Youth: Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada
Teaching young women how to be good citizens and good leaders
Mary D’Isendoorn, who emigrated to Canada in 1951, has been a volunteer with Girl Guides for 50 years. Now 70 years old, she says that her volunteer work with Girl Guides helped her adjust to her new life in Canada, and continuing to volunteer gives her an active, energetic and happy life.
As newcomers to Canada, you face many challenges when you arrive here. You may need to learn a new language; you will have a new society to become part of; and new friends to make. Children also have the same challenges. As you work to become good citizens in your new home, you can help your daughters also become good citizens and make new friends through the programs offered by Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada.
The Girl Guide movement has been a part of Canadian society since 1910. It began in Britain in 1909, when Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, asked his sister Agnes to start a similar organization for girls. Girl Guides was a way for girls to get together in an organized way to help them develop their life skills. In addition to activities similar to the Boy Scouts, such as camping and tracking in the wilderness, they learned all of the skills necessary to run a home.
Today’s Guiding teaches young women how to be good citizens. It is also a fun place where girls can experience new things, meet new people, make new friends, and challenge themselves in a safe place with other girls. They learn about themselves, and about the world around them. Camping and the outdoor life is still very much a part of the Girl Guide experience. Girls also learn about respecting each other, respecting the environment, and how to become responsible adults.
Girl Guides of Canada is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), a worldwide organization that operates in 144 countries. Your daughters may already be Girl Guides in your country of origin. If she joins Girl Guides of Canada, she will find many things are very much the same. Being in a familiar place will make the adjustment to Canadian society easier for her.
If Girl Guides is new to you and your daughters, you will find Girl Guides is a good place for your daughters to learn about Canadian culture and life in Canada. She will be able to practice her English or French language skills and make friends with other girls her own age.
Girl Guides offers programs for girls from 5 years of age to 17+. As well, women 18 years and older can join as volunteers to help as leaders, mentors, team members and more. Each age group has a name, and has different programs and activities.
Sparks – Go Sparks Go! reflects the energy of this age group. The program is based on five stories about the fun and magic of friendship and provide the basis for activities.
Brownies Can Do It! describes the emphasis of this program. Girls try new activities, discover new interests and go places they’ve never been before.
Guides On the Go! is all about fun and challenge as girls discover and explore their interests, learn and improve skills, explore careers and make differences in their community.
Pathfinders is focused on fun and opportuntiies, while enabling girls to build their leadership and decision-making skills.
Senior Branches girls experience adventure and independence as they build practical leadership skills in younger units and plan their own group activities.
Girl Guides has also recently launched a new training program for its leaders: Diversity and Bias Awareness, sponsored by RBC Foundation. The aim of this program is to help adult leaders understand other cultures and religions.
For more information about Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada, check out their website at www.girlguides.ca, or pick up a brochure which is available in different languages at your local settlement organization or public library.