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Generations Of Girl Guides, Patrons Turn Out For Soft Launch In $800,000 Fundraiser To Complete Headquarters

Members of the fundraising committee. Front row seated l-r: Clarice Granger, Betty Cole; second row l-r: Constance Miller, Julia Burnside, Maria Symonette, Paula Adderley, Rev. Beryl Higgs, Diane Dean, Dr Ruth Sumner (president), Sonia Adderley (chief commissioner); third row l-r: Alvin Rolle (architect), Iris Dillet-Knowles (honorary secretary), Keith Sands, Michele Fields (first vice-president), Colleen Nottage, and Elma Garraway (assistant chief commissioner),

Members of the fundraising committee. Front row seated l-r: Clarice Granger, Betty Cole; second row l-r: Constance Miller, Julia Burnside, Maria Symonette, Paula Adderley, Rev. Beryl Higgs, Diane Dean, Dr Ruth Sumner (president), Sonia Adderley (chief commissioner); third row l-r: Alvin Rolle (architect), Iris Dillet-Knowles (honorary secretary), Keith Sands, Michele Fields (first vice-president), Colleen Nottage, and Elma Garraway (assistant chief commissioner),

Long before the US women’s soccer team won its fourth World Cup title amidst cheers of fans round the world, there were young girls across the globe headed for success, many of them thanks to an international organisation – the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

In the Bahamas, where that organisation is known as the Bahamas Girl Guides Association, its supporters say it is helping thousands of young girls to grow up stronger with greater self-awareness, confidence and a sense of responsibility to community.

Now, for the first time in its 100-plus year history, Girl Guides supporters are turning to the public to raise a substantial amount of money. The funds will help finish the interior of a much-needed new headquarters.

“Everyone is accustomed to seeing Girl Guides selling cookies or holding bake sales and walk-a-thons,” said Dr Ruth Sumner, president of the Association and respected civic leader. “The girls work hard at that and those funds keep Bahamas Girl Guides operational so our youngest girls and our teens have all the opportunities to experience friendship, practice cooperation and learn the nobility of serving others while having fun.”

But cookie sales won’t plaster, plumb, paint or otherwise finish the three-storey building on West Bay Street that will be home to training sessions, weekly meetings, workshops, classes, lectures, events and activities ranging from safe driving films with go-karting experience to beach and coastal clean-ups.

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Bahamas Girl Guides Association members tour the organisation’s new unfinished building on West Bay Street.

One hiccup prevents the full transition to the new headquarters at the corner of Marcus Bethel Drive and West Bay Street at the foot of Fort Charlotte – funds to complete it. A total of $800,000 is needed.

“We are very grateful to so many people who turned out tonight,” said Sonia Adderley, Chief Commissioner, who is helping to lead the fundraising drive.

Speaking at the fundraiser’s soft launch, she added: “We know the building appears finished from the outside with its stately, classic design and style, French doors and windows, tall shutters and white trim against the bright yellow paint. But inside it is a cavern with an unfinished staircase and we need your help to complete so our girls can move in to their beautiful new headquarters.”

Construction began in early 2018, replacing a building less than a third its size that the association had long since outgrown. Alvan K Rolle was the architect and served as project manager. Watson Construction was the contractor and Construction Cost Engineering were the quantity surveyors. All contractors donated substantial time and resources to the project.

Council members of Bahamas Girl Guides say they are planning a number of events, including a steak-out and a golf tournament to help raise funds, as well as a Bahamas Girl Guides district challenge.

“We know that the Bahamas Girl Guides Association has contributed significantly to the development of women throughout the Bahamas who are recognised as outstanding nation-builders,” said Elma Garraway, Assistant Chief Commissioner. “With their help and the help of the general public, we hope to reach our goal and complete the building by early 2020. It is an ambitious goal, but I think with help we can do it.”

For more information, visit Bahamas Girl Guides Association’s webpage www.bgga.org or e-mail bahamasgirlguides@msn.com.

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