Every year on World Youth Skills Day we celebrate the amazing achievements of our young members. Here at Girlguiding Scotland, girls and young women develop invaluable life skills that help shape their future. Find out more about the opportunities we offer and get ready to be inspired by Young Leader and Advocate Amanda’s guiding journey…
Girlguiding has helped me find my voice and become the person I am today. Growing up, I wasn’t confident and I wanted to fit in. I knew I was different to most of my classmates, because my skin was a lot darker. I didn’t want to draw any extra attention to myself, so I stayed quiet and rarely voiced my ideas… Until I joined Guides.
As a Guide I experienced so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and met so many inspiring people – I was able to be myself in a safe and relaxed environment. I have fond memories of bonding with girls round campfires, the smell of toasted s’mores and the voices of cheery singers filling the air, plus travelling abroad with some of my best friends.
Later on I became a Young Leader at a local Brownie unit – something open to all members aged 14-18. By completing my Young Leader’s Qualification, I developed great leadership, communication, and team working skills. But, the best part about volunteering is being able to encourage younger girls, who can be quite shy, to come out of their shell and join in with the activities. It feels amazing to give back to an organisation which has helped me grow so much. This is why I felt compelled to join the Girlguiding Advocate Panel.
Advocates are Girlguiding’s young spokespeople and I love being part of the panel – we all have a shared desire to make real change within society. We speak out on issues that matter to us personally and to girls across the country, such as media representation, education and mental health. We help create national campaigns like last year’s #PlasticPromise effort to tackle plastic pollution and we’ve done a lot of work in the quest to end period poverty.
One of the most exciting things I’ve done as an Advocate was speaking at Women Ahead Gender Balance Summit in March. I was part of a panel session in front of a huge audience talking about all things Girlguiding, young people, and the future of women. My much younger self wouldn’t have dared speak out somewhere like that, yet there I was, in front of around 500 CEOs and influential business people, enlightening them about my hopes and dreams for a fairer, more inclusive society. It made me realise just how far I’ve come, and how I have Girlguiding to thank for that.
Even during lockdown I’ve been given a lot of opportunities to express myself and further develop my skills, from writing to social media. Recently I’ve taken over Girlguiding Scotland’s Instagram and encouraged other members to wear their uniform when joining in with the clap for our carers efforts. And for the Girlguiding Adventures at Home virtual festival I filmed a science experiment (featuring some highly questionable dancing!).
I also co-wrote a blog post for the Girlguiding website about the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of being anti-racist. Being able to contribute from home during these difficult times feels great and has given me more confidence.
Six years ago, I joined our wonderful community. I’ve had the most amazing time, made lifelong friendships, and learned invaluable skills which will no doubt help me build my future, whatever I choose to do. And I can’t wait to see what happens next on my Girlguiding adventure.
Take the plunge
Whether you’re a parent thinking of signing your daughter up, or you’re a young member keen to explore the different opportunities on offer, like becoming a young leader or a peer educator, don’t miss out and get involved today! Girlguiding helps shape and develop character by giving girls experiences they’ll treasure forever.