Crystle George (left, western district commissioner for Girl Guides) chats with Lillian Frost, Madison George, Sarah LeBlanc and Nicole Deveau, all members of the Girl Guides organization. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
By Eric Bourque
For most of her young life, Nicole Deveau has been involved in Girl Guides, a movement with which she hopes to be affiliated long after her own guiding days are over.
At 17, the Salmon River resident is at the upper end of the age scale for Girl Guides, an organization she joined a dozen years ago.
“I’d like to stay involved any way I can,” she said.
Guiding has given her a chance to learn and do new things and to meet people, she said, and she encourages those who haven’t experienced it to give it a try.
“I think especially for anyone who is shy and wants to meet new people but doesn’t know how and wants to have fun, just come out and join,” she said. “You won’t regret it.”
Those who may be considering it – or who simply want to find out more about the organization and maybe meet local Girl Guide leaders – will have a chance to do so at events to be held at various locations, including Beacon Church in Yarmouth, where the first in a series of Girl Guide “welcome” activities is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m.
Other event locations, dates and start times:
--École Saint-Albert, Salmon River, Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m.
--Carleton fire hall, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.
--East Pubnico fire hall, Sept. 16, 6:15 p.m.
--Plymouth School, Sept. 17, 6:15 p.m.
The welcome events have replaced registration night, since registration for Girl Guides is now done online, says Crystle George, the Girl Guides commissioner for Nova Scotia’s western district.
For anyone who might have questions about Girl Guides, she said, any of these events would be a good place to ask them.
Girl Guide numbers aren’t what they used to be, she said, but the movement remains vibrant.
“People are busy doing other things,” she said. “There are so many things now that people are getting involved in … Guiding is constantly changing to keep girls’ interest.”
In an interview in advance of the welcome events that were planned, she said, “We’re hoping to get the word out that guiding is still going strong in Yarmouth.”
George recalls getting involved in Guides as a young girl and later becoming a leader.
She liked camping, she said, and getting to meet people.
“You make a lot of connections through guiding because there’s the opportunity, as the girls get older, to go to camps outside of our district,” she said. “There are opportunities to travel as well, if that’s what they want to do.”
Guiding consists of various age categories, including sparks (five-and-six-year-olds), brownies (seven and eight), guides (nine, 10), pathfinders (12 to 14) and rangers (15 to 17).
Girls can join the organization at any age, whether they’re at the level of spark or ranger or anywhere in between.
Many Girl Guide leaders grew up with the program, George said, and have decided to give back to it by volunteering in a leadership capacity. There is a transition year between the oldest of the Girl Guide levels and becoming a leader.
“A lot of our rangers actually work in our units, volunteering in our units, as junior leaders, if you will,” George said. “They can’t be responsible by themselves, but they can be helpers.”
Nicole Deveau is among those who envision themselves someday being Girl Guide leaders, perhaps helping the next generation of guides get the most out of the guiding experience.
“You give back and teach the girls what other people taught you,” she said. “It’s great.”