I have met some of my best friends through Guiding. There’s something so perfect about weathering a storm in tents together, exploring a new location, or even just creating something new. And how cool is it to see girls helping each other, or teaching their friends something fun and exciting, or getting messy together? One of the things that makes Guiding so awesome for girls and Guiders alike is creating these peer connections: GGC is a place where magic happens when we put all the right ingredients together.
I’m so happy to see that the roll-out of our new Girls First program fits right into this model. Girl Guides, right from day one, has always been about creating an environment where girls empower girls. At the same time, our fantastic volunteers are out there supporting each other (women supporting women!).
While our new Girls First program model is totally girl-driven, it’s our volunteer Guiders working in units who help spark amazing opportunities and experiences for girls. And supporting our Guiders as they dive into our new program are Girls First Champions: women ready, willing and 110% able to use their experiences working with girls to help every Guider bring out the very best of girl-driven programming. (Bonus: Our Girls First Champions program is just another way women in Guiding have the chance to network with other amazing women and gain valuable professional and mentoring experience along the way.)
At our recent Girls First Champions conference in Edmonton, one of our Girls First Champions described our new model as helping girls turn “I can,” into “We can”. This IS Guiding – and this IS Girls First. This is a 6-year-old Spark learning to tie her shoe and using her confidence to help another Spark. This is a 12-year-old Pathfinder exploring mental health and using her knowledge to reach out to a friend. We’re still encouraging girls to explore the edges of their comfort zones and bring their friends – and Guiders – along. After all, life can be so exciting at the edges of our comfort zones.
Guest post by Krysta Coyle, Krysta is Girl Guides of Canada’s Guiding Ambassador. She currently lives in Halifax and recently completed her PhD in Pathology at Dalhousie University.
Guiders! Have you connected with a Girls First Champion yet? We’d love to hear about your experience learning about Girls First. Please take our quick survey and provide your valuable feedback to help ensure we’re meeting your needs as we move towards our launch this fall.
Check out what some of our Champions are saying about the new Girls First program: