Happy Birthday, 23rd Colombo!

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An article written on the occasion of the 66th Anniversary of 23rd Colombo, the Girl Guide Company attached to Musaeus College, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka. I have tried to address the benefits the Girl Guide Movement offers in this article along with a bit of its history. Open to your comments!

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Happy Birthday, 23rd Colombo!

  1. 1. Happy Birthday, 23rd Colombo! I had an irresistible urge to put pen to paper (in the virtual sense, of course) when I realized, after a recent visit to Musaeus College, that the 23rd Colombo Guide Company would be celebrating its’ 66th Anniversary on 30th July 2014. The 23rd Colombo Guide Company is attached to Musaeus College and was registered on 30th July 1948, making it one of the first Girl Guide Companies to be registered in an independent Sri Lanka ( known as Ceylon then), if not, the first. I really did not dig in to the archives to establish this fact; this is just a guess as we got independence on 4th February 1948. Having reached this point in the thought process, I was at a cross road. What exactly do I put down on paper, its history, along with its many achievements? (The Guide Company just won the prestigious Olave Award), the contribution it has made to the national Girl Guide Movement in Sri Lanka? (Four of its’ Guide Captains have served as Chief Commissioners) or about why Girl Guiding is still there today? (Lots of people do wonder!) After much thought, I took up the challenge with that last question. I think it is opportune, as Girl Guiding in Sri Lanka will celebrate 100 years in another three years and it is 104 years at the global level. I also think that there are better people to answer the first two questions and left that task to them! So here goes, why is Girl Guiding still there today? This question has been directed at me many a times, along with “Is it still relevant today?” I think, and others’ are allowed to contradict me here, it has largely survived to this day because those who have been part of this Movement in the days gone by, have continued to come back to it, in many roles, may they be as parents, leaders, donors or just supporters. I have seen many mothers bringing their daughters to be enrolled as Little Friends (as Brownies are known here) or Guides, simply because they enjoyed the experience many years ago and want their daughters to experience the same. A few of the mothers go a step further and become Leaders, so they could continue the journey together. Many are donors to the Movement at various times and many more are supporters. This is obvious when one sees the many volunteers at events such as camps, pack holidays and fund raising events. Then there are ladies who may not have been a part of the Movement in their adolescent days but have heard its benefits from someone else or may have seen how it has benefitted someone in their close circle, and decided to take up the challenge. These ladies have also added to keep Girl Guiding going up to today. Now to my thoughts on “Is it still relevant today”? My answer would be a resounding YES. In its hundred year’s existence, the movement has not lost sight of its primary purpose of teaching life skills. Girl Guides continue to learn skills such as cooking, sewing and first aid but these have undergone adaptations to reflect the changes in time and technology, such as learning how to operate a microwave and food processor to the newest methodologies in identifying a fracture. Many countries have included segments based on global warming, cyber bullying and protection of data into their activities. For the past six years, Girl Guides have had the advantage of learning about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The UN MDGs were “translated” into Girl Guide language and members of the Movement became more aware of global issues, how it affects them and have been actively involved in taking action to better their local environments. This learning process will not stop
  2. 2. anytime soon as Girl Guides are also actively involved with the Post 2015 agenda, all the way to Vision 2020. A global vision with local flavors added, clearly puts Girl Guides streets ahead of their peers. The movement continues to put emphasis on “learning by doing” as opposed to “learning by reading” that is still practiced in many classrooms. The camps, adventure sports and a food festival organized to raise funds to buy books for the library, all teach the members, both young and old, to “walk the talk’. The benefits of “learning by doing” will be felt at a later stage in life when they look for employment opportunities and try to climb up the corporate ladder and have to prove that they are notches ahead of the competitors. What better way to do this than show what they have done, can and will do in case-studies with practical examples, from their experience? Becoming a Girl Guide or continuing to be one, (after all they do say, once a Guide, always a Guide) brings one, many steps closer to living in the global village as right now, there are approximately 10 million members in 145 countries. With international exposure that is provided with many international seminars, trainings and conferences along with the opportunities in 5 World Centres, where people arrive as strangers and leave as friends, that dream becoming a reality is not so far away. 23rd Colombo is just one outlet of service delivery of Girl Guides, a super grade branch with all the services and has many feathers in its cap. I am lucky to be one it’s long standing customers and have collected many rewards points with its loyalty scheme! May 23rd Colombo continue to give life enriching experiences to all who are fortunate to enter its humble abode! Many happy returns of the day! For more information: http://www.wagggs.org/en/home

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