On April 9, Canadians will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge. Guider Michelle writes how inviting a woman from the Canadian Forces helped her Guides explore their own leadership skills and the achievements of those who ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.
While we often reserve Remembrance Day as the time to consider the contributions of the Canadian military, reflecting on the horror of war and embracing peace doesn’t have to be saved for a single day on the calendar. Earlier this year, our unit invited a volunteer from the Memory Project, which connects schools and other groups with local veterans and members of the Canadian Forces to share their stories. Our guest was Lieutenant Rebecca Garnham. She’s stationed here in Calgary and helps train new recruits in the Navy before they head off for their first assignments.
Lt(N) Garnham is a former Girl Guide herself. She talked about how members in Guiding and the military both make a promise to make the world a better place. She also shared how the sisterhood of Guiding is a lot like the sisterhood she shares with her fellow women in the military.
We heard about how women started in the military as nurses, and we learned the names of female trailblazers who’ve made it possible for women today to hold any position in the Canadian military. It was a great opportunity for girls to discover the opportunities there are in the military – ranging from leadership roles and peacekeeping duties to positions that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
After her presentation, Lt(N) Garnham led us through a little activity. She placed various leadership quotes on the floor and asked girls to stand by the one that spoke most strongly to them. We then got to share with each other the quote we had chosen and why we felt that quote described an important part or trait of leadership. The girls did a great job sharing their thoughts and then set to work on their Peace badge.
Connecting our girls with a woman in the Canadian military was an eye-opening experience for them. They not only met a female role model in their community, but they also discovered the role we can all play in bringing a little more peace to the world.
Michelle Head is the District Commissioner for 12 Mile Coulee District and a Guider with the 34th Guides in Calgary, Alberta.