Nominations for our Girl Greatness Awards are now open! Find out what Girl Greatness means to member Maryna, and why she nominated one of her Sparks.
Before the Girl Greatness Awards, the term ‘Girl Greatness’ wasn’t really something I thought about. Of course, this was before I truly understood how important Guiding was – because now, to me, Girl Greatness is everything.
So what is Girl Greatness? “What we do” is a bit too broad of an answer. Sure, Guiding teaches girls to be great. We teach them confidence, courage, resourcefulness and we teach them how to make a difference. But we also teach them to love themselves and others, to share, to be friends, to try new things, to venture to new places, to live life how they want. Girl Greatness is so much more than Guiding – it is every individual girl and women this organization has ever touched or changed or meant something to. Girl Greatness is in all of us, and all of us ARE Girl Greatness.
The Girl Greatness Awards are so much more than an award – they are a representation of everything we teach and learn and do. Naturally, when I found out that as a girl member I could nominate another girl for these awards, I leapt at the opportunity. If any of my Sparks – with whom I’ve been a Girl Assistant for close to five years – could be recognized nationally for the amazing girls that they are, I didn’t want to miss that chance.
Enter Seayena. First-year Spark. A little shy, pretty quiet, pretty nervous – and understandably so, as she is anaphylactic to peanuts and tree nuts and has to carry an epi-pen. This new environment filled with new people was a lot for her, and for the first few months I could see that on her face. And yet, as soon as I met her I knew that Guiding would do amazing things for her.
For the first few weeks of Sparks – which, keep in mind, was also the first few weeks of school for most of these girls – our First Aider held on to Seayena’s epi-pens for her. But after those first few weeks Seayena started carrying them herself and didn’t mind doing demonstrations (with a practice pen) and answering questions about her allergy. And even though she was shy, she was never too shy to make sure that everything was safe for her to use – including the hand soap! While as Guiders we made sure everything was safe for her, it was inspiring to see her take it upon herself to make sure.
The first time I really noticed Seayena’s incredible confidence: glue gun night. She wanted nothing to do with them and was so scared she was nearly in tears. But, after some reassurance, she decided she would try using the glue gun (which she did brilliantly). That’s when I knew what a confident little Spark we had.
I nominated Seayena for a Girl Greatness Award in the Confidence category because every week I saw her grow into herself. There were weeks when she didn’t want to come in without her mum, but the next week she would parade right in like she owned the place. There were weeks she would hardly talk, and the next week she would be talking up a storm and showing the other girls how it’s done; especially since this year she was our only second-year Spark. Because we knew she could do it, we asked Seayena to be a leader and a mentor for the younger girls, and she absolutely was.
The biggest boost in confidence I saw in Seayena was the week she found out she had won the award. She couldn’t articulate how she felt about winning, but I could see that it had made a change in her. Her confidence was a hundred times what it had been before, and during that meeting I realized how important recognition is.
I can’t describe how much she had changed since that first meeting. This shy, quiet, and nervous Spark was now a leader, a mentor, an outgoing friend and an inspiringly confident young lady. This girl, who wouldn’t talk to me unless she absolutely had to, now starts group conversations, asks all the questions she has, tells stories like you wouldn’t believe and contributes something important to every meeting. She, who whispered her name to me that first week because she didn’t want to say it out loud, stood in front of all the Sparks and all their parents at our year-end meeting and told them all what she had liked most about Sparks that year.
Seayena and all my Sparks, and every member of Guiding that I have met, have inspired me. They have inspired me to be confident, courageous, resourceful, and to make a difference. They have inspired me to see the Girl Greatness in myself and in everyone around me. They have inspired me to see what drives us as an organization.
Girl Greatness Awards are more than just a pin and a certificate. (Which are both pretty cool, let’s be honest). Girl Greatness Awards are a representation of who we are – girls and women who are confident, courageous, resourceful, making a difference; girls and women who are GREAT.
Guest post by Maryna, who volunteers with the 2nd Sooke Sparks in B.C. She recently achieved her Chief Commissioner’s Gold Award, received a 2015 Girl Greatness Award and spoke at the 2015 National Conference. Maryna started her first year of post-secondary education this year and was ecstatic to receive scholarships from both her province and area.
Be sure to encourage the girls in Guiding you know to submit a nomination for the 2016 Girl Greatness Awards!