New CC’s Comments

As we all know Girlguiding is about providing fun and enjoyment, life skills & opportunities for girls and women and it is easy to think that we’re doing a good job when we have girls who continue to come to our weekly meetings, holidays and camps – infact the latest publicity says that girls are joining Girlguiding UK at a rate of 1 per hour so we must be doing something right…

Some of you may remember the Girlguiding Shout out report that surveyed girl members a few years ago. Girls were asked who their female role models were,

– some of them picked the latest female celebrities; some of them picked sports personalities; and 77% unsurprisingly picked their Mum’s however the girls top role models were actually their Girlguiding leaders what a responsibility for us.

If I think over my time in Guiding this would be correct, numerous leaders I have come across in Girlguiding have influenced and affected me and my life.

Margaret Clarkson was my Guide leader and she gave me opportunities even when I didn’t know I wanted them! Camping, catering, event planning, training.

Pat Turner was my first District Commissioner and when I was a YL she invited me to District Meetings early so I could stay for my dinner. This meant I had no opportunity to weadle out of the meeting!

I’m sure now when I think back, that Pat used to ask me about matters that were likely to come up in the meeting so she knew my thoughts and then was always able to prompt me to speak up during the meeting.

I remember being touched that a busy Joyce Mcleod at an International camp at Hadlow took time to speak to me (at 19 years old) and then months later still remembered my name.

Judy Upton and Margaret ensured I was involved in Lift Off event in 2000 at Blackpool Winter Gardens and both Judy and Pat Turner encouraged me into the County Public Relations role.

Wendy Graham our previous Region Commissioner was my training mentor, Sue Dutton encouraged me to take on the Camp Manager role for our Funfest and Guidefest events the list could go on and on….

I run a Guide unit, I’ve run camps and events, had District, Division and County roles and had experiences and opportunities because Girlguiding leaders have enabled me to have those opportunities. Infact I think I probably only had the courage to go away to University because of the confidence I gained through Guiding.

What stands out to me is that at any age I have been, these and many other Girlguiding women have taken the time to listen and engage with me on a personal level, through that they’ve got to know me, they’ve opened doors for me, sometimes giving a less than gentle shove through those doors and sometimes I’ve been pulled through doors without even realising.

I want to say that no-one in Guiding has ever said ‘you can’t do that’, ‘you’ve not got enough experience’ or ‘you’re too young’ or the latest ‘you won’t be able to do that because ‘you work full time’, I’ve certainly heard those comments both 1st or 2nd hand throughout my Guiding life – fortunately for me the ‘can do voices’ drown out the ‘can’t’ do’s.

So, with that I want to tell you how thrilled and honoured I am to take up the Girlguiding Wirral County Commissioners role – I look forward to all the ‘can do voices’ and if there is one thing I want us all to take away from this evening then its this…

That every one of our 3,747 Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Senior Section members has the potential to be a leader of the future. Lets ensure we have a positive effect on them and that we provide positive Guiding experiences and as many opportunities as we can – so that we know we’re providing girls and women with the skills to be our leaders and commissioners of the future then Guiding will be available for future generations of women to enjoy as much as we do.