Inspired by a recent Girlguiding blog post / magazine article I am starting a series of 12 blog posts about steps to becoming a great leader and how I have tried to achieve them in the past. You can read the Girlguiding article here:
Step 1 – Believe in yourself
“Remember: you are awesome. By staying positive, trusting yourself, and not being afraid to ask for help, you can set a great example. And keep in mind that it’s OK to fail – it’s part of learning.”
So… when have I failed in Girlguiding? And how did I overcome it?
The first thing that springs to mind was my first Brownie Holiday. Our unit did not have a licenced leader able to take Brownies away overnight, so as soon as I completed my Leadership qualification I started on this.
My mistake? Assuming more Brownies would sign up to attend and therefore under charging the parents.
There was so much interest from the girls, but out of group of 24 only 8 girls signed up. This could’ve been parents reluctant to send their kids with a training leader, I’m not sure why the number was so low, but I started to panic I couldn’t even use the weekend toward my qualification.
Speaking to District Commissioner we managed to find three Brownies from her unit who wanted to join us making the numbers up to 11. I had the numbers for the weekend but the amount I had charged was still too low. I had to do the awful task of writing to the parents and explaining the situation. Luckily all were okay to pay extra for the trip.
It was an awful experience and one I hope never to find myself in again. I now charge a fee under the impression of a much lower number. If we have extra money we use it towards bigger activities or return some after the event.
This was very much a ‘learn from your mistakes’ moment and I have grown from it.
Another mistake I had to learn from the hard way was accepting a Brownie transfer. We had one request from a parent who’s daughter couldn’t attend her old unit due to a sibling’s medical sessions taking place at the same time, following an accident. As a charity it seemed the right thing to do, especially considering a girl had just left us unexpectedly due to a family incident.
Unfortunately this led to nasty phone calls from another parent, asking why this girl had special treatment as her daughter was wishing to move to us to join a friend, she had been on our regular waiting list. In my opinion her daughter was a completely different situation and could’ve stayed in her old unit but having these conversations isn’t the way I wish to spend a Wednesday evening.
From this I learned to run any Brownie transfer through the District Commissioner, so it can be a joint decision rather than all on my shoulders. Perhaps my decision wasn’t the right one, but from now on I’ll be getting a second opinion!
Girlguiding can be tough sometimes, and causes stress you wouldn’t want to volunteer for, but you learn from mistakes and use the support group around you to work these things out. It is these moments you develop confidence from, and the fun moments definitely outweigh these little rare moments.