There have never been any problems getting girls interested in Girl Guides in Ladysmith.
But this fall, the more than 70 girls who participate in Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers in Ladysmith may not have as many opportunities because the Waters Edge District Girl Guides needs new Guiders.
Right now, the district is looking for one or two new Sparks leaders, one Brownies leader and one Guides leader, explained Laurie Douglas, co-commissioner of Waters Edge District Girl Guides.
“Right now, there will be no Sparks, Brownies or Guides starting up in the fall until we get those people in,” she said.
Douglas says there is a great group of Guiders in this area, but new Guiders are needed because, quite simply, the Guiders are tired.
“Our current Guiders have families, they have jobs, as well as other activities or circumstances in their lives,” she noted. “They joined because they wanted to make a difference in the life of a girl. And they have. But they need help.”
Guiders do not need to have a daughter in Guiding — or even have a daughter, as Douglas finds women who have sons like the chance to be around girls.
“It doesn’t mean you have to be crafty or be a singer,” said Douglas. “Everybody brings something different. You do need to know how to have fun.”
There is no set term to be a Guider, but it requires an average of 15 hours per month. Guiders must be the age of majority, and they must complete all Girl Guides of Canada screening requirements and complete Safe Guide Training.
There is lots of training, help and support available, and other Guiders are happy to help.
“There are so many resources — you don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Douglas.
Guiders must do administrative work, but Douglas says they can split that up.
“It’s shared leadership so the leaders don’t get burned out,” she said. “You can share the load.”
Douglas, who has been a Guider for 15 years, says being involved in Guiding builds lifetime friendships.
“It’s kind of like a sisterhood,” she said.
Yvonne Halfacre, a Brownies leader, agrees. She recently went on a cruise with friends she met Guiding 30 years ago.
Seija Laine is a Sparks leader, leading girls who are five and six years old.
She thinks of Sparks and Brownies — which is for girls aged seven and eight — as the building blocks for girls. They meet girls from different schools at Sparks and Brownies, and by the time they are in Guides, they have made true friends.
“It feels good to know that what you are trying to give them pays off,” said Laine. “You see that spark in their eye, and it’s amazing.”
For Lea Read, a Rangers leader for girls aged 15 to 17, one of the best things about being a Guider is seeing girls grow into confident young women.
“You watch these kids grow up and think ‘I had a part in that,’” she said. “That’s a big thing.”
Douglas keeps staying involved in Guiding because it gives her a chance to have an impact on girls’ lives in the same way a teacher does.
“I always wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up; I never did, but I found this was the next best thing because I had my own class,” she said.
Guiders get to lead meetings during the week, and they go to camp and other events with their girls.
“It’s fun watching the girls accomplish something they’ve never done,” said Read.
Halfacre thinks so too. She remembers one 15-year-old Pathfinder who had never done dishes before, and she recalls how proud she was after she did them at camp.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a Guider can contact Laurie Douglas at 250-246-2819 or firstname.lastname@example.org.