Guiding is more just than fun and games, to at least one of the organization’s members it’s an opportunity to open one’s mind to new experiences and develop life-long friendships.
The Thunder Bay Girl Guides of Canada celebrated its centennial at the KOA campground near Spruce River Road Saturday. More than 300 girls attended the one-day event where they participated in various activities from a survival course to crafts.
Sydney Lewis, 10, started seven years ago and rose in rank from spark to a guide. She performed in a dance number at the weekend event and had practised a few nights before the big opening day. She said she first joined Girl Guides thinking it would be fun and admits that she has enjoyed the experience more than she first thought she would.
"We get to do a lot more activities than you would think," Lewis said. "It’s very exciting for a girl my age to be learning and doing this kind of experience because not many girls get to have this opportunity. It’s fun and games but it can be serious. When your suppose to listen to your leader you listen and you don’t goof off."
Sydney said Girl Guides introduced her to different religions that she might not have otherwise known about. She added that these kinds of opportunities have helped her become more familiar with other people’s cultures.
The 10-year-old plans to stay with Guides for the rest of her life and wants to become a leader when she turns 18.
"It is very important to be a leader in Girl Guides so that you get the experience, otherwise you may not get another chance," she said. "Girl Guides helps you see other cultures and it helps you become more outgoing and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do."
Laurie Forbes, member of the Ontario council for Girl Guides of Canada, said they are celebrating 100 years of preparing girls for anything in life through leadership development, outdoor skills and community service.
Forbes first participated in Guides 37 years ago as a brownie and said she still talks to her ranger leader. She said the goodwill and sisterhood kept her in Guides and solidified her as a life-long member.
"It was a great thing to do as a child," Forbes said. "Any place where they have Guides you have guided sisters and you are welcomed. You have immediate and instant friends no matter where you go. It’s a 100 years of sisterhood."