Why Volunteer with British Girlguiding Overseas?
How and why did we get into volunteering with Girlguiding? Here's what some of the volunteers have to say....
This year I've have been Guiding for 4 years, it has been 4 years of fun, happy faces and lots of giggles and silliness! I started out in Guiding helping as a Unit Helper at my daughter's Rainbow unit in 2017, within weeks I knew I had found somewhere that made me truly happy to be. I myself was a Rainbow and a Brownie and have happy and fond memories of this time in my childhood, being able to provide this experience for other children gives me a sense of happiness.
I've been an assistant Rainbow leader now at the same unit I started out in for 3 years now and I love my Rainbow family and the friendships within Guiding I have gained. The time you give in Guiding brings back so much more than you ever expect!
I grew up in a Guiding and Scouting family, and when I moved to Singapore 10 years ago with my Rainbow aged girl I thought it would be a great way for us both to get to know more people (which it did!). I did a term assisting a leader and getting to know the ropes before I took over the unit. It’s amazing how all the units and leaders support each other – it feels like a sisterhood from 5 years old to 95! I have been caught saying hello to guides in Thailand just because there’s that global bond! Even though my daughter left Rainbows 8 years ago, I carried on because I love that one hour of silliness a week, and watching how the girls learn and grow.
When I arrived in Singapore 20 years ago, I realised I didn’t know anyone and as I had done Guiding in the UK since I was a child, I decided to reach out and volunteer with British Guides Overseas (then known as BGIFC) and be part of our worldwide Guiding family in Singapore. What an amazing journey it was, running Brownies at Tanglin Trust school on a weekly basis, being involved in numerous weekly meetings, activity days and camps and finally making many forever friends and memories along the way. My husband and I retired last year and moved to Spain, however my Guiding volunteering continues from a distance on an administration basis.
I started my Brownie adventure many moons ago by being an actual Brownie & Guide which I loved and had many great experiences back in UK. However, it wasn’t until my eldest daughter became a Brownie here in Singapore that I started my new role of being an actual leader. My daughter’s then Brownie leader was stepping down and there was no-one to replace her and the unit was going to close. My daughter loved Brownies so much I decided to take on the role, so she could continue with Brownies, even though I was more than a little worried I might not be up to the job!! Both my daughters enjoyed Brownies at my unit, the youngest one left over 3 years ago now. However, I have stayed on as leader and my eldest daughter is now a Young Leader at my unit. I’ve enjoyed many fantastic events both with my unit and as a District. I’ve met many fun, inspiring and imaginative ladies along the way and made some ‘for life’ friends too. I’ve learnt a lot of new things and taken on challenges that were probably outside my comfort zone to start with. I’ve had some fantastic girls and parents pass through my unit. It really is such a joy to see the girls grow and the things they achieve. I’m so glad I stepped forward to volunteer, it’s one of the best things I’ve done.
I first got into volunteering when I was a Guide in Singapore by becoming a Rainbow helper for a unit at school and discovered how fun it was to work with younger members. As I progressed into Rangers, I continued to work with the Rainbows by completing my young leader qualification with them, and started volunteering with Brownies. I am now working towards my adult leader qualification, and I am looking forward to continuing my volunteering journey when I move to the UK to go to University.
Many moons ago I was a Brownie, Guide and Ranger and thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the Guiding programme. Years later when my young daughter announced that she wanted to join Rainbows (but there was a long waitlist) I realised that I had to do everything I could to ensure that she could be part of the great Guiding family. By becoming a volunteer and eventually leading a Rainbows unit I was able to re-create my childhood and all the fun, energy and passion returned! I now also run a Guide unit and particularly enjoy being part of the girl's journey where they learn the importance of communication, teamwork, and love of learning. Connecting with the girls and other volunteers from all over the world is something very special!
I grew up in Brazil and always wanted to be a Girl Guide but never made it. As an adult, when I moved to Dubai, I met lovely Brownie leaders and thought perhaps that would be my chance. My daughter joined with me and years later, when we relocated to Singapore, the BGO community embraced us as a family. It was great to know we could see some friendly faces who helped us feel as we belong to our new home. Girlguiding is like a family! After my daughter finished Brownies and moved to Guides, I kept volunteering as a Brownie leader in her previous unit as I just feel like we have to keep the Girlguiding spirit alive everywhere.
I became involved in Guiding when my daughter’s Brownie leader announced she was leaving and the unit would close without another leader. I persuaded a friend to step up and run the meetings, on the condition that I would be the second adult in the room (albeit a silent one). I had never worked with children and the thought of speaking to a room of 7-10 year old girls terrified me! Over time, my confidence grew and I found myself wanting to engage with the girls more and more. When my daughter reached Guide age, I opened a Guide unit in her school. By the time she left Guides and moved to the nearby Rangers unit, I realised I was running the unit as much for myself and the other girls as for her, so I continued on. I love planning sessions and seeing them come alive in our meetings and the enjoyment the girls get out of it. Guiding has definitely helped my daughter to grow and I love seeing it make a difference to other young girls, as they grow their skills and confidence.
I started volunteering with BGO Singapore by taking on the leadership of 2nd Singapore (Wessex) Brownies when we first arrived in Singapore in 2009. The existing Unit Leader was retiring and I wanted my daughter to experience Brownies. The only leadership experience I had prior to that was as a Young Leader during Sixth Form. I was in between jobs and I really believe it helped me obtain my current role as my employer could see that I had done something constructive with my time off. I continued volunteering with BGO Singapore whilst working full time and I am currently the Unit Leader of 1st Singapore (Wessex) Rangers.
It really is a very rewarding experience seeing the girls grow in confidence and learn new skills and move on through the Guiding family. I have Rangers in my unit who started as Rainbows or Brownies, have become Young Leaders themselves (a qualification that is now accepted on university application forms) and are now undertaking the Adult Leadership Qualification.
I have also made some great friends through BGO Singapore as Girlguiding provides opportunities for adults to socialise and to gain valuable skills and experiences.