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Girl Guides

Girl Guides, April 1999.
Bryan Schlosser (Regina Leader-Post)

Girl Guides, an organization that emphasized physical, moral and spiritual training, was founded in England in 1909 as a counterpart to Boy Scouts. Among its many activities, outdoor camping has come to be seen as an especially important vehicle of personal development. One of the first two Canadian companies was established in Moose Jaw in 1910; then more were set up in Saskatoon, Weyburn, Outlook, Cabri, Regina, and Prince Albert. In 1922 a provincial Girl Guide Council was organized. Meetings were often held in Protestant churches, but the movement was not exclusively Protestant: by the early 1920s at least one Jewish Guide company existed in Saskatchewan. Gradually groups for several age categories developed: Brownies, Rangers, Cadets, Sparks, and Pathfinders. Saskatchewan Guides sold the first Girl Guide cookies in Canada in 1927; they were successful even during the Depression, and by 1936 they were commercially produced. The Saskatchewan Girl Guide movement blossomed during the 1950s and 1960s: in 1955 there were about 4,000 Guides, Brownies and leaders in communities throughout the province; by 1967 it was estimated that there were 10,000 Guides in Saskatchewan. Reflecting broader demographic changes, provincial membership numbers declined in the late 20th century: by 2000, there were approximately 4,500 Guides in about 400 units.

Lisa Dale-Burnett

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