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Volunteer Spotlight: Gemma

As one of the newest members of the county team, Gemma is our Additional Needs Adviser; supporting the team to ensure guiding is accessible to all. We managed to get 5 mins with her to discuss why her role is so important.

How long have you been in guiding?

I’ve been in guiding for 27 years. I remember my first night at Rainbows. The guider was telling my mum about guiding and how you can move up through the units and then become a guider. All I can remember was thinking well that’s not fair – I want to pick my own job! Oh to be five again 😝

What got you involved in the first place & why do you stay involved?

As I said above – my mum got me involved. She was a guide herself. I think I stayed involved as I really enjoyed all the things I got to try as a member. I really used guiding as a way to push myself. There were times when I was younger when I wasn’t as confident as I am now, and didn’t have as many friends as now. I stay with guiding because I want to be able to give another girl the opportunity to g row and make lifelong friends like I did.

You’re currently a county adviser. What does your role do & how can you help other members of Girlguiding Glasgow?

I am additional needs adviser for Glasgow. My role is to be someone who can discuss how to support any member to be fully involved in guiding. I have helped consider the accessibility of events for girls, talked over issues a girl has had and considered how to make our venues open and easy to access for all.

What is the best bit about your county role?

I feel like I’m still finding my feet with the role to be honest. I like that I can give guidance so that a member can have the best opportunity to have an adventure which is meaningful to them

What do you do for a day job?

I am a team leader for housing support services for adults with learning disabilities. I lead four teams and we support a range of people to live in their own homes and achieve what they want to in their lives. We have different types of services as the people we support are all different. The age range of the people my team supports is 26-93! I really believe that every person should have the opportunity to live their lives their way, and that is what our team strives to achieve for the people we support.

What else do you do in Guiding?

I am a guider in our Glasgow Sense unit, which is a joint unit for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides with additional support needs. Previously I only did Brownies so I am currently working on my qualification for Guides. I am also a mentor to Brownie guiders in South West who are also working towards their leadership qualification

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering (not just for guiding)?

I’d recommend volunteering to anyone. It can give you the opportunity to use your skills and do something you enjoy, but it can also be a way to really challenge yourself and learn lots. I found that volunteering with Guiding has helped me grow and has really shaped who i am today.

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