Why I Guide – Our Stories

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Girl Guides is stronger because of the women who have taken up the challenge to provide a place where girls are empowered to take the lead, jump into awesome activities, and find their voice. As an adult volunteer, the rewards are amazing!
We are always looking for someone like you to share their skills, knowledge, and experience. The following stories showcase why these women volunteer with Girl Guides.
If you are inspired, try it out! Apply today!

Alison Hathaway
Guide Guider / Area International Adviser
Involved in Guiding since she was a Brownie in the UK

“When I came to Canada 12 and a half years ago, I wanted to join Guiding to meet people. I keep being involved because I like to see a girl progress over the 3 years from that little timid mouse to a girl who leaves confident, empowered, and wanting to move forward―it’s that change in the girls that keeps me going. Girl Guides gives the opportunity for girls to be girls. We can be silly. We don’t have to show off to the boys. I just want girls to be silly, to have fun and to be confident. I mean, you know me―I’m crazy in Girl Guides! But it’s because I want the girls to know you can let go, and it’s okay to let go. I express myself so my girls can see that they can too. I just feel that the girls need to express themselves and learn to cope with their feelings. They need to have fun. They need to try things that they wouldn’t do otherwise. The other thing is I have had a health issue for the last three years, and I didn’t give up Guiding. I could have given up Guiding, but I didn’t give it up. I felt it was important personally to carry on and that’s because the girls have got to know just don’t give up. Just carry on doing what you love and work around what the issues are. To other people out there, don’t feel that you’re going to be excluded as a leader because you have issues. Do it! Try it! What do you have to lose? You can always try it, and if it’s not for you then you can always stop doing it. But it’s infectious and once you start you can’t stop. Guiding has helped me because I have a purpose. It’s been so much a part of my life, what would I do without it? Also, just be honest about what you can give. You might just want to go to camp, then just do that. Maybe you are good at crafts, then help out a unit by doing the crafts. You don’t want to do it every week, then go every other week. A lot of Units would be eager to have you help by doing what you can, or by being there every other week.”

Julie Ramsay
Guide and Trex Guider / Website Specialist / BC Camping Committee
Lives in Coquitlam and has been a Girl Guide for 40+ years

“I started as a Brownie with other girls from my neighborhood, and it was fun. I continued through Guides because my friends were there and we had some amazing Guiders. My Pathfinder Guiders, especially, were really adventurous, and they opened my eyes and really pushed us beyond what I was currently doing with my family. They took us to Baffin Island on a backpacking trip, and that trip not only kept me in Guiding―it changed my life and made me more confident. Up until that point, I was really shy and always afraid of making mistakes, and I didn’t really like putting myself out there. But after that trip and seeing what I could accomplish, it changed a lot for me in my personal life, but also it kept me in Guiding because I could see the opportunities that could come from it. Having those Guider role models absolutely influences me as a Guider today. It changed the image and helped me find my tribe―we tend to associate Guides as being crafts and the boys get to go off and do all the fun and adventurous stuff. So having had that experience 30+ years ago―that we could go off as girls and do something super adventurous―and to just see that there are other women out there who are passionate about the outdoors, definitely framed the kind of Guider I want to be now. I want to show the girls that there’s more to Guiding than crafts, and our meetings and camps can be active and exciting. I’ve remained involved in Guiding because of the people I’ve met―whether I’m at a training, or a meeting,  or at a camp weekend, I feel like I’m with people who are like-minded, and who share my vision of the world. They are as passionate about doing cool stuff with the girls as I am. Guiding is my tribe!”

Alannah Olah
Guide Guider / Deputy District Commissioner
21 years of Guiding in Maple Ridge

“I love you can do so much with Girl Guides. I started as a 5-year-old, and now I’m in my 20’s and I get to be a Guider and play an influential role in my District, and do lots of things I never thought I’d be able to do. As much as I love the kids, it’s the adult interactions that keep in me involved in Girl Guides. I make a lot of friends through Guiding. I get to do a lot of trainings with adults, and while the trainings are great and I really enjoy learning new things, it’s always the fun that happens in-between or after or during. I went to Camp Olave for in training in January and met a bunch of new ladies that are now my friends on Facebook, and we’re planning to meet up in the next couple of months. I love the friends that I make and the things I get to do with them. If you’re thinking about joining Girl Guides―do it! Jump in! I think new Guiders are sometimes really hesitant, and I think they’re almost nervous to make a mistake because they’re joining Units or Districts where Guiders have been there for years. But we’re always looking for fresh eyes, fresh ideas, and fresh people, so don’t be afraid to jump in and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And, I also think it’s important for people to know you don’t have to work with the girls to still be a part of the organization. I love the inclusivity. I love that we include people with all ranges of activities, abilities and skills. You can come to District meetings, attend trainings or whatever it is. I totally get it…kids aren’t for everybody. But you can still join the organization and be a part of it.”

Rebecca Helps
Pathfinder Guider
14+ years in Guiding and came back in 2018 as a Guider in Coquitlam

“I’m liking the way I’m approaching it as a Guider right now. One of the reasons I wasn’t a Guider for a number of years was because of health issues, and I finally feel like I’m back in a place where my health is well enough where I can take it on. I also have a lot of other stuff going on in my life, and I was worried about being overwhelmed and overcommitted with Guiding―either failing because I wasn’t able to do everything I needed to do or just feeling like I wasn’t contributing. But what I’ve decided is to give what I can give and not stress out about what I can’t give. I still need to have my life, and I need to do my stuff. When I’m there with the girls, I’m fully present and committed. And there seems to be that shift in Guiding to find that balance―I appreciate that. What I love about Girl Guides is that it gave me a place to belong as a girl. I’m getting emotional thinking about it because I always struggled to fit in. And even in the Unit as a girl, I struggled to fit in but I still belonged, and that was something I didn’t have in other places in my life. It’s that sisterhood, that spirit! Guiding has always been a place to shine―to find my calling and step into it. Guiding is this opportunity to show up and say, ‘I’m here. Let me at it!’ There are many different ways to support Guiding and be a part of the sisterhood. You can do things that speak to you. Whatever your interests and capabilities are, you can find a way to express it and develop your strengths to the fullest.”

