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Deep in the heart of a Kensington community centre, the sound of happy chatter and giggles echo faintly in the distance.
Following the sounds, one comes to the weekly gathering of Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers.
As the meeting begins, groups split off for “badgework” - self-guided pursuit to earn one of the iconic symbols of accomplishment.
Ranger Erin Evans – with Pathfinders Sarah White, Emma Marchbank, Katie Marchbank, Tayler Warren and Lily McDermaid - includes new friend Veronique Vienneau in recreating scenes from a book.
“I’m here knitting,” calls out Lily, just before she perched on a stool between Sarah and Katie. She mimes holding knitting needles on her lap, facing the camera, held by leader Sheri Warren.
The girls are working on an Art Studio activity.
Girl Guides of Canada is working from a new rulebook this year and the Pathfinders will need to complete a science experiment and a design space activity to earn the “Experiment and Create” badge.
Guides Canada is made up Sparks, ages five and six years old; Brownies, ages seven and eight years; Guides 9 to 11, Pathfinders, 12 to 14 years, and Rangers, 15 to 17 years old. Girls can sign up at any time throughout the year and will join in with others their own age.
“I just joined, just to see, and yeah. Here I am,” said Lily, a 12-year-old Pathfinder who has been part of Guiding for 6 years.
Cassandra Sampson, Cate Ridler and Hannah Caseley were leaning over the handbook together.
“I really enjoy (pathfinders) for trips and making friends,” said Cassandra.
Hannah, 14, has been in Guides for nine years.
“I love the leadership that’s involved; organizing events and taking control of the events that we’re organizing,” she said.
In another area, Pathfinders Ella Sawchuk, Megan Moase and Kathryn Gill work quietly together. The three met at a bake sale where Megan and Kathryn invited Ella, recently arrived from Saskatchewan, to join their troop.
“It was instant,” said Jaunita Boucher, head Guider of the troop. “They’re inseparable.”
She watched from the sidelines as the girls set down to work on their various projects.
Some meetings are quite structured while others, like this one, are more laid back.
Boucher, a 16-year veteran Guider, sees the benefit in both kinds of meetings.
A smile appeared whenever she looked up from her accounting.
The troop is raising money for a trip to London, England, to stay in Pax Lodge, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts headquarters, in August 2021.Boucher is tallying the ticket sales for a Dec. 7 turkey dinner.
IF YOU GO:
What: Kensington Pathfinders and Rangers Turkey Dinner, Dec. 7
Where: Murray Christian Centre, School Street, Kensington
When: Seating at 4:45 p.m., meal at 5 p.m.
How: Tickets are $20 And are available from Jaunita at 902-598-8703
Outings and trips are some of the favourite parts of the guiding life.
“It’s good for them to use the skills learned since Sparks, like being alert in a new city and meeting new people,” said Boucher.
The entire troop is looking forward to the journey to London.
“I’m excited to go on a plane with a bunch of friends,” said Megan.
“I’m excited to go on the subway. I’ve never been on a subway before,” added Emma.
“We have a chance to see the Royalties, like, in person,” said Katie.
Megan went to Toronto with Guides two years ago.
“It was really exciting. When I was younger, it didn’t seem like much fundraising, but when we’re fundraising again, it’s more, because I need to help more.”
The trip will cost between $60,000 and $70,000. So far, the troop has raised close to $19,000.