NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Young girls get involved, have fun
Sparks, Brownies and Guides meet in Fort Simpson

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dressed in matching orange and navy blue T-shirts with scarves tied around their necks and sashes hung over their right shoulders, a group of eight girls stand in a circle and start singing a song.

NNSL photo/graphic

Cassidy Barry, a Brownie in Fort Simpson, draws a picture of things she likes in Canada while working to earn her All About Canada Badge on Nov. 15. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

It's the beginning of the weekly Brownie meeting in Fort Simpson. The girls spend the next hour and a half drawing pictures, playing games, singing more songs and having a snack before heading home.

Twenty-five youths and six adults are involved in Girl Guides of Canada in Fort Simpson. On Tuesdays girls ages five and six meet for Sparks while Brownies ages seven and eight meet on Thursdays. On Mondays, Guides ages nine to 11 gather together.

"Any female who wants to join is welcome," said Heather Jennings-Brown, the district commissioner for the Girl Guides of Canada in Fort Simpson.

The guiding movement is about helping girls gain life skills in a supportive environment while having fun, Jennings-Brown said. Skills are introduced at each level and built upon as the girls get older.

Leadership is a large component of the program. Beginning in Brownies, the girls are given leadership opportunities. Girls returning for a second year, for example, teach the new Brownies the group's song and promise, Jennings-Brown said.

In Guides, the girls help to plan their own meetings. Sports and outdoor activities are among their favourite choices. The girls can transfer the skills they develop to their daily lives, she said.

"They are able to be leaders for tomorrow and take the skills they've learned here and be leaders for the community," said Jennings-Brown.

Although it sounds serious, the skills, like leadership, are introduced through fun activities and through earning badges. Badges are a tangible sign that girls can take home to show the skills they've learned, she said.

Tamara Deneyoua-Nahanni and Jamie Deneyoua-Nahanni, both in their second year of Brownies, have 39 and 31 badges respectively all sewn onto their sashes. Jamie's favourite is the first-time camper badge.

Going on sleepovers and having parties rank as Jamie's favourite aspects of Brownies.

"I like doing everything here," said Tamara.

"I like when we sell cookies and when we have celebrations every year."

On Nov. 15 the Brownies added another badge to their sashes after completing the All About Canada badge. Learning about the Canadian and Northwest Territories' flags, putting together a map of Canada, singing the national anthem and learning about birds, animals and plants were all part of earning the badge.

During the year, camping, community outings and community service are also included into the different levels of the program, said Jennings-Brown. Although Sparks, Brownies and Guides all started in late October, interested girls and adult volunteers are still welcome to join.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.