by EVAN MATTHEWS
If you soon hear a knock on your door accompanied with a sweet smile, don’t be surprised; the Girl Guides are back in Valemount.
It’s been a number of years since Girl Guides had a presence in Valemount, and Amy Pawliuk says she and a few other mothers felt Girl Guides would a positive outlet perfect for young girls.
So on Apr. 8 have your cash in hand, as the Girl Guides will be going door-to-door selling cookies to anyone who will take them, as well as setting up a central location in the Village for people to come and purchase the cookies there.
“Cookies are the main source of fundraising we’re allowed to do,” says Pawliuk, who is also the Brownie Leader.
“We’re fundraising for all of our camping equipment and things like that. Cookies are $5 a box,” she says.
The Girl Guides first met in January, according to Pawliuk, and they have a camping trip at Mount Robson planned for June.
“Heather Funk got the ball rolling,” says Pawliuk. “We thought it was an important thing for the girls in the community, especially when there isn’t a ton going on right now.”
If enrollment numbers are any indication, the community agrees and has embraced the Guides as a positive in young girls’ lives.
Sparks is the youngest Girl Guide age group, including five- and six-year-olds, and has 10 girls already.
Brownies are seven- and eight-year-olds, with 11 Brownies enrolled.
Guides are nine- to 12-year-olds and there are currently seven Guides, which brings the total enrollment for Girl Guides in Valemount to 28.
“There are older groups as well, but we haven’t had any interest,” she says. “Often it’s something the girls grow into.”
Next year, Pawliuk says the hope is to have a couple of the Guides move into the Pathfinder age group, which is 12- to 14-year-olds. The oldest age category is Junior Leaders, which is 15- to 18-year-olds.
The different groups meet once a week, and the local Lions Club has generously donated space for them to hold the weekly meetings. The Library, too, has offered space in the basement to use as needed.
Each age category has it’s own promise, motto and law, according to Pawliuk. The Sparks, being so young, only have a promise, she says.
“They promise to share and be a friend,” says Pawliuk, adding the main thing for the young kids is to make sure the girls are having fun and creating a positive environment.
“Their whole program is based around singing, crafts and games,” she says.
As the girls move into the older ranks, Pawliuk says Girl Guides begins to teach more applicable life skills relative to age, while maintaining the roots of having fun.
If someone wants to join Girl Guides, but is a little bit older and lacks experience, Pawliuk says it’s never too late to start.
“Everybody is always welcome,” Pawliuk says, adding the support shown by the community will be reciprocated by the Girl Guides.
The Girl Guides year is coming to a close, but enrollment happens again in the fall.
Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Amy Pawliuk at 250-566-9950.