Alumnae Interview: Shirley Fisher

Shirley Fisher is an alumna of GirlGuiding NZ and is one of only five that have been a member of our Trefoil Guild for over 50 years. Read her story below!

“Trefoil has kept us in touch with Guiding and it has been the backbone of GirlGuiding in NZ to a certain extent. Back in the day when we were all young leaders, once we started a family, we realised we needed a way to keep in touch. Trefoil allowed us to do this, and some went straight back into leading and Guiding. The Trefoil Guild kept current leaders in touch even though we were all spread around the place.

It was during the Second World War that a friend of mine, who was a patrol leader, invited me to come along to Guides. I should have been a Brownie (I was too young to be a Guide technically), but there was a shortage of leaders due to most of them being called out to the war. My leader had a young family so was exempt from the call-up. Once I chose to do Guiding and I put on my uniform, I haven’t wanted to get out of it since.

The fun, the fellowship, and the ideals of Guiding made me stick with it for as long as I have. We used to have 10 Guide laws and Guiding made us come to appreciate the foundations of these laws. Guiding meant so much to me back then, especially because of the war, and this has carried through to today.”

She further adds, “I loved Rangering, camping, tramping and cycling 30 miles to Rangers to camp for the weekend and then cycling all the way back on Sunday night. Rangering was very special to me, and I believe it is one of the things that holds people to Guiding.

GirlGuiding was basically 24 hours a day. Outside of Guiding however, we did square dancing with other units. I still go to square dances but just to socialize! I walk a lot nowadays, just a step down from my hiking days and I love being involved with my Church, local foodbank, cardmaking, and gardening. I also do the monthly Trefoil eLink in my spare time which is one way we catch up with each other and hear what the different guilds get up to each month; my wanting to keep in touch became an organised reality.

We used to do lightweight camping. Our showers and toilets were all manmade from the earth, and we used handmade tripods to put our washing buckets on. One of the biggest changes I have noticed from my days as a Girl Guide is changes in camping; last time I helped out with a camp one of the girls asked me where the hairdryers were!

I think that Guiding can make a difference. It can be instrumental in changing things, creating a better world that starts with our local communities. We are producing girls and leaders that make a difference, whether it be in families, homes, or communities, and they are making amazing change.”

Shirley sends a special message – “To all the Girl Guides today: Keep Guiding. Then friendships you make will be valued and your experiences will take you into a much wider world.’’

If you know someone who wants to join GirlGuiding NZ, encourage them to go for it! More information can be found here

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