Changes are on the horizon for the Girl Guides of Canada. With this year wrapping up, the Guides and the leaders are looking towards the new program directive, which will begin in the fall of 2018.
Girls First is the new program developed by the Guides and will be girl-driven, supportive as well as flexible and responsive.
The new program directive will be done largely online, according to Sylvan Lake Guide Leader A.J. Lichty.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a different structure, but it’s one we are pretty excited for,” said Lichty.
Putting more information online allows the girls learn independence, Lichty says. The new structure will allow each of the girls access to all the information at her level and at the levels below.
While Guides will now be using the internet in a greater capacity, the unit meetings will still run as they do currently.
“Units will run as they currently do, with dynamic personal engagement and hands-on activities. The program content is the only thing that is intended to be online,” reads the FAQ page for the Girls First program. “There is no expectation of internet access at your meeting space, and no screen time is required for unit meetings.”
The girls will be able to learn the content at their own pace, while still earning badges.
Lichty says there will be a year of transition before the new system is completely put into place in September of 2019. This will allow the girls to continue to earn badges in the old system while learning the new system.
There will be seven program areas and three themes within each program area. Within each theme, there will be a wide variety of topics, according to Lichty.
The seven program areas are: Guide Together, Explore Identities, Build Skills, Be Well, Experiment and Create, Connect and Question and Take Action.
The program areas and themes were decided upon through a lot of consultations with Guides and leaders across the country. This is another large change, the girls will have a say and input in what they learn.
“The girls will be able to build and tell us what they want to do, rather than us telling them,” said Lichty. “This will help grow not only their independence but also their confidence.”
The program areas and theme names are the same across the country, but the actual program content will be different in each branch and catered to each group.
The new program is being called “girl-driven” as each member has the opportunity to make choices and have their voices heard no matter their level in the organization.
“Every 15 years or so we make a change in Guides, to keep up with the times and what is important to the girls,” said Lichty. “We don’t still teach them the same things they would have learned in the 1950s, after all.”