Rachael’s view of the Guides is hugely optimistic, and in some ways really quite simple. “Girls get to choose what they do, they’re in charge. It’s a safe place, but at the same time one that offers great challenges. It’s somewhere to come home to, it offers a sense of community.”
She’s became involved at an early age, and by 14 she was taking on responsibility. “Volunteering my own time always seemed a natural thing to do”, she says. “I want to pass on the opportunities I had growing up to the next generation. I’m still developing myself, I still get so much out of it. It’s empowering to see girls developing, and growing yourself while having fun.”
Guiding is a huge part of her life. She now she leads a Ranger unit of 14-18 year olds, and is also a commissioner with oversight of 35 other leaders in North London. “Our uniform, our common values and commitment - the Guide Promise - it all makes you part of something bigger, part of a unit, and part of a worldwide movement.”
Rachael works in London for the charity Care UK where she carries out research and develops policy and campaigns with a focus on social justice. Coupled with an academic background in law, she feels she’s well placed to take on the advocacy role within the international guiding movement.
“It’s all about asking girls what they want the world to be like in the future”, she says. “I want to channel their voices when I'm campaigning on their behalf and I want to be accountable to them back at home.”
This is crucial for one of Rachael’s key motivations. “Guiding offers a practical route to gender equality, fostering and nurturing self-confidence in a new generation of girls”, she says. “Empowerment is something the Guides is very well placed to do - we have direct contact with girls and young women down to our base at unit level, and we know what girls want and need. We’re grounded in feminism.”
And she feels tremendously excited about the role the Guides plays in improving women’s lives around the world.
“It's an organisation that encourages us to make the most of our opportunities.”