Alannah's Story

 

Alannah is a 23 year old Guide Leader and former Girl Guide who was diagnosed with Sero-negative Inflammatory Poly Arthritis from a young age and more recently developed Multiple Sclerosis.

 

Joining Guides at age eight, being a member of Girl Guides became an important part of Alannah’s life and has provided her with lots of friendship, fun and adventure despite the pain she frequently endures.

 

As Alannah progressed through the Australian Guide program, there was an increased focus on teamwork, leadership skills, goal setting, outdoor activities and helping others. With much excitement Alannah attended her first Region Camp as a Guide in the Hunter Valley though, due to the extent of her arthritis, she was unable to walk.

 

But Alannah’s determination shone and rather than go home, and supportive Leaders worked to reach a compromise that allowed Alannah to rest when necessary and participate where possible. Alannah continued to take part in many camps over the years including the annual Guide Regatta, always participating and encouraging others to do likewise.

 

Alannah progressed through Guiding always participating with enormous enthusiasm despite her condition. Her experience as a Guide with special needs was so positive that she has become an incredibly enthusiastic Leader – her wit, sharp intelligence, and incredible kindness are all features that make her a popular Leader with the Guides in her unit.

 

At the age of 18 she volunteered and commenced the training to be a fully Qualified Leader of Youth at Warner’s Bay. She is now working as a speech pathologist as well as joining the Girl Guides NSW & ACT Program committee with the responsibility for the Junior leadership development programs.

 

 

May's Story

 

Ten year old May Reilly is much like all the other animated and bright girls within the organisation. The only difference - May was born blind. Her family hoped that Girl Guides would give her the opportunity to make some friends outside of school. They figured any new skills she learned would simply be a bonus.

 

Girl Guides has become an integral part of her life – initially, the girls in May’s unit took turns to be her ‘buddy’, offering her the support she needed so that she take part in all Guiding activities – from overnight camps at the Hall to crafts, and low ropes courses to cooking damper. Now, the girls simply recognise when she may need assistance, and someone is always quick to help out. She is a popular Member of the unit, and the girls all appreciate the chance to work alongside her – providing a helping hand without mothering or smothering.

 

In this supportive and accepting environment, May has had the opportunity to learn new skills, and her confidence has blossomed – she has become an enthusiastic, articulate, somewhat excitable young lady!

 

May has won awards for her outstanding achievements and has become a proud example of what Girl Guides aims to achieve.

 

When asked what May was looking forward to this year, she said she was looking to moving up to the 10-13 year old group in Girl Guides with her friends – and we look forward to watching her continue to grow through Guiding.

 

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Girl Guides has been empowering girls and young women for over 100 years. Today there are over a million Australian women who have been, or are still, Girl Guides. Girl Guides Australia is part of a world-wide voluntary organisation and our Mission is to enable girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting and responsible community members. Girl Guides is an inclusive organisation, welcoming girls of all cultural backgrounds and abilities.

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Level 2, 55 Holt Street Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
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