Impact

Sisterhood. It’s one of the most beautiful feelings in life. It means you can achieve anything you work towards, if you work together.
I’m not referring to my sisters here. This sisterhood stretches across the seas to almost 150 countries. It’s a sisterhood that I became part of, along with my friends, when we had just started primary school. First teddies, then brownies and later girl guides. It was an amazing journey that we undertook, and even though we didn’t continue that journey, the life skills and life-changing memories remain.
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My first time camping, and how to put up a tent, making a fire to cook outdoors, walking and working in harmony with nature, teamwork, the importance of service to the community, helping those in need, respect for our country and our duty as citizens… All these, I learnt from the Girl Guides movement.
Today, the movement celebrates World Thinking Day under the theme Impact.
“Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship. It is an opportunity to speak out on issues that affect young women and fundraise for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 150 countries.
How is your group leaving a positive mark in your neighbourhood? Capture this impact and share it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WTD2018 and #ThisIsImpact to create one global Impact mosaic!”
Read more about it here https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/world-thinking-day/
And while there will be millions engaging in impactful work within their communities, I want to reflect on the impact the movement has had on me personally.
By all accounts, I had a small, close circle of friends from a young age. My neighbour Michele was my best friend and we did everything together, even joining the girl guides. It opened up a new world, new opportunities and new friendships for us. We were under the wing of an inspiring lady, Esme Richards. A go-getter, she opened up her hearts and home to us. She made us feel part of her family (we knew her children too!) and she made us realise that we belonged to this decades-strong movement where we could make an enormous difference. All we had to do was get on our feet and get working.
I remember visiting a settlement for sick, elderly patients, helping clean up and spread some cheer. It helped us realise the impact of our actions on others. I still remember the promises, laws and motto too…
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I promise that I will do my best:
To do my duty to my God and my country, To help other people,
And to keep the Brownie/ Law.
Brownie Law
A Brownie is truthful, obedient and cheerful
A Brownie thinks of others before herself.
South Africa Guide Law
A Guide is to be trusted
A Guide is loyal
A Guide is helpful
A Guide is friendly
A Guide is polite and considerate
A Guide cares for the earth and living things
A Guide is obedient
A Guide is brave and cheerful
A Guide is thrifty
A Guide respects herself and others.
Learning these values and life lessons at an early age helped develop my character. It helped me find myself, love myself and be able to give off more of myself to the world. I didn’t realise all this then. Now it fills me with immense admiration for this moment. The Brownie motto “Lend a Hand” and the Girl Guide motto “Be Prepared” continue to help me today, in making an impact professionally and within my now bigger social circle.
Amid the many extra curricular activities that young girls have today, this movement must seriously be considered by parents and guardians. The movement becomes a way of life, as is evident in my journey. Yesterday, I chatted to my friend Michele and we spoke fondly about how the movement gave us some of our best memories growing up.
We looked forward to every weekly meeting. There were sew-on badges for tasks that we completed, and that made for healthy competition. But more than that, every time I put on my uniform I felt this sense of pride and enthusiasm to learn something new and accomplish something better. Oh, and getting the perfect reef knot was so exciting! I still use the reef knot today! Right-over-left, left-over-right…. If you don’t know it, please find out. You will be amazed at how useful the reef knot is.
Not only did I have a small circle of  friends but I was also an introvert. I was happiest reading a book, and being indoors. The movement made me fall in love with the outdoors. Fun became synonymous with fresh air. So when the opportunity arose for an overnight camping trip at a nature reserve not too far from Durban, we literally had our hands up in the air. That, was in fact the first time I had gone away for the weekend without my parents. Of course, my parents had complete faith in the sisterhood and were as delighted as I was.
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This campfire song says it all, and echoes in my head all these years later…
The more we get together
Together, together
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be
For your friends are my friends
And my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be.
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It’s that simple. And that’s the greatest impact of this movement for me. The more things we do together, the more we can achieve – within schools, communities, the workplace and our country. To all who are part of the movement today, I salute you!
If you would like to join or find out more about the movement in South Africa, visit
http://girlguides.org.za

2 thoughts on “Impact

  1. Beautiful piece
    Learning about the movt. via videos I always thought it was American only!
    I later learnt about Boy Scouts in SA but didn’t realise just how active they are.
    Thank you for sharing

  2. Thank you. Though my experience is just a small glimpse into this superb movement. They are doing even more amazing things now and are very responsive to the times. There are now campaigns and badges to inspire body confidence etc. Thanks again for reading!

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