Jeanette Anderson is a Flexible Volunteer Team Member in the Upper North Area. Flexible Volunteer Team Members are people who may not have any previous involvement in GirlGuiding NZ but have specific skills to offer, or they can be Unit Leaders having time out from a regular commitment. Flexible Volunteer Team Members support local units, local and regional events, area activities or one-off events like Discoveries and Jamborees in a wide variety of ways.
Jeanette is excited by the flexibility this option offers her and here she shares her enthusiasm for leading ‘Discoveries’, our one – to five-day themed events for girls.
Before becoming a Leader, Jeanette herself was a girl member, enrolling early in Brownies (aged seven) and carrying on through to the end of Rangers (17) before taking a break for a couple of years to complete her Bachelor’s degree.
“Rejoining as an adult, I took a Guide unit (as a volunteer Leader) for approximately eight years” she says, “before changes to our meeting venue caused our girl numbers to drop, forcing my unit to close. I then became a District Support Leader before the restructure of GirlGuiding NZ saw me move to a Specialist Leader role which later morphed into the Volunteer Leader Pool” (now Flexible Volunteer Team).
“In 2018 I answered the call in Leaders’ Link (an internal newsletter for GirlGuiding NZ volunteers) to submit proposals for new Discoveries, which at the time had been largely restricted to tramping. I managed to connect with two other Leaders who helped develop, and later run, the Magnifiscience Discovery in January 2019. Having caught the bug, I really wanted to create and run another one! In January 2020, at my second discovery Animal ENVentures, we spent five days training, cuddling, and learning to care for animals at Unitec, and investigating ecology at Matuku Link. Afterwards I couldn’t wait for the next one and thought I might squeeze another into 2020 but then we jumped on the rollercoaster of Covid-19 lockdowns. All the plans and ideas went on the backburner, thinking Jamboree 2021 would be next big event; little did we know it would be postponed for a year and in April 2021 PerformHERs Madly Music kicked off the next theme.
“Running a Discovery is addictive. It takes a bit to plan them but being in the Flexible Volunteer Team allows me to incorporate planning time into the flexibility of my own schedule. They are a huge amount of fun to plan and run, especially getting to take the girls to offsite activities that are not normally achievable in a typical unit time or budget. Another highlight is that you get to work with new people you may not have met or worked with before – a bit like Jamboree.
“We always need people to help – a pair of willing hands is all that’s required, so if you have a day, or five, or even just a night to spare, please sign up the next time you see the call for help at Discoveries.
“Watch this space for the next adventure in 2022!”