Ashleigh is a girl member in Rangers (a section for girls between 12-17 years old), who recently completed her Queen’s Guide Award after almost 10 years of being a Girl Guide. Amazing work Ashleigh!!
Read her story in her own words:
‘‘I am 17 years old, I live in Bombay, South Auckland and I am currently in the Pukekohe Rangers. I am in my final year of high school and am planning to go into Marketing and Communications once I graduate. I run the social media accounts for my school as the ‘Communications prefect’, running the media team and making videos and posts for the school.
Next to my primary school we had a Scout Den; they started up Brownies (unit) when I was seven years old, and I entered GirlGuiding New Zealand then. My mother and aunt had done GirlGuiding with my grandmother as their leader, so mum encouraged me to start and became my Brownie Leader.
I was shy when I was younger so having my mum there helped me gain some confidence and get into it. My best friend from Guiding also had their mum as a leader so it all worked out really well. We always stayed behind after the meetings, cleaning up while our mums were debriefing. I loved the environment in Brownies and eventually moved to Guides in Pukekohe.
I used to dance but zoom dance classes were too tricky to keep going with that (I still love it though). I also enjoy going out on the water with my family on the boat and I love doing photography at school.
I was always too scared to go on any Jamborees, but I recently had the opportunity to undertake the ‘Spirit of Adventure’; 5-day trip where Girl Guides and NZ Scouts experience life on sea sailing around in NZ waters together. This was an incredible experience alongside the various regional camps I have been to over the years.
In Guides we had to plan our own camp and I did mine in the middle of winter. When the camp rolled around it was super stormy with thunder and lightning. We had to cover everything with tarpaulins and we had to sprint to the hall for shelter! Another time we were camping and it was awful weather, my tent pole broke and I thought someone was attacking us. People were also throwing up outside and the rain made it seep into our tent thanks to a nasty stomach bug going around. We ended up having to sleep in a car. Utter chaos!!
I found that Guides pushed me as a person, growing my confidence, and teaching me helpful things for my future. I was too afraid to light even a match going into Guiding. I was always taught that fire was bad and to be afraid of fire, but you had to make and light a fire for Guides. Doing this helped me overcome my fears and shy nature, pushing me out of my comfort zone. The leadership opportunities were also amazing through being a patrol leader and having to make decisions within these groups, often on the spot. Guides gave me the skills to go into my schooling and personal life with leadership, confidence, and practical skills. Most of my friends still don’t know how to put up a tent!
Moving forward, I am going to press pause on my 10+ years of Girl Guiding. I have loved it so much but I am ready to take a break and come back and lead our volunteer in the future, maybe after university, maybe being the leader for my future kids.”
Ashleigh shares a great message for Guides “To all current Girl Guides: make the most of every opportunity. Looking back, I wish I went on those Jamborees even though I was scared. Make the most of everything while you can and take a leap of faith sometimes.”
If you know someone who wants to join GirlGuiding NZ, encourage them to go for it! More information can be found here.