Guiding OpportunitiesGuide giving a speech in front of a red background

My name is Alice Greene and I have been a guide since I was five, I am now 16 and over the past 11 years guides has taught me many things and given me many experiences the majority of which I would never have gained otherwise.

Although I can't remember much from when I first began guides I do remember feeling incredibly nervous as I was unsure what to expect, I remember trying to hide behind my dad until another girl grabbed my hand and asked me to play with her and soon I couldn't wait for my dad to leave so the meeting could start.

The girls who I met at that first guides meeting are still some of my closest friends today. We have shared so many amazing memories together such as the fashion show in cygnets to our camping queen dance at guides regional camp. We have helped each other through many stressful times from our transfer test to the pandemic and I am so thankful for guides as anytime I was stressed, worried or upset about anything, guides was a place where I could take a break and relax for an hour or so a week.

The girls and leaders at guides were always there for me and supported me. Guides gave me many opportunities to express myself and my interests. For example, I love drama and in Briginis we got to create and perform plays for our families which let me show off my talents.

But they also gave me opportunities to try new things and taught me to go into everything with a positive attitude knowing I would try my best such as when we went abseiling and although I am terrified of heights I gave it a go and ended up having tons of fun. This attitude is something which I have carried on to many other aspects of my life such as when I meet new people or start a new topic at school and it has led me to excel in many things which otherwise I would have just said were too difficult or frightening. I am incredibly thankful for guides for teaching me this.

I got to use this can-do attitude at 12 when I was asked if I would like to take part in the Chief Commissioner's Award and am glad that I said yes. The Chief Commissioner's Award was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever taken part in. Through the award I got to take part in typical guiding activities such as a hike and a camp but I also got to participate in more unique and rewarding experiences such as helping out at a foodbank or creating a magazine for other guides about body positivity. The award taught me many other skills that are becoming more and more useful such as the interview for the final stage of the award which was excellent practice for job interviews.Although the award was terribly exciting at times it could be quite stressful but whenever I was concerned I always knew I could speak to my Guider or another Guide taking part and come up with a solution.

Group of 6 Guides in a line in front of stone steps holding flowers

The award ceremony was at Trinity college in Dublin and was amazing to get to travel to Dublin with some of my best friends and visit one of the most beautiful Universities in the world. I received the gold award and it led to me being invited to the award ceremony to speak the next year. Despite the fact I was making a speech in a room full of people at only 13 I wasn’t that nervous as guides had instilled me with confidence to know I would do amazing and I wasn’t worried about the audience as it was an audience of Guides and Guiders who I knew would support me. Without Guides I am not sure if I would have been able to perform that speech and I probably would have just said no as that was the easier option.

If anyone out there was questioning whether or no to join guides or whether or not to send their daughter then I would tell them that it is the best decision my parents ever made for me and I am so thankful for the guides. They gave me opportunities and attitudes I would never have otherwise and have been so useful in other parts of my life.

For example, my Chief Commissioner's speech meant I was confident enough to make a speech for the student council and led to me becoming a council member. Not only that but it gave me some lifelong friends who I know could help me through any problems or make me laugh no matter what I was feeling. Therefore if you are considering joining Guides please do not hesitate as it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

Alice Greene, Northern Region