Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A post about Juliette Low, JLS and International Guiding Thoughts

I knew that a Guiding International Event I wanted to apply for was online, so I logged onto the site today and got really distracted by the Juliette Low Seminar being held at Sangam next year. I only knew of Juliette Low in relation to the seminars, known as the JLS within WAGGGS, so I decided to do some research.

YouTube had a fantastic series which runs for about half an hour on the life and times of Juliette Low, half of which is about her life as a Guide. Juliette was known as Daisy, grew up in America and married a wealthy British man. She moved to England with him and enjoyed life as a socialite, also dabbling in various forms of Art. Daisy was known her her antics, and several of her friends share the store of Daisy's midnight invitations to go fishing. Daisy has lost the majority of her hearing when she was first married, and used this to her advantage, having slective hearing when she heard a 'no'.

Daisy and her husband separated 15 years later, but he died just before their divorce was finalised, leaving her with an allowance to be distributed by his mistress. Daisy and her lawyer sued againist this, and she was eventually given a more suitable inheritance, including a house back in Savannah. It was around this time Daisy became friends with Robert Baden-Powell (known in our Movement as Lord Baden-Powell or BP), who introduced her to the Girl Guides. After setting up her own company in Scotland, Daisy then travelled home to America and began the Girl Scouting Movement in her home country. Initally the girls were known as Girl Guides, but, as our Girls tend to do, they requested they be known as a name they created for themselves, the Girl Scouts. Daisy began the Girl-led process of Guiding that we know today. Daisy had a knack of using her connections to help make things happen and regularly recruited her friends and acquaintances into helping the Movement.

Daisy was never one for rules and often said and did as she pleased. She dabbled in many different areas and often had something on the go. In her Handbook for the Girl Scouts, Daisy encouraged the girls to develop themselves in two skill sets, so if one career path didn't work out, they could easily attempt another. As a progessive woman, her suggestions included working as a translator, an architect or in the aviation field - very unheard of during this time! Her family and friends were astounded to think she was keen on working with Girl Guides as she had never shown interest in working with girls... or obeying rules!

Daisy wrote the handbook and paid for the running of Girl Scouts for a long time, until she was urged by her family to incorporate the organisation and fundraise. It was at this stage that she asked the First Lady, Mrs Edith B. Wilson, to become the first Honorary National President of the Girl Guides, which is a tradition which has carried on to this day. Daisy suffered from breast cancer, which was something she went through in secret. She continued to make her Trans-Atlantic trips, during her last trip, on board a cruise ship she dressed as a ghost with empty bottled around her waist and neck. She called herself  'Departed Spirits'. Daisy passed away at the age of 66 in 1927. She is considered the Founder of the Girl Scout Movement, and her birthday (31 October - Halloween) is celebrated as Founders Day in America.

First of wall, what an incredible story! As a free spirit myself, I really relate to Daisy's life and her motivation to keep going. Daisy is famed to have organised the first International Camp, and it only seems fitting that the seminar is based around the cencept of leadership.

During since 1932, JLS is one of the most well known and sought after seminars of its kind. Each country can send one delegate, in Australia that can be someone from 20-30 years old. As the event is held triannually, this is my only chance to apply. Regardless of whether I'm accepted, I feel like I have learnt a lot more about the Movement tonight ad it's given me the boost I've needed since I got back from my trip to Rarotonga.

I still haven't blogged about my trip because there's a lot to say, and not enough all at the same time. I really appreciated the opportunity and enjoyed spending time with other like-minded girls, but it was also not really what I expected either. I had a wonderful time, and it wasn't that I was under prepared, I just felt we could have done the same amount of things in a shorter time frame.

One thing I'd like to put out there is costing of these trips. This year I have been away twice for Guides, and that would be impossible for me without the support and funding from my own member organisation (Girl Guides Australia), my State Organisation (Lady Swift Travel Fund) WAGGGS and the Amy Bush Bursary, which supports members in the Asia-Pacific Region. Yes, I do self-fund some of my trips, but some of it is sponsored too. I started applying for International Events because I love travel, but also because Annie has encouraged me to seek funding from different sources, and has told me not to discount the idea just because I don't have the money sitting in the bank.

I don't know, I mean, if I apply and I don't get accepted, I think that's fine, I have had the opportunity to travel twice with Guides in the last six months, and both trips have been amazing. And I know that I will be a Guide for life, and that there will be plenty of other opportunities to develop my leadership skills and learn more about WAGGGS. The amazingly incredible Rosey has been a huge inspiration to me, through her determination and spirit to be part of International Guiding and visit the World Centres.

I really really lucked out on my 27th birthday when I was all bored and miserable and looking for something to do, and stumbled across volunteering for Guiding. It has been the best birthday present ever.