Being a Girlguiding Scotland Trainer has taught me lots in return

Evelyn Smith – Girlguiding Scotland Trainer and Brownie, Guide and Senior Section Leader and District Commissioner for Girlguiding Renfrewshire – blogs about what she gets out of training other guiding volunteers.

I’m a Trainer. No, not the type worn on your feet. My type of Trainer – a Girlguiding Scotland one – speaks to rooms full of strangers about guiding in a fun, memorable way.

I’m part of a team of qualified volunteers whose mission is to help other volunteers to learn the skills they need to deliver great guiding. This could be anything from managing people to bringing our programme for girls to life, as well as specialist subjects like first aid or safeguarding.

That said, trainers (shoes) and Trainers (with guiding) do have much in common. Both need to be flexible, interesting, hard-wearing and reliable in all weathers – especially when travelling to meetings the length and breadth of Scotland.

So why do I do it?  Well, some of my best times with Girlguiding Scotland come from training. The laughter, the lightbulb moments, and of course winning over the sulky, arms-folded person and getting them relaxed enough to speak up.  It’s fun, and it can be challenging. You can be creative and you learn a lot too. I have been known to travel home muttering “Well, that taught ME something!”

There is no teaching experience needed. All you need is to be enthusiastic and have an enquiring mind. My day job involves no presentations and before becoming a Trainer the only thing I’d ever taught was crafts skills to Brownies. Even then they would usually take over and do it much better than me!

When training, I try to include activities using formats from TV game shows. I aim to challenge participants to think how they can adapt an idea for themselves. For example, I use a simplified supermarket version of Pointless as an ice-breaker, where you split the room into groups and get each group to write down items for sale in the local supermarket for each letter, eg: A – E.  Only unique answers score of 100 – duplicate answers score zero. In Rainbows, helpers love helping out by scribing for the groups.

I hope this blog has inspired you to try something new and that perhaps our paths will cross some day at a Training event. If you need me I will be watching gameshows on TV – purely for guiding game research purposes of course!

Interested?  We have a dedicated Girlguiding Scotland Training team who will support you whether you’re working towards your qualification, helping other Trainers to learn or delivering training sessions.

To find out what it’s all about and download an application form, go to the training section in the members’ area of the Girlguiding website.