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News Release: GUIDING VOLUNTEERS QUESTION SECRECY OF PROVINCIAL COUNCIL

by on May 25, 2010

Tuesday, May 22, 2010: On My Honour, a grassroots group of concerned Guiding volunteers, is urging the Ontario Council of Girl Guides to take down the veil of secrecy under which it is currently operating. The group is asking for the disclosure of a Property Evaluation and Feasibility Report – which led to the decision to close 16 camps in Ontario. They are also asking to review meeting minutes, financial statements as well as the strategy to deal with the current debt situation.

Despite numerous requests, the Property Evaluation and Feasibility Report has never been made public nor has it been shared with Guiding volunteers. The decision to close and sell 16 camps throughout Ontario has never been discussed within the context of this report. Furthermore, the Ontario Council will not share meeting minutes and financial statements, related to Guiding in Ontario, with concerned volunteers throughout the province.

“There are obvious questions as to whether or not the Property Evaluation and Feasibility Report actually supports the ultimate decisions, that were made by Ontario Council surrounding the closing of camps,” said Sylvia Dufresne, Chair of Camp Tewateno in Midhurst, Ontario. Camp Tewateno is one of the remaining camps still open for now. “We wonder why they want to keep the report a secret – is it because provincial council didn’t follow the recommendations outlined in the report? We question why they made arbitrary decisions, that affect literally thousands of girls, without transparency, accountability and based on a report that they are unwilling to share.”

“We have major concerns when the Ontario Council makes decisions that negatively impact Girl Guides throughout the entire province (and in particular rural areas), while blatantly refusing to share key financial documents and minutes surrounding these decisions, said Lori Hubbert, Pathfinder Guider in Community 33. We also take issue with the fact that they have not shared a long-term plan to deal with the debt situation. We have to ask the question – what exactly is the Provincial Council hiding?” At their very best, Ontario Council says we are a “bunch of disgruntled Guiders”. It is time to bring back the grassroots voice in this organization.

On My Honour is distressed by the lack of communication, accountability and transparency from provincial council to grassroots volunteers. The group believes that many of these problems stem from a restructuring of Ontario Girl Guides that took place in 2007 and as a result they are worried about the integrity and future of guiding in Ontario. They are looking for the immediate disclosure of reports, financial statements and minutes as a first step in improving the integrity of the organization.

The On My Honour grassroots campaign group encourages all those interested in learning more about the failed transformation of Guiding in Ontario to visit their website at www.onmyhonour.ca Media inquiries should be directed to On My Honour at 705 220-4122 or 705 716-9727.

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