Lauren Marshall: Girlguiding given me friends and shaped career

"Without Girlguiding Scotland it probably would have taken me a lot longer to decide on a  career." Picture: Contributed
"Without Girlguiding Scotland it probably would have taken me a lot longer to decide on a career." Picture: Contributed
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THE fact it was seen as ‘uncool’ didn’t put me off, writes Lauren Marshall

Almost half (44 per cent) of Girlguiding Scotland’s volunteers say that giving their time with guiding has boosted their career chances by helping them get a job or work experience, new research from Girlguiding Scotland revealed in December.

I can wholeheartedly agree to that. Being a member of Girlguiding Scotland has given me so much over the years, including helping me shape my career. I sort of owe everything to my mum. When I was five she thought it would be a good idea to enrol me in our local Rainbow unit at Croftfoot in Glasgow and 14 years later, they still can’t get rid of me!

I went from Rainbows to Brownies to Guides and am now a member of Senior Section. Growing up, the biggest problem I faced was staying at Guides when I got to secondary school. When I was in first year there was an “uncool” and “religious” stigma attached to Girlguiding and as we moved from S2 to S3, that’s when a lot of my friends stopped going to Guides.

I however, to the horror of my friends, decided to stick it out. I didn’t know it at the time but it was a blessing in disguise. The friends I was forced to make as a result of my ‘old’ friends leaving are now my best friends today. I’d definitely say the reason I am still a member of Girlguiding Scotland and why I am so passionate about youth work is definitely the opportunities it gives you. I have been to many places with guiding such as Paris and Barcelona as well as adventure weekends and camps. I have an unreal amount of hilarious stories and treasured memories thanks to these trips.

My friends and I organised a Guide camp around the theme of “Big Fat Gypsy Dragon Den Wedding”. The Guides had to make dresses out of newspaper and toilet rolls and pitch their wedding ideas to us. We wore suits like the Dragons to listen to their presentations. I was Deborah Meaden, of course. Another thing I’m grateful to Girlguiding Scotland for is that it helped shaped my career path. I went to university straight from school and within three months, I regretted it.

Just after I dropped out of university, I took on a project as part of my Queen’s Guide Award which was “project managing” a Glasgow-based wide game for hundreds of Girlguiding Scotland members, which we called ‘Wee-G-Opoly’. I was a bit scared at first because the Senior Section team I was working with are all really good friends, so I didn’t want to tell them what to do or boss them around!

But in the end, we all worked so well together. As a result of this I ended up doing International Event Management at university, so really without Girlguiding Scotland it probably would have taken me a lot longer to decide on a career which is (hopefully!) perfect for me.

This is such a short snippet of what Girlguiding Scotland has given me and for me, personally, the big thing is giving it all back. That’s why I love being a Guide leader and hopefully inspiring young girls the way youth work inspired me.

• Lauren Marshall, 18, is working on her leadership qualification to become a Guide Leader with the 295th Glasgow Guide Unit. She’s also a member of Girlguiding Glasgow’s Croftfoot Senior Section