Laura Cottey has been in Guiding since joining Brownies as a seven year old. A busy working mum with a young son, Laura is currently a Brownie Leader in Wiltshire South and says being with the 7-10 year olds in her Brownie unit is 'fantastic'. 'I love the fact that I can go and spend time with them, it's a great way to decompress'. Laura is also aware of the difference volunteering makes to the lives and prospects of the girls she comes into contact with and says she finds it hugely rewarding to see the positive changes they go through during their time with Girlguiding and the way having female role models from all walks of life motivates and inspires them.
Despite having a career which involves shift work and frequent location changes, Laura has found Girlguiding is a good fit with her lifestyle and she has also volunteered as a Brownie and Guide Leader in Devon, Somerset and Hampshire West: 'Whenever I've moved, I've been able to make friends and feel part of a community quite quickly' she says. 'I can't be there every week, but all the units I've been involved in have been really supportive'. Volunteering has also been an opportunity for Laura's own personal development. 'The skills I've learnt through Guiding have been really useful' she says. 'The ability to look after a group of girls and the things that come with that - the risk assessments, programme planning, and organisation - are completely different skills that really contribute to my working life'.
The pandemic has changed how Guiding has been delivered over the last 12 months, but our Leaders have adapted to the challenges and in many cases have turned the difficulties they have faced into opportunities to grow as individuals. Many of them have continued unit meetings via video calls and have maintained vitally important contact with their girls. Laura says, 'We've hopefully maintained some continuity for them in terms of fun and opportunities during a really challenging time'.
With the return of face to face Guiding, our volunteers and members are now able to share lots more fun together and we invite you to join us and inspire the next generation of girls and young women to achieve their potential. Volunteering with Girlguiding is very flexible, it doesn't have to involve a regular, weekly commitment, and there are many different roles from administrative support, to helping Guiding grow, to Unit Leader. It offers a great opportunity to share your knowledge and make a difference to the lives of others while learning new skills and gaining valuable experience yourself.
Click here to find out how to register your interest.
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