Empowering girls and young women in Hong Kong for over a century…
It’s the first month of the new year and we can’t think of a better organisation to feature than the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association (HKGGA). HKGGA is currently the largest female youth organisation in Hong Kong and has been giving girls incredible opportunities to discover more about themselves and what they are capable of for over 100 years now. But as a growing organisation, HKGGA is always looking for more volunteers.
Guiding is not only an opportunity to help young girls become global citizens but also to learn a lot of invaluable life skills along the way. Pauline Cheung, who has been a volunteer guider for 12 years (and is now a District Commissioner for HKGGA), can attest to this. We spoke to her to find out more about volunteering for Girl Guides and the incredible work the organisation has been doing.
Tell us about the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association? What is it you do?
The long story short(ish) is that Lord Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts in the UK over a century ago to develop the full potential (mental, intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual) of young people. Though it started out as an all-boys initiative, the Girl Guides emerged when a spirited group of girls joined the all-boys organisation and presented themselves as the “Girl Scouts”. It was clear that a platform was needed for girls, and thus its creation was spearheaded by Baden-Powell’s sister, Agnes Baden-Powell. In 1916, the British Army brought Girlguiding to Hong Kong.
Since its formation, HKGGA has really blossomed from a British import into an organisation that is truly international, while capturing the essence of Hong Kong. We run programmes for girls in both Cantonese and English, and have units all over the city. HKGGA stays well connected with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts through hosting international events (such as the Centenary International Camp that involved participants from all around the world), as well as participating in international gatherings such as the annual Asia Pacific Regional Conference (which was hosted in Taiwan in 2019 and in Nepal the year before).
We look forward to celebrating our 105th anniversary in Hong Kong this year, to be marked by an international camp planned for December!
Why is the work of HKGGA important?
The mission of Girl Guides is to enable girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world. In addition to leadership skills, guiding offers a safe space for girls and young women to discover themselves and the world around them, but none of this can be done without volunteers. Volunteer leaders of diverse backgrounds are the reason behind the success of guiding. We are grateful to be blessed with amazing women who are passionate about nurturing the next generation, but as a growing organisation we are always in need of more volunteers to help us support more girls in the community.
No teaching background is required to become a mentor, role model or guider – our unique edge comes from our commitment to non-formal education which is distinct from the formal teaching methods delivered in schools. Despite the focus on girls, guiding is a growth experience for both girls and guiders alike! Even though we weren’t able to run our regular programmes in 2020, we were still able to support the girls (and each other) through Zoom meetings, parties and lots more. The volunteer network is a fantastic community to be part of in Hong Kong, full of super inspiring, talented and committed women, who often become great friends!
How can we help?
To learn more about English-speaking Girl Guides and explore volunteering opportunities, check out our website. We hope to be able to run our next volunteer introductory training course in March (social distancing measures pending). This is a fun, informal yet super useful training which will give you the chance to find out more about being a volunteer, plus gain practical skills that you can use in your life and career. Please fill out the form on the site and we’ll be in touch soon about how to get involved!
All images courtesy of Hong Kong Girl Guides Association.