For more than 100 years, Girl Guides has been helping girls ages five to 17 to develop new skills, build their confidence and make lifelong friendships.
During the height of the pandemic, my kids—like all other kids—missed so many things. Every day they asked when school would return, when they could see their friends, grandparents and cousins again, when they could return to the activities they loved so much. One of those activities was Sparks and Brownies. They longed to return to their units, to their weekly evening of learning and games, of friendships and fun. For my youngest, it was her inaugural year of Guiding and she was so sad to miss her first opportunity to go to camp. To say they are excited to get back to in-person Guiding—now as Brownies and Guides, in a safe environment with all the necessary public health protocols—is a serious understatement.
Girl Guides of Canada has been a mainstay for girls across the country for more than 100 years. It has been a place where girls have been encouraged and nurtured in a safe, inclusive, pro-girl space, where they have learned new skills and developed lifelong bonds with others. “Especially now, girls are looking for friends they can count on to lift them up, and that’s the spirit of Girl Guides,” says CEO Jill Zelmanovits. Programming ranges from STEM activities and outdoor adventures to discussions on mental health and healthy relationships. Recently, Girl Guides even gave some of their traditional camp songs a powerful update, to better reflect the energy and passion of girls in Guiding (you’ll never think of “B.I.N.G.O” the same way again!). These “fire songs,” as they’ve been dubbed, aim to inspire Canadian parents, caregivers and girls to get involved with their local Girl Guide groups, where girls can safely stretch their limits and discover new things about themselves.
The impact of the Girl Guide experience can be tremendous. As girls age up through each level of Guiding—from Sparks at age five to Rangers at age 17—they are encouraged to “find their fire” with the support and friendship of other girls and dedicated adult volunteers. “One of my favourite lines from the video is, ‘Girls, let’s go!’” says Zelmanovits. “The message is, ‘When we stick together, we can do anything.’” This couldn’t be more true. I certainly remember this from my own Guiding days: To this day, I can still lead a group in an activity or song, take a stand on important issues, sew a button, build and cook over a campfire, set up a tent and more, because of the years I spent in Girl Guides. As a parent, I have now seen first-hand how the program has evolved and watched in awe as my girls develop real-life skills (while also having fun and building confidence!), and I have no doubt that the Girl Guide program will continue to serve the country’s young women for decades to come. For more information visit GirlGuides.ca and follow @girlguidesofcanada on Instagram or @girlguidesofcan on Twitter.