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Guides Go Places – Experiencing the Asia-Pacific Conference



Earlier this year, Ruby Sands – former girl member, one of our awesome volunteers and also a board member – went to the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) Asia Pacific Regional Conference.

“I was very grateful to be awarded the Mona Burgin Scholarship to represent GirlGuiding New Zealand at the 13th Asia Pacific Regional Conference which was held in Taiwan in August. It was also a fun celebration of 50 years of Guiding in the Asia Pacific Region!

I attended the Young Women in Governance Event prior to the conference, which was attended by young leaders from across the AP region. It was a great chance to talk to other young women who hold decision-making roles within their organisations. We discussed topics such as modernising communications, perceptions of young leaders, building our personal skillsets and how we can remove barriers for other young leaders to take up decision-making roles.

We also heard from the Asia Pacific Board Chair Marybelle Mariñas about the difficult decisions and challenges that have been a part of her role. As the young leader on the GirlGuiding New Zealand Board this was a great event to develop skills, build connections and bring ideas back to GirlGuiding here!

At the Conference itself Susan (GirlGuiding NZ CEO) and I presented on different aspects of what we do here in New Zealand. I presented on our “Girls Who Look Like Us” campaign as part of Action on Body Confidence. Everyone was very impressed and is excited to see its impact.

Some highlights from the sessions included hearing about other Girl-Led Programmes and the WAGGGS Advocacy Champions talking about how their new platform can help girls learn about the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the formal part of the conference we were introduced to the Regional Action Plan. We voted on things that we want the Asia Pacific Board to implement in the next three years. I proposed a motion on behalf of New Zealand and other Young Women in Governance for WAGGGS to investigate how they communicate nomination processes for the AP Board, so that more young women are aware of roles and opportunities.

International night was a great chance to have some fun! Each country offered a quiz question and, somehow, I ended up singing Royals by Lorde on stage with Chelsea from the Phillipines, who won a Kiwi for her efforts!

Taiwan is an amazing place and we had a wonderful time with the Girl Scouts of Taiwan, who volunteered at the conference and performed on cultural night. The different types of street food, temples, creative arts centre and museums all left a huge impression and I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity.”

Ruby Sands