The WAGGGS Europe Committee was elected by delegates at the 2019 European Guide Conference, which took place in Croatia.
Guiding and Scouting is just as relevant today as it was more than a 100 years ago. It has a lasting impact on its members by empowering them, giving them opportunities to grow and connect, and helping them through difficult times. In the past two years we had to adapt the way we do things to continue bringing great experiences to young people all over Europe. As a Regional Committee member I could see how important WAGGGS and its member organisations are in bringing young people together and providing them with a safe and nourishing space in this time.
It was truly inspiring to hear stories from MOs all over Europe finding new and innovative ways. This power and passion in our movement also kept the spark in me alive and inspired my eagerness to take a leading role in this Region for another triennium. I also feel like my work here isn’t done, yet. The pandemic showed me that there are ways to improve and change WAGGGS Europe so that the WAGGGS Europe Region thrives in the new normal with a strong identity, knowing where its worth is. For that we need to: 1. create more room for innovation and adapt WAGGGS content better to our MOs’ needs 2. work more content and less governance heavy 3. adapt our ways of working to the new reality 4. build better knowledge management and clearer processes within the Region’s governance system 5. and use our Scouting and Guiding values and diverse experiences as a basis for our Regional identity. If re-elected to the Europe Region Committee I will put my passion, experiences and skills into achieving this. I want to make sure that we continue to be more transparent and work inclusively so that we can thrive together as a Region.
Joy and growth are part of the uniqueness of WAGGGS. We give and have given young people joy and chances of growing for over 100 years. I want to be part of making sure that we and our MOs can continue to do this for another 100 years. Joy and growth are my vision and my hopes for the region and for the committee, I want to see the region grow in numbers and I want to be part of a joyful regional committee. I want to see a region where being a regional volunteer is rewarding and accessible and where MOs thrive with the support of the Regional Committee. I see that stability that lays the ground for resilient organisations is a vital part of ensuring a region of joy and growth. I believe communication is a key thing needed to achieve stability.
The Regional Committee has an important role to play in listening to our MOs and being a link between the World Board and our MOs. Having been part of the Swedish delegation to the World Conference in 2021 and then getting to input in the development of WAGGGS Global Strategy and the Europe Region triennial plan, my passion for the development of WAGGGS grew even stronger. I want to be part of creating a movement that moves with the guidance of Compass2032 and where all MOs feel and experience the strong link between their work and the strategy of WAGGGS on a world level. My strengths lie not in tying knots and lighting fires and my tent has not been out for 5 years, but I am really good at raising my voice for girls, developing well-functioning teams and keeping volunteers motivated. Now I hope to get to use these skills on the Europe Region Committee.
I would like to become a member of the Regional Committee to build on the knowledge that I have gained since becoming Treasurer for Europe Region and from previous roles e.g., national / regional Volunteers, NLPD Planning Team and Facilitator at The Academy. Europe is a vibrant Region full of diversity challenges and opportunities and I would like to be part of shaping this during the next triennium. Covid has impacted everyone and has brought differing challenges / opportunities to different MOs.
I would be keen to strengthen the collective work of the Region and build relationships with all the Regional MOs to support the regional delivery of the WAGGGS Global Strategy 2022-2023. My hopes for this would be that we come together and give all our members the opportunity to stretch themselves in a safe environment enabling and empowering girls and young women to speak out about what is important to them and to be a confident leader in the future. Part of this would mean that the Region will have to be agile in its approach to events and capacity planning as what is right for one MO / area isn’t the same across the Region. We need to look at how we truly become sustainable, and this means working together to harness capacity, volunteers’ time and providing value to our MOs through their voluntary contribution. I believe I have the skills and experience to support the development of the Region through these changes and to work together so that we are not only connected as a Region but also feel connected to the World.
Signe Gertz Jensen
In 2020 I delivered a 100 Girls Project as part of my Juliette Low Seminar experience. The aim of the project was to inspire more young women to go for leading positions in governance. I spent over a year listening to young women’s concerns, understanding the obstacles they meet and empowering them to take on greater leadership responsibilities i.e. in leading positions. Going through this process was inspiring. It became clear to me that we can do so much more when we have the confidence to believe in ourselves. It also made me reflect on what my dreams are and how I can contribute to enabling girls and young women of WAGGGS to become responsible citizens of the world who believe in themselves and their capabilities to become changemakers.
I believe my strengths and skills are best put to use as part of The Europe Regional Committee. I grew up in a co-educational association and have seen how an association can flourish through the cooperation between WAGGGS and WOSM. Therefore, I believe that it is fundamental for the Europe Region to ensure meaningful partnerships that can strengthen our work both on the regional level and in our MOs. These partnerships can be found within our own movement, with other NGOs or with intergovernmental entities such as The European Union or The United Nations. Through my network as a UN Youth Delegate, I want to strengthen such partnerships. WAGGGS is an organization for young women and girls, and I believe it is a great strength to show that we have members of our regional committee under the age of 30. This is not only a good signal to the world outside guiding and scouting, it also shows that we believe in our own values and empower young girls to become the leaders of tomorrow.
At the age of 12, I attended my first guide and scout meeting. I was a shy little girl who didn’t know much about what guides and scouts did. I put myself on the line that day and have continued to do so. I could not imagine that being a guide/scout would have a positive impact on my whole life. With the guides and scouts I learned to take on new challenges, to become aware of my strengths and weaknesses, to understand my desires and fears, to listen to myself, to recognize my limits and overcome some of them. I learned to share my journey with others, to listen, to welcome the feelings and experiences of others, to accept criticism and treasure it, to fulfil some dreams with others. In the guiding and scouting environment I found the right place to cultivate my empathy and sense of justice and fairness, to speak out and to do it with strength, and to commit myself to transforming my values into actions.
Here I am, many years and experiences later, from the wonder of the educational action with the young people of my city to the infinite opportunities of my Federation and WAGGGS, to get involved again. My candidacy comes from the awareness of the treasure that was given to me by becoming a guide/scout and from the desire to ensure that many other young people can receive this treasure, with commitment, enthusiasm and humility. It arises from the awareness of the profuse commitment, achievements and great results achieved to date by the WAGGGS Europe Region. My hope is that the Region will be able to listen more to MOs and create new opportunities for them, but above all that it can trigger an avalanche effect of positivity on the life of ever more young people. Let’s get involved!
“You will never do anything in the world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour.” – Aristotle The pandemic has inevitably challenged our values, has affected our physical and mental health, has increased the socio-economic and gender inequalities. War in many countries render peacebuilding efforts indispensable. Guiding/ Scouting have an undeniably transformative effect on young people’s lives. The immediate response is quite transparent: focus on mental health of volunteer and staff. An all- hands-on-deck approach is required to create tools and provide support to all young people, and I hope that our work will reach every Guide and Scout in Europe. I will work towards fostering partnerships, creating opportunities to connect and bring international experiences close to home, while working with MOs to improve networking, recruiting, training, and funding to make this a tangible reality. Young people around the world are very concerned about the future of the planet.
Climate change is more evident than ever, and this is where our Movement responds with action for change and the use of more sustainable working methods. This has already started in many MOs, but there is room for greater impact. The Committee ensures WAGGGS’ Global Strategy is implemented and that MOs receive tailored support addressing their needs. MOs work hard on shaping the Strategic Plan for the next triennium. Their voices are heard, valued and guide our work and it is what inspires me to work harder! Europe Region is a confluence of sounds, taste, style, languages, architecture, history, nations, and cultures. Understanding not only the similarities, but also the differences, is the way to move forward. Let us work together towards building strong, influential and proactive communities. Let us become the change makers and role models for young people all around Europe.