We caught up with Josie Crossley, one of the newest additions to our Region Volunteer team, to find out about her new role for Membership Growth & Retention.

What does the role of Lead Volunteer for Membership Growth & Retention involve?

It's my job to oversee how we recruit new girls and volunteers in the region, as well as keep the members we already have. This means I have to look over the information about the number of members in the region and try to understand what is stopping people from joining and why they are not staying. Although it sounds quite dull, it's actually really exciting as we are working on a number of projects within the region to boost our membership and reach out in new areas. I'll be working with the team down in London as well as with local commissioners, leaders and girls to understand the strengths and challenges of each county, section and even unit, and to figure out how we can make Guiding Midlands even bigger and better!

What  do you hope to achieve as part of this role?

I'm most looking forward to really understanding the recruitment and retention challenges faced by local units as one of the unique advantages of Girlguiding Midlands is that we cover such diverse areas, each with their own personalities and strengths that we can use to our advantage when recruiting new members. I hope that we will be able to spread the word about Guiding and continue going from strength to strength by opening Girlguiding and the opportunities if offers to more girls across the region.

What other roles do you have in guiding?

As well as being the Lead Volunteer for Membership Growth & Retention, I'm a Guide and Brownie Leader in Aldridge and I'm working on my Queen's Guide Award. I also took part in a GOLD project to Oman last year and will be leading one of the 2019 GOLD projects, so I'm never short of Guiding to-do lists!

What relevant previous experiences have you had which led you to this Region role?

One of the most useful experiences I had before applying for the role was my GOLD trip to Oman as we delivered trainings on recruiting new girls and leaders. As well as this, I was a Guide and Scout leader in France on my Year Abroad and these two opportunities helped me to understand how Guiding is run in other countries and has given me some ideas about how we could approach Guiding in the region to make it more flexible for our members.

What is your favourite thing you have done, or your greatest achievement, as a member of Girlguiding?

Although I have done lots of exciting things with Girlguiding like GOLD, international camps volunteering at Spark for the centenary and achieving my ALQ, the one thing that still sticks with me is making my promise as a Guide on a beach in Porthcawl during a pirate-themed camp. This is one of the best things I have done as a member of Girlguiding because it made me realise what a unique and special organisation Girlguiding is and that it was one I wanted to be part of, so you could say it sparked my passion for all things Guiding and got me to where I am now! 

What do you enjoy outside guiding?

As a Primary School Teacher, I don't get a lot of free time so I really value being able to spend time with family and friends (and sleep!), but I also love dancing, playing music and reading. My guilty pleasures are crafts, sewing and knitting, although these are much more acceptable hobbies in Guiding than in the 'normal' world!

What is your favourite biscuit and why?

I'm going to go for a fruit shortcake because it's a bit unusual and super sweet (and also because it's one of the only biscuits I can eat!).

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Determined, adventurous and open-minded (or in one word: a Guider!)