Close to the end of a Guiding Journey?

>>  Saturday, February 08, 2014

Those of you that know me well (or read between the lines) know I've been struggling recently.  So much crapola happening and the mountain of it just seems to grow.

Guiding used to be my 'go to' place.  The place with friends, the place for fun, the place where crapola went on hold and it felt like what I did helped and mattered.

I'm now a Ranger leader.  I didn't have the same relationship the other Ranger leader as I had with the Brownie leaders.  Since being at Rangers I have had to reduce my commitment to brownies and with that the tie to my friends there has weakened.  The other Ranger leader had little respect for me, I got the impression mostly she didn't want me there but needed a second pair of hands, so she was stuck with a rock and a hard place.  She has now gone on a maternity break.  Of course she won't know whether that is going to be a short or long one, until she knows which way motherhood takes her.

So I find myself a lone Ranger leader.  Rangers are teenagers.  They take a special sort of leader to 'guide' them though this stage of Guiding.  I am not that leader.  Ranger leader training is sparse in Guiding.  To be quite honest I think I could do with getting on some Scout training, but that isn't an option as far as I can see. 

I have a unit to run, I have all the responsibility but none of the authority (in terms of bank accounts etc).  That makes it harder but to be quite honest I don't want the authority anyway.  I have been saddled with it.  I went along to help a leader that was needing help and I've been left with a unit I don't want to run.  I'm trying harder to stick to the program, to help the girls achieve awards, run a residential etc but it's not fun and I have no peer friendships there.

A number of the Rangers are critical of what I have tried to do (I will do another post about what I am doing wrong, but for now I don't want to talk detail and fixes, I just need to release) and as young adults of their age tend to be, very vocal.  There is a period of life when we 'know it all' - you'll remember that time, it brings amazing confidence and is right for striding out into the world, but it leaves me drifting in the wake of the waves it creates.  I tend to sit down and cry when I return from meetings.  This isn't the Guiding I signed up for. 

I voiced this frustration in an online Guiding forum which was spotted by a couple of my Rangers and they were justifiably upset and put out.  I wanted to scream "do you see how hard this is, do you hear how you criticise me, do you know how many hours I spend giving to you all?" but instead I did the thing a leader should do:  I apologised whole heartedly for letting them down, for causing offence, for not being a good leader and promising to try harder.  That was the right thing to do.  But the true fact of the matter is I feel like I'm giving for no reward.  It's constant hard work and I am totally drained.

If I didn't have a Residential planned for the summer I would have just shut the door on the unit this week and not gone back.  I guess I will strive on.  Woggle making next meeting, what's not to like! 

I'm off to Switzerland with a group of leaders in May, I feel a bit of a fraud, I'm not a happy leader.  Can unhappy leaders go to Switzerland and play at Guiding, is that allowed?  Maybe it will give me a boost.

Across the years I have seen some really close friends just turn away from Guiding and never really understand how they could just let go.  This week I got it.

I wonder how I am going to unget it.


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