A TEENAGER who overcame learning difficulties to excel in Brownies and Guides has been selected as one of Girlguiding UK’s 24 “Guiding Lights.”
Holly Tadman, 15, of Downey Close, St Leonards, is a young leader with 10th St Leonards Brownies.
After a year as Brownie, she spent three years with 1st St Leonards Guides and then became a young leader with her current Brownie group.
Up until five years ago, Holly, who has had a severe speech sound disorder and learning difficulties all her life, would not speak to anyone outside her family and friends.
Although she had attended a special school and received speech and language therapy, she still refused to speak to people, aware that they found it hard to understand her.
But after joining Brownies, with the encouragement of her speech therapist, Holly went from strength to strength, gaining the confidence to speak in public.
When she moved up to Guides, she attended a week-long camp and grew in confidence, speaking to other girls despite her speech sound disorder.
Holly is also an Olympic judo competitor, and has been practising judo since the age of seven. Last summer she attended the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.
She said: “Judo and Guides have made me feel good about myself.
“I have learned that I can achieve anything I want when I put my mind to it and work hard.”
Now Holly coaches young members of her judo club and builds confidence with her young Brownies.
She added: “I help put on sessions at judo with the younger players and at Brownies. I hope to be a judo coach one day and help other people achieve.
“And I am proud to work with the girls in the 10th St Leonards Brownies. I remember being a Brownie and it was so nice to have people helping me.”