise residential training, qualifications and support for all our 107,000 volunteers at Girlguiding. So, the role is incredibly varied and exciting!

The best bit for me is working with the amazing Outdoor team, and with our hundreds of Outdoor Activities Advisers and Outdoor Trainers across all the Countries and Regions.

There's so much expertise and enthusiasm within the organisation to develop outdoor activities, and I love hearing about all the adventures units have been on.

Why it's so important

Outdoor adventure is really important for young people to explore the world around them, understand the significance of our impact on the environment, and develop their own identity and confidence. It's also important to learn how to live alongside others.

However, accessing the world outdoors can be an incredibly patriarchal and intimidating experience for young women. Girlguiding offers a unique girl-only space for girls to explore outdoors adventure and build up their own skills and confidence.

Outdoor adventure is really important for young people to explore the world around them, understand the significance of our impact on the environment, and develop their own identity and confidence

I once took a young woman on an expedition across Dartmoor, which was a massive step out of her comfort zone.

She really struggled with walking for three days, carrying her pack, camping and eating the food. However she was so proud of herself that she then went on to trek across Iceland! Now she's a massive support to other young people.

She also went back to college and retrained as a painter and decorator. There’s something about the outdoor environment that can really change lives!

Getting the qualifications they need, and then being able to go out and put their existing skills into practice with girls and young women is so important!

The changes I want to see

I would love to see more volunteers and young members taking advantage of our training and qualifications offers.

Getting the qualifications they need, and then being able to go out and put their existing skills into practice with girls and young women is so important!

Whatever they're good at, whether it’s running a residential, taking girls on a night hike or trying out canyoning, they're all skills invaluable to Girlguiding. We want to harness as many of these as possible.

The biggest thing is enthusiasm for the outdoors - if you are prepared to give new things a try, fall out of a boat, get your boots muddy, and sleep in a bivvy bag in the woods, girls will soon follow your lead! 

We have such a good base to expand our adventure offer, and such awesome outdoor trainers, I would love to see them used more and more.

How Leaders and volunteers can inspire adventure

All Leaders and volunteers can inspire our girls. The biggest thing is enthusiasm for the outdoors - if you are prepared to give new things a try, fall out of a boat, get your boots muddy, and sleep in a bivvy bag in the woods, girls will soon follow your lead!

I would encourage all our volunteers to find out about outdoor training and qualifications in their area and give it a go!

 

Come join the Outdoor team

Join this fantastic group of volunteers and staff so they can give even more girls exciting outdoor adventures. There are three roles currently available - Walking Specialist, Sport and Horizon-scanning Specialst and Residential Specialist. Find them all on our Event and opportunity finder. 

Event and opportunity finder