Remote but connected, WAGGGS fosters a strong and impressive global community
Around the world, often in remote or quite isolated areas, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts flourish. Their commitment to their local community is impressive and their interest in self-development is remarkable. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. Their diverse Movement represents ten million girls and young women from 150 countries.
Here we meet some intriguing Girl Guides from relatively remote areas around the world. Their views and perspectives are refreshing, and their resourcefulness is heartening. Today's heros, tomorrow's leaders - hear their stories about the impact of being a Girl Guide.
From drought to pony club, life is what you make it
By First Charleville Girl Guides, 5–15 in Australia
Charleville is a rural town with about 3000 people in South West Queensland, Australia. We are on the edge of the desert, so it varies from quite hot to very cold. We are currently in drought and the surrounding cattle farmers are doing it tough. Our Guides attend three different schools: State Primary, State High and a Catholic Primary. We have Guides on a Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm. Life in Charleville is what you make it and many of our Guides are extremely busy. Apart from being involved in school, they are also heavily involved in sports, with many representing the district, plus dance, music and pony club.While our community is small, it is very friendly and looks after all its members. Most of our Guides become members after finding out about Guides from a friend. A couple have been in Guiding since they were 5 and 6 are now 13 and 14.
We meet at our local Guide Hut ‘Cooinda’ which was once a Chapel. We have a lovely area and our Guides are proud to show off their meeting place to new girls and visitors. We are extremely lucky to have two qualified leaders, as well as three leaders-in-training. We do a range of activities at Guides including art, outdoors, games, challenges and much more. We plan our own challenges in Patrol Time and work in age groups during Handbook Huddle, coming together for unit time where Guides of all ages get to work together. We have a strong presence in our community, participating in Clean Up Day, performing an ANZAC vigil and participating in the Charleville Show and Arts Festivals each year. We enjoying learning about our community as well as giving service to help it. Guiding is a great way to make friends, complete challenges, go camping and have amazing experiences, in our community and beyond, as well as develop leadership.
Without Guiding I'd not have many of my leadership roles and skills
by Ellie aged 14 in England
I’m part of the Colne Valley Rangers in Gosfield, Essex, UK. I live in a small village called Gosfield. There is a volunteer run community shop, a church, village hall and a playing field surrounded by paddocks near my house. A lot of rapeseed is grown around Gosfield, it turns bright yellow in summer. The weather is cold in the winter, normally between 0 and 8 degrees, but in the summer it can get up to 35 degrees. On a regular day I wake up at 6am to go to school. A bus picks me up in the village and drives me to a big town, about an hour away. I get into school at 8.30am for registration and then leave at 3.30pm and get home about 4.45pm. In the summer, when it is light, I sometimes walk to my friend’s house after school. They live at the village lake and we do water sports or just swim.
My village is mainly retirees, so a lot of the activities available are aimed at this age group, but there are things like football and tennis for younger people. We are very lucky in our village to have a thriving Guiding community which involves and connects many young girls. We have Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and a division Ranger unit. One of my favourite things about my community is how safe it makes me feel. We are quite tight knit and if you’re involved in the community many people will know you. This makes it really secure, which is a great privilege.
I found out about Guiding through friends. When I joined Primary school many of my friends went to Rainbows and I wanted to join. In my community all Rainbows, Brownies and Guides meet in the village hall. We have five leaders; one runs Rainbows and Guides, another runs Brownies and Guides and the other three help run Brownies, as it is a very large unit. We also have a Ranger unit, which is in a neighboring village. At Rangers we meet every two weeks and do lots of fundraising, planning activities for the younger sections of Guiding, plus work on badges and learn new skills.
Guiding has a very positive role in my village. We are the main representatives of the younger generation so we attend many events like special church services, carol singing, community fundraisers, Easter egg hunts, dog walks, parades and our village fete. For our village life to thrive it is important for younger people to get involved and show what we are capable of. My favourite thing about Guiding is what it does for girls and young women. Without Guiding I would not have nearly any of the leadership roles and skills I have now. I feel I would be less prepared to make my own decisions about my future without it. I think other girls should become guides because it is so much more than just cross stitch, it empowers young women across the world to join a movement that can make a massive impact on their lives.
