Helping girls embrace individuality
These days there are many distractions for girls in our communities, many of which can challenge or influence them in both positive and negative ways.
Girls feeling good about themselves and confident in their abilities and individuality is a great platform from which to step into adolescence and beyond. Currently only 197 girls in Southland are making the most of getting a chance to do this through GirlGuiding’s nonformal, ‘give it a go’ development programmes.
This is only made possible because of the 26 men and women who volunteer their time with the support of many parents.
What causes the number of girls involved to remain relatively low is both of concern and challenging to address.
In essence there are two factors that contribute to this. One is a shortage of volunteers who could share their time and help out in local groups. The other is the perception around the cost for families being too high.
Let’s clear up some misperceptions about volunteering with GirlGuiding. Volunteers running programmes in the community can be men or women and they don’t have to have any special skills or qualifications.
A great starting point for volunteering is a willingness to ensure good outcomes for girls.
Yes, there are cheaper activities for girls in Southland than GirlGuiding, but there are also activities that are more expensive. It all comes down to parental choice. It is impossible to put a price tag on learning or development opportunities and experiences that help a girl embrace her individuality and believe in herself.
Communities and societies change. Education, medical science and technology are changing and evolving. GirlGuiding has changed too – it encourages girls to have a say about what they do as well as what environmental, social or world issues concern them. Volunteering is about connecting with people in local communities.
It is a popular misperception that you have to make a weekly commitment. Yes, many men and women do make that commitment, but there is also an option to have a more flexible involvement with GirlGuiding.
Some volunteers choose to be involved on a rotational basis, others as time permits, and for people happy to share their particular skill or training they can be engaged only when asked to do so. If a week night commitment is not for you, but you could do a weekend day, once a week, once a month or once a term, there is still a place for you!
As a community, is Southland stepping up to ‘pay forward’ to girls who would benefit from interacting in an environment of fun and encouragement and just being a girl? Are there individuals or organisations that could sponsor a girl or girls to belong?
Cath Ford is recruitment manager for GirlGuiding NZ.
Southland Girl Guides have fun with group activities.