People who are involved in Guides often forget what our organisation looks like from the outside. We try to come up with short ‘elevator speeches’ to help us quickly explain what Guides is to those who aren’t sure, which means you don’t always get the information that you need.
So settle in while I fill you in on the parts that no-one tells you about…
1. Girl Guides is a century old organisation. It’s also a worldwide organisation, though in some countries we’re called Girl Scouts. We’re massive. In fact, we have over 10,000,000 members worldwide!
2. Each Guide unit (group) is responsible for its own membership drives, organising its own biscuit/cookie sales and finding volunteers to run the unit. In some countries, including Australia, units meet in Guide-owned properties which means that they’re also financially responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their property. For us in St Lucia, our property costs us more than $6,000 each year so our volunteers need to work very hard to raise that money to keep the unit running. Luckily, we have 3 active units meeting there who are able to join forces to raise this money each year.
3. Even if there’s no space in their local Guide unit, girls are still able to participate by joining a Lones Guide unit. Lones works a bit like Distance Learning – girls ‘meet’ other members and Leaders of Lones Guides online! They are still able to take part in every aspect of Guides and every event that’s organised. The membership cost is reduced too. And when space becomes available at a local unit, they can switch… or they can continue as a Lones Guide!
4. If a Guide finds that the activities at one unit are not challenging enough for her, or they aren’t to her taste, she can transfer to another unit. Each unit runs a unique program so the activities can vary greatly!
5. Girl Guides Australia recently won a national award for being the best school-aged activity in Australia, beating the likes of Scouts Australia, NAB AFL Auskick and Netball Australia. We’re very proud of ourselves!
6. Even today, it’s still a common misconception that Girl Guides is just a youth club where girls learn how to cook and tie irrelevant knots. When I meet people who think this, I want to grab them by the shoulders and give them a good shake until they open their eyes and see the truth! Girl Guides is an international organisation – not “just a youth club”. The girls in our units plan their own programs – how can the activities be irrelevant when it’s the members themselves that create the programs?! Girl Guides is about learning who you are in a world that is trying to make you fit into a mould. It’s about challenging yourself, being supported to try new things, realising the impact YOU can have on the world around you and developing the confidence to step up and actually make a difference. For examples, see the Free Being Me project, Voices Against Violence and the upcoming World Conference.
Ready to start your Guide adventure? Contact us today!