As summer ends and the back-to-school season begins, fall activities for kids become a hot topic in many Canadian households.
Whether it is swimming or karate, dance or lacrosse, many organizations are looking for adult volunteers who can commit to help offer activities for kids in their community.
For Girl Guides of Canada, volunteers are integral to the organization’s operations.
In fact, it is only with the support and dedication of the amazing volunteers who commit time each week to making a difference in the lives of girls and youth that the organization has been able to continue offering its program.
With groups starting up again across the country this September, Girl Guides is seeking individuals who can help lead programs for the growing number of girls now enrolled. Most volunteers work directly with Girl Guide groups in their community, facilitating empowering, hands-on activities for girls.
As a Unit Guider, a volunteer can spark extraordinary opportunities that help girls build skills, confidence – and have fun.
“Girl Guides is gaining in popularity because parents are looking for opportunities for girls to connect and build up their life skills,” said Ashley Pamenter, Programs Team Lead at Girl Guides’ national office. “It’s important for young girls to have role models they can look up to and that they can trust to help them deal with the things going on in their lives.”
The Guiding movement is looking for volunteers to support groups of girls at all levels including:
- Sparks (ages 5 and 6),
- Brownies (ages 7 and 8),
- Guides (ages 9 to 11),
- Pathfinders (ages 12 to 14),
- and Rangers (ages 15 to 17)
Volunteering with Girl Guides might be for you if you are excited to inspire girls and be their mentor as they explore new challenges and develop ready-for-anything skills.
All you need to volunteer is a passion to make a difference in the lives of girls and young women, but Pamenter points out that there is one other important quality that potential volunteers should have.
“What we’re looking for are people willing to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes so they can learn along with the kids,” said Pamenter, who is also a Guide leader. “When I was a math teacher, I had to know the math I was teaching. Here, if the girls want to learn something I have never tried before, we can learn together. I can demonstrate to them to try and learn, and I can laugh at my mistakes and model for them that it’s totally fine. We’re just looking for volunteers willing to try new things while making a difference in the lives of these young girls.”
As expected, all potential volunteers go through an extensive screening process to make sure they’re a good fit for the organization and the kids they’ll be working with.
The organization is also looking for diversity in its volunteers to reflect the various cultures and communities from which young Girl Guides come to the program. New volunteers receive lots of training so they’re supported every step of the way and Pamenter says there are other opportunities for volunteers to receive personal and professional development. As for the time commitment expected of volunteers, Pamenter says it varies.
“There are a lot of roles in Girl Guides for volunteers,” she said. “There are some that are low time commitment, from two or three hours a week. Then there are other roles that have a greater commitment. It’s all about finding the balance in the volunteer team as well.”
Girl Guides is looking to sign up volunteers as soon as possible; application forms can be found at girlguides.ca/volunteer.