When I was growing up in Australia, I joined the Girl Guides. My sister was a guide, my cousins were guides and my friends were guides, so it seemed like the right thing to do. Every Tuesday night we gathered in the guide hall where we made friends, developed new skills and generally had a good time. I learned to set goals that were achievable and received lots of encouragement. I still remember the promise that I made the night I became a guide and although a little different in other countries, it seems as though the first line of this formidable oath is, I promise that I will do my best. Well, I’m sure I tried.
So, about the Girl Guides. Founded in 1910, this organisation has progressed to accommodate girls from the age of five upwards. 2018 is the year of the woman, so for the sake of austerity, it seemed only fitting that I did a little research on the girl guides, just to see if the movement had changed at all since I was a member and also because girls become women. I recall that our group participated in events such as camping, hiking, swimming and on one occasion formed a guard of honour for Princess Margaret, but as impressive as it was back then, it seems that this extraordinary club has evolved with the development of equal opportunity and women’s rights. Nowadays the guides encourage their members to voice opinions and get behind campaigns that promote and instil confidence in girls of all ages. They help in the community and fundraise for charities of their choice.
In the UK, the Guides hold an annual event called Camp CEO that is open to girl guides from the ages of 14 to 17. The name kind of says it all. This camp offers workshops that prepare the girls for the future and it gives them the opportunity to be mentored by a female CEO. Guides are nominated by their respective group leaders or can apply through the guiding website by completing a short online form. For four days, girls from diverse backgrounds interact and network, learning important skills that will put them in good stead for the future. Camp CEO is fully paid for which makes it non-exclusive and more accessible. This is the type of healthy atmosphere that creates leaders and promotes confidence. If I had owned a time machine when I was ten, I would have done my best to attend this camp.
The guides aren’t just about toasting marshmallows around a campfire whilst singing Kumbaya, or selling baked goods door to door, there’s a lot more encouragement involved now and tapping into it cannot only put you on the path to success but support you along the way. If you’re looking for an inspiring bunch of girls to hang out with, consider joining the guides or volunteering. Their website is full of information about the different age groups and how to register.
I guess that once you join a group such as this one, the values are imprinted indefinitely and the girls that attend camp CEO may just head companies in the future. I would imagine if that were the case these companies would flourish under the leadership of a former girl guide. After all, a promise is a promise.