As a Leader with the Girl Guides, Dr Amanda McCosker of Best St Dental in Wagga Wagga, NSW, helps girls grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. Interview: Frank Leggett
“I was only six years old when I joined the Girl Guides. I started as a Gumnut and worked my way up through the ranks until I earned my Queen’s Guide Award, the peak achievement for a youth member. I was a Junior Leader at 16 and I started Leadership training at 18.
“The different modules gave me the opportunity to demonstrate the skills needed to be a good leader and the ability to empower the girls. I’m still a Leader with the Girl Guides today and have worked with girls in different units in NSW and QLD.
“During a Guide meeting, a lot of the program is decided by the girls. As leaders, we prefer to suggest ideas rather than just tell them what to do. At a younger age, they need a bit more guidance but, generally, we present them with a few different options and let them make the choice.
“The Guides hold a big jamboree every two years where Australian and international members gather to have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. Last year I was able to visit one of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) five big World Centres—Our Chalet, in Switzerland. I felt like a kid in a candy shop!
“WAGGGS promote Guiding and empower young women to speak out and take action to bring positive change in their communities.
“Lord Baden-Powell started Girl Guides with his sister, Agnes and his wife, Olave. The Girl Guides’ motto is the same as the Boy Scouts, ‘Be Prepared’, but we also have seven fundamentals—Promise and Law, Outdoors, Service, World Guiding, Guiding Traditions, Leadership Development and Patrol Systems.
“Girl Guides is all about giving girls the chance to learn about themselves and the world through participatory, non-formal education programs. Volunteering for the benefit of local communities has been a core part of Guiding for over 100 years.
“Guiding certainly gave me self-confidence and helped me to believe in myself. I can honestly say I would not be the professional I am today without the confidence and skills Guides has helped me develop.”