I have the privilege of volunteering for some amazing organisations and really helping other people but also gaining invaluable skills for when I am eventually in the position to return to the work force.
Lets tell you about what I do...
1. Girlguiding UK.
I have been involved in Guiding (Girl Guides, when I joined) since I pulled on a brown dress, at age 7, not dissimilar to this one here, and have loved it ever since.
I loved the Pack Holidays to random church halls, often with not much to do locally but lots of washing up, cooking & cleaning.
I loved camping even when it was raining and muddy and everything I had taken with me was wet.
I love the opportunities it has given me from the opportunity to discover I love climbing, but hate abseiling, the chance to go to Poland not once, but twice to the chance to really find out things about myself as a person.
The international camps, the chance to cook wonderful food on open wood fires and discover that there is no temperature control and some food that you would not eat at home tastes absolutely wonderful when eaten outdoors with slight (read burnt) charring.
Who am I to deny these fantastic opportunities to a new generation of girls & inspire a new generation to reach their full potential?
So I hit 18, gained my warrant and promptly left to go to university where it was difficult to fit in the regular weekly meetings, so I joined SSAGO and had some fun.
Then I graduated and started working - shift work is not conclusive to Guiding, but looking back now I realise that just working is not enough, I needed another challenge.
When we finally moved back to Sussex I could not wait to get stuck in. A friend needed an Assistant Guider and that was it, I was back in. It was great to get back into giving back. I had a chance to walk it the Lord Mayors Show, visit Our Chalet in Switzerland & attend my first Catholic Church Service.
When I fell pregnant with Isaac I started looking for a unit closer to home and found a fantastic unit where I made some fantastic friends and created centenary memories not just for me, but for Isaac & Imogen as well.
|Our family on the 2nd Crawley Down Guides Centenary Trip to London, July 2010. Riding on the London Eye|
When I had Imogen, I found that helping run a Guide Unit was not conclusive to family life, especially when I had a husband who works night shift. Eventually after much sole searching I decided I needed an option that fitted with family life.
After a quick meeting with some NCT friends it became very apparent that there was a need for Rainbow Units in Crawley and several emails later I appeared to have agreed to help set one up. Which we did.
That unit is still going strong and has helped rejuvenate a fellow guider. In the meantime I became aware of a unit that was going to close. This was a far more local unit to me & the one that I probably would have wanted Imogen to attend. I had a couple of meetings with the guider there and was all set to take it over & then BOOM Bowel Cancer struck (see it creeps in everywhere) & I had to take a back seat. I could not have run a demanding rainbow unit and dealt with all I have. ,
But when chemo ended in April 2012 I was raring to go. So I have joined a new unit (the old one had to close unfortunately) and already met some lovely people and done some incredible things.
So what is involved in volunteering for Girlguiding UK?
Honestly as much or as little as you want.
I probably put in a couple of hours a week plus an hour long meeting. But its not work, it's browsing sites like Pinterest, iChild & activity village for ideas & crafts that might work. It's being able to delegate the paperwork (now mostly on-line) to someone else ;)
And it is about giving those girls the time of their life and giving them the spark that I was given so many years ago.
That was a lot longer than I anticipated, so I shall tell you about my other work later.
If in the meantime you are interested in finding out more about Girlguiding UK or volunteering & inspiring a new generation of young people, why not visit The Girlguiding UK website