Rear-view Mirror – Six Girl Guides Who Made a Difference

This week’s look in the Rear-view Mirror…

All to often in the general name of “Scouting” we tend to forget the tremendous women whose leadership has helped bring us to this point in Scouts Canada! I would point out that female leaders contribute to all levels of Scouting and have come forward to make their mark as Scouters within Scouts Canada. The Scouting community has greatly benefited from their insight and owes a debt of gratitude to their involvement with the largest youth movement in Canada. Many of the of these volunteer women leaders were Girl Guides in their youth and come from a very strong ‘Guiding ‘ background.

This Rear View Mirror looks back to some of the Girl Guides who have made a difference in Canada (please note this list is by no means complete). There are many more Girl Guides who gone forward and enriched our country with diverse contributions for all Canadians and fortunately our Scouting community too.

Unfortunately some of us are unaware of this rich heritage which is helping transform Scouting today! Rear-view Mirror would like to share with you some of the many women who credit Guiding in making a difference in their lives and consequently in ours.

Six Girl Guides who made a difference –

Roberta Bondar – 1st. Canadian woman in space.

Ms.Bondar was made honourary life member of Girl Guides of Canada in 1986. She is one of the six Canadian astronauts selected in December, 1983 and began astronaut training in February, 1984. In early 1990, she was designated a prime Payload Specialist for the first International Microgravity Laboratory Mission (IML-1). Dr. Bondar flew on Discovery during Mission STS-42, January 22-30, 1992 where she performed experiments in the Spacelab and on the mid-deck.

Celine Dion – Singer

This Girl Guide was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, singer Celine Dion had recorded nine French albums and won numerous awards by the time she was 18. She recorded her first English language album, Unison, in 1990. Dion’s real breakthrough into pop music stardom came in 1992, when she recorded the theme to Disney’s hit animated feature Beauty and the Beast. She went on to record several hits, including four No. 1’s. In the ’90s Ms. Dion was the highest earning singer world-wide!

Karen Kain – Prima Ballerina

Long recognized as one of the most gifted classical dancers of her era, noted for her compelling characterizations and versatility as a performer, Artistic Director Karen Kain is one of Canada’s most renowned and committed advocates for the arts. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Ms. Kain received her training at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1969. She was quickly promoted to Principal Dancer with the company after her sensational début as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake.

Maureen McTeer – Gender Equality Activist  

For thirty years, Maureen McTeer has been a leading advocate and symbol of gender equality, and an influential role model for other Canadian women, serving as an active participant in the successful campaign to have gender equality protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She was recently presented with both the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons case and the DIVA Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Health and Well Being in recognition of her continued commitment to issues of equality. She has met and worked with community groups, and over the years has visited development projects in some 30 countries in the developing world.

Jean Sauvé – Former Governor-General of Canada

Jeanne Sauvé was elegant, quick-witted and dynamic. She made a number of breakthroughs for women in government and politics in Canada. In 1972 Jeanne Sauvé was one of the three first women members of parliament to be elected from Quebec. Other firsts that she has accomplished are –  the first woman cabinet minister from Quebec, the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons, and the first woman Governor-General of Canada.

Margaret Atwood – Writer

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and in Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than forty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000.

Her newest novel, MaddAddam (2013) is the final volume in a three-book series that began with the Man-Booker prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003) and continued with The Year of the Flood (2009). The Tent (mini-fictions) and Moral Disorder (short fiction) both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, a collection of non-fiction essays appeared in 2011. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was adapted for the screen in 2012. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.


*This Rear View Mirror attempts to look back at some of the diversity within Girl Guides; but cannot adequately acknowledge the many more Guides and Guiders who are still making a difference daily in our most valuable resource – Canada.

Rear-view Mirror – 8th World Jamboree

8th world

I’m pleased to present a new feature for the Leader Daze blog called Rear-view Mirror. My co-blogger Poppi is a wealth of knowledge about our Scouting past and he has agreed to share some of it with us. So join me as we look into the rear-view mirror and travel back in time…

From August 18th till August 28th in 1955, over 11,000 scouts from 71 countries gathered in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Eighth World Scout Jamboree.

It was the first major international gathering of Scouts outside of Europe. In 1955 the local Scout lodge stood on the present site of the Shaw Festival Theatre, and Parliament Oak School was turned into a hospital by the Department of National Defence. Seventy-five hundred tents were set up on the Commons in the old town. Governor General Vincent Massey opened the festivities, and Lady Baden-Powell addressed the assembled gathering.

stampIt was a historic gathering that was commemorated by a Canadian stamp to mark the occasion. There was one uninvited guest however, Hurricane Connie passed through Southern Ontario five days before the event and created major havoc. In typical Canadian fashion, volunteers showed up in great numbers to restore the site, so many in fact that some had to be turned away.

It was the Grand Jamboree, “~the Eighth World Jamboree~” the “Jamboree of New Horizons”.
For a few days, the participants would indulge in the comradeship of a World Jamboree. There were friendships made that would last a life time. The Canadian Boy Scouts Association (it wasn’t Scouts Canada back then) had made sure that all physical needs such as food, tours and programs were available. But it was the Canadian Scouts themselves who provided the setting for the ‘Scouting Spirit’ that would be talked about for many years to come.

ViewmasterFallsThe event was impressive, with eleven thousand Scouts (11,000) meeting for the first time at the opening ceremony. The campfires, the visits to camp sites by Scouts from other parts of the world, the rubbing of shoulders and the exchange of addresses, all contributed towards the fellowship fostered at the camp.

Bert Wilson, of Northern Ireland contingent, at a recent 50th reunion said: “We made friends from many countries, and we put on shows.” The Belfast and County Down scouts formed the basis of an Irish dancing team. Fumio Ishida of Japan, whose patrol was named the Hudson Bay Patrol said, “It was a really big deal to come to the Jamboree. Not many from Japan went abroad in those days. It was only ten years after the 2nd World War and we were a poor country at that time. We lived on hot dogs and Coca-Cola” Fumio explained.

come toClaude from Canada and Jonas from West Africa who had corresponded for several years after the Jamboree eventually lost touch with one another. Claude became Professor of Environment at the Polytechnic of Montreal while Jonas became a literature teacher in high schools and college in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. Years later during a trip to Montreal Quebec Jonas found and met with his old friend. The meeting was made possible as a result the research done to locate Claude by three fellow Scouts, Guy Leduc, Jean-Guy Leduc and Lise Morency. Claude’s and Jonas’ reunion was a beautiful testimony of international friendship.

Two years after the 1955 World Jamboree, Scouting would be celebrating its fiftieth (50) anniversary. By then the Eighth World Jamboree would be history, but the comradeship nourished by the event had been spread to all corners of the world and deepened spirit of the scouting movement.

Looking into my ‘rear-view mirror’ I see the pride of accomplishment that Canadian Scouting and its core of the Volunteers felt as a result of making this event a reality. We in Scouting were handed the torch to ensure that fifty years henceforth the flame was still burning bright. If old Scouter’s could take a look in Poppi’s ‘rear- view mirror’ they would see our linked arms and huge smiles on our faces. We can all take pride in knowing we made a contribution towards creating the largest youth movement in the world.

Poppi  (the Ol’White Wolf)