When one of our Sparks dressed as a police officer for our Halloween party, another girl told her ‘That’s a boy’s job.’ Our response? We invited six local women police officers to our meeting the following week to show what girls CAN do. Here’s how it all went down:
After our Spark was told that policing was a boy’s job, she took her costume off before leaving for home. She didn’t even want to wear it anymore for Halloween. My heart broke.
My co-Guider, Jellybean (aka Melissa Hedges), and I were concerned to say the least and simultaneously came up with the idea to see if we could invite some women in policing to come to a meeting to turn this into an empowering opportunity for our unit. With a little help from my best friend in New Brunswick with policing connections, I was soon in contact with so many officers wanting to participate that I lost count. In the end we were able to have six members of the Ottawa Police attend our next meeting. It was simply amazing!
One brought a story, another brought pins and activities, and three were in full uniform. We invited one Brownie from another unit – she’d worn a police officer’s costume for Halloween as that is what she wants to be when she grows up. (Even my daughter in another Guiding unit wanted to come because she ‘knows a police officer.’) Our own Spark and the Brownie both wore their police costumes, and the Brownie even wore a T-shirt underneath that had pictures of women in non-traditional roles with the words “She can do it” underneath. Seeing girls choosing to be a police officer for Halloween gives hope. It wasn’t a pretend costume; this is something they can do.
Melissa and I were amazed and so happy this all worked out, especially to see how many police officers WANTED to come to our Girl Guide meeting. Part of Guiding is showing girls they can be what they want and how they can help bust stereotypes. We were able to show our Sparks and Brownie that girls and women CAN be in positions of power and that even within the police force there are many different types of roles. I felt their sisterhood just like I feel the Girl Guide sisterhood when I go to events with fellow Guiders.
For me this was overwhelming, but in a good way. I recently lost my dear friend Robb Costello, a member of the Fredericton Police Force who was shot in the line of duty. Seeing these girls took my breath away, because it reminded me there are others to take up the mantle. Being able to have these extraordinary role models attend our little meeting left Melissa and I with a great sense of accomplishment and hopefully with an evening the girls won’t soon forget.
Guest post by Andrea Cook, a Sparks Guider in Kanata, ON.