A few weeks ago, I was at a community breakfast for volunteers when a woman across the table spoke of how her organization had recently partnered with a local youth organization. I immediately mentioned my involvement in Girl Guiding and how I would love to pass on her organization’s information to local Guiding groups. This triggered other women at the table to talk about their years in Brownies as a girl or similar stories. One of the men at the table decided to say that Guiding is an organization that tries to keep women and girls in the home. This false statement made me think of all the experiences in my life I have had because of Guiding.
Guiding has taught me how to clean but not in the conventional way people expect – Guiding has taught me how to keep the environment clean and how to decrease my global footprint while camping. But Guiding has never taught me that my only purpose in life is to clean. I have learned so much through Guiding – how to organize events, work with groups of people and how to plan my future.
Guiding has also taught me how to cook. I have learned different cooking styles from a variety of cultures. I have learned how to cook a four-course meal over a campfire. I have learned how to plan healthy meals that meet the standards of the Canadian Food Guide. I have learned all of this because of my experience in Girl Guides.
Guiding has empowered girls for over 100 years by teaching us that we are more than any stereotype about girls and women. Guiding offers science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming that challenges girls to explore careers that are not typically pursued by women. Guiding has allowed me to connect with other young women through a girl-centered program that allows young women to succeed in a safe and welcoming space.
I thank the women behind the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Girl Guides of Canada, Guiders and fellow girl members for allowing girls the opportunity to become the kinds of leaders that will make their mark. I hope that future generations of girls are able to have the experiences that I have had in Guiding.
Guest post by Lindsay, a second-year Ranger with the 1st Ridgevale Rangers, in Ancaster, Ontario. She is an avid camper and has traveled internationally with her unit.