I want my kids to have the best start possible. I want them to be confident and lead life with a positive outlook. I want them to grow up with a sense of purpose and impetus ready to shape the world we live in. Most importantly I want them to be happy and healthy. And in today’s world, all of that may be a tall order but as I discovered there is help out there.
Raising happy healthy kids in today’s technology-heavy world can be tough. What can help is being part of a diverse and inclusive community that has a sense of common purpose! One that helps kids be confident, resilient, independent and open-minded. A community that is made up of girls and women like me and you who are all working in solidarity.
Girl Guides of Canada is all of that and more, and is helping children across the world receive a well-rounded upbringing.
Childhood in India
That’s me; I was 7 years old in the picture. I grew up in India surrounded by a warm and loving family and really didn’t want for much, with two exceptions. The first – hand-me-down jeans and jackets; I seemed to always have a closet full of them. Like so many other woes in my life I blame this as well on my older brother and male cousins. I yearned for frills but settled for denim. The other thing missing from my life – I wanted to be a Girl Guide.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be either. My family and I moved around a lot during my childhood and even though in the early 80’s Guiding was popular in India, circumstances and location were not in my favour. And joining Girl Guides remained a dream.
Fast forward some 30 odd years to adulthood and to the other side of the world – India to Canada in a blink of an eye. When we moved to Toronto a few years ago I was looking for extracurricular activities to nurture my oldest daughter’s adventurous spirit and came across the local Girl Guide group. And of course, I signed her up!
And boy did we open a whole new world. From weekly meetings to public speaking and projects, from fundraising to learning how to create a functional oven using cardboard and aluminium foil, from cleaning litter in the local ravine to camping under the stars, it has been a transformative learning experience for my daughter.
A part of something bigger #GirlGuidesofCanada
Over the years my daughter has embraced the programme wholeheartedly. Not only has it helped her build deep friendships with her peers, it has also given her a sense of purpose and joy in being part of something bigger than herself. Joining Girl Guides gives girls a feeling of solidarity and commitment, and teaches important life skills along the way. Every step in a Girl Guide’s journey is marked by badges that help them remember the work and dedication that went into earning that small piece of fabric.
I have long admired the work that goes into running the Girl Guides movement. It has always been so much more than just an extracurricular activity, and it runs with the help of thousands and thousands of volunteers. One can often see Guides out and about along with their leaders supporting their community in different ways. My daughter’s leaders, in particular, have created something big that kids are proud to be a part of and call their own. They can often be spotted volunteering at the local food bank sorting food items or fundraising to support other community initiatives. Kudos to them for the time and effort they spend every week planning and executing activities that help kids like my daughter learn and grow.
This year as my oldest gets ready to advance to Pathfinders I’m looking forward to a new chapter in our lives. The routine is a little different and it comes with bigger expectations. The girls are given more responsibilities to run meetings and decide activities and they are also given more opportunities to independently exercise their judgment.
And the time has come for my youngest daughter to follow in her older sister’s footsteps. She’s been asking when she can start Girl Guides, and perhaps she may be ready too!
Joining Girl Guides of Canada
Have you considered Girl Guides for your daughter? Find out more about the Girl Guides movement here.
Look up the Girl Guide units in your neighbourhood here.
Disclaimer: I have been compensated for writing this post and for sharing my opinion with you. I am a passionate supporter of Girl Guides and am participating in the #GirlGuidesofCanada campaign to familiarize more people with the program.