Amy, 18, Drogheda

Before joining the Irish Girl Guides, I was a shy, introverted individual, with very little confidence.

Amy, 18, from Drogheda

Before joining the Irish Girl Guides, I was a shy, introverted individual, with very little confidence. I found it hard to make friends and was always anxious. One day my friend came to my house in her uniform. I saw her sash filled with badges and I knew I wanted to have the same thing.

I joined my local Brownie unit the next week and I immediately felt happier in myself. Every meeting was filled with games, crafts, songs and fun. Even though we were all different, we were all working towards the same goal. I couldn’t wait for Thursday nights because it was in that hour that I could really be myself. We held bake sales, craft fairs and went on overnight stays. I felt I could express myself in a safe, encouraging environment and make friends with ease.

Moving on to Guides brought much more independence. I got the chance to plan things and try activities that I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the Guides. I went on camping trips and excursions both in Ireland and abroad, learning to pitch tents, cook for myself and how to make the best of bad situations.

Joining Senior Branch and becoming an assistant leader with a Brownie group is my way of giving back to the organisation that has given me so much. Seeing young girls coming into Ladybirds, quiet and unsure, just like I was, and developing into strong, confident women is a feeling that cannot be put into words.

The Irish Girl Guides’ motto is ‘giving girls confidence’ and they gave me not only that but so much more. The skills I have developed through being a member of this fantastic organisation have stood to me in every aspect of my life. I was never told that I couldn’t achieve or be anything that I wanted to be. The opportunities to develop myself and contribute to society have been endless. The Irish Girl Guides has taken me to places I never imagined I would end up, and allowed me to do things I never thought possible. I have represented IGG abroad at once in a lifetime events, meeting people from all walks of life. The friends I have made through the guiding movement are without doubt, friends for life. It’s the encouragement and empowerment that is given to every young girl within the organisation that makes it special.