Generations of Girl Guides, Patrons turn out for soft launch in $800,000 Fundraiser to Complete Headquarters
Well-known educator, successful businesswoman and Girl Guides leader, Gillian Wilson explains the new Bahamas Girl Guides Association’s website with e-donations page during a reception for well-wishers and supporters at Girl Guides new, but unfinished, headquarters on West Bay Street.
Long before the US Women’s Soccer team won its fourth World Cup title amidst cheers of fans round the world, there were young girls across the globe headed for success, many of them thanks to an international organization most often known as the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
In The Bahamas where that organization is known as the “Bahamas Girl Guides Association,” its supporters say it is helping thousands of young females to grow up stronger with greater self-awareness, confidence and a sense of responsibility to community.
Now, for the first time in its 100-plus year history, Girl Guides supporters are turning to the public to raise a substantial amount of money. The funds will help finish the interior of a much-needed new headquarters.
“Everyone is accustomed to seeing Girl Guides selling cookies or holding bake sales and walk-a-thons,” said Dr. Ruth Sumner, President of the Association and respected civic leader who exemplifies Girl Guides standards for achievement. “The girls work hard at that and those funds keep Bahamas Girl Guides operational so our youngest girls and our teens have all the opportunities to experience friendship, practice cooperation and learn the nobility of serving others while having fun.”
But cookie sales won’t plaster, plumb, paint or otherwise finish the three storey building on West Bay Street that will be home to training sessions, weekly meetings, workshops, classes, lectures, events and activities ranging from safe driving films with go-karting experience to beach and coastal clean-ups.
One hiccup prevents the full transition to the new headquarters at the corner of Marcus Bethel Drive and West Bay Street at the foot of Fort Charlotte – funds to complete.
“We are very grateful to so many people who turned out tonight,” said Sonia Adderley, Chief Commissioner, who is helping to lead the fund-raising drive. “We know the building appears finished from the outside with its stately, classic design and style, French doors and windows, tall shutters and white trim against the bright yellow paint. But inside it is a cavern with an unfinished staircase and we need your help to complete so our girls can move in to their beautiful new headquarters.”
Construction began in early 2018, replacing a building less than a third its size that the association had long since outgrown. Alvan K. Rolle was architect and served as project manager. Watson Construction was contractor and Construction Cost Engineering were quantity surveyors. All contractors donated substantial time and resources.
Council Members of Bahamas Girl Guides say they are planning a number of events, including a steak-out, a golf tournament to help raise funds and a Bahamas Girl Guides district challenge.
“We know that Bahamas Girl Guides Association has contributed significantly to the development of women throughout The Bahamas who are recognized as outstanding nation builders,” said Elma Garraway, Assistant Chief Commissioner. “With their help and the help of the general public, we hope to reach our goal and complete the building by early 2020. It is an ambitious goal, but I think with help, we can do it.”