Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” With this statement as a foundation, we challenged our Guides to have the courage to speak out and take action on important issues to make the world a better place. To help the girls realize that they could be powerful advocates of ongoing change, we provided them with many different opportunities throughout the year to make a positive difference in their local communities. They included dynamic girl-centered activities and initiatives that helped the girls realize that they had an important role in strengthening the future of our world.
The 2nd Telegraph Trail Guides participated in a variety of service projects and community activities this year:
At the start of the year, it was essential for the girls to recognize that community service was an integral component of Guiding and that it was one of the components of the Girl Guide Mission. We encouraged the girls to contribute responsibly to their communities and to make those important connections to the world around them. By getting our Guides out and allowing them to build relationships with their communities, we were hoping that those meaningful experiences would not only engage them, but empower them as well. The girls showed respect for their elders by making Valentines for Vets and Christmas cards for seniors in nursing homes.
Our Guides, along with two other Brownie groups, had a book drive as part of the Words in Action NSP. Over 200 books were donated to a group called “Write to Read,” which helps set up libraries on remote First Nation reserves.
Our Guides worked towards some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by taking action and increasing Girl Guides of Canada visibility in the community. The powerful and inspirational messages created by WAGGGS helped the girls think about others, while developing a new perspective on their own lives.
MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Girls worldwide say, “education opens doors for all girls and boys.” Our Guides took advantage of a bridging activity with the Sparks to fill shoeboxes with school supplies for underprivileged children around the world.
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Girls worldwide say, “together you can save children’s lives.” Our Guides invited Sparkand Brownie units to make a difference in the lives of people who were going through some hard times. All four units put together four gift baskets filled with diapers, wipes, baby blankets, onesies, baby bottles and formula. The girls drove an hour out to Vancouver to hand-deliver the baby baskets to four families in need at the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at BC Children’s Hospital. The families were overwhelmed with this random act of kindness and were grateful for the very thoughtful gesture. This put smiles on our girls’ faces as they wore their uniforms proudly, knowing that they made someone else’s day brighter.
Girls worldwide say, “we can save our planet.” To promote environmental stewardship and to have a better understanding of sustainable practices, our Guides participated in TD Tree Days and completed the ambitious task of planting over 300 trees with other community members in Surrey. They were in the public’s eye doing something that had a positive impact on their carbon footprint.
The girls then took advantage of the beautiful weather and took action with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup by picking up garbage along a stream by a park in Langley. As part of Trout Unlimited Canada’s conservation initiative, the girls enthusiastically painted yellow fish on the road by storm drains to raise awareness about pollution entering salmon habitats. Once again in the spring, our Guides got outside with some Sparks and Brownies from our district to plant another 200 trees with the financial assistance of a $1,000 GGC Tree Planting Grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. The girls embraced the opportunity to nurture and help restore the salmon habitat in Fort Langley. All of these girl-centered activities through dynamic programming helped our girls have a better understanding of environmental issues.
We wanted to provide our Guides with many opportunities to succeed – as responsible citizens, critical thinkers, empathetic individuals and resourceful planners. As Guiders, we were there to help support and encourage their growth as young confident leaders of tomorrow.
Guest post by Van Chau, a Unit Guider with the 2nd Telegraph Trail Guides in Langley, BC. She is also the Environmental Specialist on the BC Program Committee.