This week on GirlGuidesCanBlog, we’re featuring posts by members on how they keep their Guiding connections strong…. even when they move across the country.
At the end of August, I packed up my stuff and drove (and floated) over 3,000 km to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador from my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario to attend graduate school at Memorial University. Even though my life was changing in many ways I knew I was going to take one thing with me – Girl Guides!
Here are some tips from my experience that will hopefully make moving smoother when you’re changing Guiding communities:
- Use your Guiding contacts! You already know lots of people within Guiding, and they know people too! The Guiding family is smaller than you think, and people are more than willing to lend a hand to get you placed in a unit.
- Understand how involved you want to be. Moving across the country to a new school or new job is a stressful enough situation, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. During my undergraduate degree, I was the Contact Guider of my Girl Guide unit, but knew that I would have to take a step back to get settled in to my new life. Units are always looking for help, and if you make your expectations clear, then both you and the unit benefit.
- Contact the province directly. I went through Newfoundland and Labrador’s Girl Guide membership coordinator to form my initial contact and from there we worked out the details to help place me in a local unit.
- Start early (and be patient). Even though I started contacting people in the summer, I didn’t meet with my unit for the first time until the end of September. The start of the Guiding year is busy, so make your contact as soon as you know when you’re moving so you can join the fun immediately!
- Let your new unit be your tour guide! So far, my unit has gone to the Government House, the provincial museum, The Rooms, and the Botanical Gardens – all places I would have never thought to explore without them. Let your unit help you explore your new town.
- Make new friends outside of Guiding. You have to have someone to sell those cookies to!
No matter the reason you’re moving, the benefits of staying in Guiding are great! Being able to grow your Guiding family, meet new people in your new home and get out and experience the community are some of the many benefits I have experienced since moving to St. John’s. Good luck in the new Guiding year!
Guest post by Jillian Ashick-Stinson. Jillian started as a Spark and is now entering her 18th year of Guiding with the 1st St. John’s Brownie unit. Outside of Guiding, Jillian is pursuing a Master’s of Gender Studies with the hopes of becoming a midwife.