In Quebec, one of our most anticipated Guiding events is the Guider Symposium in January. Adult members from all over Quebec gather in one place for a day of training, networking, and an all around great time. In the past, this day was only open to Guiders, but then it was decided that the invitation should be extended to Rangers.
You can imagine that this idea was met with some worry. Would the girls feel comfortable surrounded by the “adult” Guiders? What kind of workshops or training could we offer them? The easy answer was that we would give them what they needed to enhance their Guiding experience in the future and help them discover how to use the skills they have already learned.
Young women in Guiding need to be exposed to new ideas, experiences and information. We find that much of the time, when a girl grows up with Guiding in their district, it is all that she is exposed to. If she attends an event like a Guider symposium, where she can meet Guiders and other young women from other districts and areas, she can be shown so much more. She can network with these women and learn from years of experience and truly share in the sisterhood that is Guiding.
Part of what we did in our symposium was speak about the opportunities available for young women in Guiding. For example, not only about what you can do in the units you might volunteer with, but also in your district, areas, provincially, nationally and internationally. Even if they feel too “young” to do any of these jobs right now, they are now aware of them. We also spoke about WAGGGS opportunities. What can you do in a WAGGGS country? How can you volunteer? The girls couldn’t even imagine the experiences they would get from a trip like this.
We also spoke about our provincial scholarships. We stressed the fact that because we are a small province, the odds of being awarded a scholarship are relatively good! We need to get this type of information out there so that it could benefit the girls who need it.
Finally, we spoke about using our Guiding skills in other aspects of our lives. We presented a “Guiding CV,” where girls could keep track of everything that they have done during their Guiding career: positions held, camp, travel and conference histories, international experience, awards, and skills. We then taught the girls how to take this CV and transfer the skills they have built on in Guiding to a “beginner’s CV” (applying for a minimum wage job) and then to a “professional CV” (applying for your future job).
With events such as our symposium discussing this kind of information girls are interested in, girls can see the potential they have to do not only so much within Guiding, but also how much Guiding has done and will continue to do for them in the future.
By guest blogger Sarah Di Milo. Sarah has been in Guiding for almost 25 years. She enjoys being Co-District Commissioner for Riverview District on the South Shore of Montreal, as well as a Guide leader with her sister Nikki.