SIX women, who have made “stellar contributions” to the Bahamas Girl Guides Association, were honoured as the organisation opened its centenary celebrations with a rally at Government House on Saturday night.
A large audience heard the Governor General, Dame Marguerite Pindling, pay tribute to the contributions of Eulalee Kelly, Barbara Brown, Gwen French, Betty Cole, Marjorie Davis and Clarice Granger, all of whom have devoted their lives to ensure that the Association continues to make an impact in Bahamian society.
Addressing the gathering of past and present members and leaders of the Association and friends of the organisation, Dame Marguerite complimented the movement – as a “proud full member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts” - for having positively influenced thousands of girls in New Providence and the Family Islands.
Dame Marguerite said that under the leadership of these dedicated women the Association had grown tremendously.
“Their stellar contributions during the 1940s through the 1980s have been considerable. I should like, on behalf of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to acknowledge and thank them for their outstanding work and dedication.
“Mrs Kelly was the first Island Commissioner. During her tenure, the Chief Scout and Chief Guide, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, visited the Bahamas in 1930. A rally was held during their stay. The Girl Guides Association also welcomed Princess Alice. Mrs Kelly is best known for her donation of the Kelly building situated at Girl Guide Headquarters.
“Another pioneer of the Girl Guides Movement was Ms Barbara Brown. She started Cookie Week, developed the campsite in western New Providence and served as a member of the Western Hemisphere Committee.
“Ms Gwen French, Deputy Chief Commissioner, was responsible for camping. A strict disciplinarian, she ensured that the highest standards were maintained relating to uniforms, flag protocols and overall conduct relating to Guiding.
“Miss Betty Cole, former outstanding leader of the 6th Nassau Girl Guides and teacher at Xavier’s College, served also as deputy Chief Commissioner, Family Island Commissioner, first diplomaed trainer and chief organiser of Thinking Day ceremonies, camp fires and Association events. She presently sits on the fundraising committee for the new building. She also tested many Guides for badges in various fields such as swimming.
“Miss Marjorie Davis, despite her duties as a teacher at the Government High School and Administrator at the Ministry of Education, is the longest serving active Guide leader. She served as an assistant leader of the Government High School Guides in 1946 and went on to lead the company for many years. She also served as Chief Commissioner, District Commissioner and still is active on a number of committees, and is the Girl Guides’ historian and quality assurance expert.
“Mrs Clarice Granger, who was Chief Radiologist at the X-ray Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital, the longest serving Chief Commissioner and current member of the Council, also heads the shop committee, chairs the fundraising Committee for the new building and serves as unofficial co-chair of the properties committee. She has also managed cookie distribution for the last 18 years.”
Among the audience were Dr Gail Saunders, a former president of the Association, who obtained the highest badge when she was a Guide – the Queen’s Badge. She, Lady Dawn Marshall and Marsha Stewart led the entrance of the signposts showing the ten decades since the establishment of Guiding in The Bahamas.
John Phillpot, president of the Scout Association of the Bahamas, reminded the audience that when Lord and Lady Baden Powell – founders of scouting and guiding – came to the Bahamas in 1929 the colony was devastated by a hurricane and Bahamian scouts were instrumental in saving many lives. Lord Baden Powell presented these scouts with medals for their bravery.