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100 Mile Girl Guides Troop in need of new leaders

New unit leaders needed to keep the 100 Mile Girl Guides going next year
Last month members of the 100 Mile Girl Guides travelled to Vancouver to visit the BC Guide House. This included Bella Methhorst (back left), Aubrey Vincent, Lilia Sawyer-Ned, Kyra Ball, Alyza-Rae Smith, Autumn Griffin, Payton Holloway and Grace Haerttrich as well as Chloe Gould (front left), Selene Ball, Adalynn Tupholme, Ella Brandt, Makenna Chmil, Jaysah-Mae Palm, Lexi Faulkner and Brynna Holloway. (Photo submitted)

The 100 Mile Girl Guides Troop is in danger of folding without new leadership. 

The group currently consists of 30 youths including nine Embers, five Pathfinders, 14 Girl Guides and two Rangers with several volunteer leaders. Despite community support and enthusiasm Bernice Enns, the outgoing district chair for the Girls Guides of Canada South Cariboo District, said that they need at least two unit leaders to step up to lead the girls next year. If no one does she said the group will become inactive. 

"It's a program that is suited for some children just like hockey, scouting or any of those things. Hopefully, the parents that have children who want to be involved can step up and take a leadership role," Enns said. "We've found over the last few years, actually, that people have just not been able to commit. All we really need is two unit leaders committed and they can open a unit of whatever age group they want or a multi-age group and keep guiding in 100 Mile." 

Enns is a long-time member of the Girl Guides who has spent 30 years volunteering with the organization. The last time the Girl Guides program became inactive in 2011 it was Enns who revived the program in 2016 with new leaders and units. 

At their peak, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Enns said they had 50 youth enrolled in the program taking part in weekly meetings, doing activities and going camping. During the pandemic, their numbers shrank with meetings and activities taking place over Zoom before they began to meet again in person. 

Now, eight years since she started, Enns said that she and several other volunteers responsible for the paperwork and administration of the program are taking a step back. Enns remarked their reasons are all different and range from a simple lack of time to their own children ageing out of the program. 

"I've been in for a long time and I was a guider when my kids were in it. I came back for the grandkids and I have another leader who helps me who is the same thing. We did guides way back and we came back and said 'ok let's keep it going," Enns said. "Most of the reason for our (current) lack of leaders is the time commitment. It's very hard for many people to keep the time commitment."

Enns remarked that the group does have several support leaders helping her and the other unit leaders out. However, a unit leader is required to run the program as they handle the paperwork and organize events. 

Becoming a unit leader isn't overly time-consuming, Enns explained, requiring only that you pass a criminal background check and complete the Safe Guide program offered by Girl Guides of Canada. This program covers the rules and safety regulations for Girl Guides and is completed online. 

"You just go onto the Girl Guides of Canada site, you look up volunteer and you (fill out the paperwork). That's all online now," Enns remarked. 

She also is hoping to see someone step up and take over from her as the chair of the South Cariboo District. Three years ago Enns founded the district as before they were administered by the Clearwater District. If no one steps up to fill this seat, they'll be rolled back into the Clearwater District so long as they have two unit leaders to keep the program going. 

"Guiding is an amazing organization. There's a lot of camaraderie built up primarily between the leaders and the youth," Enns said. "It's a great way for youth to learn skills, outdoor skills and interpersonal skills as well. It is girl-led and developed and can be very exciting."

Enns added that while she is stepping away from a leadership role, she'd be happy to provide some advice and mentorship for anyone looking to become a unit leader. She invites those with more questions to reach out to her at 250-706-9118. 

"I think it's a great opportunity for women to connect with youth and develop relationships through activities. Many of the relationships I've had through guiding are still (strong)," Enns said. 

Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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