Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) took to Hong Kong this past week to attend the 35th World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The conference is held every three years and is the primary decision-making session for the member organizations (MOs) within WAGGGS. Here’s what one of our Canadian delegates has to say about the experience.
I’ll admit, I did not know much about WAGGGS prior to applying for the conference. I had learned a bit about it while a girl member, but it always seemed so distant from what I was doing as a Guider with Sparks. However, after having spent the week surrounded by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from more than 100 different countries, I now realize how relevant it can be to my Sparks and all GGC members.
One of the big ideas that I took away from the conference was about the impact Guiding has as non-formal education. It doesn’t matter whether you are from Canada or a developing country like Ghana, the skills in leadership, advocacy and service that WAGGGS aims to develop through the work of the MOs is still applicable. Examples include the “Ban Bossy” campaign by Girl Scouts of the USA, “Stop the Violence” movement with the Girl Guides Association of Cambodia or GGC’s tree planting program. They all help to develop these skills. As conference speaker Baroness Valerie Amos noted, “Even if we’re good, we should know that we can be even better,” which describes how we need to keep moving forward with what we do.
This experience has been eye-opening to the idea of global Guiding. It has been humbling in acknowledging how lucky we are to be a part of GGC and to be Canadian. It has been empowering to see how we, as girls and women, can make real changes in the world. It has been inspiring to be in the presence of so many change-makers and influencers. GGC offers the opportunity to all members to apply and be involved in these unique international experiences. Why not take them up on it?
By guest blogger Lauren Patrick, a mechanical engineer and recent graduate from the University of Guelph. She has spent the last five years between the 1st Guelph Sparks, 2nd Guelph Sparks and 14th Vancouver Sparks. She loves how you can always stay involved in Guiding, regardless of where you are living.
Look for more international Guiding experiences to be posted on girlguides.ca early this fall.