Leaders needed in Lindsay for Girl Guides, Scouts

By Denise Waldron

Joan McCarthy is hoping to be a Girl Guide next year in Lindsay.

Girls join Girl Guides in Canada for many reasons, including personal development, building relationships, and giving back to their community. Along with outdoor appreciation and skills, it gives girls the opportunity to learn leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

Joan McCarthy, eight, loves science, space, biology, and chemistry. She also wants to be an entrepreneur and leader, which she learned from her Lindsay Embers unit before the Lindsay unit disbanded because of a lack of leaders last fall.

The cancellation also included the younger guiding unit called Sparks, in Lindsay, along with the Embers (formerly known as Brownies). In many areas, the Sparks and Embers meet at the same time and share leaders because of the shortage of leaders.

Joan’s mother Suzanne said her daughter was massively disappointed. “This is the one thing she really wanted to do.”

McCarthy went through the Guiding ranks and credits it for her connection to the woods and the environment. She thinks the program is valuable to girls for them to have a love of outdoor hiking, camping and the environment. “Kids these days — so many are connected to their iPads and screens. You know they’re doing a lot of learning online. Girl guides brings them out into the natural world.”

Bridget McCarthy, 11, is already in Guides.

Joan’s older sister Bridget is 11 and in Guides. They volunteer for the Kawartha Lakes Food Source. They also pick up garbage from the park and collect clothing to give to a thrift store. McCarthy emphasizes, “Guiding not only provides support for the community but also teaches girls to be adults and leaders.”

In 1910, when the Girl Guide movement started in Canada, finding leaders was not difficult. According to Girl Guides Canada, they formed the first unit in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. By 1912, there were units in every province and many of Canada’s most forward-thinking women banded together to form the Canadian Girl Guides Association.

Women typically stayed home in those early days, children had few activities, and life was slower. They had more time to lead Girl Guides, and many found it satisfying to be a positive influence on young girls. For Guide leader Miranda Bell, this rings true today. “My favourite part is being able to make informed connections with girls and having an alternative, safe place for them where they can feel included, loved and accepted for whatever they feel in their life.”

Bell, along with another woman, has stepped up and will reopen the Lindsay Sparks/Embers unit this year. She said they want to let girls know they can start a fire, cook for themselves and be outdoorsy. “We don’t need to wear makeup. We don’t need our cell phones. And that is okay.”

The leadership situation with the Lindsay Cubs and Scouts is similar. Jake Webber from Little Britain is a Scout leader in Lindsay. He said they are always seeking more leaders to keep their troops afloat. The Cubs and Scouts in the Lindsay units are combined as well, because of the lack of leaders. Webber has a son in Cubs, but it is not a requirement to have a child in the organization to be a leader.

Bell has three sons while leading local Guides. She loves the long-term relationships with the girls. “A lot of my girls that were my Embers, go to Pathfinders and they come back and become my junior leaders, then I get to teach them how to be leaders.”

Bell says being a leader is a unique experience. She thinks it’s hard for girls to talk to their own parents at times about some things in life. The leader adds to just being able to have someone to listen and say, “Hey, it’s okay,” is important.

As a leader, she feels she and the girls can just be themselves and have fun in the program.

The Lindsay Guides and Scouts groups need leaders. Interested Guide leaders can call Robin Vesak at 1.833.433.0996, ext. 6030 for more information. You can get more info at scouts.ca or by calling group commander Paul Parker at 705-786-2336 for info on becoming a local Scout leader.


For the girls:

Sparks (ages 5-6)

Embers (ages 7-8)

Guides (ages 9-11)

Pathfinders (ages 12-14)

Rangers (ages 15-17)

Adults (ages 18+)


For the boys:

Beaver Scouts (ages 5 to 7)

Cub Scouts (ages 8 to 10)

Scouts (ages 11 to 14)

Venturer Scouts (ages 15 to 17)

Rover Scouts (ages 18 to 26)


  1. Sandra Lowe says:

    I would possibly be interested in assisting with one of the girls organizations. I am a senior but have led an interesting life.
    I have worked most of my life, raised a large family and am now widowed.
    I graduated as a gold cord guide in 1967.

    If there is the possibility of an interest I would appreciate a discussion.

  2. Avatar photo Roderick Benns says:

    Sandra, the information on how to apply is in the article. Best of luck.

  3. Sandra Lowe says:

    Awaiting a reply concerning my interest.

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