Posted on: Wednesday 16th March 2016
Emma is 20 years old and went along to Girls’ Brigade at the age of five, partly because her mum had been a member and because her friends were going. She worked her way through the company gaining her Queen’s Award and is on track for Duke of Edinburgh Gold. A bright, confident, funny and articulate young woman is the Emma the world sees but her journey has not always been easy with some challenging issues along the way. Emma is quick to say that it was her Girls’ Brigade Scotland (GBS) leaders who helped her and has made her even more determined to be there for others.
“I gained a lot of confidence through the GBS – I didn’t really fit in at school, but in the GBS you always had a place – you belonged. I learned in the GBS that it’s okay to ask for help, in fact I think it’s a strength to recognise when you need help, and in the GBS there is a lot of support available.”
Emma attended the first YPTTL event, ‘Celebrating Achievement’, where she was an effective contributor with her bubbly personality shining through. From that came ‘Emma’s Story’ a short film of her life in the Girls’ Brigade Scotland (GBS) so far; a film that has gone on to inspire many more young GBS leaders. Her maturity and willingness were evident, and she was asked to join the GBS National Training Group. This resulted in Emma being selected as a member of staff, on the Leadership 3 Residential Training weekend, another YPTTL event. She enjoyed this opportunity immensely and while a little nervous at the start her confidence grew, she had fun, she learned from the experience and wanted to do more.
As Emma’s journey has progressed her understanding of GBS has increased, particularly in relation to GBS structures and governance, and her awareness that GBS is in a period of change – a change she wants to be part of. After a CV day, she spoke about her ‘light bulb’ moment when she realised “we (young people) aren’t the leaders of tomorrow – we are the leaders of today! I felt empowered by the idea that I can be a leader, there’s lots to learn, but my age shouldn’t be a barrier”. That moment had a big impact on Emma, increasing her desire to get involved and be part of change that will help other young women to enjoy the same opportunities she has had. Emma has since applied to be a Youth Representative on the GBS Executive, seeing that as her next step.