I Took My Seat in Parliament!

 

Marchemma 8, 2017, International women’s day, was particularly memorable for me and 337
other young women. We took our seats in Parliament through Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization with the goal of promoting the participation of women in elected roles at all three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal). 2017 was chosen as the special year to hold it as it marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of certain women’s right to vote in Canada.

One woman aged 18 to 23 from every federal riding was selected to participate in the event. It was an amazing opportunity to meet the future leaders of our country. Even though we are young, many of us are very involved in politics, be it through youth associations of political parties, student unions, or general community involvement. This meant that Girl Guide leaders fit the profile of people they were looking for. I was encouraged by Girl Guides to apply to the program and I did. In February received the exciting news that I was selected.

On February 15, 2017, all the Quebec delegates traveled by train to Quebec City to be introduced to the program. Fast forward to Monday, March 6, when we travelled to Ottawa for the big adventure: we had our first day of fascinating speakers and inspiring women – the theme of the day was policy.

On Wednesday, March 8, we marched over to Parliament and took our respective seats. I had the privilege of sitting in the seat for Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis in the House of Commons. This federal riding was established in 2003 and I was the first woman to occupy the seat. We had the opportunity to use this platform and visibility to bring attention to issues that young Canadian women hold near and dear to our hearts, such as accessibility to education, services for Indigenous Peoples and the protection of cultural and religious minorities.

KimCampbellThe Honourable Kim Campbell, the first and only female Prime minister of Canada, shared her enthusiasm about this groundbreaking event. Our time in the House of Commons ended with a speech from the leaders of Canada’s main parties.

Our presence at parliament was particularly meaningful as there were more women taking a seat in parliament than there have ever been in Canadian history. This news traveled the world and this what one UK member of parliament had to say:

“I am not sure whether the Leader of the House is aware of the Daughters of the Vote event that was held at the Canadian Parliament on International Women’s Day. Young women from each of Canada’s 338 constituencies or ridings sat in Parliament to gain experience and communicate their vision for Canada, hopefully inspiring them to participate in the political process for years to come. Can we have a debate in this place on how we can encourage more women into politics?”– Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) (Scottish National Party) on March 16 2017.

The theme for our last day was leadership and we got some helpful tips on how to get involved in the electoral process. They emphasized the importance of going door to door – who knew selling cookies might be the secret the creating the next female Prime minister?

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Coming home I feel overwhelmed by the power of the event and the number of like-minded women who wish to see more female representation in decision-making positions. I am grateful for the wonderful experience. I was honored to take my seat in this historic event.

Emma Predan-Lépine is a Guider with the 4th Beacon Hill Guides in Lakeshore district.

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Brownie Superhero Academy

On Saturday, February 18th, over 70 Brownies and 20 Guiders joined in the fun at our 2nd Provincial Superhero Academy Day held at Mountainside United Church in Westmount. As part of earning the Be You Challenge, the girls got to make superhero shields and capes and build a personal self-esteem tree which they could take home. Brownies also gave back to the community by preparing St. Patrick’s Day tray favors for the local Meals on Wheels and bringing in non-perishable food items for the local food bank, highlighting this year’s National Service Project to help end poverty.

The day would not have been complete without a visit from Superhero Darwin, a magnificent great horned owl, who captivated the Brownies by showing off his very own superhero bird of prey skills.

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The afternoon ended with a rousing zumba class so that the girls and their leaders could burn off some energy while keeping their superhero bodies strong and powerful.

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Our closing was a campfire led by a wonderful group of Rangers who were also very involved in the planning and preparation of the Event.

Congratulations to all the graduates…until the next Superhero Academy!

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A shout out to my very own superhero team Donna Collister, Gigi Cordeiro, Nancy Shaw, Holli Drum, Helena Green, Lisa O’Brien and the Lakeshore and Valois-Dorval Rangers, without whose wonderful help and imagination, this day would not have been possible.

This blog post was written by Charyl Hyndman, Québec Provincial Program Adviser.

 

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A STEM Visit to Medtronic

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When I suggested the idea of bringing my Brownie unit to visit my workplace to a couple of my co-workers at Medtronic, I never thought it would turn into such an amazing visit for the whole district!!!

So there we were, months later, on a dark and cold Monday evening in January:  47 Sparks, Brownies, and Guides along with their Guiders and unit assistants arriving at the reception doors of my workplace, not really knowing what to expect from their visit to Medtronic.  We were greeted by 15 of my amazing co-workers who volunteered their time (after a long day’s work) to assist in any way they could.

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Everyone was given a visitor badge — individually personalized with their names printed on the front (a highlight of the night for the Sparks!)!  Our opening songs were performed for our hosts, who were impressed by our amazing singing and marching skills 😉   Rules were communicated, and we were led into the large training room.

We were met by Teresa Mihalik, an incredibly bright and accomplished engineer, who explained the inner workings of the heart.  The girls learned the difference between a healthy heart rhythm and a diseased heart rhythm, using a bicycle pump as an example.  Many questions were asked, and Teresa was up to the challenge of answering them all!

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Pretty soon we were whisked away and sent to different group activities by unit.

The Sparks were invited to take part in the “Fairytale Challenge”, where they had 3 STEM kits to choose from.  The girls worked in teams to build their kits.

  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Build 3 chairs to support the three bears.

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  • Three Billy Goats Gruff: Build a bridge to hold 3 goats and tall enough for the troll to stand underneath

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  • Three Little Pigs: Build a house strong enough to keep out the big bad wolf.

