I have never been involved in Guiding. I was never a Girl Guide when I was young. I have never sold a box of cookies. Yet, on November 7, 2013, I found myself as a new Guider with the 12th Toronto Brownie Unit, where my Brownies formally inducted me, giving me my new leader name, Lollipop.
Before I became a Guider, I worked in an adult education centre for four years. It was my job to understand a wide-range of adult education principles and the skills that learners could attain through well-delivered training. So when I joined Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) as a volunteer, I understood how important it was for me to attend GGC’s New Guider and Safe Guide training. As somebody who has had no experience in Guiding, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was amazed with what I was presented.
What do you mean training can be ‘fun’? I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging, creative and participatory the activities were. In one of the activities, we were asked to pair up with another Guider and sit back-to-back. One Guider was given some shapes cut out from coloured paper and the other Guider was given a picture. The Guider with the picture had to describe it to her partner, who had to assemble the shapes in the way she’s told. What did this teach us? How to listen. How to provide direction. How to receive direction. How to communicate. How different people’s minds work.
Seriously, it was kind of intimidating. Some of the trainers in our session have been Guiders for more than 20 years. They are an incredible resource for new and experienced Guiders alike, teaching us everything from Guiding songs to the ceremonial protocols of hoisting and folding a flag!
At the end of the session, we were broken up into smaller groups based on the branches we were all working with. It was very helpful for me to have a trainer that taught me about the age-appropriate activities that were specific to my branch. It was also great to be in a smaller, more intimate group and meet my fellow sisters in Guiding. We shared stories, information and ideas on how to plan our next meeting.
As a new Guider, it is amazing to see the vast array of training modules provided by GGC’s Training and Enrichment for Adult Members (TEAM). Contact your provincial council to see what upcoming trainings are available in the new year and see what interests you. Challenge yourself, meet other Guiders, and gain new skills to lead our girls to GIRL GREATNESS!
Alison “Lollipop”, 12th Toronto Brownie Unit
Alison is the Coordinator, Unit Guider Support for Girl Guides of Canada. She is a member of the Programming Department and acts as a support for Guiders nationally. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.