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Kilmore Girl Guide leaders recognised for long service

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

KILMORE Kookaburra Girl Guide leaders were recognised for their loyalty to Girl Guides Australia at a regional meeting in Benalla earlier this month.

Unit leader Carolyn Atkinson, who was acknowledged for 36 years of service, accepted the awards with five-year unit helper Annie Brooks on behalf of unit leader Bec Van De Pavered and Gail Leech who have served as Kilmore’s unit helpers for eight years.

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Ms Atkinson said receiving the certificates, thank you letters and badges from the new state commissioner Linda Kors was rewarding for their young members to think about.

“One of the kids the other night when she saw my badge she said ‘is that [for] five?’ and Bec goes ‘no it’s actually 35 she’s got’, and she goes ‘wow’,” Ms Atkinson said.

“And I said to her well I started when I was nine years old and haven’t left. I told her I just had so much fun along the way.”

The attitude Ms Atkinson has adopted to support other members developed from signing up to multiple Girl Guide groups across Australia including at Lancefield, Romsey and in Queensland.

Ms Atkinson joined the Kookaburras about 16 years ago to develop Kilmore’s unit and has bonded with young members to improve their communication and leadership skills.

“It’s just amazing to see when they’ve nurtured what they can come out with, which is really great,” she said.

“We see the shyest kids come in, and by the time they’ve left, they’ll lead again, they’ll talk to people and it’s really good to see,”

Kilmore Kookaburra Girl Guides now have a membership of 13 girls from ages five to 11 who voice their goals, and head off on camping trips, as well state events on their own.

“What we do as a unit leader is we plan the program for the term with the girls’ input, like the girls said this term they wanted to do science,” Ms Atkinson said.

“We’ve been doing science experiments. We have been quite enjoying doing different things. We just follow whatever they want, and we just cater a program.

“That’s what good about Guides these days – there’s all these state activities kids can do to by themselves, they don’t need a leader to go with them.”

Ms Atkinson said she had taken a step back since Ms Van De Pavered joined two years ago, but she planned to continue her leadership in

Kilmore where she had seen many young members grow.

“When I go to Kilmore, and you go down to Coles, or go to the bakery, and see my old Guides, they’re older now, and just how they’re getting along in life and what they’re doing, it’s just really pleasing because I’ve given references for some of the kids to get a job,” she said.

“You feel really proud when you go and see them in their job somewhere.”  

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