I never used to be the person to speak up in class. To randomly talk to someone I didn’t know very well in the school hallway. I feel I’ve come a long way in the past few years – thanks to Guiding. Girl Guides of Canada has taught me not only what it means to be a girl in this world, but what it means to be a girl in charge of her own life. Through Guiding, I have a place to express my thoughts and ideas. As a member of the National Youth Council, I can help shape the organization that I love just as it has helped to shape me.
Over the past year or so, I’ve put myself out there like I never would have in the past. When I applied and was accepted to attend the national Ignite. Inspire. Innovate. Conference, I thought ‘What have I done?’ But that Guiding event was life changing for me. I met so many girls that were open and welcoming that I just knew I wanted to be that person who brought people together. I loved the feeling of the power of change when we discussed topics like mental health and feminism, and I knew I wanted to continue with that feeling in my life.
When I applied for National and Provincial Youth Councils I never thought that I would be successful. I didn’t think they would want just a small-town girl. I thought, ‘Would I really be able to contribute?’ But, now I find myself making connections with girls from across the country. I have found things that I am passionate about and have spoken at conferences and awards banquets on my experiences. It turns out we all have great ideas and things to contribute to the conversation whether it’s at our meetings, at a Provincial event or on a National Council.
Thinking back to where I was a year ago, I cannot believe the changes in my life. Making new friends, speaking up, and not shying away from new experiences are only a few examples of how my new-found confidence has helped me. Stepping outside my comfort zone and applying for these opportunities has changed my life for the better. My goals have gone from “get a good job that I like” to “find a job that I am passionate about and enables me to make a difference in the lives of others”.
Confidence isn’t just getting up in front of people and speaking, it’s taking charge of your life and advocating for what you want. The National Youth Council has given me an avenue to create the kind of social change that I thought I would always just stand by and watch, never be an integral part of. This year I am excited to see what the National Youth Council has to offer and what we will choose as our actions to focus on. I cannot wait to meet the new girls joining us this year and build many more lasting friendships. Nothing gives me more pride than to be able to advocate for the values of this girl-driven organization and speak about my experiences. Guiding has shaped my life in a truly remarkable way.
Guest post by Emily Lints, a Ranger from Manitoba. Emily is a member of the National Youth Council and received a Girl Greatness Award for Confidence in 2018.