Happy World Thinking Day!
Today is a very special day for millions of girls around the world. It’s a day where we celebrate international friendship, connect with our sisters globally, and speak out about issues affecting young women. We are sisters, daughters, granddaughters, mothers, friends, but most importantly, we are Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
Girl Guides are a unique breed: we’re strong-willed, hearty, independent, intelligent, curious, worldly, kind, and – so much more that the words would fill up this entire page if I were to continue!
The best part about Girls Guides is that it offers girls a judgement-free space where they are encouraged to explore their identities, passions, community, and the world around them. They are supported by their leaders and peers and feel free to be whoever it is that they want to be. And this sounds like an ordinary group, but the truth is that Girl Guides is the only organization that empowers girls and gives them the freedom to be “everything she wants to be”.
Two in ten girls (19%) agree that their teachers treat them differently in class because they’re a girl.
Ipsos Nationwide Survey of girls aged 15 to 17 in September 2017
But the problem is that most people don’t realize that this is what Girl Guides is all about. So, in celebration of our global sisterhood and in an attempt to encourage more girls and women to join us, I’m going to tell you why Girls need Girl Guides!
One of the biggest things that Girl Guides does for girls is create a safe space where they can explore their identities together.
We love to have group discussions and debates to help us better understand ourselves, and the world around us. We examine topics such as mental health, gender equity, girl’s and women’s rights, human rights, accessibility in a non-accessible world, online smarts, and world politics. The girls also participate in activities and games that challenge and give them new perspectives on these topics.
Girl Guides of Canada’s all-girl and -women environment is one in which diversity and inclusion are prioritized, and where girls feel a sense of belonging, acceptance, and openness to others.
“Girls Empowering Girls Report, A girl-driven approach to gender equity” by Girl Guides of Canada, 2018.
Questions become challenges, and challenges become platforms upon which they advocate for the values and beliefs of others. They discover a range of passions and become bright leaders with mighty voices.
Positive Role Models
Girl Guides is also a place where girls will find positive role models of all shapes, sizes, colours, and ages.
These are the Guiders (leaders), the women who volunteer their time, energy, ideas, and voices to guide the girls in weekly activities and weekend camps. Guiders are the ear for gossip and debates, the nurses for paper cuts and burned fingers, and organizers for exciting new activities. Most importantly, they stop at nothing to ensure that each and every girl feels welcome, safe, has a friend and a fun time.
There are also the strong, smart, female leaders of the world. There is our fearless leader and OG feminist Lady Baden-Powell, astronaut Roberta Bondar, government leader Bardish Chagger, nobel prize winner Donna Strickland, activist Malala Yousafzai, and #GirlLove founder Lilly Singh, just to name a few. We often talk about them at our meetings, why we look at them as leaders and what they do to fulfill that role.
Between our Guiders and world changers, girls in Guides will find that they are in excellent company and have women to look up to as they become leaders and role models themselves.
Preparing girls for the real-world is important, and it’s something that schools fail to deliver on. There are so many important life skills that are not taught in school, and this is where Girl Guides steps in.
From basic skills such as cooking, first aid, and money handling, to more composite skills like leadership, communication, and career building. There are also week-long camps and international travel experiences where girls engage in new cultures, establish life-long friendships, and get their first taste of independence.
In Guides, girls have the chance to learn and build upon theses skills all life long. I am an excellent testament of this, having joined Girl Guides as a wee Spark at the tender age of 5 and then moved all the way up through the ranks to a Guider at 24 years-old. I carry with me a great deal of camping and travel experience, several bus-journey’s worth of camp songs, friends from all over the world, and an eagerness to continue it all!
If you still don’t believe that Girls need Guides (Girl Guides), then I encourage you to check out GGC’s website and social media to see how they’re making an impact on girl’s lives. If you do believe me, then check out GGC anyway and spread the word!
See what the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are up to in celebration of WTD 2019 – participate and learn more at WAGGGS and Girl Guides of Canada.
And if you’re really feeling the World Thinking Day vibes, please donate to the World Thinking Day Fund where all proceeds are used where the need is greatest in our global movement.
There are a million of us. I am not good at arithmetic and I will not make any calculations which may not come true. But a penny, or two cents, or four annas or enough centimes or groschen or Heller or Filler or ore to make the same value, is not an immense amount, especially when it is perhaps saved or earned and given with a willing hand.Lady Olave Baden-Powell, 1 November 1932