In August, members of Girl Guides New Brunswick-PEI gathered at Snider Mountain Ranch for Bridging Friends Forever 2013, a provincial all-ages camp. With a theme like Bridging Friends Forever, it seemed fitting to make an attempt to set the record for world’s longest friendship bracelet.
Since we always have a goal to have a service project at camp, we decided to have a combination event. Our Guinness World Record attempt allowed us the unique opportunity of offering girls a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of something world-renowned while also creating a service project for Sangam, the Guiding World Centre in India.
If you haven’t heard, Sangam has been putting out a call for friendship bracelets for a number of years to sell in their shop to raise money for organizations that help stop violence against girls.
Girls spent months making bracelets in anticipation of our record attempt. In early May we received the shocking news that the record we were working toward (5,000 bracelets) had been broken. We gathered ourselves together and upped our goal to 8,000 bracelets!
Bracelets started arriving and kept coming right up until we began the record attempt. Girls could attend program sessions during the week to make more bracelets and I witnessed many girls making bracelets in their spare time at camp, as was evident in my bulging pockets at the end of each day!
Our two witnesses, Tom McNulty and Tom Turnbull, and eight bracelet counters, began verifying our bracelet count at 3:00 PM on August 16, 2013.
Once 100 bracelets were counted and verified they were handed off to waiting leaders who dispersed them. As girls received bracelets they began linking them together. Once a girl was finished with her bracelets she raised her hand to indicate she was ready for more!
As girls’ chains became longer and longer they began to arrange them out into the center of our circle so our official measurer, Jean Boudreau, could begin estimating the length.
As we got closer to the end of verifying the total bracelet count, one Girl Guide leader, Roxanne McKnight, stood at the top of the circle and held the official beginning of the bracelet. From there we gathered links and began joining them together, working our way around the circle a total of 9 ½ times!
Our camp mascot, Bridgit, arrived to help make the announcement to the over 500 very good and patient girls and women who had just spent over three hours joining the links of bracelets together and watching our friendship bracelet grow.
I heard many comments of “Wow” and “It’s so colourful” and “It’s huge” and occasionally “I think I made this one.” They all very respectfully repeated after their leaders “Walk around the bracelet, don’t step on the bracelet!” And every single one listened intently to our final amazing count, 19,953 bracelets to measure 1829.29 metres.
But everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knew we had two agonizing tasks ahead of us:
- Wait patiently for the OFFICIAL word to come from Guinness
- Untie all our bracelet chains to prepare them to ship off to Sangam
I was so very proud to open my email earlier this month to see a message from Guinness stating “We are delighted to confirm that you have successfully achieved a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for ’Longest chain of bracelets’. We would like to congratulate you on your record-breaking achievement. You are OFFICIALLY AMAZING.” Of course, as Girl Guides, we already knew that.
What an amazing experience this has been. I know I can speak for all involved when I say that we are truly blessed to have been given this opportunity to not only break the record, but to exceed it in true Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada style!
Friends, leaders, girls, and family have been working away at untying the bracelets and they’ve been trickling back to me so I expect we’ll be able to send them off in the new year. Get ready Sangam!
Yours in Guiding,
Heidi Quinn, Special Events Coordinator – BFF 2013
Heidi Quinn is a Guider with the 4th Quispamsis Girl Guides in New Brunswick and an editor of the Provincial Newsletter, The Ebb & Flow. Heidi has been involved in Guiding since she joined (a few short years ago) at the age of 9 in Newfoundland & Labrador and is better known around the campfire as Blackie.