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Volunteer Spotlight: Lynn & Karen


Our final volunteer feature is about Lynn & Karen – our dynamic duo who work together as South West Division Commissioner (Lead Volunteer for that part of Glasgow) to support volunteers working with units in this area to provide #GreatGuiding.

Their job share is a great example how guiding can be flexible and sharing out the jobs lets us do the things we are best at!

How long have you been in guiding?

Lynn: I was a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Young Leader back on the West Coast, but had a break when I moved to Glasgow for University. I’ve been a Guider now for 10yrs so far which has whizzed by!

Karen: I joined my local Brownie Unit in Pollock at the age of 7 and have never left – 36 years and counting!

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

Lynn: All my friends were going to Rainbows and I didn’t want to miss out! Once I got into Guiding I really enjoyed the mix of challenge and fun, and found the life skills I gained (both practical and social) extremely useful across all aspects of my life. I’d planned to work with children in my career but ended up taking a different turn, and coming back to Guiding seemed a natural way to fulfil the desire I had to give as many girls the same opportunities I had to build their abilities and therefore confidence. Its incredibly rewarding to see the impact that Girlguiding can have on its members young and old, and to be part of that is really special.

Karen: To be honest there was not much on offer to do locally unless you wanted to wear a leotard and dance about in jazz shoes.  That wasn’t for me!  I loved earning badges, getting involved in practical tasks and working as part of a team to make things happen.  That sense of team spirit has continued throughout my time in Guiding and has been essential in my current role as I job share with Lynn in the role of Division Commissioner for South West.

You’re currently the South West Division Commissioner – What does your role do & how can you help other members of Girlguiding Glasgow?

Lynn: My role is to be the link between the county and individual groups to ensure that key messages are passed in both directions. I have a responsibility to ensure that the Guiders in my area have the appropriate training and support to fulfil their duties, and to develop and grow Guiding within the division to the best of my abilities. I’m very much a facilitator, helping other people to be the best they can be in their own volunteering roles.

Karen: The role has quite a few spokes to the wheel – communication, administration, liaising with units and individuals, playing a key part in the decision making for Glasgow County to name just a few.  One of the key elements for me is the promotion of the organisation.  I have a real aspiration to increase the profile of Girlguiding in our community.

What is the best bit about your county role?

Lynn: Getting to see just how much Girlguiding Glasgow does – when you run a unit you know what your own unit and maybe a few others in the division do, but as a member of the county team you have much more exposure to all the wonderful things happening across the county. Its incredibly inspiring and reminds you just what a fantastic movement Girlguiding is to be part of.

Karen: Enthusiasm is infectious.  When a group of women get together for a common goal we can achieve anything.

What do you do for a day job?

Lynn: I am a Credit Risk Reporting Manager for RBS. This involves producing returns for our regulators, auditors and external benchmarking companies as well as internal departments including the Board. My role is to produce accurate, insightful reports which help them make important decisions about everything from operational resource requirements to the banks future strategy. It can be quite dry and is usually very demanding, which is why I love escaping to the creativity, silliness and fun of Guiding.

Karen: I work for the NHS as a Data Manager for the Paediatric Gastroenterology Service.   One thing I have always said is that being involved in Guiding and having this highlighted on my CV was key to kick starting my career in the NHS.

What else do you do in Guiding?

Lynn: I volunteer at in Brownie and Guide groups in Ibrox, and I have just been enlisted to help with next years big camp too. Like many Guiders I find it hard to say no to a project!

Karen: I am currently volunteering as a leader in a Brownie Unit in Ibrox.

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

Lynn: Absolutely go for it! Aside from the pride I feel at contributing to my community, I’ve made so many friends and had so many amazing experiences that I can’t help but feel I’ve gotten more out of volunteering than I’ve put in.

Karen: Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you can do.  The ability to enhance someone”s life is very rewarding and does give you a real sense of achievement.

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