Volunteer Interview: David McLintock

David McLintock, a GirlGuiding NZ volunteer (and a fisherman!), tells his tales of adventure and fishing with Girl Guides.

David grew up with his two sisters who were members of GirlGuiding NZ when they were kids, and then went on to become volunteer leaders later. His first interaction with Girl Guides was with his sisters; helping them set up camps on Friday evenings, loading up and taking out trailers of gear, and coming back on Sunday to help pack the campsites down.

“My daughter got into it (Girl Guides) in New Brighton when she was six or seven and has done it right through; I would come every now and then and help out, taking them fishing, using power tools and doing woodwork. She is now 19 and runs a Brownie group in Christchurch.

I ended up getting where I am now because a flyer came through on the computer where GirlGuiding was looking for a fishing instructor. I thought that sounded like a bit of me, so I put my hand up; I’ve done a lot of fishing over the years, and I’m super passionate about it. In spring and summer, I help take the girls fishing at the Kaiapoi and Avon Rivers where there are floating platforms. During these trips we catch the fish and put them in a fish crate. We watch them swim around and then we release them back into the water. The girls love to watch them swim around, and love touching them! In winter we feed the eels in the Eel Hotel, which are in the river by the Bridge of Remembrance. When we feed the eels, we catch some in a net and put them in a bucket, watch it wriggle around, then release them back to their homes.

There is always a chance that someone gets a hook in their finger accidentally; it’s the nature of the activity. It has only ever happened once: to me! I dug it into my thumb and had to try and drag it out without anyone seeing it. On a trip, we got to go on the Coastguard Rescue Boat and have a look around with the girls.”

He further shares his experience, “I started fishing when I was six or seven years old and it has got me involved in nature and passionate about the environment. I just want to have some fun and expose the girls to what’s out there right in their backyard. Most of the girls have never been fishing and it is such a good first-time event for a lot of them. We need more girls in that environment; fishing is just an excuse to be out in nature and learning more about our world and we need people passionate about it to look after it and restore it. Doing this with them is just one way to introduce them to the amazing environment we have.

The first catch I ever made was a yellow-eyed mullet caught on Tahuna Beach at a fishing competition when I was six years old. I have now been fishing for 51 years. Since then, I have made yearly trips doing land-based fishing in the North Island chasing Kingfish and Snapper. This trip is very special and the tough journey to the fishing spot makes the spectacular views even better. I also enjoy trout fishing, fly fishing, mountain biking, and tramping when I am not fishing. Now that my kids are older I have more free time to do these hobbies with my newfound spare time and independence!

The hardest part of doing activities with the girls is the first time: it took me a few times to get things right and I am still refining things as I go along. Backing yourself is also important and you must go into it feeling confident. Whatever you are involved in, the girls will have a good time either way, especially if you bring a bit of passion and enthusiasm. It is very enjoyable putting something back into the community. I believe the world will be a better place with girls having more opportunities and if they were in charge of the world a bit more.”

In the end, David leaves an important message for the girls “So, girls: take all the opportunities you can, get out, see nature, and enjoy it!”

If you, like David, want to inspire young women with your extraordinary skills, register to be a volunteer here!  

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