We can't imagine living anywhere better
By the Kununurra Kimberley Girl Guides group, Australia
We have 22 girls in our group ranging from 8 to 14 years of age. We live in one of the hottest parts of Australia, in the North-East Kimberley region. We are approximately 900km from Broome, and 850km from Darwin. For 7-8 months of the year we mostly have temperatures exceeding 40 degrees during our 'build-up' and 'wet season'. During the other 4-5 months, we have low humidity and cooler days with temperatures in the low to mid 30's. We are indeed limited by the very hot weather - during the hot months we need to be very creative with our indoor activities. Where other units in Australia might be able to plan outdoor activities most weeks, we have to take advantage of our cooler months from May to August, and plan our outdoor activities during that time.
Our meetings are after school for two hours every Tuesday afternoon. We also have many other get-togethers throughout the year outside of our normal meeting times. We have four Patrol groups that plan a variety of activities for each session, and each school term we work towards a new badge together as a group. Our four patrol leaders all achieved their BP Medal last year. At the moment we are working towards our Explore a Challenge Advocacy badge. During the year, we are involved in various community events such as International Women’s Day, Harmony Day, Kununurra Community Garden, the Community Markets, Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and other community activities as opportunities arise.
Today we are positively contributing to Clean Up Australia day by cleaning up the area around Kununurra District High School. The photo here is our Girl Guides group. Living in the Kimberley is unique and amazing, and we can't imagine living anywhere better!
Guiding gives girls opportunities they may not otherwise have
By Poppy aged 15 in England
I’m part of the Colne valley rangers in Essex, England. My village is surrounded by woodland and farmland growing wheat and barley. The nearest town is two miles away. There is a nature reserve in the centre of the village, with large areas of grassland and fields which village events and picnics take place on. We have a pub in the village, a shop and a playing field. It’s a very nice community to live in with lots of jobs at the lake, schools, hall, bio-mass farm and golf course. My usual school day consists of getting up at 6.30am and catching a bus to school which starts at 8.40am. I get home about 4.20pm after bussing home.
Most people in my village go to a secondary school outside of the village. There isn’t much for girls in my village to do. There is football, cricket and Scouts for the boys. The only club or organisation for girls is Girlguiding. Some girls I know go water skiing at the lake. It’s an incredibly nice area to live in, there is virtually not crime. The only big thing is when a dog goes missing and search parties are sent to find it. My favourite thing about my village is the community spirit. We have lots of village events such as Fete day- which is a carnival -and events such as the Easter egg hunt and horticultural show. I like the fact that I know lots of people in the village because it’s quite small and I haven’t lived anywhere else.
I found out about Girl Guiding because all my friends from school went to Rainbows. I went to a trial night and didn’t want to leave. A year after I joined Brownies the leader left, so my mum and some of her friends trained to become Leaders and run the unit. I am now a Ranger and a Young Leader at the same Brownie unit.
Most girls leave Girl Guiding when they finish Guides, in the past they had nowhere to go because the Ranger units had closed. This is why we have a Division Ranger unit. We meet in another village about 20 mins away. We have about 15 girls now and we meet every other week. We have a team of enthusiastic leaders. The group meetings are very girl led, we have even planned most of the World Thinking Day event for our entire Division. The unit has only been running for six months and we have already done so much, like gone on a penny hike to fundraise for a trip to Wales later in the year.
We have done lots of positive activities and events in our community. Every year Scouts and Guides team up for Remembrance Sunday and the Fete day parade. We have run special events for the community which help spread the word of what Girlguiding is all about. We have also helped raise money to give girls in the village the opportunity to travel and do things they wouldn’t otherwise do in the village. Guiding gives girls opportunities they may not have otherwise have. To form friendships, to travel to new places and see new things. Guides can help you voice your opinion and be part of an organisation which can help change your life. It an amazing opportunity and girls should take it with both hands for a brilliant and exciting adventure.
Transforming the lives of girls and young women worldwide
For more than 100 years, Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has transformed the lives of girls and young women worldwide, supporting and empowering them to achieve their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world. Their strengths lie in innovative non-formal education programmes, leadership development, advocacy work and community action, empowering girls and young women to develop the skills and confidence needed to make positive changes in their lives, in their communities and countries. Find out more, or donate to this important global movement that has remained an International Women's Day Charity of Choice for many years.