I always find the time to enjoy Thinking Day

We’ve been sharing blogs this week to mark the launch of our new video showing what it’s like to be part of Girlguiding Scotland.

Natalie Sweeney, member of Largs Senior Section, tells us about making guiding friends all over the world with help from her Leaders for the final blog of the series.

Even though life gets busy, I always find the time to enjoy Thinking Day, the annual global celebration of the Guide and Scout movement on 22 February.

This year the theme of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ Thinking Day celebrations is connections – the bonds with others and with our communities which give our lives meaning.

It’ll give me a chance to reflect on how guiding has impacted on the person I am today and how different my life would have been had I not joined guiding as a Brownie. I’ve grown up in guiding, and it’ll be the connections with my guiding Leaders who’ve done so much for me – encouraging me to reach my full potential whilst also having the time of my life! – that I’ll be celebrating the most.

Each of them has been supportive and helped me in their own individual way. When I first became a Guide my Leaders encouraged me to go along to an international camp held in North Ayrshire called Ayrwaves. I felt a bit daunted as it was my first time away from my family on my own. I was one of the youngest Guides there, but the week-long camp was one of the best times of my life. I met Guides from all over the world including my friend Brianna from New Zealand, who I still keep in touch with through social media.

International camps take place every four years, so I was keen to return. At the next one I shared a tent with girls from Oklahoma and we soon became the best of friends. I promised at the end of the camp that I’d visit them in the US. After saving up for a few years, I did eventually make it over the pond – and although we technically only ever spent a week together, it was like meeting long lost family members. You really do make friends for life in guiding!

When I joined the local Senior Section group my Leader, Ailsa, was keen for the group and I to earn lots of badges and experience new things. One of my fondest memories of The Senior Section so far was when the girls from the unit and local Guides cheered me on as I ran in the 2012 London Olympic Games Torch Relay. It was great being a part of history!

It can be difficult to set yourself apart from others in job interviews, but thanks to all my guiding experiences I have lots of interesting stories and skills to share. It has helped me gain the confidence to push myself forward and to take advantage of opportunities that come my way.

Want to find out more about Girlguiding Scotland? Watch our video to see what it’s like to be a member with us and get involved.