Let’s face it: becoming an adult is all kinds of exciting and terrifying all at the same time. There are so many new things to learn and do – but it can also feel like just so much new all at once. As twentysomethings, we’re learning to live independently, to develop our own community networks, to figure out which adulting skills we haven’t figured out yet. We’re also discovering our personal identity as adults. Being a young woman in Guiding has helped me learn so much about myself – and now with GGC’s new Link program for members under 30, I have even more support during this in between phase of my life. Here are three important things I’ve gained from being a Guider in my 20s:
- A network of supportive women builds confidence. I might be confident on the outside, but my twenties have been full of self-doubt. Whether it was moving across the country to go to school, taking on new leadership roles, or realizing I was the youngest person in the room, it’s pretty easy to feel like I’m in over my head. I’ve been lucky to have incredible groups of young women in Guiding to share experiences and worries with – they encourage me to take risks and support me in planning for success. There are so many opportunities within the new Link program to build these networks, whether they are in person or online.
- You don’t always know what you’re capable of until you try. A huge part of Guiding has always been testing your personal boundaries and trying new things. Guiding has definitely given me a love for challenge: embarking on a solo adventure, advocating for the rights of girls and women, learning new skills for communicating science… the list could go on! Embracing these challenges has given me new professional opportunities which I never would have thought possible. The Link program challenges young women to try something new – perhaps it’s trying a physical activity, leading an outdoor adventure, or beginning to advocate for an issue of importance to you.
- Giving back feels good. With Girl Guides, I’ve discovered how powerful intergenerational relationships are – I have learned so much from the girls I’ve worked with, and I’m always learning from more experienced members of Guiding. This is why I am so excited that a key part of the Link program is applying new skills and knowledge back to Guiding: I can help a unit plan a visit to the cancer research lab where I work, I can bring a new activity to other adults I work with, and I can keep sharing my love of Guiding with the community.
Being connected to Girl Guides of Canada has made many of the transitions in my twenties so much easier. It’s helped me build confidence, develop the skills I need for success, discover my passions, and give back to my community. And it’s getting easier and easier to take risks, quiet the self-doubt and develop my own networks – and the new Link program ties all of these together with the Guiding experience!
Over the last 18 months, we worked with Rangers, Link members and Advisers, and other young women from across Canada to build a dynamic and engaging program that recognizes the unique needs and contributions of young women within the Guiding movement. The Link program will support the leadership of young women in a way they can totally customize to mesh with their needs and interests. Check it out and start participating today!
Guest post by Krysta Coyle. Krysta is a Guider and District Commissioner in Halifax and volunteers as the National Link Liaison. She is a PhD student at Dalhousie University studying breast cancer biology.