Mandy Gardner


Assistant County Commissioner, Girlguiding Essex South East

Hi, my name is Mandy and I’ve been assistant county commissioner since July 2020.  My role is mainly to support our county commissioner, particularly regarding PR, Growth and Retention and GDPR.  I am also district commissioner for Eastwood which is part of Southend West division.  However, the best part of my guiding life is being part of the teams for two units – Brownies and Rangers.

I’ve been in or around guiding since I was seven.  I have fond memories of guide camps in the 70s, travelling in the back of a removal lorry (wouldn’t be allowed today!), washing in cold water, and eating soggy fried bread round the fire because we couldn’t wait for the oil to heat up.  Good times.  I continued as a leader with Guides until I left while I was studying with the OU.  Over the years I have returned periodically and have volunteered with all sections.  Things have changed a lot since those days in the back of a removal lorry, but guiding is still giving girls and volunteers great opportunities to have fun and grow as people, and I can’t imagine life without being a part of it.

My personal highlight was finally getting to Our Chalet in Switzerland in 2013 having wanted to visit since I was a Brownie.  It is truly a magical, welcoming place and not as hard to arrange a visit as I’d always thought.  On returning in 2019, I finally plucked up the courage to zipwire proving that it’s never too late to try new things.

As a district commissioner, I have been privileged to get to know girls across the district and see them grow through different sections from children to confident young women who have made amazing memories with us.  My job then is to keep them in this incredible organisation!