Girls are under a lot of social pressure these days. They’re asked to be everything at once: smart, pretty, nice, athletic, ambitious and successful. And when they don’t meet the world’s expectations (because they’re impossible!), the judgments are often swift and harsh.
Girls need a safe space where they feel supported, respected and valued for being just who they are. Fortunately, Guiding offers just such a space.
Safe space is hard to define but we all know what it feels like. It’s the feeling you get when you can relax and share your most authentic self with the people around you. Safe space allows you to be silly without feeling self-conscious and share personal stories without being judged. And it encourages you to try new things, make mistakes and take risks knowing there’s a soft place to land.
Take for example the super confidence-boost that volunteer Guider Theressa’s own daughter Alex gets from Girl Guides:
“Reading my 11-year old daughter’s report card. One area for improvement was that she needed to get better at speaking up in class. She said it’s hard for her to speak in front of people. I reminded her that she loved being an MC for our huge community awards ceremony, standing in front of about 300 people and speaking for a couple of hours. Her response: ‘That’s different Mommy. It’s Girl Guides. I’m safe. People don’t judge you there.” – Theressa A., Ontario
One of the most amazing things our Guiders do is creating a safe space for the girls in their units. As mentors, Guiders model authenticity, acceptance and positive social relationships. Their leadership, dedication and warm presence helps girls listen to their inner voices, explore new interests and practice new skills, all while having fun.
In the end, safe space is about trustworthy relationships. By creating an atmosphere of inclusion and openness, Guiders create a unique sanctuary where girls can spread their wings and become everything they want to be. Guiders truly are the catalysts for girls empowering girls.
Girl-driven storytelling contest – enter to win!
This year, we’re celebrating the critical role Guiders play in girls’ lives! From January to May, we’re inviting Guiders to share their stories of girl-driven Guiding.
This month, we’d love to hear your stories of the first girl-driven pillar: safe space. How did you create safe space in your unit? How have girls thrived? What have you learned?
- Send your stories of safe space in Guiding to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 25 for a chance to win a Guider self-care package
- Please include your name, iMIS#, Provincial Council and the branch level of your unit
- Stories should be maximum 200 words
- Images welcome (please ensure we have permission to share!)