A group of young girls are heading to Denmark in December to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit as part of a Girl Guides youth Delegation. Allison Hooper, 24 yrs, Petina Blackwell, 25 yrs, and Nellie Mair, 25 yrs, will join 19 young women from around the world at COP15 to form the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ (WAGGGS) youth delegation in support of environmental protection.
Also heading to Denmark is Tasmanian Guide Leader, Abyilene McGuire, 26 yrs, who will join the Australian Koala Foundation’s (AKF) delegation on behalf of Girl Guides Australia – a gold sponsor of the AKF. Abyilene will promote the plight of the koala and the effects of climate change on the much loved native Australian animal.
The WAGGGS delegation will unite with more than 20,000 representatives from 170 countries who are expected to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, an important opportunity to establish a new global climate agreement before the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012.
Hailing from different states, including Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, the young women – who were selected by Girl Guides Australia for their passion for the environment as well as their leadership skills and service to the community – will advocate on behalf of Girl Guides the importance of preventing climate change and global warming.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow travel companions, Guide Leader and youth delegate Petina Blackwell says: “We are thrilled to have been chosen to represent Australia on behalf of Girl Guides at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. We’re eager to discuss environmental issues with other delegates and look forward to sharing the knowledge we gain from this experience with other Guides and members of our communities. It is our hope that COP15 will lead to significant change, helping ensure that countries such as Australia remain beautiful and viable places to live in for many more generations.”Allison Hooper, 24 yrs, Darwin, NT
Allison first joined Guides in 1993. Since moving to Darwin in 2008, she has been co-Leader of a senior Guide Unit. She has attended a number of Guiding events and enjoys mentoring younger Guides.
Petina Blackwell, 25 yrs, Bendigo, VIC
Petina has been involved with Guiding for the past 14 years. She is a Guide Leader for girls aged 5 to 9, and also an Assistant Manager for the Olave Program for young women aged 18 to 30. In her professional life, Petina works for the Department of Sustainability and Environment as a native vegetation officer. Through her career and involvement with Guiding, Petina has developed a strong interest for climate change and environmental initiatives. She enjoys teaching young girls and women about how to make smart environmental choices and believes Guides can set a good example for the wider community.
Abyilene McGuire, 26 yrs, Blackmans Bay, Tasmania
Abyilene, a Guide Leader of girls aged 7-11 years, works as a Senior Environmental Health Officer and will be attending COP15 as a Girl Guides Australia representative for the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) delegation.
Nellie Mair, 25 yrs, Alexandra Hills, QLD
Nellie, or ‘Speedy’ as she is known to her Guiding mates, has been involved with Guiding for more than a decade. She is a Guide Leader and a keen outdoorswoman. Nellie looks forward to attending COP15 and discussing climate issues with other members of international youth delegations.
Why did you choose to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit?
Nellie Mair: The protection of the environment is very important to Girl Guides, both in Australia and around the world. Also, as an outdoor education specialist I spend a lot of time in nature and see first hand how our actions affect the environment.
When I learnt that the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) was forming a youth delegation to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, I submitted my application to be a member of that delegation.
I am eager to act as an ambassador for Australia and Girl Guides, and to doing my part in the fight against climate change. I can’t wait to team with like-minded people and join forces to exercise change.
What do you think the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit has in store for you?
Nellie Mair: The Girl Guides youth delegation will be doing a number of things at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. In the lead up to the event, my fellow delegates and I have participated in a pre-event program which has included advocacy training, sessions with environment experts, e-learning, lobbying of national delegations and contributing to position papers and youth conclusions/agreements to present at COP15.
Once in Denmark, we will present at workshops and side events, do interviews with the media, lobby national delegations and participate in youth caucuses and develop an environment advocacy plan to implement at home.
What are you most looking forward to at Copenhagen Climate Change Summit?
Nellie Mair: More than 20,000 representatives from 170 countries are expected to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.
Climate change is an all encompassing threat, directly affecting the environment, the economy, health and safety. By joining forces with other youth from around the world, my hope is to contribute toward the establishment of a global climate agreement to help reduce global warming and the production of green house gases.
By being involved in this once in a lifetime experience, I look forward to making new friends from all over the world and gaining a deeper knowledge of how I can reduce my own carbon footprint and encourage and teach members of my community to do the same.
Why do you enjoy being a part of the Girl Guides?
Nellie Mair: I first joined Girl Guides when I was 7. Since then, I have been involved in a number of local and national Guiding events. Through Guiding, I have gained skills for life. Guides has taught me how to be an effective leader, and how to work in a team. It has also helped me grow into a confident woman and become a responsible member of my community.
My most enjoyable experience within Guiding has been spending time with other Guides and members of the Guiding community, doing everyday activities, attending special camps and other events. Another thing I like about Guides is meeting members of different generations, who come from all over the country as well as around the world.
What does being a Girl Guide leader mean for you?
Nellie Mair: Girl Guides provides a unique ‘girl only’ space for young girls and women. I have made wonderful friends through Guiding and have developed life skills. Being a Guides Leader gives me the opportunity to pass on the knowledge I have gained to younger girls, and help them grow into confident women. Girl Guides helps girls gain an appreciation for the environment, for their communities and encourages them to get involved in a variety of community and global initiatives. Girl Guides recently celebrated its Centenary, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announcing that 2010 was ‘the Year of the Guide’. Being a Guide Leader allows me to do my part in ensuring that Girl Guides will be around for the next 100 years.
What is a typical day like for you?
Nellie Mair: There are no typical days! I invest a lot of time in Girl Guides because I enjoy it so much. When I’m not organising Guiding-related activities or spending time with my Guiding Unit, I can be found at the Kindilan Outdoor Education and Conference Centre where I work as an outdoor education specialist.
Outside of work and Guiding, I enjoy photography, and other things most people my age enjoy, like spending time with my friends.
What are your goals for the future?
Nellie Mair: I have no specific goals at the moment. They change every day!
60 Second Quiz
Full Name: Nellie Mair
Star Sign: Virgo
Music Talent: I like to play the djembe – an African drum.
Favorite Food: I love Italian food, including pasta and pizza.
Favorite Film: My favourite film at the moment is Mister MaGorium's Wonder Emporium
Favorite Actor: I don’t have one
Pet: I have 4 pet goldfish
Describe yourself in 3 words: Funny, energetic and honest
Best Feature: I would say my best feature is my ability to teach others
Worst Feature: I can be pretty stubborn!
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: The person I would most like to meet is Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke
Hobbies/Interests: Girl Guides is my primary hobby, but I also practice fire twirling and unicycling
First Job: My first job was supervising special needs kids on the bus to and from school
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: I’m definitely more of a pub mind of girl
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: Whenever I leave the house, I say to myself: “Wallet, keys, phone and diary”, to make sure I don’t forget anything. So those are the four things I never leave home without.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: The first thing I think when I wake up is usually “What day is it?”
Are you interested in Climate Change?
What do you action in regarss to Climate Change?
Are you a Girl Guide member?
For more information about Girls Guides Australia or the Centenary celebrations, visit www.girlguides.org.au