The Bahamas Girl Guides Association (BGGA) salutes one of its own this week: Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, who has been awarded the Companion of the Most Excellent Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) for excellence in public and community health from Queen Elizabeth II.
A spokesmanfor the Bahamas Girl Guides recalls that it was in June 1965 that the local Guide movement celebrated the outstanding success of Miss Merceline Dahl of the 3rd Nassau Guide Company at Government High School on her receipt of the prestigious “Queen’s Guide Badge.”
Given by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, after the successful completion of rigorous physical, intellectual and social requirements, the certificate states, “As a Queen’s Guide you have prepared yourself for service to God and your fellowmen and have shown yourself a true member of the great Guide Sisterhood. This will help to make your journey through life a joyous adventure.”
Today, more than 50 years later, the Bahamas Girl Guides Association pays tribute again to Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, whose “journey through life was a joyous adventure” while giving service to fellowmen and is now being recognised as a CMG.
“Dr Dahl-Regis’ knowledge of health, infectious diseases, maternal and reproductive care is matched only by her desire to share that information for the betterment and well-being of others. As a member of the Council, she has consistently maintained her commitment to Bahamas Girl Guides even during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We were indeed proud that a Queen’s Guide was providing guidance while serving as a health consultant to the Prime Minister and had every confidence in her leadership during this pandemic,” the said BGGA.
Dr Dahl-Regis in part credits the Girl Guides with her helping prepare for her life’s journey and with inspiring her ongoing quest for knowledge. She noted the significance of girls interacting with representatives of generations of prominent women, who insisted on standards of conduct, standards of presentation, and demonstration of commitment to the promise and law.
“Guiding is good for girls. It provides leadership, helps to identify social boundaries and teaches you respect for authority,” said Dr Dahl-Regis. “Guiding also provides you with a value system.”
Through various activities, from leading a patrol, camping in non-traditional settings, to serving Lenten tea, engaging in conversations with female role models such as her captain, Marjorie Davis, Barbara Brown and others, Dr Dahl-Regis opined that those seemingly simple interactions helped frame her approach to life’s goals and challenges. She emphasised the importance of academic success through reading.
“My advice to young girls is to read, read widely and read some more,” she said, adding a second lesson she says is especially important now: “Learn how to manage your money. Save, buy only what you need.”
The BGGA believes that unselfish success stories like those of Dr Dahl-Regis shine a light on how an organisation like Girl Guides can make a difference in a life and welcomes support in completion of their headquarters on West Bay Street.
“Whether as Chief Medical Officer or in her work with PAHO, fighting to rid the world of measles and Rubella, Dr Dahl-Regis never focused on her personal advancement, but rather on whom she was assisting,” said Elma Garraway, Assistant Chief Commissioner said. “The lessons we are taught about learning and sharing, about supporting one another, about leadership and reaching for the stars through Guiding are exemplified in all that Dr Dahl-Regis does and stands for.
Sonia Adderley, Chief Commissioner, added: “She serves as a role model for leadership, demonstrating a desire to constantly learn, always showing humility and epitomizing what it means to be part of a cause larger than one’s self.
"On behalf of the more than 2,300 Girl Guides, Rangers, Brownies, Sunflowers and over 100 leaders throughout the country, the BGGA offers our deepest thanks and warmest congratulations to Dr Dahl-Regis for all she has given to the Bahamas, the wider world and Guiding.”