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Letter from Claire

by on August 10, 2010

I just came back from GM 2010. As I looked around at the thousands of girls enjoying a ten day camp I could not but help reflect on losing our camp Caritou. We promote GM and many other camping experiences. Did they ask how many nights of camping experience you had before coming to GM? Does the experience matter any more or can anyone camp now???   No experience needed???    

You just automatically know how to camp???

What about the friendship and companion ship memories you make at camp that you don’t make any where else. What about the experience of pitching a tent, (and there were plenty of those) and I must say some in not very good shape and wet sleeping bags flooded out tents. Is this what we are teaching our young ladies to day??? Cooking food over a propane stove or fire pit, boiling water, lighting a fire, using a knife, or tying a rope.

Our Chief Commissioner spoke of the great times we’ll share during our camping together and her wish to all, HAVE A GREAT CAMPING EXPERIENCE. Does this not apply to any and every camp??? What about the team work that is needed to have the fun; where else do you get it??? In front of a computer???? When you look at 20 some countries represented did camping not factor into this???

When Guiding started 100 years ago did Lord Baden Powel not want the girls to camp and experience the great out doors like the Boy Scouts? Did the girls then not fight and rebel for their rights? Did they not write a new version of the guide hand book? Of course as they wanted to camp, horse back ride and all the other things that “was not lady like”. Does that stand to day???? Is this the way guiding wants to go???

Rangers performed the special events, did they just know this or were they guided and taught over the many years in guiding that they could perform and make a difference? Is it a small world after all??? They knew how to make 10 days memorable to many girls and to demonstrate that all these young girls could be doing this. Yes and they lived in tents for over ten days.

It is too bad all our girls in this country do not have the opportunity to camp in a secure park, as security was busy with public trying to get through our camps. But did not because they had great women looking after them. Would we get that in any other Provincial Park??? Just yesterday in our paper I read where people were thrown out of a park at 2:00 am because they were drunk, loud and bothersome to other campers. Yes, that makes me feel like taking girls to those camp grounds. I wonder if the parents are going to feel like letting their daughters go with me????

Making the world greener is another push that guiding is involved in. I wonder where we will send our girls off  to?? Perhaps it can be found in a public building as we sure cannot teach it outdoors any more — Camp Caritou no longer. Road side bush trails, and parks are not going to be the future.

A beautiful sunrise ceremony was hosted — do our girls get to do this any more; check out the stars at night or the sunrise???? Can you picture the public parks campers enjoying the excitement of 10 – 15 girls late nights or early mornings???? To enjoy the natural wonders of camp. What about the sing songs and smores late at night or early for the younger girls???? Would this be welcomed in a public camp ground? Can you read the headlines? Girl Guides disrupt camp ground and had to be evicted??? Good promotion.

Those rainy days and nights at camp, was everyone prepared??? Well with so many wet sleeping bags, and wet tents, I wonder if our girls and women are getting enough training or experience to handle these situations, All as I can say is thanks to the experienced, knowledge and team work it was handled and everyone went to bed those night comfortable. Are we going to be able to give this to our next generation????

Another very interesting topic that was given to the girls at GM was politics. It can have a bad reputation, sneakiness, dishonesty and poor management. That we should have social justice, sustainable living, financial responsibility, non violence (not having Guiders suspended because of their beliefs), non violence, respect for diversity and how all these things work together for the future. (Not holding back on financial statements, having the books for a non profit organization be open to volunteers, and better communications to all those who matter and care for Girl Guides of Canada.) Everyone was given a chance to have their views listened to, take on greater tasks, no matter what age or experience.  Is this not hypocritical to our stand on saving our camps. IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL.

I wonder how our executives and leaders of this great organization can promote and feel what a great job they are doing without the volunteers in the trenches so to speak and yet dictate to us that they are so right and we are so wrong when we are teaching and promoting such strong women of yesterday and today. Roberta Bondar comes to mind, or any one of us that care about what we can do or help our young girls today.

What is left if we do not take our girls camping – experience that they cannot get at school or in any other organization????

If you take away our camps do you really believe you made a difference????

Yours in Guiding

Claire Proulx


From → Camps

  1. Sharon Patrois permalink

    Way to go, Claire!! Having been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for 50 years, I have seen and been through many changes in our membership program. We always trusted that what ever Ontario and National Councils proposed was always in the best interests of the girl and adult members! Now when we look back over the last four years a hidden agenda and plan unfolds as you mentioned and we were too trusting to even suspect it until it was too late!! Some of us are continuing our units for the sakes of the many girls who need what we can give, but feel completely isolated and unsupported from “those who always supported us in the past!” COMMUNICATION between Councils and Guiders could have avoided this whole mess!!!!!

  2. Suz permalink

    Well said Claire, Thank you for your passion for Girl Guides!

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