FOR many, Girl Guides is reminiscent of a long ago primary school activity with camping adventures, uniforms, and badges ,but in reality, The Girl Guides Association of Jamaica is about volunteerism and redirection for young women, and the organisation wants Jamaica to know that it is still in service.
According to president of the 108-year-old association Jossett Francis Wint, now more than ever its services are critical for young people as she declared that, "Our teens are in trouble".
Pointing to a demonstrable crisis among the youth, with issues such as the highly publicised instances of suicide, and an uptick in violent behaviours in schools, Francis Wint argued that the Girl Guides is just the social agent to intervene.
The local branch of the global charitable organisation has units where women and older girls volunteer and become mentors to the young people in their units.
"This is how we find out what's happening with our young people and find out what they need. This is how we meet their needs," stated Francis Wint.
"They learn first aid skills, they are given opportunities to lead, to create programmes for their meetings and so on. So it's a myriad of life skills that they learn," added Francis Wint.
With outposts across the island, Girl Guides has impacted thousands over the decades and it's all thanks to the legions of uniformed and non-uniformed guides who volunteer and a lot of much-needed support from other companies and foundations including the Tip Friendly Society and the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation.
The Girl Guides Association last Saturday took the opportunity to celebrate its work, and the work of past and current members in an awards ceremony at its Jamaica headquarters on Waterloo Road in St Andrew.
In honouring its corporate supporters, vice-president of the association Althea Walters said: "I want to thank National Baking Company for giving us those cookies and creating the designs with our logos on it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
National Baking Company was one of three companies given Girl Guides Association of Jamaica special recognition awards for support to the organisation over the years.
According to Francis Wint, the cookies supplied by National are the primary revenue source for the Girl Guides and helps fund their daily operations.
"To be a guide is to be a part of this world organisation that gives you the opportunity to serveâ€¦We are here, we're still relevant and there is always space for others to join," added Francis Wint.
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