The Path to Deputy District Commissioner


When I was young enough to be a girl in Guiding, there weren’t any units close by for me to attend. It would have been a 30-45 minute drive each way on country roads that weren’t great in bad weather. However, by the time our daughters were old enough, we had moved to the South Shore and we immediately enrolled them, something they still thanks us for today.

The second year, when our youngest girl was in Brownies, one of the Leaders had to take time off and I was asked to step in to “help.” Before I could turn my head, I was a Leader taking training sessions and the rest…and it’s still an ongoing adventure.

The following year, we moved to Pincourt and I was put in contact with the District Commissioner and then the Brown Owl of one of the Brownie units. I was happy to be Smiley Owl and do my thing. Next thing I knew I was asked to leave my safe nest and become Brown Owl for the other Brownie Unit. This was a shock and I was very nervous. I had only 2 years of Brownie Guiding under my belt and both as a helper, not the lead for the group. Well it was a chance to see what I was made of and I was pinned with my mother-in-law’s Brown Owl pin, which was a pretty special honour in every way.

Back then I went to several training sessions, camped at Wa-Thik-Ane and stayed at Lac Adair, each a wonderful experience in my safe little nest with Brownies. Again, quicker than I could blink I suddenly became a Pathfinder Leader. Okay I thought, the other Leaders are great, I can do this and we did and I did, until I was needed as a Spark Leader. I figured I was coming up on a respectable number of years as a Guider and that this was just one more change before I hung up my uniform shirt…No, not a chance! I was then asked to be Deputy District Commissioner. Whoa, hang on, this was a whole different story and I needed to think carefully about it. I’d loved my time in Guiding: the girls, the parents, the Guiders, the 1 hour a week, really truly even at trying times I loved it. So, why not? I could I do this. How hard could it be? It would just be an experience I haven’t had before. I knew the woman taking on the Commissioner role was someone I dearly liked and I knew she’d do a great job. And she has — her Guiding years at least double mine. I could do this, how hard could it be… right.

Well Pavolina Owczar and I are into our third year as a team and we did this. Was it always easy? Crackerjacks NO! Was it always rewarding? Well, most of the time. Would I turn back time and not do this? NEVER. I have learned so much, enjoyed so much, and I’d like to think I’ve helped so much too. It’s training you could never get in just one weekend or in any other organization. There is so much to learn and do, but there are such wonderful Leaders here in my own district and provincially to help with the hurdles and each hurdle has been a worthwhile experience. I’ve gotten to know folks, many just via e-mail, but when I meet them — and I will someday — they will already be trusted, valued friends and sisters. This is something I probably wouldn’t have experience if I hadn’t taken on the adventure of Deputy District Commissioner.

If anyone ever asks you whether you’d like to be a District Commissioner or deputy, think about it and then go for it. Will you have times when you wonder why you ever said yes, of course! But in the big picture, it is truly a wonderful experience and I’d recommend going for it. I would say that it is easier as a 2 woman job, but whether you take on Commissioner or Deputy, you’ll have a great experience.

What’s my next adventure? Who knows — this is Guiding, right! Around every tree, in each tent, on every badge, there is an adventure waiting to be experienced. Would I do it again? In a nanosecond!

Proudly submitted Heidi Whipple, Deputy Commissioner Pincourt District (aka Deputy Dawg)

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Le blogue officiel des Guides du Canada - Conseil du Québec. The official blog of the Girl Guides of Canada - Quebec Council.
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