A: One way Guiding has impacted my life, since the very beginning is by encouraging me to challenge myself. Growing up, my parents were afraid to let me ride my bike farther than around my block. They were afraid it would be too hard for me, too long for me or that I would get too tired. I don’t blame them since they were, after all, looking out for me. But this made me afraid of long bike rides. I thought it was too much of a big task for my little self. As part of a Guiding activity, our leaders took us on a long bike ride. At first, I was afraid. It seemed like such a big task, like it was something not meant for me because it was harder than what I was used to. To my surprise, I was able to do it! It turned out to be a blast! I was so enchanted by this brand new experience! This and all the other exciting activities I got to take part in through Guiding, showed me that a whole new world would open up to me every time I challenge myself.
As I got older, the challenges I took on got bigger- I was successfully doing things I never imagined being able to do! I did a 22 km hike once. Another time, my friend and I planned a camp for our whole unit!
At the age of 19, I spontaneously took on my greatest challenge yet: to be Co-Commissioner of my District. Going into this, I was afraid. I was worried about being so young and having to give direction to women much more experienced than me, who had been my Guiders. I was afraid about not knowing every procedure or not having all the answers. I was worried about talking to the girl’s parents- would they accept me, this girl who they think is a still a Pathfinder as their daughter’s Commissioner?
It has been 2 years now since I became District Commissioner and I am surprised! I am surprised that I am actually getting the job done!
I am surprised that the parents love having me around! They ask me questions and I rarely have the answers right away. That’s fine because I go find the Guider or resource person who has the answer and I always follow up. My job is to follow up, not to have all the answers.
I am surprised about how the Guiders in my district respect me, compliment me, and support me. They have showed me what I need to do for them as Co-DC. They need me make sure they all come together. They need me to keep them up to date with all the latest news. They need me to make sure they are being heard when they should have something to say. They need me to make sure the girls and their parents are being heard when they have something to say. My job is about listening first before giving direction.
Just like my first time on a long bike ride, challenging myself to the job of Co-DC has opened up a whole new world to me: I have a rich network of unique women who are there to share advice, wisdom, or a good laugh!
Most of all, I have the profound belief that I really can do anything I challenge myself to do. That is the impact Guiding has had on my life.
About our Guest Blogger: Tania is a Co-District Commissioner for the Riverview District (south-shore) and Leadership Ambassador for Québec Guiding. Learn more about Tania here. If you are interested in guest blogging, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.