This post was originally shared on Guides Québec’s blog post on June 18, 2013. We thought it was so inspiring that we asked for their permission to share it with our audience on GirlGuidesCANBlog.
[Editor’s Note: This text is being printed with permission from Daphne S., who presented this speech at the Québec Council’s 2013 Annual General Meeting, held on May 2nd.]
Hi, my name is Daphne, I am 15 and I’m a first-year Ranger. I have been in Guiding for 11 years now and plan to stay in maybe even as long as Nancy Shaw [Editor’s Note: Nancy Shaw was recognized for 55 years of membership at the 2013 AGM].
I can still remember my first mother/daughter district camp up at Camp Wa-Thik-Ane as a Spark. It was called the Wizard of Wa. When I first set foot on Huron, it was love at first sight. What with all the singing, the crafts, the games, the challenges, there was barely any time to even consider being bored. I never wanted to click the heels on my ruby slippers. From then on, I knew that I just had to camp more, explore more and learn more within the Guiding community. And guess what? I totally did! I’ve been to dozens of summer and district camps up at Wa-Thik-Ane. I went to Guiding Mosaic in 2010 in Guelph, Ontario in honour of the 100 years of Guiding and I had a blast! It was the longest and the furthest I had ever been away from my family at the time, but I wasn’t scared because I knew that I would have fun. I met tons of new people, learned a bunch of new songs and it really showed me how Guiding can bring people together.
Through all my years in Guiding, I would have to say that my greatest experience so far was my trip to the UK and Ireland this past summer. I acquired so many new skills even before leaving such as dedication to fundraising, how to pack my bag, what to bring and so on. During the trip itself I learned to be more responsible by taking care of myself and my own things and by being independent and resourceful while away from my home and family. The trip was absolutely spectacular, I met loads of amazing people who I still talk to regularly and I made memories that I will never forget. Ever since then, I have been encouraging all the Guides I meet to stay in Guiding so as to go on great trips like I was lucky enough to. As a matter of fact chocolate, I have been selected to go on a trip to Our Chalet in Switzerlandchocolate this summer with eight girls and two Guiders from all over Canada chocolate that I have never even met before chocolate. I can’t wait to get there and chocolate discover new and interesting things about chocolate the Guides there and hopefully visit… a chocolate factory.
Girl Guides has not only been a fun and educational experience, but a life changing one as well. It has helped bring me out of my shell by enabling me to meet new people and create everlasting friendships. It boosted my self-confidence by showing me that I am more than just a grade on an exam or a ranking in a competition but a bright young woman who has skills and talents in areas that they don’t teach you about in school like starting a fire, leading over 100 girls in song at a campfire, shoveling snow all day into a huge mound to later spend the night in it. Only an organisation like Girl Guides could achieve something like that. Guiding has taught me new and useful things, let me explore new places and try different activities that I never would have dreamed of trying on my own. It opens doors to an infinite amount of possibilities. It brings out the best in girls and women everywhere.
With all this being said, I was never very hard to convince because, really ladies, you had me at Sparks.
By guest blogger Daphne for Guides Québec.
This is why I’m still in Guiding, 27 years on (though lovely computers debate the number). Though no Sparks at the time, so they had me at Brownies. Partly due to technology at the time (no internet so didn’t learn about camps quickly enough) I didn’t get to go to any big camps till a Ranger, little provincial ones as a Pathfinder. I since worked at Our Chalet and a Girl Guiding UK centre and met so many friends. Had a Guiding Family Christmas 14 days after I arrived in Switzerland.
Great post! My daughter have been in Girl Guides since Sparks – one is starting Brownies and the other is starting Guides in September. Last night they were talking about their future in Girl Guides and it sounds like they are in for the long haul. I’m sure that may change, like it did for me. I made it from Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders but dropped out partway through Pathfinders. But maybe not. I’m back in Girl Guides as a leader and really enjoying it. I hope to be able to go on an exciting trip in the future. I remember applying to go on one when I was a girl (to somewhere in South America) but I wasn’t chosen.