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Local Girl Guides seeking volunteers, meeting spaces

Halfway through the 2018-19 programming calendar, the Goldenfields Girl Guides group is looking for volunteers.
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Role models needed
Goldenfields Girl Guides is looking for senior volunteers and affordable meeting spaces.

Halfway through the 2018-19 programming calendar, the Goldenfields Girl Guides group is looking for volunteers. According to Goldenfields District Commissioner Jodi Paulgaard, the local Girl Guides of Canada district – which includes members in Airdrie, Delacour and Irricana – is looking to recruit five to 10 new senior unit leaders for 2019. Currently, she said, the district has about 75 women who volunteer as senior leaders. “We’ve had a little bit of turnover at the start of the year,” she said. “We’ve managed to make it through to this point of time, but it always helps with extra hands on deck.” No prior involvement with Girl Guides is required for new volunteers, Paulgaard added, and the district provides the necessary training. “As long as you’re a woman of 18 years or older and can provide a police reference check, which we can assist with,” she said. With 428 local girls between the ages of five and 17 registered, Paulgaard said, Goldenfields Girl Guides boasts the third highest enrolment ratio for girl guide membership in Alberta. “Our numbers have grown really nicely in the last 10 years I’ve been involved with Girl Guides in Airdrie,” she said. “It speaks to our amazing volunteers.” But according to Paulgaard, the organization’s growth has made it increasingly difficult to find affordable meeting spaces large enough to accommodate the expanding membership. The district’s units typically meet in church basements, community halls or school gymnasiums, she said, but school gymnasiums become harder to book in the winters due to after-school sports and other activities taking place in the evenings. “We’ve found pretty good allies with local churches, but for anywhere else, they’re trying to make their bottom line work and it’s difficult for them to give away their meeting space for free,” Paulgaard said. “We’re not asking for free space – we’re willing to pay – but anywhere from $30 an hour and lower is what we can typically afford. Anything more than that is really tough – we’re a non-profit group, and our funds are all based on registration and cookie sales.” Each age-based unit typically meets once per week on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings, according to Paulgaard. Programming takes place throughout the school-year calendar. Paulgaard added there are many reasons to join Goldenfields Girl Guides – both as a volunteer leader and as a participant. “I firmly believe in Girl Guides – my daughter has been in it for the last eight years,” she said. “It provides mentorship, experiences and life training for girls. “We try to expose our girls to as many different experiences and adventures as we can growing up.” The skills girls and young women develop through Girl Guides programming will benefit them later in life, according to Paulgaard. “If you look at some of the more successful women in science, government and in leadership positions in their community, they’ve all been a part of the Girl Guides community, at one point or another,” she said. “We just do a great job of creating successful women.” To inquire about volunteering, or to suggest affordable meeting spaces, contact Paulgaard at goldenfieldsgirlguides@gmail.com