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Priest encourages Guides to be impactful

Coming off the thrust of International Women’s Day, while still in the midst of Women’s History Month, young females who comprise the 76th Girl Guides Company of St. Ambrose Anglican Parish were encouraged to plan for a future in which they would seek to be more “assertive, aggressive and to know what they want out of life”.

“I want these young Guides, Rangers, Sunflowers and Brownies to plan their future,” said Father Chestor Burton, rector at St. Ambrose, as new members were inducted into the Company. “Women are already up against so many issues – marital rape … work discrimination, so they have to know what they want out of life.”

The members of the Company donned their respective uniforms for the eucharistic celebration on Sunday, March 26, the fifth Sunday of Lent, which also happened to by youth Sunday in the Anglican church.

“I want them to create plans now, because it’s better to build a young girl and not repair a woman,” said the priest. He said in adulthood, too many people are outside the Christian faith and are wayward and not stable.

“If they hang with leaders, they fly like eagles; if they stay on the ground, they will be like chickens,” he said.

Burton piggybacked off International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month messages. International Women’s Day encourages women to imagine a gender-equal world – one free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. And one where difference is valued and celebrated.

During Women’s History Month, the contributions women have made are recognized.

“I wanted the thrust on Women’s Day, and month coming off the impetus, hearing about the future and knowing what they want in life. To plan for their future and to make sure they are impactful.”

Burton also allowed Elbernique Ferguson, assistant leader of the Rangers and Guides, and Cierra Rahming, junior leader in the Rangers and Guides, to speak to their peers. He said he could speak for hours, but that he felt it would have been more impactful for the Company members to hear from their peers.

Ferguson spoke to the fact that, six years ago, she had not been a member of any civic organization and had not had any interest in joining the Girl Guides. She was invited by a friend to a Guide leader meeting and found herself enthusiastic with the concept. The rest she said is history.

She also spoke about having been a loud person who lacked discipline in teenage years. And that, today, she describes herself as “self-controlled and reserved”.

Ferguson said she uncovered leadership qualities that she had hidden away and, with the guidance of Guides, rose to the forefront which allowed her to be able to stand in front of a congregation today and be able to share what God laid on her heart. 

Rahming spoke to her progression through the organization and the fact that she has been able to seek and share guidance and direction from Guide leaders she looks up to.

Archdeacon James Palacious, who was also present, encouraged the young ladies in their Guiding endeavors to develop quality leadership as The Bahamas needs leaders not followers.

Making the world a better place is Girl Scout Law.

The members at the 76th Company were also fresh off their global sisterhood celebration or World Thinking Day on February 22.

The 76th Girls Guide organization is led by Leja Burrows, president; Keva Nairn, vice president; and Phillipa Robinson and Norma Dean.

Elma Garraway, assistant chief commissioner, Bahamas Girl Guides, has said Guiding is important for girls and young women for several major reasons.

Through a unique, value-based, non-formal educational approach, Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting create empowering youth-learning experiences. This is defined by everything that a young person experiences as a Girl Guide or Girl Scout over the time that they take part in the youth program. While participating in the Guide program may not be a panacea for the many challenges facing girls, the success of the many women who have been Girl Guides attests to its role in helping them to become the best version of themselves.

Girls and leaders make a promise of doing their best to serve God, country and others, in addition to living by a specific moral and ethical code embedded in the 10 parts of the Guide law; thus, the early development of commitment, loyalty, citizenship and being disciplined in one’s actions.

“The attainment of these principles are carried out in small groups to ensure the development of belonging needs through the formation of a sisterhood, relationship formation of a girl with another adult, opportunities for leadership, learning through fun and active participation in a variety of challenging activities, especially through camping; and they learn to govern themselves and take responsibility for their decisions,” Garraway previously told The Nassau Guardian.

The Bahamas Girl Guides Association, of which the 76th Company is a member, is a member of the 10 million strong World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women worldwide, and supports girls and young women in more than 152 countries to develop to their full potential intellectually, morally, spiritually and physically.

Guiding came to The Bahamas in 1915, just five years after it was founded by Lady and Lord Baden-Powell of England, providing developmental experiences for the girls and young women of The Bahamas for over 107 years.