AROUND THE CAMPFIRE: Not just the girls who benefit from Girlguiding

Welcome to Around the Campfire, our section dedicated to the Scouting and Girlguiding groups and other uniformed youth organisations. This week's edition takes a look at the benefits of volunteering for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.

Reporter:

Nicola Hine

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From trips abroad to simply trying new things, there are many reasons why joining Girlguiding appeals to both adults and girls alike.

As the volunteers sharing their experiences on this page show, helping out within the organisation has many benefits, ranging from enhancing your CV to enabling you to meet new people, and even giving you something fun to look forward to after a busy day at work.

Maidenhead Girlguiding Division is looking to boost the number of volunteers it has, as the number of girls getting involved in the organisation continues to grow.

It’s not just leaders they are looking for – the team would like to hear from people who can act as unit helpers, and provide light admin, accounts, website and marketing support.

To find out more about Girlguiding, visit www.girlguidingmaidenhead.org.uk, or follow @GG_Maidenhead on Twitter.


Kate Snell is joint county commissioner for Royal Berkshire and a helper at 4th Maidenhead Guides.

By day she is an in-house recruiter for PerkinElmer.

She volunteered when her daughter Alex was taking her leadership qualification and needed an extra adult.

“I realised that if I was giving her a lift I may as well stay for the meeting,” she said.

Of the benefits of volunteering, Kate said: “I love doing daft things that some might say I should have grown out of. I even went down a zip wire which terrified me but the adrenalin rush afterwards was amazing. I also like to be useful and if I can use my skills for more girls to have new experiences and fun I get a huge amount of satisfaction.”

She added it is a great excuse to have fun and try new things.


Hannah Dutfield is unit leader of 1st Cookham Dean Brownies, mentor and marketing and PR co-ordinator for the Maidenhead Division.

The business development manager got involved during her Duke of Edinburgh Award at school, joining as a unit helper and later becoming leader.

She said: “Guiding gives me the chance to release my creative ideas and inner child.

“Working in a challenging corporate environment, there is nothing better than leaving work on a Thursday knowing that we will be getting the paint and glitter out or working on our latest challenge badge.

“The opportunity for Brownie weekends and holidays is also tremendously rewarding.”

Her volunteering highlight so far was travelling to Paris in 2013 and 2015, which gave the Brownies a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

To anyone considering volunteering, she said: “Prepare to make lots of new friends and discover new experiences.”


Kat Banks is Maidenhead senior section leader and organiser of INTOPS (INTernational OPportunitieS).

She works as an outdoor instructor at Dinton Pastures, a job she credits Guiding for.

She said: “I became a Brownie when I was seven and have never left. I just keep finding new, fun and exciting opportunities that make me proud to be part of the organisation, from taking part in a record breaking Cha Cha Slide at Blackpool Pleasure Beach to travelling to far flung places to help develop Guiding across the world.”

As part of the Guiding Overseas Linked with Development, or GOLD, projects, Kat made an eye-opening trip to The Gambia in 2014 and Ghana in 2015 to train young leaders and develop programme ideas for African Girl Guides.


Teaching assistant Bethanie Hadley is unit leader of 1st Woodlands Park Rainbows, mentor, peer 4 educator and member of Maidenhead senior section.

She said: “Having always wanted to work with children, my role in Girlguiding as a Rainbow leader has given me the experience I needed.

“Having gained experience working with children through Girlguiding, I was successful in my application to become a teaching assistant which is my full-time role.

“Volunteer experience looks great on your CV.”

Of her best moment, she said: “When I was a Guide myself I loved taking part in the WINGS international camp, which is a combined camp between Girlguiding and the Scout Association. Having really enjoyed my experience at WINGS I returned in 2014 as a leader.”

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