Bauhinia Division Commissioner Diana Lancaster (left in photo) shares why she loves being a volunteer with English Speaking Guiding in Hong Kong.
What I love most about Guiding in Hong Kong is that it gives me the opportunity to work with women from all walks of life who share a vision for female empowerment. Our network here in Hong Kong is exceptionally strong and characterized by a great sense of togetherness and camaraderie. Membership of an international organization united towards one common goal brings with it a unique sense of belonging and interconnectedness, as well as huge opportunities for growth and development.
I have been the Division Commissioner for the last six years. One of my main roles is to support the Leaders in our Division. In this role, one of my biggest highlights has been seeing women progress in their roles as Leaders. I have seen growth in Leaders time and time again, particularly in terms of a huge improvement in skill set, confidence, leadership as well as all-rounded personal growth. It is thrilling to see some of our Leaders go from feeling poorly equipped and underconfident working with the girls to turning into some of our best leaders. It’s how I would define empowerment.
I am leading a team of very capable women in our Division Team. That shared vision, our pooling of talents, the friendship, the support and the constant learning gained from working with one another are inspirational. We bring passion to the table, it is shared and multiplied tenfold into a bigger vision that we have for Girl Guiding in HK. We work very much as a united front.
I have volunteered with Girl Guiding in Hong Kong for 15 years. I started off as a Brownie Leader before moving on to opening a new Guide Unit. I was a Queen’s Guide in the UK and was delighted that my daughter also joined the movement as a Brownie and then a Guide. I am a Paediatric Occupational Therapist and would often recommend Guiding/Scouting to the children I worked with. When I took a career break, it seemed like a natural progression to move into something which was all about skill training and empowerment. There were very similar parallels between my profession and Guiding; It was an easy transition for me to make.
At a personal level, I have gained and grown hugely whilst holding this position. Guiding is a transgenerational movement which supports growth at any age from young girls upwards. I have discovered and learned a lot of about myself, my strengths and attributes and how I can put them to good use. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to develop skills which I lacked or didn’t have much of at all. Guiding has opened doors for me in HK and introduced me to many amazing people that I wouldn’t otherwise have met. It has kept me grounded and has connected me with fellow women from all parts of the world who I’ve grown to learn that I share a lot in common with.
As far as highlights go, my best ones were definitely when I was a Leader and the contact time I had with the girls. We are all doing this for the girls, and nothing compares to being with them and witnessing their growth. We opened a unit and grew and discovered together in our new roles. One of our biggest ultimate achievements was working towards the Camper’s License. Girls and Leaders worked seamlessly and supportively whilst learning on the job; we discovered much about ourselves, our role in a team and the effectiveness of real teamwork. For me, it felt very powerful and it was a proud ‘together we can do anything’ moment when we were told we had passed!
To anyone who would even remotely consider joining us on our Leader team, I’d say come and see us in action. Being open-minded, having a passion for working with girls, a love of life and fun and a desire to contribute towards something bigger than just yourself are all that’s needed. And a few spare hours every week. We will help you to do the rest!