Sometimes, we all need a life preserver thrown our way (literally!)

When the phone rings before the morning alarm, panic sets in…



I could sense my daughter’s tears before she said the next words, “I’m in trouble.” As a parent, with a university student living 1,400 km away, nothing can be more terrifying.

“What’s wrong baby?” Holding my breath; not even being able to imagine a situation in which one of my children would call me in the wee hours of the morning with nothing more than sobs and those three words, I wait…



My Guiding-lifer daughter is studying Outdoor Recreation and Education in Thunder Bay, Ontario. One of her courses, which she lovingly calls “Guiding 101” involves a three-day canoe trip, departing at 8:15 a.m. Her Guiding experience and love of travel have put her into a leadership role with her classmates and has been recognized by her instructor. With 90 minutes until the bus leaves, she has realized that her personal floatation device (PFD) is 1,400 km away, at home. Without a PFD she can’t participate and would receive a failing grade.

We devise a plan which includes a possible taxi ride to Walmart at 7:00 a.m., an email to the professor and a me calling a past Ranger. Three shots in the dark…I’m hoping for some sunshine!

For 25 years I have worked with Pathfinders and Rangers. When I was a first-year Guider, my Rangers were only two to four years younger than me; I became a big-sister to most. One of these young ladies moved and remained in Thunder Bay over two decades ago. I’ve seen her on occasion, but years can pass between our contacts. She knew Emma was living in Thunder Bay and when I unceremoniously woke her at 6:30 a.m., she answered her phone knowing there was a problem and that she was ready to step in. “Hi, what’s wrong?”

I explained that nothing was “wrong,” just time sensitive. I asked her if she owned a PFD and if there was any way she could deliver it within the next 60 minutes to the university. She laughed. She laughed!!!! My kidlet was in tears, my heart was still racing from the “I’m in trouble” comment, and SHE LAUGHED!

She promptly assured me she’d have it delivered before their bus departed, and she did. Not only did she deliver the PFD, she delivered a subconscious message to my daughter (aside from “moms can fix anything”). My daughter experienced – first hand – the sisterhood that I have spoken about for 25 years as an adult Guider. She witnessed a “stranger” coming to her rescue without expectation, without reward and without a second thought – all in the name of Guiding sisterhood.

oct18_kris-mcgee-dpc-administrationGuest post by Kris McGee, a Guider and Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Administration with Ontario Council.

This entry was posted in Camping & Outdoors and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sometimes, we all need a life preserver thrown our way (literally!)

  1. Amy Bickmore says:

    I love this!! Gave me goosebumps to read!

  2. matheves says:

    What a great story ! One to tell my older girls for sure ! Thank you !

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks kris and emma for sharing this… Brought me to tears (tiny ones, with a bit of choked-upness… So wonderful and terrifying when our kids call from so far away… ‘I’m in trouble…’

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s so awesome!

  5. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing story!

Leave a Reply