It’s National Volunteer Week and a couple nights ago I was invited to volunteer at a Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) unit meeting. I jumped at the opportunity because, as you might have heard me mention on air at CP24, I was a Girl Guide in high school in St.Vincent.
Girrrlll I wore that uniform with such pride. Especially the fact that I wore my mom’s old guide belt. When I rose to the ranks of patrol leader I took the role very seriously. I even put that experience on my first resume! And why not, I gained leadership skills, it taught me how to think on my feet and I also developed my public speaking skills. All of which I used in my career.
On Monday I volunteered with the 70th Toronto Pathfinders. I was warmly welcomed to the meeting by a group of young girls (aged 12-14) bursting with enthusiasm and promise. Shining eyes, tousled hair…rattling off grandiose plans to meet the characters from their favourite TV shows. That night we did 2 activities; each led by two volunteers. We made a Snapchat filter as a potential way to promote a cookie sale. We then used that activity as an opportunity to talk about online safety. Next up we made lavender scented candles. I was super impressed at some of the creations. That activity offered a segue into a chat about the calming nature of Lavender and how it could be used during stressful times.
It wasn’t until I visited the 70th Pathfinders that it dawned on me that my girl guide leaders Mrs. Soleyn and Mrs. Crichton were actually volunteers! You don’t think about these things as a youngster. I always say to friends that my guide leader Mrs. Soleyn “saw” me. She recognized something in me…believed in me. And in turn I gained self confidence and the drive to dream big! Mrs. Soleyn, and all GGC volunteers really, have such a profound, positive impact on the lives of young girls and help them become confident, resourceful and courageous young women.
Turns out Girl Guides of Canada is one of the largest networks of female volunteers in the country with over 19,000 adult and girl volunteers. I looked on in awe on Monday night as the volunteer leaders like Andrea and Shannon engaged with their Pathfinders. It was pretty cool to see them be neutral enough for the girls to open up and then still be able to offer advice without sounding too preachy. I also like that you can find a volunteer position with GGC that aligns with your passion. So media, public relations, financial adviser or outdoor specialist or something along those lines. It’s led to me thinking more about how I can give back. After the meeting some of the volunteers who are my age, were talking about how rewarding to build their resume and develop professional skills while still inspiring the girls to reach their full potential. I could totally see myself in those Pathfinders, and I have no doubt that one of those volunteers will be their Mrs. Soleyn.
Thank you 70th Pathfinders Toronto for welcoming me!! Look out for my next vlog where I’ll show you a bit of my volunteer experience. If you wanna apply for a GGC volunteer position, check out GirlGuides.ca
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