What happens when a Guider looks at you and says “Weekly meetings just aren’t working for me.” Or, when you’re speaking to a potential recruit and she says “Yes, I would love to volunteer with Girl Guides, but not sure I want to be a leader.” I’m sure for most Unit leaders, the response is a heavy sigh. You stare into the eyes of the person, a soft smile on your face and you quickly contemplate some scenarios:
Scenario 1: If I can get her to look deep enough into my eyes will I be able to hypnotize her? “Yes you want to be a leader. Be a leader. Leader.”
Scenario 2: Throw my hands in the air, shake my head and hope – without me saying more than mumbling – she will see we need her?
I’ve seen worse than this happen unfortunately.
Today I want to share my story to maybe help Units/Areas across Canada come up with a third scenario:
Scenario 3: I’ll give it to her straight. “Have I got an opportunity for you!”
Guiding has always been a part of my life. After 12 years as a Girl Member, I immediately became a leader. But six years in, my life was changing. Working full-time, networking, traveling, hobbies – weekly Unit meetings were starting to be difficult to go to. Planning was the easy part, it was literally the being able to leave work/work event, and make it to the Unit meeting. There were more times than I should say that I forgot my uniform in my office during the rush (no one in the organization can find me right? I can say I did meetings in full non-uniform, and we’ll keep it between us?)
So, with a very heavy heart, I picked up the phone to tell my Area Commissioner. I am not sure how – what with the crying and downright sobbing – she was able to determine that I was telling her I wouldn’t be back the next year, but she did. And she took it calmly, before she gave me an opportunity to still be a volunteer with the organization.
In 2011, several areas in Nova Scotia merged to create a larger area, Dartmouth Shore. While exciting, this means we have over 1,100 members. To help ensure that the girls and Guiders continue to have great Area experiences, our Commissioner created the “Dartmouth Shore Area Special Events Team.”
There are seven of us on the team and over the course of a year we source and “paperwork” five branch level events, and two to three Area events. From hundreds of Brownies in a pool to “locking-in” Guides overnight, helping several Units at a time has now replaced my own Unit work.
This past November, as Girl Guides Nova Scotia was winding down their 100th year anniversary celebrations, the Dartmouth Shore Area Special Events Team created a very special event. On 20/11/2011, at 20:11 pm, the Area gathered outdoors, and under the stars, every Member re-affirmed their Promise, while new Members enrolled jut moments before, said theirs. You can imagine the chills the team felt as this happened. Being part of the Special Events team, we get that feeling several times a year.
And to think, when I called to walk away, my Commissioner could have let me go. What other opportunities do you have available for Guiders who may need a break from the weekly routine?
By guest blogger Guider Sarah of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Check out her own blog ‘Sarah Smells the Roses‘, as well as her blog posts for Girl Guides of Canada:
- Girl Guide Membership Expiry? Never!
- Princess Industrial Complex
- Bustin’ a Century Year Old Girl Guide Myth
- There Were No Sexy Nurses at the First Halloween
- Review for GGC of the Coleman Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner App
- Why Every Brownie Should Have a Camp Blanket
- I Camp Therefore I Have My Camp Blanket
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