Breanne Esau
Guide Guider / Personal Support for a Girl with Autism
Recently became an adult volunteer after 14 years as a girl in the organization

“I think the big part of what keeps me involved is the girl that I work with. She is everything to me. I love her so much. She’s had a huge impact on my life―she’s changed my career path! Before I started working with her, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. Now, I want to support kids with autism. It’s what I’m passionate about. I quickly fell in love with what I was doing. She’s influenced the way I think about things and how I treat other girls because she’s opened my eyes to the support they may need, whether they are diagnosed with something or not. I’ve also formed a lot of close relationships with the leaders that are in my Unit. I’ve known them coming up from Guiding because we’re all young leaders. Being a young Guider and working with girls is definitely a benefit. We can relate to the girls on a different level because rather than seeing us as only a leader, the girls can also see us as a friend. Our Unit is all young Guiders. No one is over 25! We’re all just in university or just finished university. All the girls in our Unit know the different things we do. Like, I study psychology; another one of our leaders is in Earth Sciences; another one is studying to be doctor; and we just had a new leader join us and she’s a nurse. The girls ask us a lot of questions like what we did at school, how you get into university, and what’s it like in high school? I think from the outside it looks like a really big time commitment, and like you’re giving a large part of yourself. But, I think there are definitely ways to do it where you can split up the work or you can take on a smaller position. I’m able to balance university with Guiding because the leaders I work with share the work equally. I know if you are someone younger like me, it’s really good to volunteer in our organization because it opens a lot of doors. I think you’ll find there is so much more to Guiding that it may entice you to stay for more reasons than you think.”

Rana Sadeghi Chegani
Brownie Guider
Three years as a Guider in Coquitlam

“This is my first time involved with Girl Guides. Actually, we don’t have Girl Guides in Iran. So when I came here, I heard about it from Neha, my friend who’s involved in Guiding. She told me about it within my first couple of months of meeting her. I was so excited―I was like, ‘What’s this? What are you doing? It sounds so cool!’ I came to Canada 2015. 2016, before starting the year, she asked me, ‘Do you want to join Girl Guides?’ And I immediately said, ‘YES, I’m coming!’ She didn’t need to convince me. I was coming. I always say to my friends who’ve just come here from other countries to get involved in the community. For me, coming from another country, involvement in Girl Guides gave me the sense that I’m a part of this new place. I’m not an outsider. I’m not a foreigner. I’m a part of this community. I’m helping. There are other people helping me. I know other people outside my circle of people from my own country or people from my own school. Like, I’m out in the world. I’m not stuck in a bubble. It connects me to my new place. You might find this funny, but Girl Guides has forced me to get familiar with the childhood of people who grew up here which makes me feel more connected with people around me. And when I talk about my own volunteering experience, especially with other girls from other countries, I reflect on how we were not really encouraged in school to be independent and strong women out in the world. If you feel that absence, you can be part of the solution. Girl Guides can help you feel powerful and help young girls feel powerful. You can pass it forward. The positive energy you get back is worth the time you put into it. And if you don’t think you have time for it, just start volunteering part time. If you enjoy it, the time just opens up. Don’t hesitate!”

Misty McGill
Pathfinder Guider / District Commissioner
Guiding for almost 35 years in Port Coquitlam.

“It’s so fun…really! The variety of things I get to do. The impact that I get to make in the community with the girls and with other Guiders. Just keeping Guiding relevant and exciting. I just walk away feeling good. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time, I’ve walked away from a camp, or a meeting or a training feeling good. I did something good, and I’ve got something good from it. It gets me excited to do the next thing. Like when the Pathfinders wanted to go ziplining two years ago, and I was zero, like, minus 100% interested in going ziplining. I’m not really afraid of heights. I can go over a ledge and look over it, but I don’t want to go swing out across it―you know, that doesn’t interest me! But I thought, I’m always encouraging the girls to challenge themselves, and to know that if they were to waiver we’re here to support them. Even if they stepped onto that ledge and said, ‘Nope, not doing it!” It’s okay. And I thought, I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is. So I went ziplining with them. There was the first zip that was a little practice zip. It wasn’t very high―you know, you just get used to this and that. And then the next one was kind of like, okay you either turn back now or you do it. And I had one Pathfinder who was not really feeling it, and neither was I. She and I had a chat about how we felt about it, and we encouraged each other to do it. And we did! I definitely closed my eyes for the first three ziplines, and then I realized I was probably wasting my experience by keeping my eyes closed the whole time. So I opened my eyes for the last couple of ones. That was a good experience. If you’re thinking about Guiding, you’re going to love it! No matter what your interests are, your lived experience, your available time, there is a place for you. And you are going to love it! It’s going to be more fun than you thought, you’ll make new friends, and go to places you never thought you’d go. You don’t necessarily need to have a free Tuesday, every Tuesday―there are other options available. And if you just feel like you want to enrich your life by enriching others, then it’s all open.”