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The Brownies were invited into the R&D lab to try out some experiments.  They learned a bit about cryoenergy, guessed at what was under microscopes, played operation, dressed up in cleanroom gowns, and got to fish for underwater dinosaurs using a cryocatheter!!  It was awesome!!!

DSC_1173.JPGdsc_1045dsc_1048dsc_1206Guides were challenged with the task of building the tallest tower using a specific list of materials:

  • 20 dried spaghetti noodles
  • 1 marshmallow
  • 12 inch piece of masking tape
  • 12 inch piece of string

The teamwork and levels of concentration were astounding!!

dsc_1150dsc_1097dsc_1020After a quick snack of bear paws and water, we headed back to the reception area for a group photo and our closing songs.

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Thank you Medtronic!!!  What an incredible visit… We look forward to our next one!

 

Lisa Labelle

Riverdale Brownie Guider

Member of QC Council

(Oh… and employee of Medtronic)

 

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A Rockin’ Great Sleepover

In January, the 2nd Lakeshore Pathfinders hosted an amazing sleepover. We had many activities planned, and all had so much fun!

Fiona, our leader brought RockBand. We set it up and started to play. We had one singer, a drummer and a guitarist. While some rocked on, others played board games. As a group, we then made a three-course meal.

One of the best parts was cooking. A few girls made leek and potato soup for an appetizer, others made pasta for the main course and the final group made Girl Guide cookie chocolate mint squares for dessert.

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After supper, we made short films. We used props and practiced our acting. We all pitched in and brought some food like cookies, fruit, vegetables for snacks and breakfast. We watched Hercules — well most of us did — the rest were sleeping. In the morning we did a music quiz with Nikki. This was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun.

Sierra is a first-year Pathfinder with the 2nd Lakeshore Pathfinders. Read her previous blog post here.

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Girl Empowerment: In Their Sights

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In December the 2nd Lakeshore Pathfinders went to the Pointe-Claire Rifle Club. After getting geared up with safety goggles and headphones, four by four, we learnt how to properly and safely use firearms. We had the chance to learn about different types of bullets and other firearms. However, we mostly learnt about range safety and how to protect ourselves. Each of us tried shooting three times, and got better and better. Even the leaders got to take some shots on the target and learnt a lot too.

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As a souvenir, we got to bring back many different types and sizes of bullet casings. We also kept our targets with the bullet holes in them and the score of our shots. The range officers taught us many things and even brought us brownies. It was an amazing experience and we learnt so much!

Sierra is a first year Pathfinder with the 2nd Lakeshore Pathfinders.

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The Satisfying Work of Girl Guides

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Girl Guides in the Laval-Mille-Iles District have been working hard to serve our communities in the last few months. In late November, we went door-to-door collecting donations for our local food bank in St-Agapit. Everyone from our littlest spark to our Pathfinders and leaders pitched in to help. Sadly our food bank was robbed the night before they were supposed to give out the Christmas baskets to unfortunate families (made the local news) but we didn’t give up. Instead, we got together and baked goods that were distributed the next day to seniors in our area for Meals on Wheels. As we rang the doorbell and sang Jingle Bells to the elderly, you could see the smiles from everyone around.
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We also participated in our community Santa Claus Parade, which is one of the longest running community parades in Quebec. Dressed as Christmas trees, we smiled, waved and danced our way to the end. Our hard work didn’t go unnoticed as we won the best marching group in the parade and have gotten interest from girls wanting to join Guiding.
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January is upon us but helping our community won’t end there. Next up: knitting hats for those less fortunate and collecting more food donations to help replenish what was stolen. A Girl Guides’ work is never done but it sure can be satisfying.
Sheryl Quimpo is a Guider with the 1st Two-Mountains Brownies in Laval-Mille-Iles District .
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A Bubbly Soap-Making Meeting

On a Wednesday evening, Jean-Loup, from La Cantine à Savon, came to our meeting place to run a very interesting workshop on cold process soap-making. He and his two assistants helped us all get decked out with safety goggles and gloves, before giving a demonstration of how soap is made. Simply put, very inoffensive oils are mixed with highly caustic lye and water to induce a chemical reaction called saponification.

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After the demo, we split into groups of three girls and one adult to make our very own loaves of soap! For these, we got to choose a colour and to smell a bunch of scents to chose the perfect one for our soap. The most popular scent was chocolate-mint, because it smelled just like our Girl Guide Cookies!

Since this was chemistry, it was important to measure out the ingredients exactly with a scale, a dropper and a second, more precise, scale. The girls completed this challenge with great finesse and surprising ease. Once everything was in the blender, we put on the lid and turned it on for only twenty seconds. That was it: soap!

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The liquid was poured into a wooden mold to allow it to harden for 24 hours. While it was still gloppy, we used a spoon handle to create a design on the surface of the soap.

Once hard enough, each loaf of soap was cut into seven bars: one for each girl and the extras as Christmas gifts for seniors in our community. Each week, with great eagerness, the girls ask if they will get their soap today… Finally, after curing for four weeks, the bars are ready and the girls will receive their soap this week, when we go caroling at the senior’s residence!

La Cantine à Savon has also offered us quite a wonderful fundraising opportunity: each girl left the meeting with a small display case full of soap and an order form with 18 varieties! These bars are currently being sold for $5 each, half of which goes directly to our Nova Scotia & Granby Zoo travel funds!

How amazing is that?! Sparks, Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders are all selling a product that they have experience making!

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If you would like to encourage our fundraising efforts, please see our Soap Menu and email lennoxville@guidesquebec.ca before January 20th, 2017.
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