Bahamas Girl Guide Leaders Thanked at 100 Year Celebration

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Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling gave her address at the Girl Guide grand rally. Beside her is Mrs. Helen Sweeting, Girl Guide District Commissioner for East 1.

NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Bahamas Girl Guides Association held a grand rally on Saturday evening on Government House Grounds, celebrating the achievements of the organization under the theme, ‘100 Years of Influencing Lives,’ with Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling giving a “thank you” to the very dedicated leaders who made it all possible.

Addressing the very large gathering that included past and present members and leaders of the Bahamas Girl Guides Association and friends of the organization, the Governor General complimented the movement – as a “proud full member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts” — for having positively influenced thousands of girls in New Providence and the Family Islands.

She conveyed appreciation for the contributions of women who ensured the success of the organization: Mrs. Eulalee Kelly, Ms. Barbara Brown, Ms. Gwen French, Ms. Betty Cole, Ms. Marjorie Davis and Mrs. Clarice Granger, all of whom despite their professional careers, she said, devoted their lives to making sure that the Girl Guides Association continued to make an impact on the Bahamian society.

Giving a bit of history, Dame Marguerite said: “Mrs. Kelly was the first Island Commissioner. During her tenure, the Chief Scout and Chief Guide, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell visited The Bahamas in 1930. A rally was held during their stay. The Girl Guides Association also welcomed Princess Alice. Mrs. Kelly is best known for her donation of the Kelly building situated at Girl Guide Headquarters.

“Another pioneer of the Girl Guides Movement was Ms. Barbara Brown. She started Cookie Week, developed the Campsite in Western new Providence and served as a member of the Western Hemisphere Committee.

“Ms. Gwen French, Deputy Chief Commissioner, was responsible for camping. A strict disciplinarian, she ensured that the highest standards were maintained relating to uniforms, flag protocols and overall conduct relating to Guiding.

“Miss Betty Cole, former outstanding leader of the 6th Nassau Girl Guides, and teacher at Xavier’s College, served also as deputy Chief Commissioner, Family Island Commissioner, first diplomed Trainer and Chief organizer of Thinking Day Ceremonies, Camp Fires and Association events. She presently sits on the Fund-Raising Committee for the new building. She also tested many Guides for Badges in various fields such as swimming.

“Miss Marjorie Davis, despite her duties as a teacher at the Government High School, and Administrator at the Ministry of Education, is the longest serving active Guide leader. She served as an assistant leader of the Government High School Guides in 1946 and went on to lead the company for many years. She also served as Chief Commissioner, District Commissioner and still is active on a number of committees, and is the Girl Guides’ historian and quality assurance expert.

“Mrs. Clarice Granger, who was Chief Radiologist at the X-ray Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital, the longest serving Chief Commissioner and current member of the Council, also heads the Shop Committee, chairs the Fund-Raising Committee for the new Building and serves as unofficial co-chair of the Properties Committee. She has also managed Cookie distribution for the last 18 years.”

The Governor General highlighted that under the leadership of these women, the Bahamas Girl Guide Association grew tremendously.

She added: “Their stellar contributions during the 1940s through the 1980s, have been considerable. I should like, on behalf of The Commonwealth of

The Bahamas, to acknowledge and thank them for their outstanding work and dedication.

I congratulate President Anita Bernard and Council Members, and all who are actively involved in the Bahamas Girl Guides Association. I challenge the current leadership to expand the movement, especially to the Family Islands. May the Association continue its good work in building positive and healthy lives. I thank you.”

In the third row at left is Dr. Gail Saunders chairperson of the New Building Committee. Dr. Saunders is additionally a former President of the Association, and obtained the highest badge when she was a girl guide--The Queen's Badge. She along with Lady Dawn Marshall and Mrs. Marsha Stewart, other Queen’s Guides, led the entrance of the Signposts showing the 10 decades since the establishment of Guiding in The Bahamas.