This year’s Québec Council Annual General Meeting was a momentous occasion – we presented 99-year-old Honorary Life Member Daphne Sebag-Montefiore with Girl Guides of Canada’s very first 90-year service pin. Indeed, national office had to have the pin specially minted for her! What made the evening extra special was that eight of her former Rangers were by her side as she was honoured for nine decades of dedication to Guiding.
“Guide House was the official headquarters in Québec, but Daphne’s Sainte Adele homes were the real hub of activity,” recalls one of her former Rangers, Beryl Ball. With two homes in the Laurentians, Daphne would open her doors to Guides, Cadets, and Rangers, who often stayed over, even camping on the grounds in the winter. She would also often host provincial and inter-provincial Trainers weekends. Daphne held prominent roles as a Trainer, having held the ‘Blue Cord’ diploma – the highest level of Trainer in the country.
Daphne was not only active in local Guiding, but she was a great traveller who led national patrols abroad including the Canadian Contingent of Rangers who attended the Swedish Tent Camp in 1954.
From the Sherbrooke Telegram – March 25, 1954:
Upon her return, Daphne would share stories from her travels. Guiders from around the province, as far away as the Saguenay, Harricana, Quebec City and Noranda divisions, gathered for an annual training project in North Hatley, QC:
The international aspect is the drawing card for a large number attending as Miss Norma Ostler, who has just returned from South Africa and Miss Daphne Montefiore, who was in charge of the Canadian Contingent of Rangers who attended the Swedish Tent Camp, will show their films and movies and speak at the supper hour Saturday. (Montreal Gazette – September 23, 1954)
Outside of Guiding, Daphne gave back to her community in many ways, as commandant of the Transport Section of the Montreal Red Cross Corps and as a long time volunteer with Tel-Aide, a crisis phone line, often working the overnight shift.
Daphne’s energy and commitment to Guiding (she was an active Guider well into her seventies) has inspired countless members in Quebec and beyond. As Beryl Ball puts it, “Daphne befriended everyone and it exemplified our Promise and Laws.”
By guest blogger Rebecca Purver, Communications and PR Coordinator, Quebec Council, with help from Beryl Ball and Ellen Gauthier, members of the West Island Trefoil Guild.