GirlGuiding Kaitaia & Kerikeri looking for leaders September 2020

GirlGuiding uses fun, adventure and friendship to build the confidence and life skills of girls aged between 5-17

Rock climbing, land yachting, water sliding on a block of ice and, Yvette’s favourite, sumo wrestling are all activities she has undertaken as a GirlGuiding New Zealand leader over the past 20 years. She encourages anyone who wants to help grow our girls and likes a bit of adventure to volunteer for GirlGuiding New Zealand.

Like many leaders, Yvette started in the GirlGuiding family as a Brownie when she was 7. Her longevity in the role she puts down to the enjoyment she gets from interacting with all the girls, the supportive environment of the leadership team and the opportunities to do activities she wouldn’t normally do!

Chyvon agrees, her daughter finished Guides some years ago and she continued as a leader. “Being a leader is something I do for me - I really enjoy the humour of the girls who have a very enlightened outlook on the world. While we encourage them they also encourage us to go out of our comfort zone and try new experiences.”

From a start in 1910 in New Zealand as Peace Scouting for girls - a girls’ equivalent to Scouts, GirlGuiding now empowers girls to take action to change their world in over 150 countries. In Northland girls from the age of 5 - 17-years are involved with GirlGuiding New Zealand’s Pippin, Brownie and Guide units operating in Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Whangarei and Kamo.

Mary-Anne McAllister, from GirlGuiding New Zealand says “all our Northland units have waitlists as they are full. We’d love to start more units and need extra hands to accommodate the girls who are ready to move on to the next stage in Guiding.”

Since she has moved home Hazel is also giving back to an organisation which has given so much to her by volunteering when she can, especially with the outdoor water activities. She went all the way through to the GirlGuiding Queens Guide Award which was presented to her by the then Governor General, Sir Jerry Mataparae. “The skills I learnt I use everywhere, including when I joined the army and went travelling. I was the one who could cook, light a fire, do basic first aid and put up a tent - a skill that my friends agree was very useful at music festivals.”

Over the giggles and chatter of the Kamo Unit doing activities supporting GirlGuiding’s International World Thinking Day, Yvette adds “GirlGuiding provides a safe place for all girls to develop at their own pace, to choose how they want to take action and change their world. I get a real buzz from seeing the growth from quiet young girls to confident, active members of the group.”

Story by volunteer reporter Cindy Borrie, Volunteering Northland