A Place to Grow Girl Guide Ambassador

Name: Ella Ezergailis 

Age:12 

District: Woden Valley Girl Guides, ACT & South East NSW 

Length of time in Girl Guides:
2 ½ years (since October 2016) 

Occupation/School: Caroline Chisholm School (Year 7) 

Why did you join Girl Guides? 

I joined Girl Guides because my mother was a Girl Guide when she was younger, and she told me lots of interesting stories about her time in Guides. She keeps in contact with her Brownie and Guide Leaders and she has made lifelong friendships. I wanted to be part of Girl Guides so that I too could experience friendship, adventure, leadership and camping. The awesome thing is that I am experiencing it with my Mum as she is almost finished her training to be a Girl Guide leader. 

What are three things you have learnt whilst being in Girl Guides   

  1. I could go away from my family for a week on Jamboree without an electronic device and survived. 
  2. That running my own Guide Camp is a big challenge and takes a lot of good organising skills, but I was very proud of my efforts when the camp ran smoothly, and everyone had fun.
  3. I can still have fun and a sense of humour even though it poured with rain and I got soaked at camp. 
What life lesson/s do you feel you have learnt from Girl Guides? 

Stretchers are awesome when it is bucketing with rain on camp and there is a river running through your tent.   

Challenges are meant to be a challenge, and everything doesn’t always go to plan, but as long as you learn from your experience, you have grown as a person. 

Never give up – I can push myself further physically and mentally than I ever thought I could with the encouragement of others. 

Everybody is different, but everybody is equally as important and has something to contribute. We should accept everyone for who they are. 

What is your favourite activity you have done at Girl Guides?  

I love camping, and I particularly enjoyed Jamboree 2019. It was awesome to meet so many other Girl Guides from Australia and overseas who are as like-minded as me and shared the same spirit of adventure and friendship.  

We did so many things during the week that I haven’t done before such as climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was really scared of the height and looking down at the road and cars below.  

Girls Takeover Parliament—I felt very privileged to be the youngest Girl Guide to take part in Girls Takeover Parliament in 2018. I spent the day at Parliament House with Ms Gai Brodtmann, Member for Canberra, and I got to sit in the Chamber of the House of Representatives while she gave a member statement which talked about my achievements and my aspirations for the future! Girls Takeover Parliament was an amazing experience and really empowered me. As a result of the bad behaviour that I witnessed during question time, I wrote to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and asked him to change the culture in Parliament House. My letter was shared around the world and was reported by news outlets. The public reaction to my letter was overwhelmingly positive and it made me feel that a 12-year-old girl’s voice was important, and girls do have the power to change the world. 

What characteristics of yourself have you developed that you attribute to your time with the Girl Guides? 

Sense of adventure, leadership, courage, teamwork, confidence, desire to achieve badges, sense of community spirit and helping others. 

In five years’, what will you remember most about your time with Girl Guides? 

I will remember the friendships and all the fun adventures that we had. Whether it is canoeing, hiking, camping, bike riding, crafting, learning first aid, playing water games, orienteering or singing around a campfire, I am always learning new skills, sharing with other girls and enjoying myself. I think this is something that I will always remember and that my Mum talks about from her time in Guides. 

Some people may feel that Girl Guides is not relevant to young people growing up with a digital life. What would you say to that? 

Girl Guides is even more relevant to young people growing up with a digital life. You can’t learn life skills and how to connect with others by going online and you would be missing all the best bits of Guiding. Girl Guides teaches you how to interact socially, be a responsible citizen, how to deal with emergency situations and gives you the courage to accept challenges. A digital life can never replace these important skills. I went on Jamboree for a week with no iPhone or iPad—just a camera to record my experiences and I had an awesome time.  

If we could put you in front of Australia, what would you like them to know about Girl Guides? 

Girl Guides is awesome! It is about leadership, fun, learning, adventure, exploring, challenges, service, friendship and life skills. I have made so many friends and done so many things that I have never done before. I am a Guide because my Mum shared her love of Guiding with me—I hope to one day share my love of Guiding with my own daughter because I think it is an important legacy.  

What do you feel is the role of Girl Guides in society today? 

The role of Girl Guides is to continue to empower young Girls today—to get them outdoors, to get them to develop their character and abilities and to get them to learn that although we live in a digital world, other things are more important. Guides is a supportive place for young girls to gain courage, friendship and to learn more themselves. 

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