Mhairi – “I joined guiding at a crossroads in my life”

Mhairi KennedyAs a Rainbow, Brownie and Guide leader, Mhairi loves giving her girls the chance to try something new – whether it’s learning about pond life, achieving guiding awards or going on their first pack holiday.

She says: “What I love about guiding is that you can watch the girls grow and learn – from being a shy Rainbow to walking on stage as a confident Guide to collect an award that they’ve worked so hard for.”

So much so that as well as running units for girls age 7 to 14, Mhairi has recently stepped up to a leadership role as division commissioner for Larbert, Forth Valley.

A change of direction

Guiding is now integral to her life, but it wasn’t always that way. Mhairi decided to give guiding a try after an old friend persuaded her to help out at the local Rainbow unit.

She says: “I hit 40 and, after overcoming a few hurdles, found I was at a crossroads in my life. My friend encouraged me to help out at the local Rainbow unit, and before I knew it I was working towards my leadership qualification.

“I am now running the Rainbow unit and I am an Assistant Leader at a Brownie and Guide unit.

“After ten years volunteering, I still love going along each week and planning trips and activities that put a smile on the girls’ faces.”

The chance to learn

Mhairi relishes the opportunity to learn new things and pick up qualifications through guiding.

“I thought I was a quiet and shy person but going to Girlguiding Scotland training events has built up my confidence and unleashed something in me I didn’t know I had!

“I’m eager to keep learning and am currently working on my third leadership qualification.

“Getting my ‘Going away with’ qualification so I can take girls away on pack holidays was one of the best things I’ve done.

“For some of the girls it’s their first time away from home so we like to make it really special, with different themes each year like princesses or our very own Olympics.”

So what keeps her committed to Girlguiding Scotland?

“Just like the girls, I’ve done things in guiding that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to do – like overcoming my fear of heights to take a cable car across the Thames on a trip to London with some of my Guides.

“To anyone that is thinking about guiding, I would tell them do it – it’s so worthwhile!

“Each time the girls leave their unit meeting with a smile on their face, you get a great sense of achievement. That’s what I do it for.”