Facing your fears

Written by Claire Coles-Williams, Leader, 1st St James' Rainbows

My name is Claire Coles-Williams and I'm a leader from 1st St James' in Girlguiding London South East county. My guiding name is Caterpillar. On 15 October 2019 I covered the evening for another leader who wasn't well at the time. I suffer from anxiety and I'm scared to talk in front of large groups. I was feeling fine until I had to do activities and tell the Rainbows about the night - my heart was beating so fast and my palms were sweating.

The first activity I had planned was a true or false game. One side of the room was 'true' and the other was 'false', and I read out different animal names and the Rainbows had to go to the correct side. Some of the names of the animals were:

Small tortoiseshell butterfly (true)

Pumpkinhead mouse (false)

Bottlenose dolphin (true)

It was a fun game and when the Rainbows got it right they would cheer, which was good to see.

I then split the girls between the eight leaders and young leaders we had on the night - four girls to each leader - and I had to give a small talk on safety, which again was so scary because all the girls were looking at me which didn’t make it easier! They were going to be getting badges pinned onto them by the leader they'd been matched with, so I told them not to touch the sharp end because we don't want anyone to get hurt.

Once the girls were in their groups I explained what they were doing next. They had a circular piece of card on which they had to draw their favourite animal; once they had done that they had to glue it onto a circular piece of foam and then the leader would pin it onto the girls.

When they had completed this they had to write down what their favourite animal was and why, and give a fact about their chosen animal. Some of the girls stood up and read out what their animal was and why but some were scared, which is understandable.

I was so proud of the girls for standing up and reading in front of us all, there must have been 40+ of us there including leaders and young leaders.

The feedback I got was good and the girls really enjoyed themselves. My other leaders said I did really well considering I was so nervous, but I'm going to beat this fear by doing it more and I'm looking forward to it!

My tip to anyone who is going through the same is practice first to anyone who will listen, breathe, take your time and have fun. It's okay to do things you’re scared of and you will conquer it! F.E.A.R - Face Everything And Rise

— Claire
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