A guide for young women

By Olivia Duffey

Deniliquin’s Elaine Russell (pictured) has been honoured with a Boronia, awarded for more than 40 years of service to Girl Guides in the local area.

The Deniliquin Girl Guides leader has served the Girl Guides since 1979, at Narrandera, Finley and Deniliquin.

The 73 year-old was notified of the award last month by Girl Guides state commissioner Sarah Neill who congratulated Mrs Russell on her dedication and contribution.

The award will be officially presented once Coronavirus restrictions lift further.

‘‘It was a shock, well and truly,’’ Mrs Russell said of being notified.

‘‘I have been guiding now in three towns. Some people step up to the role and others don’t, but it is something some of us must do to keep Girl Guides going.’’

Mrs Russell’s involvement started when her daughter Krishna joined the Narrandera Girl Guides.

‘‘The first year I was on the parent group, but then the guide leader left so I was asked to step up and become a guide leader. 

‘‘And I have been that ever since.

‘‘I continued even after my daughter left. It is hard to say why really, but it was about trying to nurture girls and watch them grow into confident women.

‘‘It’s not something you sit down and process, it is a case of just doing something you enjoy being a part of.’’

Mrs Russell said her favourite part of guides is showing girls that they can do anything they set their mind to.

‘‘I love seeing the girls grow,’’ Mrs Russell said.

‘‘They come in young and might be this shy little thing, and then you look at them a couple of years down the track and they have come out of their shell. I think it’s because they can be themselves.

‘‘It is interesting to see them realise they can do things that they might not have thought they could. If they want to do something, there is nothing stopping them.

‘‘You might even start a craft and they will say ‘I can’t do this’, but you say ‘give it a go’ and they can.’’

Because she had been involved with Girl Guides for such a long time, Mrs Russell said she is now guiding the children of her former charges.

‘‘Some will put their girls in because they enjoyed it themselves, and have realised the benefits they got out of it,’’ Mrs Russell said.

‘‘It is incredible to see the different generations come through Girl Guides, but they are often nothing like their parents.

‘‘But that is just it, at Girl Guides you can be yourself. You don’t have to be mum or dad, big sister or whatever, you can be yourself.’’

Like many other organisations, the Deniliquin Girl Guides has been in recess due to Coronavirus.

The group expects to return to normal meetings in term three, starting Tuesday, July 28.  The group meets each Tuesday from 4pm and 6pm at the Deniliquin Guide Hall in Whitelock St.

New members between the ages of seven and 15 are welcome to join, and can come along on a Tuesday to see what Guides is all about.

Deniliquin Girl Guides also need new leaders, with Mrs Russell just one of two still involved in the group.

For more information phone Mrs Russell on 0437 813 607 or fellow leader Frieda Nolan on 0478 038 395, or visit