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Guiding hand


Anesta Henry

Guiding hand

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Since its introduction 95 years ago, the Girl Guides Association of Barbados has trained some very strong women in society.
It has made them not afraid to accept responsibility, and reassured them that the world is theirs to have.
Ruth Parris is one such woman who benefited from the powerful influence of the organization, from the age of ten.
Today, at 52, she serves as chief commissioner of the association, which follows an eight-point programme incorporating physical fitness, the mind, outdoor enjoyment, homecraft skills, service to others, human relations, creativity and character.
“We did a survey about two years ago and we recognize that about 75 per cent of women who are civil servants, and even those in top positions, were Guides, and we are very proud of this,” said Parris.
On Sunday, Guides across the world celebrated World Thinking Day.
The Guider, who is responsible for overseeing the running of the association, declared that she was committed to contributing to the development and success of the Girl Guides, as the association continued to be a pillar for girls between the ages of four and 25.
“We first teach the girls to respect one another and to respect that everybody is not at the same level. Guiding is always age appropriate. For me as a Guider, I have to be aware of where the teenagers I deal with are at.
“I might have to deal with their self-esteem, image, eating habits . . . but I always say that a Guider has to be observant. We do the rough; we go on our hikes, have our cookouts and go on survival camps,” said Parris, who is the Guider at The St Michael School.
The St James resident, who is a trained social worker, explained that the programme stresses the importance of community service, and Guides and Guiders work as counsellors at Government summer camps for children.
Other service projects include helping at children’s homes, assisting the elderly in hospitals, and running errands for the house-bound.
“I enjoy the Guide age group and I know that age group is the one people separate and blame for societal ills. I can honestly say that I have good results with them.
“What happens in Guiding is that you always learn something new and you always find a little adventure which you also enjoy,” said the WEDNESDAY WOMAN.
Parris, a clinical administrative assistant at Verdun House, has quite a few hopes and aspirations for the association.
But one which is at the top of her list is to see members become conscious of the environment and that they continue to do more to protect and preserve it.
“I would also like us to play a more serious role in contributing to the HIV/AIDS Food Bank. Some units of the association play their part, but I think that as an association, we can make a difference, where that food bank is concerned.”

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