I really wanted to express some gratitude to something I love and hold dear to my heart - Guiding.
I remember how I first felt after beginning Speech and Drama lessons. I felt like a whole world had opened up to me, and everything I already did was part of it, without realising it. My love for words and reading and making people laugh translated into something practical; performance. Speech and Drama was my first love, though how I feel about it ebbs and flows a lot these days.
I've talked a lot about being a Guide this year, and if you've read other posts about it, you'll know I've been a Guide since I was 6. Friday nights at Gumnuts, followed by a soft serve at Maccas, chased up with watching Mr Bean with Dad was a common staple in my childhood. As a Gumnut and a Brownie, we had a very active Unit and I was able to be involved in a lot of activities with the Guides and Scouts. So when I came back to Guiding twenty years later, I already understood how it worked. Kind of.
The Guide Promise and Law, and the identify that form with it, I believe, is a life time experience, if you want it to be. We say 'once a Guide, always a Guide', and as an adult, if you're keen to pursue Guiding, that's truth.
I am blessed to be part of the Guiding Sisterhood. I love my Guiding sisters, the camaraderie that comes with solidarity, the courage and strength that comes will challenges and giving absolutely anything a go. But it's more than that. It's about being something bigger than yourself, or your community, or even your country. It's a global Movement.
Guiding has meant that I have friends from all around the world. I have friends from different religions, who don't speak a lot of English, who do Guiding in a very different way than we do back here in Australia. Until I visited Sangam, and indeed India, I didn't realise what multiculturalism means or could look like without all the political correctness surrounding it. I found myself wanting to visit countries I had never really heard of, or thought I'd want to see.
It's more than travel though. And I'll be honest, trying to be a Guide is hard work, a lot. There have been tears, and internal rants and frustration that comes with volunteering for any organisation. But my bad days are very few, and my good days are incredible.
This was something I didn't know I wanted in my life. But, it found me. Again.
I have Guiding friends leaving for Our Chalet today, and Saturday (yes, Grand Final weekend) I leave for my GOLD trip to the Cook Islands. And that's just in my little world. Everywhere else in the world there are girls getting ready for Guide meetings in their schools, halls and churches, Lone Guides working through challenges with help from their Leaders, vollies at our World Centres and groups of Trefoil Guilds supporting and encouraging everyone, young and old, in whatever course Guiding is taking them on.
This will be my last entry before my GOLD trip, so in terms of an update, well, we're going great guns with our preparation and can't wait to be going back in time (22 hours behind Australia) to spend some time in the beautiful South Pacific.