How teenage girls in Pathfinders are the BEST teachers

This post was originally posted on the GirlGuidesCAN blog on November 4, 2019. See original post here. The author is Saffina Jinnah from Burnaby Mountain District . Saffina works with Pathfinders and Rangers.

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Teenage girls in Pathfinders are all kinds of amazing – spreading positivity and passion in little and big ways every day. As Pathfinders celebrates its 40th anniversary, Girl Guide volunteer Saffina shares six lessons the girls in her Pathfinder unit teach her every week.

Optimism

These girls bring their best selves to meetings.  And it is a treat.  After a long day at work, sometimes it can seem rather daunting to volunteer.  Not with Girl Guides of Canada though.  Not with Pathfinders.  And definitely not with these girls.  Despite a full day of school, drama, homework, extra-curriculars, and scarfing down dinner, my Pathfinders always show up ready to go.  They always see an opportunity to learn, to play, and quite literally live their best life.  They laugh.  ALL THE TIME.  And it is SO refreshing.  I love being around their positive energy and spark.  When I appear stressed out from work, they share jokes.  When I forget an essential element to our meeting, they improvised.

They teach me to laugh every day and that you can find something positive in every situation.

Live passionately

It doesn’t matter if we are discussing feminism, immigration, climate change or cookies; Pathfinders care. A LOT. I have never witnessed such a young generation care so deeply about issues affecting all of us today.  They care about the world.  They are concerned for humankind.  They want social justice.  They want climate justice.  They are knowledgeable and eager to learn more and do more.  And do it with passion.  Pathfinders challenge me and keep me on my toes, always pushing boundaries and seeking solutions.

Leave your comfort zone

Pathfinders are resilient.  We go on adventures.  Sometimes they are planned and sometimes they are not.  Sometimes we don’t know where it will take us but we know we will be okay.  We have gone on journeys through Vancouver and meandered the murals of Main Street.  We went geo-trekking around the woods of Lighthouse Park and I was nervous about my first geo-trek, they took the lead.  Pathfinders are daring, brave, creative.  They are leaders.

We can conquer the world

Even as an adult, I often feel defeated.  Though I try to be a good person and live with kindness and compassion in pursuit of a more just world – basically abide by the Guiding promise – sometimes it feels really hard.  But when I am with the Pathfinders, I remember that we can all still create change – big or small – we can make a difference.  They believe so strongly in themselves and in the goodness of others and inspire me to continue to challenge myself and others to continue to learn and grow together.

It is okay to eat Girl Guide cookies for dinner once in a while.

I think this is self-explanatory!

The “’gram”

Despite my youthful good looks, I am a tad older than the Pathfinders of my unit.  That being said, I’d like to think I am very “woke” and “with it.”  Evidently, I am not.  My Pathfinder unit taught be about Instagram and the power of social media.  It is such a great tool to reach many people and spread a positive message, and that is exactly what they do on their social media platforms.  It has also been useful in meetings and an interesting way to connect with them on their level.  I was so inspired, I too now have the “‘gram.”

I look forward to growing with these girls and trying new things (while chowing down on cookies and posting on the “‘gram”)!

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