As I was posting my traditional Thinking Day picture to Facebook I remembered my other tradition of blogging about my last year in Guiding. Past posts include Thinking About Thinking Day and Thinking Day Thoughts. I have to say that it’s getting harder and harder to think up a punny title.
The biggest change in my Guiding life this year would have to be starting my job at the Québec Provincial office. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been there for almost a year already. I’m really only finally getting a solid grasp on people’s names and faces.
You hear people talking all the time about the importance of finding a job that makes you happy and Kelly will tell you that I walk in every morning with either a smile on my face or stories to tell (or grumbles about the weather, but you know…). Thank you Val for sharing your adventure and responding to emails/texts (and supporting people) at any time of the day or night. I don’t know where you find the time for all that you do! Thank you Sue for giving me this opportunity and for always being thoughtful and caring. Thank you Kelly for being an amazing friend, mother-ful person, funny storyteller, superhero, chocolate provider and solid listener/idea-boucer-off-er.
Of course, I haven’t given up my role as a volunteer either. Lara, Lindsay, Claire and I have continued with our unit in Milton Park that we opened last year and almost doubled our numbers from 6 to 11. Our girls never cease to amaze me. Some days they make me laugh so hard I cry and other days I can’t believe the challenges they’re going through and can only hope that we’re helping to prepare them for those ahead. It’s a good thing they love giving hugs!
Because I can never just do one thing at a time I’m also a Guider with the 85th Montreal Guides with my Mom, Emily, Laura, Irene and our Ranger Isabella. I switched over from our local Pathfinder unit to the Guides after Christmas and it’s done wonders for my mental health. I’m still getting to know the girls but it was heartwarming to hear one of them calling my name and waving at me excitedly as she arrived tonight.
Outside of work and my units, since last Thinking Day, I’ve travelled to Pax Lodge (the Guiding and Scouting World Centre in London, England), volunteered as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and reviewed drafts of the complete renewal of the Guiding program for all branches (Girls First), helped out at the provincial Brownie Superhero Academy Day, attended Camp Wa-Thik-Ane’s 90th Anniversary celebration (and got to spend time at my favorite place on Earth), co-led a session at Guider Symposium on running STEM activities, and participated in a number of of other activities I’m likely forgetting at the moment.
Last year my “I’m extra proud to be a Guider” moment came from the release of the guidelines for the Inclusion of Transgender Members. This year it came from the release of the Mighty Minds Challenge, designed to “help girls develop positive mental health skills they can use to cope with the challenges they may face in their daily lives, while addressing the stigma that exists around mental health and mental illness in our society.” Nobody call tell me that Guiding is an outdated organization that isn’t keeping up with the times!
I’d love to give a shout-out to all those who’ve made this Guiding year an amazing one but I’m sure you know who you all are (and it would take me pages and pages!). Special recognition to all those mentioned above as well as RoseAnna (You’ve got great courage. Good luck with everything ahead!), Rachel (for absolutely everything), Terry (for listening to all the Guiding conversations and appearing at least mildly interested), Christine (our district’s Guiding Mom), Sharon (for the texts), Kathryn (for making walks home after meetings fun), Gigi and Jessica (I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you better recently), Charyl (I miss you!), Patricia (for helping me see things differently) and Rochelle (for program related things).
The only thing I can hope for going forward is another Guiding year that is at least half as great as this one has been!