Spotlight on...being a trainer

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

with Lynne Gouldsmith


I am passionate about guiding and the benefits and opportunities if provides for girls, young women and adults and I want to share this with as many leaders as possible. Training is an excellent way of doing this.

Who are you?

My name is Lynne Gouldsmith, but I am known as Penguin in my joint Rainbow and Brownie unit in Gorran & Mevagissey. I have also been part of Cornwall Training Team for 25 years. During my time in guiding, I have had various roles, including being a Guide and Ranger Leader, County and SW Region Young Leader Adviser, County Queens Guide Adviser and Division Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Adviser.


What does a Girlguiding Trainer actually do?

Basically, we share our experiences and pass on information from HQ and Region on all matters relating to Girlguiding to other Leaders. Some of us specialise in areas like Safe Space, First Response, Finances, and Commissioners. Being a Trainer does not mean you have to be an expert in your field and know all the answers to everything! It just means you can facilitate information and communicate with other leaders. If we don’t know the answer to a question, we find someone who does!


Why do you do it?

Those of you who know me well will know I love to talk! I am passionate about guiding and the benefits and opportunities if provides for girls, young women and adults and I want to share this with as many leaders as possible. Training is an excellent way of doing this. I remember attending my first training as an adult who was new to Guide guiding (I wasn’t a Brownie or a Guide as a child). I didn’t understand a word of what was being said! I had no idea what a Trefoil was, and I was too scared to ask! This didn’t put me off attending trainings, but it made me want to explain things to people in a language that everyone understands.


What’s the most rewarding part of the role?

It’s great to feel the “buzz” at a face 2 face training, when leaders are engaging and sharing ideas and experiences. If they learn something new, and gain new ideas for activities from the session, that’s a bonus.


What’s the most frustrating part of the role?

It is frustrating to prepare and plan a training session and then have to cancel it due to lack of numbers. Attending trainings regularly used to be a compulsory part of being a leader in guiding, and it’s a shame this is no longer the case for section trainings. Leaders benefit greatly from getting together with other leaders to share ideas and experiences, and a training is an ideal opportunity to ask questions and learn new things. Many things are learnt over a coffee or the lunch break at a Training Day!


What have you learned from the role?

I never thought I had the skills needed to be a Trainer. I felt I was just an ordinary leader who didn’t have much experience in guiding, but I quickly learnt that I didn’t need to have all the answers to all the questions. If you keep your Promise, the Girlguiding Code of Conduct and the 5 Essentials of guiding in the forefront of all you do, you can’t go far wrong!


What sort of time commitment does it take to be a Trainer?

As a Team we have 3 business meetings per year, where we plan dates and times for the trainings that are needed in the County. We also have 3 support meetings per year, to share what we have learnt and what we need to do to help provide good quality trainings for all our leaders. Obviously when we are planning and preparing for a training session, we need to spend time pulling everything together, but the benefits are knowing that the leaders attending the session will appreciate the work we have put in.


What skills do I need to be a Trainer?

You need to be a good communicator and a good listener, and having good organisational skills is also useful. You need to be approachable and friendly. My best advice is to give it a try, if you think you would like to have a go. Initially you would work closely with the training team, who are a lovely, friendly bunch of leaders. You will quickly learn the skills needed to deliver a training session and working on your Training Qualification will increase your confidence and your interpersonal skills. This can, in turn, be useful in your own work setting. If you are interested in being a trainer, please let us know – we would love to welcome you to the team!

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