Take Guiding with you for life

Girl Guides of Canada is now registering members, leaders in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Creston

From Kindergarten through Grade 12 — Sparks

Barry Coulter

Registration is underway for membership into a venerable Canadian organization that still has great relevance today.

For more than 100 years, the Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) has been enriching the lives of girls and young women — guides and leaders both — and the Mountain View Unit of the GGC, which includes Cranbrook, Kimberley and Creston, is looking for more members. Cranbrook itself has 88 members, both girls and leaders, and the Guides are looking to boost its presence elsewhere in the region.

“We’d love to see Creston and Kimberley grow in terms of leaders and girls,” said Deondra Langley. Langley knows Girl Guides as well as anybody. She was started out in the organization as a girl in 1995, and has been giving back as a leader for the past four years.

“One of our catchphrases is: ‘You loved it as a girl, come back as a leader,’” Langley said.

“I came away with a lot of friends. I went to a lot of camps, I travelled a lot around the country, and there was always fun, friendships and new adventures.”

Guides learn camping and fire skills, compass and tracking skills. Girls come away from their experiences with confidence, self-esteem, leadership skills and an appreciation of the value of community service.

“They are able to be themselves without having to worry about it,” Langley said. They learn how to communicate, they learn a lot about history — it’s a practical hands-on education.”

Members earn badges as they go, for such things as First Aid, sewing, Sports, Community Involvement, Animal Lore — “practically whatever you’re interested in.” There are more than 200 badges in Guides along that girls can earn.

“You do need to work to earn it,” Langley said. “You have to do the research, take the extra steps…”

And once girls get to Rangers, they can earn high school credits through their involvement with the GGC, and there are scholarships and bursaries they can apply for.

From Kindergarten through Grade 12 — Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers — girls’ immersion in the Girl Guides of Canada is uniformly positive, Langley said. And it translates to the other side of the experience — being a leader, which brings its own set of rewards, including becoming an adult role model and a friend (you have to be 19 or older to become a leader).

Langley stressed that you shouldn’t think of being a guide leader as a job.

“You can take guiding with you all your life,” Langley said. “It’s a life experience that enriches its members, both girls and leaders.

For more information or to register, email guider.dee@hotmail.com, or call 250-417-9070.

The Girl Guides of Canada will also be taking full registration in person on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Cranbrook Curling Club, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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