Saskatchewan Lotteries is pleased to support the Girl Guides of Canada in Saskatchewan. Girl Guides units across the province are some of the more than 12,000 volunteer sport, culture and recreation groups in Saskatchewan that receive financial support from the Lotteries Trust Fund, made possible by the sales of products such as LOTTO 6/49 and LOTTO MAX. Saskatchewan Lotteries congratulates the Girl Guides on the remarkable accomplishment of 100 years of excellence, exemplifying the power of voluntarism and service to fellow citizens that makes this province so special.
When Jo Ann Scott-Hodgins became a leader for the Girl Guides unit in Strasbourg 18 years ago, it was because she wanted her daughter to be involved in a program that was both exciting and challenging. Now, even though her daughter is no longer a member of the group, Scott-Hodgins continues to share her leadership and experience with young girls in her community.
“The Guiding program focuses on all the things we need to concern ourselves with as women,” says Scott-Hodgins, who is also serving her fourth of five years as the Public Relations Advisor for the Saskatchewan Girl Guides Council. “It gives girls opportunities to travel, do things outdoors, and to learn about the environment and have fun.”
The national organization for Guiding groups across the country, Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2010. Many of the more than 300 groups in Saskatchewan planned events to celebrate the centennial. For example, more than 1,200 girls and women came together in Moose Jaw this May. Seventy-two girls and women from Saskatchewan also attended Guiding Mosaic 2010 – an international camp held in Guelph, ON in July.
One of the first four Girl Guide groups in Canada was established in Moose Jaw in 1910, and met in the basement of the Zion United Church on Main Street. Current members celebrated the centennial with a sleepover event that featured a wide array of games and activities and a visit to the Western Development Museum. SaskTel Max featured the event and interviewed a woman who has been involved with Girl Guides for 60 years. The weekend brought young and old together, providing a new appreciation for the kinds of lifelong memories and friends that Guiding helps create.
And even though the look may have changed over the years – members can now wear pants and have their choice of several uniform shirts – the mission of Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada remains the same.
Girl Guides use a variety of age-appropriate activities to teach girls how to socialize, how to work together, have fun together, be confident, and how to make responsible and environmentally friendly decisions. Above all, Guiding provides opportunities for girls to have respect for themselves, others, and the world around them.
“The Promise has changed over the years to be more inclusive, so that all girls can feel that they can belong to Girl Guides of Canada,” reports Scott-Hodgins, whose unit recites the short pledge before every meeting. The point is to create an atmosphere of trust, acceptance, and security for a generation plagued by bullying and other sensitive issues.
Programming has also evolved to remain relevant and give members more choice. For example, today’s Girl guides may choose to learn cooking methods from past, present, and all around the globe – if they want to cook at all!
Changes in technology have had a major impact on the way people learn and communicate, and the Girl Guides of Canada – Guides du Canada program addresses safety issues including internet safety and cyber bullying. Unit activities are many and varied, but focus on the environment, camping, hiking, active living, arts and culture, and inclusivity. Opportunities exist for travel locally, inter-provincially and to international places, while older members can apply for scholarships to pursue post-secondary education.
Scott-Hodgins takes pride that Guide leaders are aware of the issues faced by girls today. It is that responsiveness that allows Girl Guides to develop strong and positive programs that can really make a difference in the life of a girl.
She also realizes the Guides wouldn’t have made it this long without the support of people in Saskatchewan, including those who purchase the famous Girl Guide cookies or attend events and fundraisers organized by the groups. She is thankful for the financial contributions made by Saskatchewan Lotteries over the years.
These generous contributions have helped thousands of girls develop and grow from Sparks at age five to Rangers at 18. And as for Scott-Hodgins? “Oh, I’m in it for life.”
Two winters ago the youth and youth workers of the Battleford Indian and Metis Friendship Centre achieved an ambitious project. They set up a public rink in an empty lot beside the centre. The project was not simple by any means.
After much fundraising and initial planning, the group was able to purchase the materials for the rink. Then, for two days, the youth and youth workers set up the rink side boards. During the following two weeks, they creatively painted the boards with logos.
The youths' determination was rewarded, as they enjoyed the rink the entire skating season. Saskatchewan Lotteries providing the Friendship Centre with funds to maintain the rink during the winter to assist with innovative.
Although there are no plans to set up the rink this winter, many other programs offered by the Friendship Centre, with funding assistance from Saskatchewan Lotteries, are benefiting Battleford youth.
Kathy Whitford, a coordinator at the Friendship Centre, said the centre and its programs aim to educate the youths "culturally and in their lifestyle choices." While the rink encouraged the youths to be physically active, other programs at the centre teach youth about basic life skills and their cultural heritage.
Recently, Whitford coordinated a series of cooking classes for youth. Classes were held three times a week, during which Whitford taught the youth about nutrition and kitchen sanitation. Whitford notes the important support of Saskatchewan Lotteries for the program, explaining that Saskatchewan Lotteries provided funds for food, facility rental costs, and staff wages. About 10 to 15 youth from ages 12 to 17 attended the classes, with more attending during the winter months. For Whitford, the highlight of the program was the final cook-off, a special event for the youth and their parents. At the cook-off, the young chefs whipped up their creations for parents to enjoy.
