Remembrance Day is not just an opportunity to talk about peace, or what soldiers did during the First and Second World Wars or Afghanistan – it can also be a great opportunity to introduce our girls to our Guiding roots. One often overlooked piece of the Guiding story is that our founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, was a General for the British Army during the Boer War.
In Canada, today’s military is just as likely to be conducting search and rescue on the coasts or providing flood relief in the Prairies as being involved in conflict. This in essence is helping our communities; something that we strive to do with our girls. There are many other things within Guiding that mirror the non-conflict aspects of the military and pay tribute to Lord B.P.’s roots.
As we all know, Lord B.P. was regarded for his ingenuity in how he trained his troops in skills like independent thinking, resourcefulness and wilderness survival. Even though Guiding has changed a lot since our organization began, these ideals run through many aspects of today’s programming. The concept of being a good citizen within our community is also something that our military teaches every man and woman who serves. Learning how to build a fire, lean-to and survive in the woods is still mandatory training for all aircrew in the Canadian Forces.
In planning for your Remembrance Day programming in the future, my challenge to Guiders is to think outside the box. I have taken girls in British Columbia and Manitoba to visit the flying squadrons and it has been a hit with the girls and military personnel alike. All units can write letters/pictures addressed to ‘Any Canadian Forces Member’ to bring some cheer to our forces currently deployed overseas (http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/write-to-the-troops/mailing-instructions.page). When you’re away from your family for as long as some of our troops are, some hand drawn artwork of something Canadian really does brighten your day. Teach the girls the story of Guiding during this time of year, letting the girls know that Lord B.P, was a veteran, too.
If you live near a military base, contact the base Public Affairs Office (at least a month in advance), or Military Family Resources Centre and see what tours, demonstrations or programs they can offer.
As a member of Guiding, you have more in common with veterans and military members that you stand alongside on Remembrance Day than you think.
By guest blogger Marla, a Guide Guider and aerospace engineering officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. She has worked with units in several provinces including Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba.