Girl Guides might be synonymous with the cookies they sell, but the guiding movement is about much more than that to the girls that join their association.
For two more nights, the historic Oshawa Guide House on Simcoe Street will be open for information regarding Girl Guides registration. After hosting two prior information nights, the Guide House (and also, the Legends Centre in north Oshawa) will be open next Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. til 8:00 p.m. for anyone interested in joining.
The Guide House building has quite the history. In 1948, Colonel and Mrs. Robert Sam McLaughlin gave the Oshawa Guide house as a gift to the program. Mrs. McLaughlin was a member of the organization and was key to making sure local girls had a place to meet, especially because Colonel McLaughlin had just given the Boy Scouts the property for Camp Samac. In 1963, an addition was developed with money provided by Mrs. McLaughlin. The building now houses two gymnasiums, a front room, a kitchen, a council room and an archives room. The Central Area office is located on its upper level. The facility is available for council meetings, trainings, events, banquets and unit meetings. It’s a true piece of Guiding history right in downtown Oshawa.
The history of Girl Guides dates back to 1909, when Lord Baden-Powell held a Scouting rally in London, England. Much to his surprise, a number of girls who also had been practicing Scouting showed up. Baden-Powell then asked his sister, Agnes, to create a new program just for them. The movement grew thanks to Agnes and also Baden-Powell’s wife, Olave. In 1910, Canada’s first unit was created in St. Catharines. By 1912, there was a unit in every single province across the nation and the Canadian Girl Guides Association was created.
The leadership organization has grown from there, providing diverse programs and activities to its members, building new interests, leadership skills and lifelong friendships. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is now the world’s largest organization of girls and women.
The program has five different age categories from Sparks, starting at age five, through to Rangers, stopping at age 17. There are several units in Oshawa to choose from. Weekly activities range from anti-bullying workshops, to helping a local food bank, learning about bike safety, planting an edible garden, discussing body image or exploring career options. There’s plenty to learn about at your local Girl Guides.