Denise King: Gilguiding is life-changing

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THIS week I was invited on to BBC Radio to talk about our call for more volunteers to join the 11,500 fabulous people already helping us change girls’ lives across Scotland. Before I went on air, we took to social media to ask those who give us their time for free to tell us why.

Some said they wanted to give something back after enjoying Brownies or Guides when they were young. Others that having fun, learning new skills and making new friends is what keeps them returning.

Girlguiding Scotland is Scotland’s biggest girl-only youth charity, giving thousands of girls and young women the chance to try new things, grow in confidence and make new friends – and lots more want to join us. This means we’ve now got 1500 girls on waiting lists in Edinburgh, despite almost the same number of volunteers running amazing Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Senior Section groups for thousands more girls across the city.

If the thought of volunteering with us conjures up outdated images of knee socks and home craft, fear not – Girlguiding Scotland is very different today from when it started 100 years ago. As a volunteer you could find yourself helping girls learn about stars, explore other cultures, go to pop concerts or try outdoor adventures such as abseiling.

And there’s no reason the volunteers can’t have just as much fun as the girls – leaders and Brownies alike partied in all sorts of wacky and wonderful ways to mark 100 years of the Brownies this year. In Edinburgh they took over the National Museum where they boogied the night away. Running a unit, and fitting it around family and work may seem daunting. But even helping for an hour a week or doing the accounts makes a difference. And the possibilities are limitless – from leading community projects in other parts of the world to organising national events – you’re never on your own, we provide training and support. The work volunteers do is, they tell us, life-changing for them as well as the girls. Join and help grow the next generation of inspiring women.

Denise King is chief executive of Girlguiding Scotland