For International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the stories of women in Scouting and the contribution they make to our movement. Belinda Francis is one.
Deputy Chief Commissioner (Growth, Strategies and Group Support)
Director (Media and Promotions) AJ2013, Assistant Region Commissioner (Scouts), Assistant Scout Leader, Journalist and Photographer AJ2010, Group Leader
My two sons who were encouraged to attend an ‘open night’ at our local Scout Group. My brother had been a Cub Scout in the 1970s and I had been a Brownie but I had no involvement with the movement between about 1977 and 2007.
Knowing that I am part of an awesome movement that makes a real difference to young people – their perception of themselves, their development of confidence and capability, their identification of their place in the world. Also, Scouts offers me friendships with people like me, along with the ability to grow and stretch my personal capabilities.
Two things stand out.
Yes, yes and yes. I say to my children that no-one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. In Scouting you can find something you love to do and that you are good at that is outside your everyday life. It might be an outdoor activity, photography and promotions, mentoring and supporting others, or being an advocate for our youth members. There is nothing better than devoting time to making the world a better place through the young people in Scouts.
Looking at things from an instinctively protective and community mindset which is, I believe, a very female perspective. Also, an understanding and patience that encourages young people to develop their confidence knowing that there is a ‘mother figure’ there to support their efforts.
I am an Organisational Engagement Manager in Operations at the University of Sydney. My background is in marketing, communications and change and I enjoy working on cultural change in organisations. I love to camp anywhere and often. I’m from Murwillumbah so I love the country. And enjoy handcrafts such as crochet and knitting.
My female heroes range from Baroness Margaret Thatcher to Dame Judy Dench to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to a few less well known but so very special to me.
Unabelle Howell and Rita Little. Who are Unabelle and Rita? My mother and my mother-in-law. Both truly amazing women who have influenced so much of who I am today. One of these women is still with me. The other passed away in February and I will miss her every day.
I have a few: