Hand in hand, a small group of girls weave through a larger group of girls. The larger group makes a circle, and are also holding hands.
It’s a loud, fast and fun game, designed to get the young women to know each other better.
This is the first meeting of the Hope Girl Guides Club, and about 20 girls and a half dozen leaders have met up in the Coquihalla school gymnasium.
Later, the group gets busy playing another “getting to know you” game: Wink Murder.
All the girls close their eyes, while leader Jenni Halladay walks through the group and chooses one girl to be the murderer.
They open their eyes, and are instructed to move around the room and shake hands with each other and introduce themselves. The “murderer” has a different missive: Wink at everyone she shakes hands with.
And those who are winked at are instructed to drop dead and not say a word.
It sounds morbid, in theory, but the girls move quickly and methodically around the room, waiting to be winked at.
Slowly, the figure out who the murderer is, and everyone breaks into giggling fits.
The girls may not realize it, but they each just made a roomful of new friends.
“I know everyone’s name!” one girl yells, looking around the room.
“That’s Jessica and I think that’s Emma!” she says. “But I don’t know everyone’s names!”
The first meeting is a success, and ends with the singing of Taps — a Girl Guide tradition.
Over the next month, this group will split off into their age appropriate groups. There are Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, and even Rangers, a guiding group for adults.
“I was a Girl Guide,” Halladay says. “I actually went all the way through.”
In fact, Halladay has never left the organization, and has been a group leader in several communities. It was high time that Hope started up again, she said, having been inactive for several years. Plenty of girls want to be involved in Guiding, but the barrier to starting a group or entire unit is the lack of volunteer leaders.
You don’t need to have a daughter in Guiding to be a leader, she says.
Halladay’s own daughter is just shy of being old enough for Sparks, but that hasn’t stopped her from leading the charge to create a new unit. Leaders are also needed in the Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs area, where there are plenty of girls, but no leaders.
The Girl Guides held their annual camp, SOAR, in Agassiz over the summer. They’re hoping that having hundreds upon hundreds of Girl Guides in the community for camp will have sparked some interest in that area.
In Hope, the interest came after Halladay set up a table during Hope Brigade Days.
“We had an interest of about 30 girls through the Brigade Days,” she says.
She is sure there are more out there who would like to get involved, and says there are even groups around Canada for women over 30.
The group meets at Coquihalla elementary school in Hope on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of next Monday (Thanksgiving).
For more information, contact Jenni Halladay at 604-860-3482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.