KZN girl guides plant trees to celebrate SA movement’s 100 years

2010-03-18 00:00

THE Girl Guides Association of South Africa (GGASA) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a number of activities and events.

About 1 000 girl guides in Pietermaritzburg and the KZN inland area will be getting involved through a host of projects.

There are 30 000 members in the South African movement, and since 1910, when Dorothy Rogers started the first girl guide troop in Johannesburg, they have been involved in developing young women in the country.

“The values of unity, leadership, commitment, pride and fun, as defined so many years ago in Guiding’s Promise and Law, have stayed true to the first time guides came together. Like their oak tree acorn symbol, the trefoil, the girl guides have stood strong and witnessed the many wonderful, sad, inspiring and tragic moments of the last century.” a press release announcing the centenary said.

Esmé Richards, GGASA’s chief commissioner, said: “In this 100th year, it is time for our association to look back and acknowledge what a difference we have made to the girl child of South Africa.

“The propulsion power of 100 years and many million alumnae is awesome. We are now challenged to look forward and plan how we can continue to reach out and change lives.”

Richards said the celebratory events taking place from April 10 (which marks the 100th day of the 100th year) and October 20 are an opportunity to “bring together the past and the future”.

The festivities include 100 camps for girl guides to celebrate 100 years of changing lives, which will be held in the 25 guiding regions across South Africa. The camps will be held at the World’s View campsite in June and August for the KZN inland guides to celebrate the centenary.

The 30 000-strong group of girl guides will also participate in WWF’s Earth Hour on March 27.

They will switch off all electrical appliances on the day, while being tasked with persuading at least one community to do the same, which has the potential to make 30 000 communities “greener” during Earth Hour.

The inland KZN guides have already made a contribution to the environment. “We planted 21 tress around KwaZulu-Natal to mitigate climate change,” said Maryann Green, the provincial co-ordinator.

Yesterday, 20 brownies and 10 girl guides were enrolled at Panorama Primary School. “They have learnt our ethos that is symbolised in our laws and promise” said Green.

Nontuthuko Conco (12) said she is enrolling with girl guides “because it is exciting to learn new things like the promise and the laws; it is very important to keep them.” Her friend, Nonkonzo Mngadi (12), said guides are important to her “because it keeps you away form strange things like boys. Guides are kind and do fun things”.

The Girl Guides Association of South Africa will publish a booklet to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Through the use of photographs and testimonies, the booklet will highlight the role played by guides since 1910 in changing the lives of South African women and girls for the better.

Proceeds from sales of the booklet will fund girl child development initiatives.

For more information about the events, visit www.girlguides.org.za or find them on Facebook.

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