A young girl-guide leader from Mowbray landed the chance of a lifetime when she got to go to an environmental summit in the Swiss Alps.
Sadie Wiseman, with the encouragement of her parents, joined the 1st Rondebosch Guide Company when she was 10, and later became a ranger in Rondebosch as well.
After she turned 18, Sadie decided to stay in guiding and become an adult leader to help other girls experience the fun, growth and learning she had.
Now 19, Sadie has been helping to run the guides for the past year, and this led to her attending the Helen Storrow Seminar for women aged 18 to 25, in February.
According to Sadie, the seminar gives young people from around the world the chance to connect on environmental issues they care about and take the lead as agents of change in their communities.
It focuses on three areas: learning about environmental issues and the worldwide sustainable development goals. leadership and teamwork skills, and developing and planning your own environmental project in your community.
“To be able to attend was an incredible experience and privilege for me. In particular, the people that I met from all over the world were wonderfully friendly and passionate, and they helped make the whole experience unforgettable.”
Sadie said apart from the networking, she learnt a lot about leadership practices, the attitudes of a leader and how self-reflection can help to grow one’s skills and capabilities.
“However, the biggest way in which the seminar helped me was to push me through the different stages of planning a project. It can be tricky to progress from haphazard ideas to a concrete timeline, but the facilitators at the seminar designed templates and gave us advice to help us do just that.”
Sadie heard about the seminar through social media, but at that time it was too early to apply.
“I was hooked on the idea, though, so I waited a year and luckily remembered in time. I was very grateful to be awarded a full event bursary and partial travel bursary.”
And while this was not her first time overseas, she said it had been quite special as it had been her first experience of an European winter… and snow.
“I was also awe-inspired by the location of the seminar, nestled among the gorgeous Swiss Alps.”
Sadie is a second-year chemical engineering student at UCT, but she is still dedicated to her girl guides unit, which meet once a week.
The adult leader plans the weekly meetings, using the girl guide programme as a reference.
The programmes include first aid, outdoor adventure, leadership, guiding and historical knowledge, social and environmental responsibility, arts and crafts and technology.
Guide units are open to girls aged 10 to 14. There are also teddie units for girls aged 4 to 7, brownie units for girls aged 7 to 10, and ranger units for 14 to 18 year olds.