To celebrate Volunteers’ Week Ranger Ruyuan has written an open letter to the volunteers she’s met over the years to thank them for all they’ve done to help her realise her potential. Here she shares tales from her inspirational Girlguiding journey to show the true impact volunteers have on the lives of girls and young women across Scotland.

To every volunteer I’ve ever known,

My name’s Ruyuan, I’m a member of the Stockbridge Rangers and I have to say, the last 12 months have been a real whirlwind. I’ve lost count of all the amazing opportunities that have opened up to me as a result of being part of Girlguiding, including being featured in Stylist Magazine’s ‘Made by Girls’ issue, but more on that later.

It all started a few years ago when my Guide leader at the time persuaded me to sign up for Camp CEO, a special camp which focuses on leadership and instilling confidence in future female leaders. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect at first I ended having the best time. I was able to develop my communication and networking skills which really boosted my confidence.

Back then I wasn’t aware how much this experience would change my life and set me on a new path. Now my main goal is to help create positive change for girls and young women and it was all thanks to my Guide leader’s support. Without her encouragement to try new things I definitely wouldn’t have signed up, or even known the opportunity was available.

Fast forward a year and my new found confidence, skills and passion led me to apply to become a Girlguiding Advocate. I was so pleased when I found out I’d been accepted because the Advocate panel gives girls like me a platform to use our voices to speak out about important issues and seek change at the highest levels.

My role as an Advocate has opened up so many doors but being featured in one of my favourite magazines, Stylist, was a real highlight. To mark International Day of the Girl (a day which highlights gender inequality) the Stylist team handed the reigns over to a team of young girls and I got to be a part of it. In the issue I had my say on what it’s like being a girl growing up today and seeing my thoughts published was surreal but fantastic!

Another very proud moment of mine was being featured in the March edition of Guiding magazine, the environment issue. Helping spread awareness about protecting the planet, and encouraging my peers to do the same, is very important to me.

Through my advocacy role I’m working hard to inspire more girls to take action when it comes to causes they believe in, but I’m also keen to become a Girlguiding Scotland volunteer myself. This would be a great chance for me to empower other girls in the same way I was, and continue to be, and show them they can do anything they set their mind to.

None of this would have been possible had it not been for my leaders, past and present, constantly inspiring me to voice my opinions and reminding me that I alone can make a difference in the world. And I couldn’t think of a better time than now, during Volunteers’ Week 2019, to express how grateful I am to them all.

Thanks for everything,
Ruyuan