Choosing their own path

As we develop our new offer for young women, members aged 18 to 30 share some of their favourite guiding adventures

We’ve been working closely with young women to develop our new offer for 18 to 30 year olds. Here some of them share their favourite experiences they've had with guiding since turning 18.

We're continuing to add this offer over the coming year so please share your feedback and ideas with us at [email protected] 

Events experience

Members aged 18 to 30 can make the most of guiding's festivals while learning to organise and run their own.

Maz, 28, shares the fun of festivals

'I've volunteered for large-scale Girlguiding event such as Magic and Mayhem, and Wellies and Wristbands. These kinds of experience helped me gain confidence, and I've been selected for jobs because of the skills on my CV. I've also had lots of fun and made friends for life.'

Leading the way 

There's lots of ways for young women aged 18 to 30 to share their skills and gain new ones. 

Maya , 29, Girlguiding trustee tells us about 

'I'd encourage young women to apply for things even if they don't know exactly where they'll take them. Roles change as they develop, and it's good to keep growing your leadership skills. The better skills you have, the better you can make Girlguiding.

My favourite memory is the very first night we were together as a board, sat next to a fellow new trustee at dinner. The things she had to say were so smart, and she listened to me lots too. We had a lot of good critical ideas and a determination to make the world better for girls.'

Beyond the UK

Three young women tell us about the different ways they’ve been able to get involved in international guiding:

Ruth, 33, leader, 1st Quorn RangersGirlguiding Leicestershire International Adviser and Europe region WAGGGS volunteer

‘I first took part in a GOLD project in Malawi in 2014. I was responsible for documenting the trip – for leading the blog, twitter campaign and PR. Our main objective was to make GOLD sustainable in Malawi, and so the participants learned new skills on how to develop, run and evaluate their own training sessions.

‘We worked with a group of incredible local women – all aged between 12 and 19 – who were patrol leaders from local districts. We trained them on various themes including teambuilding, leadership, advocacy, healthy relationships and gender equality, remembering to squeeze in a bit of craft, singing, dancing and a lot of laughter.

‘In 2015, I returned to Malawi as a GOLD leader, building on the success of all the previous Malawi projects. I led more training sessions on team work, preparing the GOLD team in Malawi on leading meetings, as well as leading sessions on first aid. We were able to embed GOLD in Malawi, and they now have their own Guiding Open Leadership Development team. I’m pleased to say the team are working hard. Now Malawi members have volunteered at Sangam, been involved in WAGGGS projects, and attend seminars around the world.

‘The biggest lesson this has taught me is that if you don’t give it a go, how will you know? The skills I have gained along the way have supported me in my job as a primary school teacher, and I’m now lucky enough to be giving back as an international adviser.’

Emily, 25, Leader and County International Adviser

‘I took part in a region international trip to Ecuador for young women aged 18-26. Through that, I found out more about the leadership pathways available in Girlguiding. I was also able to speak to like-minded women and see their guiding journeys, which inspired me to look at other ways of getting involved.

‘Because I took part in a variety of international trips and ran a county trip before taking over the role of county international adviser, I can support others from a position of experience and really promote the brilliant international opportunities available to members. I love seeing Guides and The Senior Section go through the international selection process. It’s amazing to see the transformation in the girls after taking part. They are so much more confident, with developed leadership skills. 

‘My favourite part of international trips is being able to mix with local communities. On a homestay in Ecuador, we were able to live and eat as the locals do and discovered a different cuisine. It was brilliant to immerse myself in a different culture.

‘Most of all, these experiences have taught me that you should be open to opportunities. I wouldn’t have become county international adviser without agreeing to help out with other events, and I didn’t consider myself as someone who would take on a county role – but now I’m a big believer that empowered women empower women. By surrounding myself with inspirational people who have taken on leadership roles I began to think, “I could do this.”’

Chloe, 25, Leader, 1st  Studley St Johns Guides

‘I was selected to go to Zambia on a GOLD project for three weeks where we trained local leaders. We also ran sessions with local Guides to develop their confidence, assertiveness and ability to advocate on issues that affected them – such as gender-based violence, early marriage, jobs and their right to an education.

‘We travelled through Zambia with our training plans (and ridiculously heavy luggage) starting in the capital, Lusaka, where we helped the Guides hold their first camp in 13 years. We quickly learned that playing “ride my pony” was the right way to entertain 150 Eaglets (Rainbows) and Lechwe (Brownies), along with an extremely loud rendition of “Everywhere We Go”. 

‘One of my favourite memories came out of an activity we ran about the global goals. We asked the Guides to pick one thing they could do, one thing their community could do and one thing their government could do to improve it. The Guides were very passionate, and the ideas they came up with were inspirational! I also loved it when we taught the Guides a song and they would ask to sing it every day or sing it during the training breaks, or on the walk home from training sessions.

‘This experience has taught me not to take anything for granted and to take every opportunity that is offered to you. It was the best thing I have ever done and I would do it again in a heartbeat.’

Developing others

Guiding not only gives young women the chance to develop their own abilities, but also allows them to support others and help them explore important topics. One way of doing so is through peer education.

Amy, 21, a peer educator and peer educator coordinator, tells us how she’s made the most of the opportunity:

'When I was in Guides, a peer educator came to our unit to deliver a session on communication. I remember thinking that it was really cool that someone of my age group could deliver a whole session on her own. As soon as I went into The Senior Section I knew I wanted to get more involved in guiding, so I found a link on the North East England website and registered my interest in peer education. I’ve now been a peer educator for about five years and have loved every second.

'To start off, there was a skills and topic training session. This was one of my first experiences travelling on my own to the other side of the region and it gave me, then 15 years old, the opportunity to gain some independence and confidence. The training gave us all the skills (and, most importantly, confidence and experience) we would need.

'One of my favourite memories is creating more awareness about peer education and the issues young girls face today. I once delivered the Free Being Me programme to a local Brownie and Guide unit run by the same leaders. When I first entered the session, the girls were a bit subdued and a few of the leaders were clearly wondering what a 17 year old could offer the girls. By the end of the two weeks, the leaders were actively supporting their girls to take the next steps stage of the Free Being Me programme and confessed that the sessions had taught them something about body confidence!

'I urge anyone to sign up and experience the great opportunities that peer education can offer. It’s a flexible way to stay involved in guiding, as it isn’t a time-consuming commitment. Peer educators reach more girls than any leader could on their own and encourage them to think differently about the world they live in. It gives you the confidence to inspire young women and point them in the right direction to help make their community a better place.'