Leadership event inspired me to take next step in my guiding journey

Caroline Swanson, a Guide Leader from Leeds, blogs about taking part in Girlguiding Scotland’s leadership event The Future is Yours 2015.

When I got my flier for The Future is Yours 2015 I had to stop and re-read the description – an event based on opportunities available to adult volunteers in guiding was definitely something I couldn’t miss!

It aimed at enthusing us to add a few more strings to our bows, or – as highlighted in one session where we literally tried on lots of different headgear – to wear many hats!

Guiding Leaders already wear a lot of hats, from fun-maker, outdoor explorer and risk assessor to first responder, listener and team player! The Future is Yours showed us how we could balance a few more to our already extensive list.

I travelled to Scotland with Becky, a fellow Girlguiding Leeds volunteer. We’d never met before so we spent the journey getting to know each other and exchanging guiding stories. I picked up some great ideas from her, like taking the girls to do some preservation work on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and even learnt that Leeds has a free water taxi!

I don’t know about you, but I often find that you learn as much from the people sat around me at a training session as I do from the training itself. This was absolutely true of The Future is Yours 2015. Have you ever thought to pin the bottom of your badge tab through your guiding uniform as well as at the top, to prevent your badges flapping around during guiding activities? Me neither – great idea!

The weekend continued with great sessions on becoming an Adviser, Trainer or Commissioner, volunteers who lead on specialist topics like communications or walking, train other volunteers and lead guiding in local areas. We also explored all the international opportunities available to us and ideas for getting the girls outdoors more.

There were also two downtime sessions allowing everyone to try something a bit different, with a choice of hula hooping, cocktail making, sugar craft or jewellery making. On Saturday night we donned our glad rags for a fabulous gala dinner and quiz. The quiz caused lots of hilarity as it was based on how you would survive a series of comical situations using only the contents of your handbag!

The highlight of the whole weekend for me was one of the final sessions – a visit from Nicola Grinstead, chair of The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Nicola is an inspirational woman who somehow manages to juggle a full time, high-powered job in addition to a guiding role which takes her abroad at least two weekends every month. Now that’s a lot of hats!