Volunteering and me. From Brownie Leader to Team Leader

Collecting my 10 year service award in 2015

Collecting my 10 year service award in 2015

Every Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, I’m a Team Leader for Mitie Client Services, managing a team of receptionists at a corporate office in Edinburgh. Every Tuesday night for 90 minutes I take on a different persona as a Brownie Leader looking after up to 24 girls between 7-10 years old and the link between the two is much closer than you’d think.

I’ve been involved in Girlguiding Scotland since I was five, when I joined a local Rainbow unit, so it’s pretty much in my blood. I went through the Brownies and Guides and at the age of 15 was awarded my Baden Powell award and completed my Adult Leadership Qualification. By the time I was 18 I was asked to run the unit by myself, making me one of the youngest unit leaders in Edinburgh.

I’m not going to lie, running a Brownie unit can be challenging but it can also be one of the most rewarding things to do.  If it wasn’t for Girlguiding I don’t think I’d be where I am today. When I was younger I didn’t have any confidence, however, doing new things while attending Rainbows, Brownies and Guides helped my confidence develop as I grew up and I can now see the same in the girls who attend my unit.

Having to be organised and planning ahead for anything that could happen has helped in my day-to-day life as a Team Leader too. I like to be organised in every part of my life, but if something doesn’t quite go to plan, I feel I can cope better, in a professional manner. Every week for Brownies we have activities planned but if for any reason they can’t go ahead you really need to think on your feet and come up with something new that you know all the girls will enjoy doing and learn or achieve something from.

At work last minute changes always happen but I don’t let this get to me. I feel I can be calm in situations that can otherwise be stressful. I also feel at Brownies, and at work, you always have to have a positive attitude. Each girl can achieve badges while at my unit, or in their spare time, for activities like sport, art, reading, computer skills and many more and I always encourage them to try and achieve as many badges as they can. Just as with my team at work, I want to encourage and motivate them to be the best that they can be.

I enjoy every aspect of my role as a Team Leader and as a Brownie Leader. It brings me happiness to know that by giving up just some of my own time outside of work can help so many young girls achieve so much, while building their confidence so they can succeed in anything they want to.  Finding a passion outside of work really can do wonders for the skills and passion you take back to the workplace. In my role on front of house, that passion directly influences the service our customers receive.

By Kirsten Johnstone

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