The Girl Guides organisation has achieved some major milestones, with Guiding celebrating its world-wide centenary recently and the local Port Macquarie Guides reaching their 75th birthday. District Leader in Port Macquarie, Kim Rayner, shares her enthusiasm for Guiding.
What is your position with the Girl Guides, and how long you’ve been in this position?
I am the District Leader of Girl Guides in Port Macquarie, and I have been in this position for the past five years. We are part of the Timberlands Division, which runs from Kempsey through to Bulahdelah; this is part of the North Pacific Coast Region, which runs from Bulahdelah to the border.
Why did you join the Guides – and what motivates you to remain a member?
I rejoined Girl Guides when my eldest daughter joined as a member. I have been a member since, not always a leader, but on the Support Group for approximately 10 years − and then became a leader in charge (District Leader). It is something that I enjoy − seeing the girls grow into confident young women through their time in Guides.
What is the major milestone the Girl Guides recently achieved, and how did the group celebrate this achievement?
Centenary of Guiding – this was a year long celebration of Girl Guides world wide. Locally we participated in Campfires across the Nation, Region Camp, Centenary Challenge, Leaders Centenary Challenge and numerous special badges for the girls.
This year Port Macquarie turned seventy-five (75) years old and recently held a celebration for this. We held a special Service at St Thomas’ Church (incidentally, this is where Girl Guides commenced in Port Macquarie).
This was attended by the State Commissioner, Mrs Belinda Allen; Region Leader Mrs Vivian Ware; the Bishop from Grafton, Timberlands Division Leader, Jenny Cox; and old leaders and guides.
How many members/what are the ages of the members in your district at the moment?
Currently we have 61 girls, ranging from 6 years old to 17 years old. We also have Leaders and Guiding Assistants, and these can range from 18 years old. Some of the Guides (10-14 year olds) spend some time with the younger age group as a Junior Leader.
Within the area there is also a group of ladies who were either Guides themselves or Leaders and still want to take an interest in Guiding; they are called the Trefoil Guild.
Given that the Girl Guides in Port Macquarie have now been operating for 75 years, what have been some of the significant changes over that time?
Uniform and badge work. The units now have shared leadership; by this, I mean that the girls now get a say in what is happening in their unit in conjunction with the Leaders.
The military aspect has gone, i.e. not Lieutenant or Captains any more, but Leaders. There have been cosmetic changes, but underneath we still have the Guide Promise and Guide Law, and these have remained constant throughout the 101 years of Guiding.
Why would you encourage girls to join the Girl Guides these days – what are some of the valuable lessons members can learn?
It is a girls only activity, with no peer group pressure. They will learn skills for life – in a non competitive and safe environment, where it is fun to learn. These skills will set the girls up for life, not only in a leadership role, but in actual life skills.
Where and how often do the Girl Guides meet in Port Macquarie?
The Girl Guides meet weekly in Port Macquarie during school terms. There are two different nights for the Junior Guides (6 – 10 year olds), either Monday from 4.30pm – 6pm, or Thursday from 5pm – 6.30pm. The Guides (10 – 14 years olds) meet on a Thursday evening, from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.
The Senior Guides meet fortnightly on a Monday. This group rotates around termly to the three Guide Halls in the area, Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Laurieton. Currently they meet at Wauchope, next school term will be at Laurieton (term 1, 2012). Their next meeting is 14 November.
What kinds of regular activities do the Girl Guides regularly take part in?
The girls meet weekly and do numerous activities: craft, knots, tracking, games, leadership roles, rock climbing, camping, cooking … and the list goes on.
Where can people go to find out more information about Girl Guides?
They can look at the Girl Guides NSW website. My details are on a sign at the hall. We’re in the local phone book; and feel free to contact me on either my mobile: 0419 760 808 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview by Jo Atkins.