Girl Guides: Facing Challenges and Making a Difference

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Brownies Erin Beaton and Ryleigh Wachniak attend STEM Day at the University of Manitoba Becky Beaton

With summer beginning its slow transition to fall and kids going back to school, young girls from Niverville and the surrounding area are eagerly anticipating another year of Girl Guides. The Guides have been active in Niverville since 2013, and a few dozen girls are part of the local program.

“Girl Guides for Niverville usually begins a week after school starts,” says Becky Beaton, the contact leader for the Niverville Brownies. “We allow family to get in the school routine first, then bring on Guiding!”

The local program is split into three different age groups. The youngest group is the Sparks, for girls between the ages of five and six. Next comes the Brownies, for ages seven to eight. After that comes the eponymous Guides, for girls between nine and 11. Although those are the three braches offered in Niverville, the organization at large has older groups as well: the Pathfinders (ages 12–14), the Rangers (ages 15–17), and Adults for anyone 18 or older.

Beaton is passionate about the many benefits and opportunities that come from being a member of the Girl Guides, especially from a young age.

“Girl Guides is valuable because you learn about being you, self-esteem, and Guiding around the world,” she says. “And it allows you to travel the world and meet new friends.”

Another advantage is that the program provides a safe, all-girl environment for girls and young women to face challenges, find their voice, and look for ways to make a difference in the world.

“Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) strives to ensure that girls and women from all walks of life, identities, and lived experiences feel a sense of belonging and can fully participate,” reads a statement from the GGC website. “Girl Guides is an organization with over 100 years of history and a strong and growing future.”

Beaton has been involved as a leader for a total of nine years, the first five of which were in The Pas. After that, she took a break and returned to it when her oldest daughter joined Sparks four years ago.

“My most memorable moments are being able to take these girls on adventures,” says Beaton. “We go on sleepovers that you normally don’t get, like sleeping at the Manitoba Museum. The Goldeyes stadium was our most recent one. We [also] go to camp in September for Canada’s one hundred fiftieth birthday celebration.”

Registration for Girl Guides begins in spring and continues throughout the summer until the unit is full. This year, Beaton says that all three age groups have been full since mid-August.

This year’s members have a lot to look forward to after fall kickoff. The Niverville Guides will take part in 2017’s Provincial Camp from September 15–17 to celebrate Canada 150. 

Prominent on the schedule is the first-ever Guide Day with the Bombers, which happens on October 28. Girls will have the opportunity to attend with their families, and receive a special Bomber Badge. They will also be announced as special guests to the game. Even better, they will have the opportunity to watch the pre-game warmup from the sidelines.

Then, on December 2, comes Guide Night with the Moose, which Beaton says is always a fun event for the girls and their families.

“We also do caroling at the PCH here in Niverville,” she adds. “This past June, Niverville Brownies did the Girl Guide Provincial Spring Cleanup at Hespeler Park. Some of these events we do as a unit or group or with our families.”

Beaton points out that it’s important to acknowledge the hard work of the many leaders who make the local program possible. The leaders of the Sparks include Amanda Moran, Sherry Nash Unrau, and Julie Lux. In addition to Beaton herself, the Brownies are led by Trish Wachniak and Danielle Eppert, who is new to the unit this year. At the Guides level, Lindsay Salonius and newcomer Kerri Murphy take charge.

In addition to these leaders, there are many parent volunteers who make a big difference at weekend camps or fill in for leaders when they aren’t available.

Finally, if you’re waiting for those world-famous Girl Guide Cookies, they’re right around the corner. Niverville’s girls will start selling mint cookies in late September or early October. If you’re looking for those classic vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies, those are coming your way in the spring.

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