A Case of the FUND-days

Happy start of the week, Internet!

The best way to beat any sort of blues is to do something for someone else. So, I’ve decided to start a series on well-deserved charity organizations that I either donate time or money to or just have caught my eye as being really valuable to the community.

My inspiration on the title is a little play on words from this classic:

Make your MUNDAY and FUND-day and start giving!

And so I’m happy to kick things off with this week’s organization, Girl Guides of Canada:

MORE THAN JUST COOKIES! — The Girl Guides of Canada empowers young girls and inspires leaders of tomorrow.
Girl Guides of Canada

Guiding taught me independence, confidence, empowerment. I use these skills every day.

When I was a young girl, my mom enrolled me in Brownies and a whole new world of empowerment and confidence opened up. It was a place I could try new things, meet new friends and more importantly, be myself amongst other young girls who were my age.

I was even lucky enough to have my mom as the Brown Owl, as they were known back then, for my time in this branch of Guiding.

I learned to love the outdoors, sing my heart out around a campfire, pitch a tent, cook my own meals, to appreciate the sense of accomplishment by earning a badge and to do things by myself.

After working my way through the entire spectrum of the organization — Brownie, Guide, Pathfinder, Junior Leader — I became a leader in my mid-twenties after a haitus during university.

Coming back as a leader, I will never forget the moment I realised how much you can really make a difference in a young girl’s life. It was a weekend camping trip with the Guides and this young girl was very timid about doing anything on her own. As normal with that age, she was quite nervous about being far away from home and wasn’t really confident in her abilities to master this whole camping thing.

We wanted all of the girls to learn how to light the stove for dinner. Like a deer in headlights, this girl was terrified at the thought that SHE would have to use the match to light her patrol’s fire. After much hesitation and a little bit of encouragement from me, she struck the match, placed it near the element and poof! on came the stove.

Her face lit up more than the element. You could see that she was shocked, surprised and elated that she had done it. For the rest of the weekend, every time her patrol was preparing the stove for food, guess who was jumping up and down to light it?

This experience taught me how important the Guiding is for young girls. Outside of school, organized sports, the encouraging support of parents and even structured play dates, young girls need a place where they can really try to figure things out on their own.

I encourage you to support your local units. Become a leader. Or volunteer to be a guest speaker. Make sure you purchase those Girl Guide cookies that allow the units to function. Most importantly, if you have a young girl in your home, make time in her schedule to attend. It can  make a lifetime of difference.

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