Girlguiding research has shown the profound impact that being a member of Girlguiding Scotland has on girls and young women.
At a time when girls and young women feel pressured to look a certain way or are worried about their future, it is essential to empower them and help them to know they do anything. It is our Girlguiding Scotland volunteers who are crucial for developing this confidence in each and every young member through the support and encouragement they provide. Thanks to our network of 9,000 volunteers, Girlguiding Scotland provides girls aged 4 – 18 with opportunities to learn and try new things at regular weekly meetings and to have adventures through weekend trips and new places to explore. Our 40,000 girls across Scotland get the chance to think big and be bold in a space where they can be themselves.
Poppy, 17, from Arbroath, joined as a Rainbow when she was 5. “By being involved in Girlguiding, it has opened me up to a wide range of new experiences such as leading activities, meeting Members of Parliament and helping with camps. Girlguiding has helped me to gain more confidence and learn new skills that I might not have known about otherwise such as tent building and first aid. I think that Girlguiding is important for young girls to get involved in as it can have such a good long-lasting impact on our futures.”
After being a member for 12 years, Poppy is now giving back to Girlguiding Scotland as a volunteer ‘Young Leader’, as part of a team of volunteers who run activities for girls in their local area every week. Poppy is also a Girlguiding Scotland spokesperson, a Speak Out champion, and has previously spoken up about the importance of listening to girls at all levels and creating spaces to make sure their voices are heard, especially for those who come from areas impacted by crime and deprivation.
Girlguiding Scotland member Kerrie, 16, from Grantown-on-Spey in Highland, is a spokesperson alongside Poppy and first joined Girlguiding Scotland as a Brownie aged 9. “Through my guide unit, I learned new skills such as map reading and gained leadership qualifications, helping me to feel more confident in a leadership role and develop my communication skills. This is something I haven’t been able to do in school, and it is really rewarding knowing the amount of effort I have put in”, said Kerrie. Now volunteering with a local Guides group, Kerrie empowers other girls to develop their skills and confidence through supporting them to complete badges as part of Girlguiding’s programme.
As well as young members, volunteers are also seeing the benefits. Girlguiding Scotland volunteers are 46% more likely to say they’re developing skills and 50% more likely to say it raises their confidence compared to other Scottish volunteers. City of Dundee volunteer Iona Cavill, 20, has taken all the skills she has learned across her 15 years as a Girlguiding Scotland member and is putting them back into her local Brownie group as a Leader in Training. As part of her volunteering role, Iona works directly with girls helping them grow into confident young women alongside other volunteers.
“Girlguiding has played a major role in my life. It has provided me with so many opportunities – some of which have been international, and these are experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. When I was younger, I was very shy and quiet, and I can confidently say that because of Girlguiding that is not the case now! Especially after I had started my role as a Young Leader with Brownies, this forced me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow as a person, and improved my people skills – and now I am able to lead a local group”, said Iona.
As a result of the growing confidence of young members in Scotland, they are more likely to speak up on issues they care about and get involved in their communities. Compared to other Scottish young people, girls in guiding are 29% more likely to have given time to a charity and 42% more likely to help improve their local area or environment.
The dedication and support of our volunteers is essential for developing the personal, social, emotional, mental and educational capabilities of girls and young women. Scottish Chief Commissioner Elaine Rough, the most senior volunteer in Scotland, said “Our 9,000 volunteers give their time, so our young members get their voices heard and do great activities. They are inspirational role models for girls, and I thank them for all they do to support girls to build skills and grow in confidence”.
The statistics are from the Girlguiding impact report 2023. For more information on the report, visit Our impact and theory of change | Girlguiding.
Comparison data sets used were:
Girls: the Understanding Society Youth Survey Waves 10-12, 2020-2022 (Scotland sample size: 1660) and Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s National Youth Social Action Survey, 2019 (Scotland sample size: 362)
Volunteers: National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Time Well Spent Survey, 2019 (Scotland sample size: 487)