Why I love to volunteer for Girlguiding
She might be new to volunteering, but Leader-in-Training Rosemary has helped open a growing Brownie unit!
Volunteering with the group has helped me learn new skills. It's also a great way to give back after having been a Brownie and Guide myself. I've also met lots of fantastic new people.
I started volunteering with 1st Lowick Brownies when the unit opened in June last year.
Lowick is a small village in Northumberland with just over 40 school-aged children, and the 1st Lowick Brownies is the first Girlguiding group in our village for 20 years! My friend Sara helped to set up the unit as she felt there was a lack of activities for young people in the area.
She said that there's so little for girls to do locally, it's really important for them to have groups like this. Being part of Brownies means they get to meet many different girls away from their school friends and it definitely broadens their horizons.
My granddaughter attends the unit and I was originally going to volunteer as a helper. However, because there is so much support I decided to become a fully-fledged Leader.
I'm currently completing my Girlguiding Leadership Qualification and recently received first aid training. Volunteering with the group has helped me learn new skills. It's also a great way to give back after having been a Brownie and Guide myself. I've also met lots of fantastic new people.
The other volunteers have been really supportive and I have two Mentors who have offered lots of guidance and fun activity ideas.
A big local success
Brownies has been a great way for the girls to meet young people from surrounding villages who go to different schools. For example, we have one girl who comes across to Brownies from nearby Holy Island, a place that can only be accessed when the tides allow.
In fact, the group has been such a success, we're moving to a new meeting place so we have space for all the girls who have joined us. And, early this year, a Rainbow unit for younger girls opened too.
Although the unit has only been open six months, we've already done lots of activities, from a trip to a local open air museum to a birds of prey evening where the girls had the chance to hold an owl.
The girls also recently completed their Agility badge and we incorporated a dance to 'Time Warp' into the session – I'm not sure who had more fun dancing along to that, the Leaders or the girls!
One of the girls, Jennie, said, 'I enjoy the fun activities we do in Brownies such as making the Brownie Promise, earning badges and having a sandcastle competition with another Brownie group.'
International Brownie adventures
We've got lots planned for upcoming meetings, including a Brownie passport to teach the girls about different countries and cultures.
I'm travelling to Australia with my granddaughter in the spring for a family wedding and we're planning to meet up with an Australian Brownie group which will be really exciting. We can then share our adventures with the other girls and Leaders when we get back.
Volunteering with Girlguiding has given me lots of new and fantastic experiences and I'm excited to create more fun memories with the girls. I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone thinking about it.
Ways to get involved
Be a Leader like Rosemary, or an occasional helper. Alternatively, you could help transport girls or assist with the unit admin. Any time you can give will mean more girls have great experiences with Girlguiding.