On a hot afternoon, hundreds of Girl Guides from across the province found themselves in the Harbour City trading souvenirs and making new friends.
Around 1,300 Girl Guides were at Beban Park on Sunday, where they made and swapped crafts, traded pins and crests and sang songs.
Sunday’s activities were all part of Girl Guides of Canada annual Rally on the Shores event, which brings Guides from across British Columbia together.
“Events like this are terrific because they bring together girls ages 5 to 18 plus as well as adults. They can connect, have fun and make new friends,” said Diamond Isinger, Girl Guides Canada B.C. commissioner.
Rally on the Shores has been held for the past five years in the Fraser Valley; this is the first year it has taken place on Vancouver Island.
Isinger, who has been with Girl Guides in some capacity since she was five, said she was pleased with how the event had gone. She said guide events like Rally on the Shores are also a great way for the girls to build confidence and can have a lasting impact.
“I was very lucky to attend lots of events like this as a Girl Guide member,” Isinger said. “Events like this inspired me to get involved my whole life because you meet incredible people, you stay connected and you get to go on incredible adventures.”
Representatives from B.C. SCPA, the Nanaimo RCMP and Nanaimo SAR were also on hand to talk to the girls about potential career opportunities and participate in trading.
Nanaimo RCMP Insp. Lisa Fletcher, who was on hand during the event, said a number of officers were Girl Guides when they were younger.
“A lot of our female members have been guides at one point in their life,” she said. “Because it is about service, the outdoors, activities, volunteering and the leadership pieces within guiding, it fits nicely within the policing realm.”
For Alexis Adrian, a nine-year-old guide, the best part about Rally on the Shores was being able to trade items with girls from other units and her favourite item was a little mouse made out of an acorn.
Since Girl Guides of Canada was founded in 1910, more than seven million girls and women have been involved with the organization. Girl Guides is open to girls between 5-18. There are also opportunities for women over 18.
Morgan Gaudet and Jaden Grey, both junior leaders from Nanaimo who each have more than 500 volunteer hours, said being involved with Girl Guides has been an empowering experience that has improved their confidence and helped them grow as individuals.
“Girl Guides to me, is something really special that has given me lots of opportunities in life,” Gaudet said, adding that she’s travelled to Ontario and Europe as member of Girl Guides. “The reason I’m a junior leader is to give these girls the same opportunities I had.”
“Girl Guides has given me a sense of leadership, especially working with the girls. I can now go out and lead a meeting and my confidence level has also grown,” Grey added.
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