Girl Guides' leaders needed

Photo: Girl Guides NZ
Photo: Girl Guides NZ
A lack of volunteer leaders is affecting the number of girls who can participate in Girl Guides.

Girl Guides New Zealand volunteer and programme team leader Belinda Turnbull said it has seen a drop of girls enrolling in Girl Guides because there has been no real marketing or push to get more girls to join the programme.

“The reason for that is because we cannot offer everyone the positive experience we know we can until we get more volunteer leaders, as we want to be able to provide a positive and safe experience for both our leaders and our girls,”  she said.

Turnbull said the drop in volunteers is due to people’s lives changing as well as the economy.

“People’s lives change, the shortage of leaders at the Northcote (Christchurch) unit is due to one just having a baby, another has moved overseas and the other found it overwhelming with work, study and volunteering.

“But volunteers from other units have rallied together to support Northcote while we recruit new volunteers and train them. They have all been working together as a team to create an experience for the girls.”

She said the economy is a bit of a problem, with most households unable to live off of one income.

“Both parents are usually working and between work and raising their own kids, most people don’t have time to volunteer.”

Turnbull said volunteering is a great way to give back and make new connections and friendships.

“Part of it is also raising our next generation of girls to be confident and adventurous. Volunteers can also gain development and training qualifications and first aid from volunteering.”

Local coordinator and regional hub coordinator Lisa Milroy said Guides is a unique opportunity for girls to reach their potential and have a safe place to explore, grow their confidence, find their passions, discover things that are important to them, and learn and exercise responsibility.

“Girls learn better without having to compete with boys, and guiding provides exactly that.

"In my time as a member I abseiled, learned to use a bow and arrow, shoot a BB gun, and sea kayak. Now I aim for leaders to get the same experience.”

-By Briar Allen