Monday, May 16, 2011

Overcoming Frustration

I've written several times about being involved with Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada.  I love working with the girls and opening doors to activities they may not otherwise experience.

When I took my five year hiatus to raise the twins, I missed my girls and weekly meetings a lot.  So when Pretty was old enough to join Sparks last year, I happily got back into it myself.

However, I'm feeling extremely frustrated right now with the other Guiders in our small town.  Guiding has been a part of our community here for well over fifty years; or so I'm told.  In fact, it was doing well enough to need multiple units for each branch.

This information just increases my frustration.  You see, as it stands, we have three units in our small town: 1-Spark, 1-Brownie and 1-Guide.  That doesn't sound bad, does it?  What if I said we have a total of twenty-two girls divided between those units?  There are 8 Sparks, 12 Brownies and 2 Guides.  PATHETIC.

One might assume, that if Guiding was thriving fifty years ago, that those families are now too old to have girls of the right age.  But, that is not the case.  In the past 5-7 years, two new surveys have been built in the area.  Each with 200+ homes that house young families.  The only school in town (public) is bursting at the seams with kids, so why aren't these kids signing up for Guiding?

I believe there are two contributing factors to our low membership.  The first is my fellow Guiders.  They are a great group of women, don't get me wrong; but, they seem to suffer from small town mentality.  It's that "If you build it, they will come" mentality.  The second factor is that our town doesn't offer us resources to expose the residents to all the fun things Guiding can be and do.

My frustration, of course, is at an all-time high at the moment because I'm thinking ahead to September already and ways to boost membership.  I've suggested on several occasions that we hold a registration or awareness event and I'm met with negativity and skepticism.  "We done that before and it's a waste of time".  Why is exposure and PR a waste of time?  I don't understand it.  Am I the only one that realizes if we don't increase our membership, than Guiding in our small town will cease to exist?  I can't be the only one that sees that, can I?

Larger towns have stores and businesses that they can approach to hold cookie events or activities; thus getting out in the public eye and being seen.  Our small town does not.  We need to come up with a way to make ourselves seen and heard and an awareness event would be the perfect way to do that.

Sigh, I may be down; but, I'm not out.  I will overcome my frustration and I will open the minds of my fellow Guiders and help them see that we DO need this and we CAN do it successfully.

Watch for my updates as the summer progresses.

Yours in Guiding,
Misty :D

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