A Place to Grow Parent Ambassador

Name: Joanne Allen

District: Ginninderra District

Occupation: Administrator at the Australian National University

Daughter’s age: 17

Length of time in Girl Guides: First joined in 1977 in NZ and rejoined in 2008 with her daughter

Why were you keen for your daughter to sign up with Girl Guides in the first instance? What were you hoping to get out of it?
 
I wanted her to have a positive female environment where she could safely challenge herself, learn and form lasting friendships. It’s an inclusive environment.
 
Has the experience of Girl Guides been what you expected?

The experience of Guides has been better than I had expected. When I got my daughter to join I hadn’t thought of how I would gain anything from it myself. Then I found that Guides, even at an older age, could be for me and offer something separate to what my daughter was experiencing.
 
What are three things you feel your daughter has learned whilst being in Girl Guides that has surprised you?

  1. Useful life skills that will be recognised in the workplace
  2. Confidence and problem-solving skills
  3. Adaptability and creativity
 
What life lesson/s do you feel your daughter has learned from Girl Guides?

The most useful skills are being able to realistically evaluate her abilities and articulate them in front of others. She has also gained the ability to work with other Guides in many different situations.
 
What are some of your daughter’s favourite activities?

Camps, lots of camps. Her first camp was to Jindabyne and she was about 7. She also had great stories about the camp at Mogo Zoo where she said the lions kept them up at night roaring. 
 
Have you as a parent learned anything in particular from your daughter as a result of her involvement in the Girl Guides?

It isn’t hard to be inclusive. Also her Unit provides a safe environment and they respect and support each other.
 
In five years’ time, what do you think you'll remember most about your daughters' time with Girl Guides?

I’ll remember the fun times she had, the achievements she made and the friendships I believe she will still have.
 
Some people may feel the Girl Guides is not relevant to young people growing up with a digital life. What would you say to that?

I’d say if you provide challenging and encouraging opportunities that allow young people to express themselves and genuinely listen to them, they don’t feel the need to engage in the online environment as much. My daughter’s Unit has a no mobile phone policy when meetings occur. Both the Leaders and Guides put their phones in a bowl at the beginning of the night with no complaints. They feel the pressure is taken off them by having the phones in the bowl. The Leaders model the behavior they want to happen in the Unit meetings.
 
If I could put you on a stage in front of Australia, what would you like them to know about Girl Guides?

Guides provides a positive and safe environment for young women to achieve. But it also provides this for the Leaders as well.
 
What do you feel is the role of Girl Guides in society today?

It provides a positive environment to assist young women to challenge and achieve.

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