I found my voice through Girlguiding

Once shy and bullied at school, Pippa now speaks out about global issues, thanks to her involvement in Girlguiding

I will be eternally grateful to the inspiring Leaders who encouraged and supported me to find new challenges in The Senior Section – because that is really where I found my voice.

Ask any Leader who knew me as a Rainbow or Brownie and they will tell you that I was a quiet child, often painfully shy.

Fortunately, to have a say in what we did at our unit meetings I didn't need to have a love of public speaking. Even at seven, I could cope with raising my hand to vote for which game to play. Any bigger discussions about what we might like to do took place in the safety of our six – I could tell just a couple of my friends and our sixer would relay what we said to one of the Young Leaders who came to find out our thoughts. From a young age, my opinions, if not my actual voice, were being heard.

I went through a difficult time at school

Aged 13, I faced homophobia and bullying about my appearance. Eventually I left school to be home-educated. I was depressed, anxious and cut off from many I had previously thought of as my friends.

Over the last ten years, I have come to realise how great a role guiding played in my life during that time. I will be eternally grateful to the inspiring Leaders who encouraged and supported me to find new challenges in The Senior Section – because that is really where I found my voice.

My Leaders gave me confidence

I think everybody benefits from somebody boosting their confidence every now and again. And as a teenager I was lucky to know a whole team of Leaders in our County who taught me how to build up my confidence for myself.

I was supported to edge over the boundaries of my comfort zone, a little at a time, until I came to love the thrill of trying something new and the sense of accomplishment that came with completing it. Beyond that boundary I became a Peer Educator, took part in crate stacking at Waddow Hall and addressed the United Nations. I achieved all of this with the help of guiding.

So now I use my voice

I am now a volunteer for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), advocating for the importance of girls' rights in the next international development agenda.

Through attending international meetings I've realised that finding my voice through guiding gave me power. My Leaders helped me learn to be the change I want in the world, not just talk about it, and that makes my voice all the stronger.

There are too many instances where girls are denied a voice. There are too many instances where girls are put on a pedestal and told to speak from a script – the audience might hear what they say, but few will truly listen. I am proud to say that in guiding and through WAGGGS I have benefited from the opportunity to decide how and where I will use my voice and what I will use it to say.

I believe in education

I'm a staunch advocate of providing quality education, especially outside of school, for all young people around the world. This isn't because I am a young mouthpiece of my organisation. This is because I have seen how it has transformed my life, and how it has transformed the lives of fellow Guides and Scouts on every continent, and I want to tell and show that to the world.

I have found my voice through guiding. And I know this is the case because I am able to tell my own story.

Join The Senior Section

Find your voice, try new things and have a great time with our section for girls aged 14 to 25.