Pathfinders (age 12-14) are both a challenging and rewarding age to lead. This age group is where a lot of girls would drop out of Guiding because it is no longer the ‘cool’ thing to do. However, our Unit is thriving, with girls who are all very busy with school and home lives but still enjoy being a Pathfinder.
In our Unit we believe in giving the girls structured freedom in choices of what we do as a group. At the beginning of the year we always brainstorm ideas for badges or outings that they would like to do throughout the year and then they choose their top five or six. We take this information and use it to accomplish program work, as well as for outing ideas.
When it comes to the actual planning of events it is a shared job. Swimming was one outing the girls were interested in so two volunteers were to each call either the local school or public pool to get prices and get back to the leaders with the information to plan. However, they never got back with prices to us so we did not end up going swimming. Giving them the responsibility of simple tasks lets us know just how much they want to do the activity, and we Guiders do not get burnt out trying to plan everything. Between August and the end of November our Unit has accomplished a lot:
- A 37 km bike trip
- Video host challenge at a local television studio
- Tree planting
- Making dresses out of pillow cases for girls in Africa
- Planned their own Halloween party
- Learned how to camp in the cold
- Went to Under the Stars (a local camp for Guides and Pathfinders with night challenges)
- Planned their own enrollment ceremony
- Participated in the local Remembrance Day ceremony
- Participated in the end violence against women campaign and in the Host GGC’s YouTube Playlist for the first International Day of the Girl
We believe that by giving our girls structured freedom, and having a mixture of fun and more serious activities, allows all of our girls, of all abilities, to enjoy being a Pathfinder.
By guest blogger and Guider Erin Hunter of a Pathfinders Unit in Saint John, New Brunswick.