Guiding a path
Rankin Guides celebrate successful year

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet ( May 31/00) - The number of those participating in the Northern Girl Guide movement has been decreasing, but that is not the case in Rankin Inlet.

"We were actually one of the only places in the North to have an increase in registration numbers this year," says Carla Kolysher, the Girl Guides of Canada Kivalliq commissioner.

"We moved up to 90 girls this year, with our Sparks more than doubling to 30 from 12 last year. Local kindergarten teachers saw it too, so we had a little bit of an influx of these young girls this year."

Last week, the Rankin Inlet Girl Guide movement celebrated the advancement of 42 girls -- from Sparks to Pathfinders -- at the Blossoming in Guiding advancement ceremony.

Fourteen Sparks (ages five to six) moved to Brownies; 14 Brownies (seven to eight) moved to Guides; 13 Guides (nine to 12) move to Pathfinders; and one Pathfinder, Brittany Scobie, move to senior branches.

Kolysher says the Guiding season is now wrapping up with the annual cookie sale and Brownie outdoor camp, which were held this past week. There will be a Guides camp held this weekend and a Pathfinders camp on the June 10 weekend.

The majority of Girl Guide troops in the NWT and Nunavut experienced a decline in registration by about 15 per cent. In an effort to maintain their growth cycle, Rankin Guiding leaders are looking at developing a summer drop-in program this year for girls ages five and up.

"They would drop by once a week. We're still in the planning stage -- we haven't determined where or when -- but the girls would come for an hour or two to participate in different activities.

"This type of program would have all the age groups together, so you'd have the older girls helping the younger ones and that's a positive aspect."

Kolysher says the program will focus on a different theme every week.

"This will be a free program in an effort to attract more of the kids who don't come during the full year.

"The kids won't have to pay, they can just come and participate in Girl Guide activities during the summer."

Linda Huisman, who is leaving Rankin Inlet this year, was also honoured at the ceremony.

Kolysher says Huisman dedicated six years of her life to developing Guiding programs for the North.

"She has taken some strong initiatives in working on adapting programs, camping, those types of aspects to deal with Northern situations.

"She will be missed."