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Letter from Marnie – Lawyers’ fees are coming from girl registrations and cookie sales

by on September 12, 2010

As a Guider and a parent contemplating enrolling my daughter in Sparks this year, I am naturally curious about where the money for Province’s lawyers is coming from. In August I sent a letter to province asking this question. Surprisingly, I got an answer back. It confirms what we all suspected.

“Our revenue sources are almost solely dependent on cookie sales and registration fees.”

So there you have it. I feel sick.

Letters are below. The bolding is mine.


From: Carol
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:47 AM
To: Marnie Cumming
Subject: Contemplating Sparks

Dear Marnie,

I am debating about signing my daughter up for Sparks again this year.

First problem:
I love Guides. I love the Spark program. My daughter really wants to join. She has watched me, as a leader, go off to Guide camp over and over, and I have been promising her for years that she could go camping with the Sparks. Last year, due to the fact that Caritou closed, and nothing comparable was close enough, her unit cancelled their camping plans. I am upset that I could not keep my promise to my daughter.

Second problem:
I am sensing an impending legal battle about the GG camps, here and elsewhere around Ontario .
Can you assure me that my daughter’s registration fees are not going to your lawyers?
I would also like to know where the money is coming from, if it is not GGC funds, in the form of financial statements or records.

If I cannot have proof that this registration money is not going to province for the purposes of hiring lawyers, then I will be signing her up for gymnastics instead.

Perhaps one less registration does not matter to Guides in any case. According to Chris Burton’s interview on CBC, apparently rural areas are not a priority for Girl Guides of Canada.

I await your response.



From: Marnie Cumming
Sent: Thu, September 9, 2010 9:11:47 PM
Subject: RE: Contemplating Sparks

Hi Carol –
Sorry for the delay in responding to your email. I was delayed in receiving it due to holidays. I appreciate you taking the time to voice your concerns, Carol.

I do understand the frustration and disappointment that many in the North Bay Guiding community feel with the closing of Caritou. You are right that it was a very convenient location for camping but as you know the financial realities and low usage of most of our camps resulted in the need to make some incredibly hard decisions. Doe Lake remains as an excellent venue and I do know that several Guiders have used a range of other facilities in the vicinity. Camping has been and will continue to be a very important aspect of girl programming.

Although we would like to allocate all of our monies directly to girl program, as an organization we have a range of expenses that need to be covered. For example, we need a support structure of both volunteers and staff and we have obligations that must be met such as financial audits, paying insurance, and ensuring that all HR remittances such as CPP are paid. There are also legal costs to address a wide range of issues including ensuring that employment contracts are appropriate, that issues arising from parent behaviour are addressed correctly and yes, that all issues regarding property are also done in a manner that ensures that all obligations are met.

Our revenue sources are almost solely dependent on cookie sales and registration fees. We also, over the past while, have been using reserves to cover a very significant deficit.

I do hope that you will enroll your daughter in Sparks again this year. You know the benefits of membership as you have been a leader for some years and I certainly hope that you will continue to provide this opportunity for her.

Marnie Cumming
Ontario Provincial Commissioner
Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada


Gymnastics it is.


One Comment
  1. Sylvia Dufresne permalink

    It seems that many supporters are not aware that last fall, a number of camps applied for an investigation by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, Public Guardian and Trustee’s Office. The inquiry is re; Girl Guides, Ontario Council and their assumed right to sell off our camps, and take our money. Each camp applied individually, but under one umbrella – all were questioning the stealing away of beneficial rights to our camp properties from the local members. The Public Guardian and Trustee’s office has been dilligently going over the mountains of paperwork in these cases for several months. We, the former camp committee members, continue to provide documents as requested to their office, and continue to find evidence of manipulation via by-law changes, governance policy and rule changes and an array of legal moves designed to give total control of all assets to a few persons. On My Honour has been the entity which brought all the camps together and enabled us to find strategies to fight the harm being done to the grassroots of guiding. Many of the camps have begun legal manouevres to protect their assets, some have all the plans in place and are waiting the right moment to litigate. But we are united in our determination to keep for the girls of the future what we have all worked so hard to build and maintain. The National Council is not free of errors in this inquiry either. We are all awaiting the PG&T’s report. Please keep faith that girls will be camping again on these properties, and continue to support your local camp people, and On My Honour. We have made a dent in the protective shield in this not-very-transparent organization.

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