Girl Guides promote their Block-at-thon during a courtesy call on Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.
By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
The Bahamas Girl Guides Association (BGGA) continues to pursue its vision – to make the organisation a movement of choice for girls and young women in the Bahamas.
In order to achieve this objective, BGGA members have established several goals for this year, including the much needed construction of new headquarters on West Bay Street.
Various local groups, committees, corporate and private businesses have been generous in raising funds for their new home.
The association and its members are seeking to obtain 7,500 blocks required for building during the month of April. They are calling the initiative the Block-a-thon.
Throughout this month, JBR Building Supplies has pledged to match every block obtained by the association. The new headquarters will provide accommodation for training, activities for the more than 2,300 members, and a base for girls and leaders from the Family Islands.
“JBR Building Supplies established an account for the general public who wish to purchase blocks from JBR. The BGGA truly values this collaboration as it not only demonstrates the understanding of JBR’s value of guiding to the society, but it will also provides motivation for other companies to support our work, if only with donating required materials,” said Elma Garraway, BGGA assistant chief commissioner.
She said the construction of the new headquarters is imperative to the continuity, growth and development of the Girl Guides.
Blocks can be bought symbolically from the girls and cheques can be sent to the Girl Guides Building Fund at Box N4545, or can be collected by calling 322-4342 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The girls in their groups, packs and companies are encouraged to provide a “good turn” and give appropriate service to their sponsors, voluntary organisations or community projects in return for the purchase of blocks.
“For the last five years with the rapid deterioration of the Kelly Building, we have had no place to meet, hold training sessions or housing our cookies during Cookie Week. Additionally, we have no accommodation to host the groups from the Family Islands or from regional or international groups; no place to offer training programmes for at-risk girls, to demonstrate the value of guiding through mentoring and the application of skills they would have learned,” said Ms Garraway.
She believes the new building will ensure that Girl Guides have a new home, which will allow them to help young women in the Bahamas for another 100 years.
“The Bahamas Girl Guides Association was established in the Bahamas in 1915. The association has grown in the expansion of the movement to other islands, the number of public and private schools which sponsor groups, the inclusiveness of girls from all sectors of the society, the number of girls who become Rangers and the large number of Brownies and the admission of five-year-olds as Sunflowers,” said Ms Garraway.
BGGA members can be found on various islands, including New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros, Exuma, Long Island and Inagua. Girls who participate as a Sunflowers, Brownies, Guides or Rangers are taught by example and practice the importance of service to their community and duty to God, especially as stewards of their environment.
“Leaders become mentors; girls gain confidence as they achieve badges, travel and meet sister guides from around the world. Most especially, they gain the skills and knowledge of empowerment which are required for life and work in an ever changing world, nationally and internationally,” said Ms Garraway.
This year will be an eventful one for the association and several activities are planned.
On Mother’s Day, the Girl Guides will hold a Mother-Daughter Tea Party to put into practice their skills of hostesses. Additionally, the Fundraising Committee of Council will hold several events to be announced, and the girls will engage in the District Award Ceremonies later this year where they will receive badges earned for 2016.