Youth Member, Girl Guides of Canada
Dr. Michelle Quaye
Board Director, Chair, National Youth Council, Girl Guides of Canada
Through connection and skill-building in a safe environment, Girl Guides empowers young girls with a strong foundation to become tomorrow’s leaders.
For the past 100+ years, Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) has provided girls ages 5 to 17 with new experiences, skills, and challenges to help them use their unique talents to build a better world by girls.
Guiding provides a safe, all-girl environment for girls to challenge themselves, find their voice, earn badges, meet new friends, have fun, and make a difference in the world. Through a unique, volunteer-run program, girls are encouraged to build life skills in areas such as the outdoors, financial literacy, mental health, and advocacy.
Everything she wants to be
GGC encourages girls to be everything they want to be. Seven-year-old Claire Plouffe of Ajax started her Girl Guide journey young. She and her older sister were encouraged to join Girl Guides by their mother, Colleen, a former Girl Guide and now volunteer. Since becoming a Spark two years ago Claire has enjoyed the weekly meetings and group activities such as singing silly songs together, gardening, learning basic camping and outdoor survival skills, and some fun crafts, which are her favourite. “I’ve earned 13 badges so far and plan to earn more,” she says. Claire recently discovered her own leadership potential when called upon to teach her Sparks unit a new activity. Though initially a little nervous, she found the experience to be exhilarating. “Afterward, I felt like, oh my gosh, I just want to be a leader!”
The best time to join Girl Guides is now. Girls of any age can join and benefit from the connection, skill-building, and leadership development opportunities GGC provides. During the pandemic, these skills are more relevant than ever. “As a healthcare professional myself, I’ve seen the harmful effects this pandemic has had on our communities and how women and girls can make a difference,” says Dr. Michelle Quaye, a former Girl Guide and now Board Director, Chair-National Youth Council for GGC. “Girl Guides provides an opportunity for them to connect, dream, and try to implement changes that will make our communities better places,” she says.
In addition to helping girls make a difference, Girl Guides supports them in becoming everything they want to be. There are plenty of opportunities to step into leadership roles such as serving on committees, becoming unit assistants, or helping to influence decision-making across the country through membership on the National Youth Council or their Provincial Youth Forum. Youth and young adult members can also find plenty of professional development training programs, as well as mentorship opportunities with outstanding female role models to champion their skills and talents.
Where girls have a say
All experiences reflect the organization’s vision of “a better world, by girls,” where girls can create a future for themselves and be catalysts for change. “From the strategic decision making right down to the unit level, girls have a say in the activities they are doing and the different leadership opportunities they choose to pursue,” says Dr. Quaye.