The 100 Mile Guiding Community is taking its motto of ‘be prepared’ to heart.
They can’t go door-to-door in COVID times but have found a way to deliver cookies. They can’t go camping but are still hanging out online. And while it’s not as much fun earning their badges online, they’re staying connected through Zoom.
“With virtual guiding, I’ll be honest, it’s been a bit of a challenge but the kids have been doing really well. The more we do it, the easier it seems to get for them,” said Julia Franklin, a Pathfinder guide. “They’re all done primarily through Zoom and what we’re doing is working with girls one on one (and in groups.)”
Although their overall numbers are down due to the pandemic, both guides and their guiders are still as dedicated as ever, she said. The 100 Mile Guiding community consists of three Sparks, seven Brownies, five Girl Guides, two Pathfinders. They don’t have any Rangers at this time.
The Girl Guides were able to meet in person earlier this year in the spring and summer by enforcing a strict six-feet rule at all times and other COVID-19 safety protocols. However, they haven’t held any in-person meetings since October.
To work on badges and do projects as a group, Franklin and her fellow guiders put together activity packages for the girls. The group then uses these kits to do the projects together, be it chemistry, science experiments or cooking.
Franklin said the Girl Guides have even done ‘pet presentations’ over Zoom where they learned how to ask open-ended questions about their animals. The Brownies have also done abstract painting and bean-growing together.
Pathfinder Kaylee Gilbert, a Grade 9 student at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary, said it’s been hard to switch to online guiding. A member of the Girl Guides for 10 years, she enjoys going on big camping trips and learning new skills while meeting new friends.
“Girls Guides is a passion for me and so is helping the community and getting involved with it,” Gilbert said.
Although there are glitches, she said overall their Zoom meetings have been working. Her group has done projects with clay and played memory games so far, she said.
“You don’t really get the same interaction that you would get in person online,” Gilbert said, adding that she’s really looking forward to doing in-person camps again.
Franklin is proud of how the girls are really starting to engage with the new format and the technology involved in recent weeks but they can’t wait to meet in person again.
Franklin is hopeful that this year they will learn how valuable it is to follow their motto of ‘be prepared’ and adapt to any situation.
For instance, there will be no door-to-door cookie sales this year. But cookies can be ordered over the phone and dropped off at your home or picked up at several partners scattered across the community. Cookies can currently be ordered by calling 250-706-9118 or by messaging the group’s Facebook page 100milegirlguides.
Proceeds from the sales this year will be deposited into the girls’ bank accounts and be used to fund everything from their crafts to their activities, Franklin said. Everything that is not used will be deposited into camping and travel accounts in preparation for future camping trips and travels.
“The 100 Mile Guiding Community appreciates all the support 100 Mile provides,” Franklin said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do half of what these kids do. It’s not just financial, it’s just taking the time to talk, letting them volunteer and all kinds of stuff.”