Tue, 31 May - 21:00
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Girl Guides NSW & ACT

On Saturday I was very pleased to attend the annual general meeting of Girl Guides NSW & ACT held at the Girl Guides Glengarry state training and activities centre located in North Turramurra in my electorate of Bradfield. I am also pleased to note that Commissioner of Girl Guides NSW & ACT Ms Belinda Allen is a constituent of mine in Bradfield. For nearly 100 years the Girl Guides have shown a commitment to volunteering, to participation and to the empowerment and engagement of girls and young women.

There are some 10,000 girls and young women who are members of Girl Guides in NSW and the ACT. The organisation relies heavily on volunteers to serve as leaders of youth. At the annual general meeting I was struck by the large number of people—mainly women but also some men—who had come from around the Sydney metropolitan area and from around New South Wales and the ACT to discuss the organisation's priorities. I was impressed to learn of their plans to upgrade their facilities in North Turramurra, but most importantly I was struck by the enthusiasm and dedication of the people in the room.

Often drawn into Guiding to support their own daughters, they have generously given of their time and skills to lead, befriend, encourage and teach many girls and young women. They told me of their innovative work, including attracting Muslim girls and young women into the Girl Guides through the formation of guide units in locations including Raby, Greenacre and Smithfield. It is fashionable to talk about the breakdown in social capital in modern Australia, but in my opinion that talk is often overrated, as the evidence of the Girl Guides demonstrates.