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Friday, January 25, 2013

5 Things I Have Learned From Being a Girl Guide Leader

I’ve been a Girl Guide leader for 10 years and helped out with units before that. I’ve worked with Sparks (ages 5-6), Brownies (ages 7-8) and Guides (ages 9-11) and currently work with all three. I’ve learned lots of things from my volunteer work with Girl Guides.

5 Things I Learned From Being a Girl Guide Leader

  1. The Importance of Every Child Having an Adult They Can Trust. In an ideal family, the child can trust the parents with their problems, secrets and feelings. Sometimes that isn’t the case and even if it is, sometimes the child finds it too hard to talk to the parent about private issues. That’s where knowing other adults who have gained the child’s trust come in handy. I’ve listened to girls problems a few times or have even just given them a knowing look when we both know what’s going on but no words are exchanged. I do my duty if it comes to disclosing abuse but otherwise, if no one is getting hurt, I’m there for them, to just listen, or give advice if they want.
  2. How to Make Mundane Tasks Fun. Your child despises cleaning bathrooms, going grocery shopping with you, doing dishes and the like. Yet they do it willing at Girl Guides and camp. Why? We make it fun. Part of it is doing it in a group. Part of it is that they helped cook first so clean-up doesn’t seem as bad. Grocery shopping is made fun by making it a scavenger hunt. “This is our list, find the items.” “Which margarine would you choose and why?” This is followed by explaining your choice and why you choose it. And so on.
  3. Every Child Really IS Different. We have all learned that we are all unique but yet we often expect each child to behave in the same way or have the same level of responsibility or knowledge as other children his or her age.  Children (and adults) are not just different in skill level but in personality and ideals too. Some children really can’t sit still for 20 minutes. They aren’t misbehaving, their bodies are not made that way. Some children cannot focus on more than one instruction at a time. It’s not that they are not paying attention, their brain does not work that way. Different children require different expectations.
  4. How to Help the Homesick. At our overnights, we often get a child or even a few, who are homesick. They miss their family, miss their home, miss their pets. It can range from mild moping to full on hysterical crying. Our policy is not to send the child home unless they cannot be consoled at all and it’s been tried for awhile. We do this because the only way to overcome homesickness is to go away from home. Since I used to get homesick when I was younger (and still sometimes do,) I have learned some tricks to help those who are homesick such as drawing them a picture for when they go home, thinking of how proud they will be when they make it and even telling my story of homesickness.
  5. How to Make Learning Fun. At Girl Guides, the girls complete program which earns them badges. We don’t want Girl Guides to be just like school so we don’t give them worksheets to complete or essays to write. We try to keep paper work to a minimum and even then it usually involves games or puzzles somehow. The girls learn best by DOING. So we do Science Experiments, play games, make crafts, engage in drama and go on field trips.

I’ve learned more than that, way more than that. I love being a Girl Guide Leader and highly recommend you get the women and girls in your family involved in Guiding/Scouting in your country.


  1. Samantha5:16 PM

    This is my second year as a Girl Guide leader and I love every minute of it. I love meeting the new girls and getting to know them, having them see me every week and how excited they are to learn. I love that I am a part of teaching them things and that I am learning more by interacting with many different children on a regular basis.

  2. You're so right all children are different even with the same parents in the in same house they are all so different and individual and I've always tried hard to treat them all different because they all deal with things differently.

  3. I did like it when I was a leader. We had so much fun and I learned as much as the girls did sometimes.

    Maybe, I will "earn" another "badge" or two from you again this weekend. *grins*

    Thanks and good job!

  4. How wonderful, I love hearing your perspective. I used to be a Brownie for a short while, I really enjoyed my time. We learned so much and experienced some really wonderful things.

  5. Love the post. Being as we Guide together i agree with it all. Guiding has taught me a lot as well.

  6. I was in Girls scouts when younger and then in Camp Fire boys and girls. I remember having so much fun.

  7. I also had anxiety about not being home when I was a little girl. By the time I went to overnight camps with the girl scouts, I was better. Thankfully!

    Great job taking on your own challenge!! I enjoyed writing my post a lot.

  8. Great post. Oh those wonderful camping days!

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