A new girl guides unit, Houston Sparks, started up in Houston this fall with 17 girls, and already has a waiting list for more girls wanting to join.
Guider in Charge Jenni Halladay has been a part of girl guides for 25 years, and when she moved to Houston in October she joined and helped Amanda Euverman start the unit up for their daughters who are both the right age for sparks, Hallaway said.
The Sparks program is geared toward the interests of the girls in the unit, and can have activities ranging from home working skills like cooking and baking, to outdoor adventures like horse back riding, said Hallaway.
It’s also focused on learning about the community and doing things in the community, she said.
The Christmas carolling was about getting donations for the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper that they are sponsoring, Hallaway said, adding that they learned about people that are less fortunate and how they can help them.
“The girls were quite interested in that and fascinated by the fact that there’s people out there who may not have many Christmas presents under the Christmas tree,” said Hallaway.
The unit meets on Wednesdays 4:30 to 5:30 at the Houston Friendship Centre.
Hallaway says that meetings start with a song and a promise: ‘’I promise to share and be a friend,” something simple but meaningful.
Then they collect “dues” from the girls, $1 per meeting, which goes towards unit supplies and badges for the girls and then they work on badges or do crafts, have a snack and do a game or another badge, ending with a goodbye song and some free time, she said.
Right now the girls are doing one badge called “Being a Spark,” where they learn the songs, what the promise means, and a bit about girl guides.
They also get to know each other more through sharing circles, where girls bring something special from home and share it with everyone, said Hallaway.
They are also working on a badge called “Being me,” where they fill out a booklet with info like their name, height and what they want to be when they grow up.
“There was quite a few who said, ‘I want to be a princess,’” said Hallaway.
“It’s such a cute age to work with.”
When asked about her favourite part of being a leader, Hallaway smiled.
“I think it’s just seeing the world through the girls’ eyes, ‘cause it’s so different,” she said, adding that adults have to act a certain way and do certain things, but the girls are free to enjoy things as they will, freely and openly enjoying things – “it’s just amazing,” she said.
With the waiting list of girls interested in Sparks and older girls in town expressing interest in girl guides, Hallaway says the only thing keeping them from expanding is a lack of leaders.
Anyone interested in leading or girls wanting to get involved are asked to contact Jenni Halladay, 250-845-7017, or Amanda Euverman, 250-696-3455.