There was no Guides this week, so here’s some random musing instead…
I have my own set of keys to the Guide hall. While it’s a small thing, it makes me extremely happy.
Keys are symbolically (as well as practically) very important: they represent trust, responsibility and freedom. It’s a big thing to get your first house keys as a child, to get the keys to your first car and your first house, and to entrust a copy of your house key to a friend or partner. It’s terrifying to lose a key, and particularly stomach-dropping if it’s someone else’s, knowing that you’ve betrayed their trust and made them vulnerable.
Likewise, my hall keys are significant to me. I’ve been using the hall since I was a Ranger, then as a Young Leader and a Guide Leader. I spent a year as a leader with no key, which was fine as I was rarely the first one to arrive and didn’t have much reason to go there alone; I also felt quite junior, not in the key-holding ranks! Then I moved away for a year, and then I came back and at the first district meeting I went to, the lady in charge of the hall gave me a key. Oh frabjous day!
Now if I’m the first to get to the hall, I can let myself in and start setting up, rather than waiting outside like a lemon. Now I can bring up the rear and lock up if we’re taking the Guides out. Now I can nip back if we’ve forgotten something, without borrowing another leader’s keys and trying about 20 before I find the right ones. Now I can pop in whenever I like if there’s something I need to find/tidy/dump there.* Now I know that if for any reason I was stuck in town and needed shelter/a toilet/emergency craft supplies, I could take refuge in the hall. More than ever, I feel trusted and valued by my district.
Every time I use my keys, these happy thoughts go through my head.
*For example, if I were out in town the night before camp, I could excuse myself for an hour and nip round the corner to the hall to get together a pile of kit. Hypothetically, you understand…