I like being a Pathfinder. I’ve made so many new friends and they’re really inclusive and accepting. They make sure I always know that it’s ok to be myself. Through Pathfinders, I also get to do a lot of things that I don’t usually do such as geocaching, playing some really weird, different games and camping.
Because I am an above the knee amputee, I have to find different solutions every day to situations that most people wouldn’t even realize were a problem. Guiding is about being confident and resilient and resourceful. For example, when I’m not wearing my prosthetic, I use crutches. I love my crutches because I can go really fast and they are easier for me to use than my heavy prosthetic, which causes me to fall more easily. But when I use my crutches, my hands are kind of already occupied. So carrying my books and technology at school is tricky, let alone hauling camping gear out into the woods. And camping is fun! My Pathfinder group never says I can’t go on a campout, and they never question whether I will be able to do something. Recently we went on a night trek, where we hiked for about five hours (from 9 pm to 2 am!). In the dark. Uphill. In the mud. Thank goodness for back packs and head lamps!
Recently, I was introduced to a girl at another school who needs to use arm crutches just like mine. Only she was too shy and embarrassed to use them. Her doctors and her parents and her teachers all tried to get her to use them but she was afraid. Her principal asked me if I would be willing to meet her and help her overcome her fears. If she didn’t start using her crutches, she was going to cause injury to her spine and to her good leg. I understood.
I wanted to help her have a better life and enjoy doing the sports and activities she loves. I wanted to make her feel like it’s ok to be who she is. Suddenly, she had a friend who could relate to her. And she found out that even with crutches, she still had lots of friends – they were right there cheering her on and supporting her, and she had nothing to fear. I told her about Pathfinders and now she’s going to join too, so she can discover what she can achieve in her own life.
Guest post by Tess Beasant, a member of the 48th Calgary Pathfinders and recipient of a 2016 Girl Greatness Awards for Resourcefulness.
Nominations are now open for the 2017 Girl Greatness Awards! Help celebrate the amazing girls in Guiding and all the amazing things they do. Girls can self-nominate or nominate another girl in Guiding.
Nomination deadline: Wednesday, March 15.