Things I can't tell you about Go for GOLD

Go for GOLD is the top-secret selection weekend to join a three-week international trip. Dawn Pavey tells us everything you're not allowed to know!

I arrived on the Friday evening as a Guide Leader from Wrexham, and left on the Sunday with new friends, activity ideas and a big smile on my face.

Would you head off for a weekend away with 80 other people you've never met, with only an email to say you'll be picked up from the train station and the hope that the offer of sharing a tent organised through social media will still stand? I did, but only because it was with guiding!

Go for GOLD is a selection weekend held every year for those in Girlguiding who wish to be considered for GOLD, which stands for Guiding Overseas Linked with Development. The trip itself is a three-week-long volunteer project in a place such as Rwanda, Estonia, Peru or Zambia.

So, what was the weekend like?

I arrived on the Friday evening as a Guide Leader from Wrexham, and left on the Sunday with new friends, activity ideas and a big smile on my face. I'm keen to shout about everything we did at the weekend but, as past selection weekend participants will know, it's all top secret. I know you'll have lots of questions though, so here is my attempt at answering them - without giving a single thing away.

What did I eat at Go for GOLD?

Trying weird and wonderful cuisines and occasionally not knowing what food you're putting in your mouth is a big part of going abroad. So of course, food was a big part of my Go for GOLD experience, but are you going to find out what I ate? Sorry, the evidence is long gone.

What were the activities?

GOLD projects are based on the development of guiding communities around the world. The team running the event was mainly made up of previous GOLD participants and they immersed us in the cultures they had encountered through a range of activities based around previous GOLD experiences.

Did I have to do anything really horrible?

Don't be alarmed about all this secrecy. You're strongly encouraged to have fun, talk to different people, learn new games and feel part of a team. The only horrible part for me was saying farewell to my new friends at the end of the weekend.

Who was there?

My Go for GOLD weekend had a great mix of 17- to 29-year-olds from all parts of the UK, even as far away as Scotland and Guernsey. Everyone had a different reason for being there - I applied because I want to do something memorable before I have a family and in my advance towards 30 I'm nearly out of time for GOLD!

What's the best way to get selected?

The weekend was an opportunity to find out more and it didn't feel like you were under constant scrutiny. The team running the event were always around to answer questions about their experiences on GOLD projects. The number of activities gave plenty of chances for everyone to show their range of skills and interests.

I couldn't tell you the best way to get selected as I don't know if I have a place on a GOLD project yet. One thing's for sure though - you won't know if it's for you unless you go for it!

You'll be glad to hear Dawn got a place!

And the following year she headed off to Peru with the rest of her GOLD team. Read about her next step along the GOLD journey.

See her pictures and read her story