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Letter to National – Sarnia Guiders

by on May 3, 2010

Nov. 30, 2009

Dear National Council,

We as Guiders in Sarnia and its nearby communities are writing to you to let you know how unhappy we are with Guiding as an organization since Transformation in Ontario took place a few years ago.

Here in Sarnia, we have had our local Guide Centre and our Guide store closed, and now our local camp, Camp Dahinda, is about to be closed also. We feel that Ontario Guiding is making decisions that affect us the Guiders and also the girls in our units, and that we have no say in these decisions. We are angry and tired of volunteering in an organization where we feel used and undervalued. Many of us only stay in Guiding because we know that we make a difference in the lives of the girls we work with.

Guiding has become too large, too much of a corporate business, and has forgotten its roots in the girls.

Most girls and Guiders would say that camping is the best part of Guiding. Memories of the times that girls spend at camp, the skills they learn, the friendships they make at camp are things they carry with them through life. And now Ontario Guiding has decided to close almost half of its camps in Ontario.

We as Guiders feel that as a result of this decision, fewer girls in Ontario will have the opportunity to go camping. This decision means that remaining camps will be overbooked and not able to accommodate all the units wanting to camp there. It also means that parents will have to drive 1-2 hours to take their girls to camp and some will not be willing to do that.

Ontario Guiding feels that units will be able to camp at privately owned and operated camps as an alternative to camping at a Guide camp. Unfortunately, most of these camps are very expensive and again some parents will not be able to afford to send their daughters there. And camping subsidies will only be paid to units camping at GGC camps!

We understand that Guiding cannot continue to financially support camps that consistently operate in a deficit. We understand that camps need to be well utilized to be viable.

We in Sarnia and the surrounding area do not agree that Camp Dahinda should be closed. When the camp operated on well water, it was well utilized and supported an active summer camp program. However, once Guiding mandated that the wells should be shut down, the camp had to rely on bottled water and many Guiders were unwilling and unable to lift and carry 50 lb jugs of water. It is a lot of work and very inconvenient to run a weekend or week long camp using bottled water!

The camp committee, however, had the foresight to set money aside each year so that when the county put water lines down at the edge of the camp property, the camp would be able to afford to hook up to the water lines and have running water once again. The camp committee had saved $30,000 for this purpose when Transformation took place. All this money was then confiscated by province and used elsewhere. Since then, the water lines have been put down by the county but Province will not pay to have the camp hooked up to the new water lines.

We the Guiders of Community 2 and its surrounding areas, are asking that Ontario Guiding pay for Camp Dahinda to be hooked into the county water lines using the $30,000 previously saved.

We would like Camp Dahinda to be allowed to remain open for a grace period of 3 years, during which time the camp committee will engage in fundraising activities etc. so that the camp will operate with a balanced budget. Then at the end of the 3 year period, if the camp is not well utilized and is operating in the “red”, we agree that it should be closed.

We hope that National Council will override Ontario’s decision to close Camp Dahinda at this time. Please give the camp committee the opportunity to prove that Camp Dahinda can be well utilized and financially viable!

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


The Guiders of Community 2

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