It’s not easy for me to admit, but I’ve been going through some bad times lately. I am lucky to have a few good friends who I feel comfortable sharing my very personal issues with. I am also lucky to have amazing Guiders who work with me in my Spark group. These are women who I get along with really well, who I know always have my back. I’ve only been a leader for just over a year now, but it has had such a positive impact on my life.
Last year my co-Guider and I took our Sparks to a vet clinic. After the girls had all left with their parents, we were thanking the veterinarian for his time when he expressed his surprise that neither of us had daughters, that we were just volunteers. My co-Guider and I did a similar sort of shrug and tried to explain what we get out of it. She did a better job than I did, and told him about a week when she was having the worst day and then came to Sparks and instantly felt better. I remember being impressed by this statement, since I couldn’t remember ever seeing her in a bad mood, and it’s stuck with me since. She was right – there was something almost cleansing about coming through the doors of our meeting space and seeing those girls in uniform. They run up to greet us and suddenly you are no longer Chelsea, but their leader, Twinkle. You are instantly transported into a different role.
Up until last month, I never had a problem coming to Sparks and being their cheerful Guider. Then things started happening in my life and there was one week in particular when I actually questioned going to Sparks. I am so glad I did decide to go.
I was having the worst day. I was having the kind of a day where one bad thing just seemed to lead to another. I forgot part of the craft we were doing that night and had to go back to my house. I arrived late to Sparks in a really foul mood. I apologized to my fellow Guiders for being late and was just in the middle of telling them “I’ve had the worst day” when one of the Sparks came running up to me. She asked me about the craft we were making and without thinking I immediately went into my Sparks persona. I dropped the harsh tone in my voice, I smiled and remembered patience.
Before I had walked through that door, I had only thought of getting through the next hour without crying (honestly, that’s what kind of day it was). However, those girls, my 16 Sparks and my co-Guiders needed me to be Twinkle. They didn’t know what was going on in my life and they didn’t need to know. They come to Sparks to have a fun time and to learn new things. I checked my bad attitude at the door and forgot about my troubles, if only for an hour. And you know what? It felt so good to not think about my life for a bit. Sparks ended up being the best part of my day because for the first time all day I was able to focus on something other than my life.
I’m sure if you asked my girls about me, they couldn’t tell you much about my life and I think that is how it should be. I have people in my life who I can talk to about my personal issues, I have really good friends who I can trust. But Girl Guides is not the place for those conversations. Those girls deserve leaders who are positive and focused on the experience, and that is who I strive to be. When I arrive for Sparks I put my whole attention on the meeting and leave my problems at the door.
By guest blogger Chelsea Kennedy. Chelsea lives in Mississauga and works at the Girl Guides of Canada Ontario Council office in Toronto. She rediscovered her love of Guiding last year and is happy to once again be part of the sisterhood. In her spare time she enjoys knitting, reading and geocaching. She credits her love of volunteering with her time at the University of Guelph, where she earned a BAH in History and learned the joy of helping others. Read her GirlGuidesCANBlog post The Right Answer.
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This was an amazing post! I didn’t even realize it until I read this post that this is exactly how I handle things with my Brownies. The second I walk through those doors, I become Fluffy Owl and I forget about everything but those girls. Chelsea, thank you for the wonderful post and the great reminder. 🙂
Hi Chelsea ! I met you that day at the Santa Parade . I was the leader of the guide group that swapped banners with your group. Thanks for the reminder that even though I have older girls they still need me to be present and engaged .
P.S. I hope your girls liked the crests
In my 12 years of being a leader, I’ve had many of those nights where I question going to the meeting because I can’t imagine getting through the hour without crying. I too, can honestly say the girls, no matter their age (I’ve led Sparks through to Rangers), will help us get through without even knowing it. Thank you so much for sharing!