Two of the principles of guiding are to develop an appreciation of Canada and its diversity, and to foster cultural understanding and knowledge of the global community. The Girl Guides of Canada are putting those principles to use by inviting more Canadians to learn about their organization on the Internet. As of April 28, its website was made available in Chinese/Mandarin, French, Punjabi and Inuktitut.
It is one of the oldest and largest organizations for women and girls across the country. There are 120,000 girls aged five to 17 and 28,000 adults involved in Girl Guides across Canada. In Quebec alone, there are 3,500 girls and 800 adults involved in the organization.
The numbers are decreasing but that’s not the reason behind the new pages, says Catherine Bryant, the Communications Manager for the Girl Guides of Canada. She says that they wanted to reach out to all of Canada. “We decided to look at the most populous groups that speak different languages and try to provide some basic info to them. The thinking behind it was of a girl who goes to school and her friend asks her to join the Girl Guides. The little girl speaks English but she goes home to her Punjabi parents and they don’t necessarily speak English. She can point them to the language they are most comfortable in on the website.”
Girls have many options available to them these days. Bryant says their biggest competition is homework. There are extra-curricular sports, music lessons and tutorial sessions. However, according to market research by the Girl Guides, both members and non-members say that their favorite thing about the Girl Guides is the fact that it’s for girls only. They offer fun programs, friendship and the opportunity to try their hand at many different things. Girls can go camping, do sports, music, arts and crafts, learn leadership skills and participate in service activities.
Six days after the launch of the pages, the Inuktitut page had been visited more than any of the others. Due to dialect differences and translation difficulties, Arabic and Cree have not yet been made available, but they are in the works. Bryant says that this is the direction they want to work on. “If we get some good response we will see what we can do to get more languages put up there.”
Go to www.girlguides.ca for more info, or you can call 1 (800) 565-8111.