Fact: Guiding has changed the life of my daughters drastically in the past five years.
It all started simply enough. I registered my third daughter, Hari, in Guides. In just a few weeks, I noticed some positive changes in her and soon enough I was registering my second daughter, Rishi, in Pathfinders. My youngest daughter joined Sparks, and my eldest daughter joined me as a Brownie leader. My whole family was now part of a larger family – the Guiding sisterhood.
Over the next few years, my daughters received so many opportunities and did so many things that I never could’ve imagined for them – or could have dreamed of for myself as a girl. Rishi was accepted to be a part of the Ontario Youth Forum, a tremendous opportunity that she recommends to all Pathfinders. She also went on a Nationally Sponsored Trip to the Sea of Cortez. Hari was part of the Ontario Youth Forum, as well as the National Youth Council. She even traveled to Scotland and Iceland through Guiding this year. It made me proud to see how my girls were taking hold of their future and achieving incredible things.
My youngest daughter, Ruby, had many friends at her school who were intrigued by the Girl Guide cookies she brought to school to sell, and were interested to know all the things she was doing at her Girl Guide meet ups. I seized the opportunity to speak to their parents. I told them not only about what my daughter does in Brownies, but also about my older daughters, and the benefits of being in Guiding as a teenager.
At first, they were skeptical as they mistakenly thought that Girl Guides would be a mainly white-dominated, Christian-based organization. But I quickly reassured them that this was not the case. Any girl can join Guiding, and every girl will find a safe and accepting space.
So many joined that eventually my daughter had trouble selling cookies at school! There were so many Girl Guides in her midst. Eventually, Ruby moved schools and she was worried she’d have to leave her friends behind. But now she looks forward to seeing them in Guides, where every week the girls pick a new activity. It can be as simple as a craft or inviting a female member of the Canadian Armed Forces. It’s such a diversity of experiences that you just don’t find at school.
To all parents of girls in Canada, Girl Guides of Canada is the organization for your daughters.
Guest post by Vidhya Ilangomaran, proud Girl Guide parent, cooking fan and a teacher in the Toronto area.