Every girl deserves a chance at greatness, and Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada (GGC) has been helping them reach it since 1910. Through an endless variety of fun-filled activities, this trailblazing organization provides girls with opportunities to develop valuable life skills, become self-reliant, build friendships, and develop a sense of well-being and self-worth. This July, as country-wide GGC members celebrate 100 years of camping, crafting and friendship, Canada Post will honour this girl-empowering movement with a stamp.
The Guiding movement began in 1909, at a Scouting rally at Crystal Palace in London, England, when a parade of girls convinced Boy Scouts founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell to design a program for them. Impressed with their enthusiasm, Baden-Powell asked his sister, Agnes, to spearhead a girls’ organization called the Girl Guides. The movement spread quickly, promoted internationally by Agnes and, later, by Baden-Powell’s wife, Olave (Lady Baden-Powell).
Guiding reached Canada in 1910, when the first troupe was formed in St. Catharines, Ontario. Within two years, there were troupes in every province and the Canadian Girl Guides Association (CGGA) was formed. In 1917, an Act of Parliament was passed approving the CGGA’s constitution. In 1961, the organization’s name was officially changed to Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada.
Throughout its history, Guiding has prepared girls to meet the challenges they face through a variety of activities, including camping and outdoor adventure. Today, girls can gain greater global and cultural awareness, investigate career possibilities, and learn about science and technology, and the arts. They work on environmental projects, explore important concerns, such as cyber-bullying, self-esteem and body image, and develop the skills needed to speak out and take action on issues that are important to them. Guiding enables girls to be confident, courageous and resourceful, and to make a difference in the world.
“I wanted the stamp’s design to speak to the spirit of the Guiding movement, with an emphasis on three of the organization’s core values: inclusiveness, friendship and fun,” explains Derwyn Goodall of Adams+Associates Design Consultants in Toronto. “The photograph of two girls sharing a moment reflects how the GGC brings these values to life for its members.” The photograph is complimented by the GGC’s official colours.
Taken together, the stamp and first day cover feature girls at all five levels of Guiding (Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers). Badges are scattered across the stamp and booklet. “They’re symbolic of the fun and sense of achievement that can come from setting goals, overcoming challenges and learning something new,” explains Goodall. Among the badges featured on the stamp is a stamp collecting badge—a special tribute to this commemorative celebration.
“Throughout its history, Guiding has helped girls develop the skills and confidence to achieve extraordinary things,” says Chris Burton, Chief Commissioner, Girl Guides of Canada. “Through exciting opportunities that reflect the needs and interests of today’s girls, Guiding’s innovative programming is helping Canadian girls become confident, courageous and resourceful leaders. This commemorative stamp reflects the important role Guiding plays in communities across Canada.”
The stamp will be cancelled in Guelph, Ontario, to coincide with the Guiding Mosaic 2010, which will be taking place this July at the Guelph Lake Conservation Area.