This is the first of our new blog column ‘Who’s Who in Canadian Guiding‘, where Girl Guide Members and volunteers will share their favourite stories from their own Guiding experiences, plus their reasons why and how they continue to promote the organization’s mission. And what better way to start off than with a post from Chris Burton, our Chief Commissioner of Girl Guides of Canada -Guides du Canada? Happy World Thinking Day!
Thinking Day has been a significant date on my calendar for over 50 years. For me, it captures the dream that all of us have as girls – the opportunity to be part of an international event and to be able to help others and make a difference in our world. I remember as a Brownie, our Unit would focus on international activities for the entire month of February, culminating on February 22 with a Thinking Day event. One of our projects for the month was collecting for the Canadian World Friendship Fund (CWFF) so we could help others around the world. We would draw our body’s outline on a large piece of newsprint and take it home and tape pennies and other coins around it to emphasize our personal commitment to making a difference in another country. This was always great fun and such an easy way to gather money for CWFF.
Later in Guides, I remember making a CWFF piggy bank, which again went home for the month to fill with coins and bring back full to our Thinking Day event. Contributing to CWFF was part of what we did happily knowing that our pennies were making a difference for girls throughout the world. I never once doubted that I was truly making a difference by gathering my coins. I think that we have lost some of that connection to making a difference through contributing to CWFF and making it understandable for girls in our Units so that they make a personal effort to helping others. Contributing to CWFF through fun projects and activities is something every Member can participate in and collectively these funds do make a difference in many parts of the world.
Girls in our organization also dream of participating in international events, experiencing all that the world has to offer. As a young girl, I knew that Guiding was an international organization and that opportunities were available, even to someone like me. My family did not travel or go on holidays, so my only opportunities for international experiences would be through Guiding. I first attended a national camp, with international guests, as a Ranger. I was thrilled to meet girls from other countries and to see how much we had in common because we were Girl Guides. I think from that moment on, I was hooked on Guiding! I next had the opportunity to attend a WAGGGS event in Mexico and New Mexico as a young adult. Since then I have attended almost all of the GGC national camps in various staff roles. I have also had the opportunity to travel internationally representing GGC – South Africa, Peru, USA, UK – and at WAGGGS events here in Canada. Every one of these opportunities has had an impact on me as a person and made me more aware of the power of each one of us to make a difference in the world. My biggest regret is that I never took the opportunity to volunteer at a world centre. I have yet to travel to a world centre, but they are on my bucket list and I know I will get there one day!
This year, the World Thinking Day theme is ‘Save our Planet’ – something all GGC Members can and should be involved with. For over 100 years this has been part of Girl Guiding and it still remains true today. Saving our planet not only is something GGC can do, it is something we must be the leaders in doing. If we don’t, who else will?
By guest blogger Chris Burton, Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada -Guides du Canada. Looking to connect with Chris? She has a Facebook page just for that!
Our best blog posts come from girl and adult Members, volunteers and parents just like you! Pitch us your idea. Writing a short blog is easy and fun! Know someone you think would be great for our new Who’s Who in Canadian Guiding Column? Tell us! Email us at marketing1 (@) girlguides.ca