You’ve seen them – these amazingly unexpected opportunities that volunteers in Guiding put together to offer to members from near and sometimes far. Why build these big events? And, from my personal viewpoint, why step up and step in to help make one of these events happen? Easy – it is where Guiding creates a unique experience made all the more memorable because of what being a Girl Guide brings.
Where else in a girl’s experience does she get to craft her own participation so completely, and occasionally with such scale? They’re safe spaces, surrounded by people who respect the same fundamentals. No one is there to compete, to judge or to do anything more than mutually support, encourage and rejoice in real time! You can bring hundreds of girls together through a theme or a goal and know that despite all the differences that they represent, that common Girl Guide culture will unite them, provide valuable ground rules, set a positive atmosphere in place and invite everyone to be their best selves for the occasion. Girls and Leaders alike gather to do their best – and that’s a powerful commitment. Sprinkle in some magical teamwork, add a dash of art or adventure and create an event, unique for its theme or its venue or simply because “we made this happen.”
Events gather our whole broad canvas into one place to build a common memory. And I never cease to be amazed by the power of the raised arm! You know what I mean: One arm goes up, well, because it’s “time.” The arms join in, the quiet grows, the girls who don’t get it realize something is afoot and join in the quiet. It just blows my mind and the uninitiated bystander is in awe that hundreds of young voices can go silent in seconds without a raised voice or any other noticeable signal.
As a new Guider, I heard more experienced Guiding women talk about this or that camp or event, still with excitement or shared fondness, though the event may have happened long before I was a member, sometimes even before I was born. I was always inspired by their boundless willingness to make new things happen for the girls. As our girl-driven course evolves, the “Big Event” remains a fabulous vehicle for them to drive and create new, lasting memories that might just survive until some future member, perhaps yet to be born, gets to marvel at the energy that went into that event that you just so recently shared.
Next time the plot for something great is about to be written, don’t be shy – step up, step in. You are building a legacy for Guiding’s future, and it carries bragging rights for a lifetime.
Blog post written by Valerie Zaloum, Québec’s Provincial International Adviser and recent lead for All The Time in the World: A Thinking Day to Remember and many other events.