With a population of just over 5,400 people, the small town of Smithers, British Columbia became the meeting grounds of an International Girl Guides Event entitled SOAR (Spirit Of Adventure Rendezvous); an event that brought in over 2,300 Girl Guides from all across the world. This Girl Guides event comes along only once every three years. This year Martensville’s own, Diandra Thompson, volunteered to embark on the journey as the Leader for eight Saskatchewan Girl Guides.
Thompson went through Martensville’s Girl Guide program at the early age of seven, and continued on to be a Leader for five years for the grand total of 15 years of involvement. “Being a Leader is a really good experience as you get to take part in things you wouldn’t normally do. I really wanted to mentor the girls as I know it’s not easy to be a kid anymore, and it’s good for them to have a figure to turn to that isn’t a parent,” said Thompson. Together, the eight Sask Girl Guides embarked on the 17 hour journey along with Thompson to Smithers, BC where they met Guides from all over the world including the United Kingdom, Peru, the United States, and all over Canada.
The week-long trip began on July 22nd. Thompson’s team of Guides set up camp on a 25×25 base where they resurrected their tents and group kitchen. The Guides had a multitude of activities to participate in throughout the course of the trip. Each day, 2.5 hours were dedicated to servicing the area, one of the servicing activities had the girls rejuvenating exhibition grounds by painting fences, cleaning up, and painting a mural for the grounds. The girls also participated in STEM activities (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and also had the opportunity to try other recreational activities including swimming, paddle boarding and canoeing to name a few.
During this expedition, representatives from the national ‘Girls First’ organization were present to provide the Girl Guides with the opportunity to offer their input on the program in order to revamp and adapt the program to the needs of today’s girls. “It was good to see that they were interested in what the girls wanted to get out of the program,” said Thompson. The ‘Girls First’ organization will continue to evolve this way.
“It’s important to have these organizations around, I feel women act a lot differently when males are present-especially teen girls who are still figuring out who they are. An all-girl zone allows them to be themselves and learn new things that society may have deemed to be male. For example, males are often deemed to be the ‘protectors’ and this program teaches girls to become independent, learn new things for themselves, and empower one another,” stated Thompson.
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Diandra Thompson (FAR RIGHT) recently went to B.C. to take part in the Girl Guide’s Spirit Of Adventure Rendezvous. This event brought 2,300 Girl Guides from across the world. (Facebook Photo)