Have you ever been at a cookie selling event and had someone come up to you and ask you where the ‘adult’ in charge is? Or have parents ask the same thing? This has happened to me more than once this year. To be fair, even as an adult member, I am only two years older than my oldest girls.
This year I became a co-Guider in a joint Pathfinder and Ranger unit. As a young Guider, I have received a lot of questions about how this works when the girls are so close to me in age. This role does come with its challenges. But I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Being so close to the girls in age makes building relationships and trust with them almost come naturally. They are not afraid to tell me anything or ask me for advice as they know I was in their shoes not too long ago.
This role may seem a little scary at first but there are some small things you can do to help the Guiding year run smoothly and to have the girls not only like you but respect you as well.
1. Introduce yourself to their parents the first chance you get! That way they’re less likely to confuse you with the girls.
2. Take some time to think about how much you are comfortable sharing with the girls. They will ask you lots of questions and push your boundaries. Those questions you don’t think they will ever ask, they will. I’m okay telling them what I’m studying in university, not okay talking about my dating life.
3. Your adult uniform and name tag are so important! Especially when you’re out in the community. I always wear my adult scarf, pin tab and name tag along with my shirt. It is a way to distinguish between me and the girls. It helps prevent those awkward interactions where people are trying to pick out the adult. It’s also a great way to set an example for the girls, too. If they see you take pride in your uniform they will, too.
4.. Remember that it’s great to be their friend. But at the end of the day, you’re in charge of their safety. They will still like you, even if you have to put your foot down sometimes.
Enjoy yourself! I love my Guiding role and those 22 teenagers are the highlight of my week. Embrace it, as you won’t be a young Guider for long. Take advantage of the special connection you can create with the girls. They will benefit from it and so will you.
Guest post by Kayla Nicole. Kayla is a Guider with the multi-branch 25th Halifax Pathfinders, as well as the Nova Scotia Arts Adviser and a Link member. She is currently studying Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University, is a tutor for grade nine students and a member of a community choir.
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