Sewing classes recently offered at the Friendship Centre have connected the youth with their cultural heritage. Youth in the sewing classes learned how to make traditional powwow outfits, including jingle dresses and fancy dance dresses. Saskatchewan Lotteries provided funding to make the sewing classes possible, including the machines and materials. Those who benefit from the centre's sewing program extend beyond the youth, as these machines are used by seniors in the community.
The Battleford Indian and Metis Friendship Centre plans to continue to access funding from Saskatchewan Lotteries to provide valuable programs to the youth. Currently, Whitford is applying for funding for beading and moccasin making programs. To Whitford, the contributions of Saskatchewan Lotteries to the Friendship Centre are vital.
Dawne Elles, a high school teacher in Regina, is helping children in the Cathedral Area use their energy and imagination to learn and have fun. Elles is the facilitator of the Pow Wow Lodge Program, a weekly workshop for at-risk children.
The program, hosted by Community Action Co-op Regina, is currently for children ages 5-11. "About 15 to 20 children attend every week and we cover three components of arts and crafts, leisure activities, and cultural experiences," says Elles.
Elles brings her own personal touch to the program, which is for children of all ethnic backgrounds. She uses her personal knowledge of Aboriginal traditions to teach children about beadwork, the four directions and the medicine wheel. The children also enjoy colouring and playing organized games at the workshops.
Elles sees first-hand the positive experiences the children are having at the Pow Wow Lodge program workshops. "The program is encouraging children to be involved in culture, sport, and art. It is keeping them motivated to follow a good path in life," she says.
She also witnesses the exuberance of the children as they discover and create new things. "They often wish the sessions could be held every day of the week and they are always asking to do new activities."
The community is showing its support of the program and Elles is encouraged by the growing number of children attending the workshops. "The program is much appreciated by the community of the Cathedral Area because it provides a safe place where the children can learn," she explains.
Through the dedication of volunteers likes Elles, the Pow Wow Lodge program is making a difference in the lives of children in the Cathedral Area. Behind the scenes, Elles notes the important role of the program's sponsors, including Saskatchewan Lotteries. "We rely on funding from Saskatchewan Lotteries to make the Pow Wow Lodge Program possible," she says, adding that the funding the program receives goes towards materials, facility rental fees, and honorariums.
In the upcoming months, Elles is planning to begin workshops for youth from ages 12 to 18. With support from Saskatchewan Lotteries, Elles hopes to have special guests attend to teach activities such as designing beaded chokers, drumming, and moccasin making.
Softball is a real hit in Saskatchewan, thanks to the dedication of Softball Saskatchewan, a provincial non-profit sport organization. With 22,000 members and approximately 1,100 teams throughout the province, Softball Saskatchewan is the Provincial Sport Governing Body for fast-pitch, slo-pitch, and softball.
The Softball Saskatchewan team consists of volunteers and three staff members at the provincial office in Regina. Together, the team works to develop and promote softball programs at all levels, from grassroots to the elite, from ages 4 to over 40.
One Softball Saskatchewan program is Blastball, for children from Kindergarten to Grade 2. Blastball introduces children to the sport of fastball. As part of the Blastball program, Softball Saskatchewan provides groups or schools with equipment kits and lesson plans.
Softball Saskatchewan also facilitates coaching clinics and umpire schools. Every year, the organization hosts the provincial championships, summer camps, and skills clinics for young athletes.
In order to run their many programs, Softball Saskatchewan relies on outside funding, especially from Saskatchewan Lotteries. Guy Jacobson, Executive Director of Softball Saskatchewan, explains that the funding received from Saskatchewan Lotteries is "critical to the association."
"With support from Saskatchewan Lotteries, Softball Saskatchewan is able to offer a wide range of programs and develop them further, while continuing to encourage athletes, umpires, and coaches province-wide to participate," he says.
For more information, contact Softball Saskatchewan by visiting www.softball.sk.ca.
The Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) is a non-profit, charitable organization that assists in building and maintaining trails in the province, including the Trans Canada Trail. The STA, which was incorporated in July 2004, is also mandated to increase trail usage and ensure that these trails remain sustainable for years to come.
"Trails are an important component of Saskatchewan's economy and lifestyle," says Curt Schroeder, President of the Saskatchewan Trails Association. "Trails attract tourists, hikers and cyclists to regions around the province every year, which results in economic spin-offs for local communities.. Trails are also key to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, while helping to protect Saskatchewan's pristine environment."
The STA is currently striving to establish a Provincial Trails Strategy. This strategy would offer a clear guide for both governments and private stakeholders to follow on how to build and develop trails in the province. As part of this initiative, the STA will host a Provincial Trails Strategy Conference in Regina in April 2008 that will include, but not be limited to, trail-based sport and recreation groups, municipal and provincial government representatives and representatives from the governments of Alberta and Manitoba, who currently have a provincial trails strategy in place.
"Saskatchewan Lotteries is a vital financial contributor to our organization," said Schroeder. "Without this funding it would be much more difficult to develop trail in our province."