How girls created the MOST Canadian welcome for newcomers

Sometimes, the best ideas come to you early in the morning. You know, when there’s a crisp quietness in the air and the sun is just starting to warmly say ‘hello’ for the day. This particular idea – knitting a warm red-and-white welcome for new Canadians – began before dawn at camp.

I got up very early and saw my Guider, Leah, knitting. I asked her to teach me and we sat quietly chatting and knitting together. We started to make these tiny little mini-sweaters with Canadian flags on them. Soon, more girls joined in and we had quite the early-morning knitting party going.

And then we had our light bulb moment – attaching these tiny maple leaf sweaters onto cards, along with the message “A Warm Welcome to Canada.” Inside the cards, we’re sharing messages of acceptance and basic kindness. Our plan is to give these cards to local organizations that work with new immigrants in our community.

Making these cards stirred up all kinds of thoughts and feelings for me. First, I felt gratitude – that I live in a country that loves ‘me for me’ no matter my gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or what hockey team I cheer for. With all of the hatred in the world it’s important to remember all people are equal and that there is still some good and hope for our future. I am grateful to have a roof over my head, food on my plate and friends and family who are healthy and happy. (I am most definitely guilty of taking things like this for granted, just as we all do.)

The message we want to send with these cards is simple but hopefully powerful – that no matter who you are, or where you come from, you are welcome here.

Join our Warm Welcome project – challenge girls you know in Guiding to collectively knit 150 for Canada’s 150th! Check out the pattern for our mini-Canadian sweaters, watch our YouTube tutorial or email us for more details. And for more fun ways to celebrate Canada’s 150th, check out Girl Guides’ Canada’s 150th Anniversary programming.

Hanna is a Grade 10 student and member of the 30th Calgary Rangers. Hanna will be travelling to Europe with Rangers this summer and hopes to become a yoga instructor and chemist after high school.

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