Imagine a place where girls and young women can challenge themselves, have fun, make lifelong friendships, and build strong skills and character. Imagine a place where they could go to find strength and confidence, form leadership skills, and learn about their global community. Imagine a place where support and encouragement, friendship and fun are all priorities.
You don’t even have to imagine it, because it already exists: Girl Guides of Canada.
As a little girl, I was such a proud Brownie. The arms of my 1980s brown dress uniform were lined with the badges I’d earned. I was then a Girl Guide, and then a Pathfinder. In my years in Guiding, I had incredible experiences – I was chosen to attend an international camp (Echo Valley ’88!) where I met Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut, and other Guides from around the globe.
When I earned my Canada Cord (an award given to girls that recognizes community service and leadership), I was chosen to make the speech on behalf of all recipients, despite being nervous to speak in front of an auditorium full of people, including our then Lieutenant Governor, Lincoln Alexander. It terrified me, but Girl Guides of Canada challenged me to push myself farther and overcome those nerves. I was so proud, so exhilarated! During some rocky high school years, Guiding was always there – the friendships I made were so important to me, and the lessons and skills have lasted a lifetime.
Girl Guides taught me so much – they taught me the value of volunteering in my community, and my first business lessons were learned there (cookie selling, anyone?). I can light a fire with one match, I can camp in a tent in mid-winter, and I can lead a team of professionals with confidence. . . thanks in great part to the experiences I had with Girl Guides of Canada.
As the years went on, I was a Junior Leader, and then a Brownie leader. There was little I loved more than going to those meetings every week, helping the girls earn badges, singing songs, teaching them STEM skills. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to volunteer with Guiding – if you have the time, I highly recommend it!
When my daughter joined Guiding, I was so excited for her. Despite her short-lived Guiding career, my heart remains with the organization.
Tailored to different age groups, the Guiding programs allow members to take part in activities that help them confidently navigate our world. The building blocks of leadership are laid, the importance of creating strong, healthy friendships is learned, and girls as young as five are challenged to stretch themselves.
And if you think today’s Girl Guides haven’t changed over the years, you’ve got a lot to learn! Sure, the core adventure is still the same, but now, there’s an added focus on sciences, arts, outdoor challenges, community service projects, mental health and personal growth. They learn global and media awareness, and so much more through enriching experiences that will stay with them forever.
Every week, girl members attend weekly evening meetings on a yearly basis that aligns conveniently with the school year, with girls their own age. You can actually sign up now for the sessions that’ll start in September. There really isn’t anything out there quite like the sisterhood of Guiding. Around the globe, if you’re a Guide, you’re a friend. I can imagine nothing more uniting than that. <3
This post is brought to you by Girl Guides of Canada, Ontario Council but the images and opinions are my own.