Girl guides celebrate international friendships

Launch Independence celebrations

Making the world a better place is Girl Scout Law, so it’s no surprise they have a holiday dedicated to doing just that, and the millions of Bahamas Girl Guides joined in recently in celebrating their global sisterhood and came together to take action as Girl Scouts and Girl Guides across the globe celebrated World Thinking Day. The day of friendship is a time for people to stand up for causes that could improve the lives of girls globally.

World Thinking Day, observed on February 22, was held this year, under the theme “Our World, Our Peaceful Future: The environment, peace, and security”.

It’s a theme that Sarah Knowles, a 2nd Abaco Ranger Guide, said is a great way to incorporate peace into caring for the environment.

“Let’s make peace with the environment. To save the planet, we must take care of our world,” said Sarah.

To earn a World Thinking Day Award, Guides explore environmental problems and learn how they can work with nature to create a more peaceful and secure future for girls everywhere. While the day is recognized in February, the World Thinking Day Award can be earned at any time of the year.

Sarah was just one of the 10 million girls in 150 member countries who belong to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) who gathered to celebrate World Thinking Day.

Beginning in 1926 as a celebration of the joint birthdays of the founders, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, members use the day to send greetings to their “sister guides”.

The Sunflowers, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, leaders, council members, parents and friends of Guiding celebrated under the theme and reflected.

At Stapledon School, the theme was explored through the presentation of flags of other countries, coat of arms of each island of The Bahamas, songs and greetings from Michelle Fields, the first vice president, and messages from around the world read by Sonia Adderley, international commissioner. Guides from around The Bahamas joined in the celebrations via Zoom.

The Bahamas Girl Guides Association (BGGA) encourages all Bahamians and residents of our beautiful country to ensure our peaceful future by keeping The Bahamas clean, green, and pristine.

Prior to World Thinking Day, more than 400 Sunflowers, Brownies, Guides, their parents, council members and guests came together at Xavier’s Lower School to launch their celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Independence of The Bahamas.

The occasion included viewing of an exhibition of photographs detailing the contributions of Guiding to the growth and development of The Bahamas over the last 50 years.

Among the displays were the photographs of women who were Girl Guides and the first in their careers – Dame Ivy Dumont, Dame Janet Bostwick, Dr. Keva Bethel, Marjorie Davis, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, Dr. D. Gail Saunders, Dr. Nikkia Forbes, Melanie Roach, Joy Jibrilu, Stephanie Unwala, Reverend Angela Palacious, Debra Symonette, Denise Turnquest, and Clarice Sands-Granger. The girls also saw past presidents and patrons, the queen’s Guides recipients, the chief commissioners, pioneers of Guiding, and outstanding leaders as well as leaders of tomorrow. Opportunities were provided for the girls to interact with several nation builders.

The girls heard details of the contribution of the BGGA over the last 50 years. The introduction of GiGi, the doll who will accompany the Girl Guides Trefoil around The Bahamas on a Jubilee Tour, was another highlight.

Through a unique, value-based non-formal educational approach, Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting create empowering youth-learning experiences. This is defined by everything that a young person experiences as a Girl Guide or Girl Scout over the time that they take part in the youth program. While participating in the Guide program may not be a panacea for the many challenges facing girls, the success of the many women who have been Girl Guides attests to its role in helping them to become the best version of themselves.

“They show that Guiding makes better girls and 

women,” Elma Garraway, assistant chief commissioner previously told The Nassau Guardian.

She said the informal education movement seeks to ensure that its members become leaders and active citizens of their local community, nationally and internationally.

“Guiding is important for girls and young women for several major reasons. Our leaders incorporate these reasons as much as possible in every meeting and activity. These are referred to as the essential elements of Guiding, which make Guiding and Scouting distinct from other youth organizations. Girls and leaders make a promise of doing their best to serve God, country and others, in addition to living by a specific moral and ethical code embedded in the 10 parts of the Guide law; thus, the early development of commitment, loyalty, citizenship and being disciplined in one’s actions,” said Garraway. “The attainment of these principles are carried out in small groups to ensure the development of belonging needs through the formation of a sisterhood, relationship formation of a girl with another adult, opportunities for leadership, learning through fun and active participation in a variety of challenging activities, especially through camping; and they learn to govern themselves and take responsibility for their decisions.”

BGGA is a member of the 10 million strong WAGGGS, the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women worldwide, and supports girls and young women in more than 152 countries to develop to their full potential intellectually, morally, spiritually and physically.

The girls learn to be good citizens by keeping the Guide promise and law, and actively participate in large and small service projects.

“They learn how to plan, accept challenges and strive to attain group and personal goals through the attainment of badges and awards. They learn critical thinking and empowerment skills, how to be strong advocates and use their voices to address local and global issues affecting girls and young women – and they learn how to lead moral and disciplined lives as noted in the law,” said Garraway.

She said a Guide is self-controlled in all she thinks, says, and does.

Sunflowers are girls five to seven years old; Brownies are ages seven to 10; Guides are 10 to 14 years old; and Rangers are girls 14 to 18 years old. Leaders are young women 19 years and beyond.

Guiding came to The Bahamas in 1915, just five years after it was founded by Lady and Lord Baden-Powell of England, providing developmental experiences for the girls and young women of The Bahamas for over 107 years.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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