Campbell commends Guiding Association for ‘monumental role’ in female empowerment

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell (second left) with executives of The Bahamas Girl Guides Association during a recent visit to the Association’s new Headquarters that is in the final stages of construction at its Fort Charlotte, West Bay Street location. Also pictured (from left) are: Mrs. Michelle Fields, BGGA Vice- President; Dr. Ruth Sumner, BGGA President; and Mrs. Sonia Adderley, BGGA Chief Commissioner. A photograph of the late Mrs. Clarice Granger looms large at the entrance to the building. (BIS Photo/Matt Maura)

Min. of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, commended The Bahamas Girl Guides Association for the “monumental role” Guiding has played in the social development and empowerment of women and girls throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Minister Campbell said thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Bahamian girls and women have not only benefited from the principles of guiding, but also the empowerment and leadership training that have been at the core of the Association’s focus since its establishment in The Bahamas in 1915.

Minister Campbell also applauded the Association for its role in facilitating gender equity and equality over the years. His comments came during a recent visit to the new Association Headquarters – in the final stages of construction at Fort Charlotte, West Bay Street – at which time he signed the Book of Condolence for the late Mrs. Clarice Granger, the Association’s longest serving Chief Commissioner. Guiding officials have turned the new headquarters into a Memorial for Mrs. Granger in recognition of her many contributions to Guiding in The Bahamas. It is replete with memorabilia and photographs that help to tell not only Mrs. Granger’s story, but also the story of Guiding in The Bahamas.

“It was one of those mixed emotions kind of things because the visit was to sign the Book of Condolence for Mrs. Granger which was a bit sad as she has passed on, but in the end I was very much elated to have been in that building because it was almost as if her spirit was still there,” Minister Campbell said.

“To be in an environment that owes so much to her and many others and also to hear the stories of the number of persons who hold significant and influential positions throughout the country both in the private and public sectors; to witness the work Mrs. Granger would have done; to hear of the work that others would have done along with her; to learn of the pivotal role Guiding has played in the lives of the thousands of young Bahamian girls in their formative years. and to know that they have continued on to be positive, productive members of our society, can simultaneously be both overwhelming and inspiring because of its significance.

“Sometimes we question the impact of certain activities, but with Girl Guides, it’s definitely easy, wherever you go, to be able to point to persons who were positively influenced by Guiding in The Bahamas, and thatinfluence has lasted and lasted to the point where they are now influencing others,” Minister Campbell added.

BGGA President, Dr. Ruth Sumner, said Mrs. Granger’s influence and contributions will be long remembered. “On this occasion we are celebrating the life of our very dear Sister and Lifetime Member who was with this organization for a very long time, including being the longest-serving Chief Commissioner in addition to having served on the Council.

Mrs. Granger initiated many, many firsts during her time as a Leader and was instrumental in fundraising for this new headquarters that is under construction, having helped to raise the first $700,000 that has brought it to where it is today and in her honour we are hoping that it will be completed in short order.” BGGA Vice-President, Mrs. Michelle Fields, who was enrolled in Guiding during Mrs. Granger’s tenure as Chief Commissioner, said she still remembers the moment she enrolled.

“I am very proud to say that I was a Girl Guide, in fact, Mrs. Granger would have been the Commissioner when I was enrolled as a Guide and I remember that day very clearly, very vividly,” Mrs. Fields said. “Guiding certainly leaves a very positive impact on girls. The positive mindset and influence Girl Guides has, lasts a lifetime.” Mrs. Sonia Adderley, Chief Commissioner, BGGA, said Guiding expanded her “family network.”

“Guiding has given me a new family because I have a set of Sisters who have my back in every aspect of my life and that’s both here at home and internationally. (The BGGA is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, better known as WAGGS). Guiding teaches you discipline and it teaches you skills that you are able to use for life.” Chief Commissioner Adderley said many of those skills have been on display during the COVID-19 Pandemic which has allowed the girls and young ladies to showcase their entrepreneurial sides.

“A number of our young girls have launched small businesses as dog walkers, bakers, cooks, and we also have some of our girls who are taking advantage of the demands for masks. That is as a result of the positive influence of Guiding. It teaches you to be a whole person.” All three ladies had this bit of advice for Bahamian parents with young daughters: “Guiding provides our girls and young ladies with the life skills and discipline that will serve them well throughout their lifetime.” The Guiding journey begins with the Sunflowers (ages 5-6); Brownies (ages 7-10); Guides (ages 11-15); Rangers (ages 15-18); and ends with Leadership (18 years and older).

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