I think this explains a lot about me.
I have an inane need to help. To be there for people and to troubleshoot. Often to my own detriment.
Sometimes this is taken to be a weakness. My ability to process nonsense and get on with the job I put down to my mother.
On my 7th birthday I joined Brownies, I was an Elf. That batch even now is still on my camp blanket. As an only child, of a single-parent mother I learnt that I could share and be part of something bigger. I learnt how to play large games, responsibility, one summer I made over 100 cups for tea and won a Tetley Tea competition (I still don't like tea, coincidence), I sewed on a button, learnt to keep several useful items in a very small compressed pouch for emergencies and my love of giant bobble hats was born.
I moved on to Guides, I got to camp outside. But only after learning how to make a sink with draining board out of sticks, canes and string. I learnt that chemical waste is a job for someone else, and that eggs don't like to be hit by broken beams, nothing beats cooking on an open fire, sitting on the floor in a horseshoe and eating as a group, powered orange juice is the best thing ever! Campfire skits and swimming in rivers and streams. I only left Guides because I wanted to do Duke of Edinburgh, they were on the same night.
Duke of Edinburgh was ace. Teenagers against the world, and the elements. Map reading wasn't a strong point, but working together to sort things out was. I learnt first aid, the important of balance in life, look after the mental, the physical and the adventure. This is the pinacle of why these groups exist.
As a teenager, I helped at Brownies as a Young Leader. In fact I was a volunteer until I turned 21.
Then I decided my life was too important.
I was wrong. Since I had my two boys, I returned to volunteering. First at a pre-school, then I returned to the Baden-Powell family. This time with scouting. I spent a short time at Beavers (the little ones), due to my working hours I had to leave this section, I moved on to Cubs (the middle ones). I loved this section. Getting to see them move on from all the glitter and glue, to becoming rough and tumble kids growing in size, stature and as people in their own right weekly was a massive privilege.
This term I start my journey with Scouts (bigger kids but not the biggest). Their hormones will be raging, their skills with be greater. I also step back into the world of GGA, helping with Brownies. After a long time away, it currently feels like a comfort. Almost as if I'm going home.
Helping people is part of me. It always has been, it always will be. It makes me who I am.
However, I don't do it solely for the people I help. I do it for me. It makes my heart bigger, keeps my soul happy, and I keep learning everyday. After 15 years of nursing those who are close to me through varying illnesses, I can honestly say I do this for me.
Time is the most valuable gift I have to share. Giving these kids the chance to make memories that will shape them and they will think back to as they age, then have their own kids. Maybe seeing the fun that I have will inspire them in turn to pay it forward to the next generation.
It takes a village to raise a child. I am a villager, the Scout Association and Girl Guide Association are the village I live in they have shaped me into being the person I am now.
Love me, or hate me. I like me and I thank those leaders within Brownies, Guides and Duke of Edinburgh who gave up their precious time to teach me life skills I am now showing to a new generation.