In a statement posted to Girl Guides Canada’s national website, March 13, 2017, there is little doubt that the organization has made a monumental decision when it comes to travelling to the United States with girls in the guide movement.
The media release states:
‘At Girl Guides of Canada, we know our members value the safe, inclusive and accepting space that Guiding provides. These values are reflected in all we do, including the Girl Guide travel experiences we offer girls and women. While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain.
As such, Girl Guides of Canada will not be approving any new travel to the United States until further notice. This includes both trips that are over or under 72-hours and any travel that includes a connecting flight through an American airport. In respect of this decision, the nationally-sponsored trip this summer to a camp in California has been changed to an alternate destination.
Provincial International Advisers/Assessors will contact the small number of groups that have already received approval on their travel to the United States regarding next steps.
This was a very difficult decision to make. We hope that members will appreciate this reflects our commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities for all girls and women.’
In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, taking the trip to Mackinaw City, Michigan from May 5-7, 2017 will have to be cancelled for a local Girl Guide unit. Emily Bouchard, who is the 14th Sparks and Brownies head leader and helper with the 25th Girl Guide unit, spoke with Superior Media and confirmed she received an email earlier today, informing leaders about Girl Guides Canada’s announcement to suspend all trips to the United States until further notice.
“The trip to Mackinaw City was planned for the 25th Guide unit. I’m not sure if any other local units have an upcoming trip scheduled to the U.S.”
“The girls were looking forwarded to earning some of their badges, including rock climbing.” she said.
Rock Climbing was part of the line-up of events the 25th Girl Guide Unit had planned during the May, 2017 trip. Badges are earned by girl guides, and are a coveted part of the Girl Guide experience.
“The badges we recently purchased for rock climbing will probably have to go back.” she stated.
Bouchard also spoke about a trip to Hessel, Michigan, later this summer, and the potential for that annual event to be affected by the National office’s travel suspension to U.S.
“We’ll have to see what happens in the next little while and go from there.” she said.
Throughout their history, Girl Guides of Canada–Guides du Canada (GGC) has prepared girls to meet the challenges that they face in their lives head on. Whether it was girls learning to bandage wounds during the First World War or girls today working on their anti-bullying badge, Guiding continually evolves to reflect the needs and interests of contemporary girls and women.
It all began in 1909, when girls in England demanded to take part in a Boy Scouts rally organized by Lord Baden-Powell at the Crystal Palace in London. Baden-Powell was impressed and he asked his sister, Agnes, to create a program just for girls. This was the beginning of Guiding.
By 1910, the Guiding Movement had reached Canada and the first Unit was formed in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. By 1912, there were units in every province and many of Canada’s most forward-thinking women banded together to form the Canadian Girl Guides Association.
Today, Girl Guides of Canada continues to be a place that sparks the imagination of girls to take their place in the world and take action on what matters to them. As female role models, our adult members support girls to achieve and succeed – through fun, adventures, challenges and international experiences. Guiding continues to play an important role in communities right across Canada.