November 30, 2010

The Areas, Divisions, and Districts they are a changin’!

Come gather round Girl Guide enthusiasts, it’s high time you heard that (some of the) A/D/Ds in Canada are a changin’! Or, to be more accurate and less folk song-ish, some of them already have. :)

As I’m not a member of the GGC at the moment, I’m not particularly privy to the internal structural changes of the Girl Guides of Canada’s provincial organization system. However, once a chance takes place and becomes public knowledge, I often hear about it.

The first (major) structural change that I got wind of happened approximately three years, when the province of Ontario decided to do away with the classic Area/Division/District structure. I would venture to guess that this was a discussion that was not made lightly (at the time Ontario had more A/D/Ds than any other province in Canada) and which had many solid reasons behind it, though I can only speculate as to what those might have been.

With the doing away of Ontario’s A/D/D’s came the emergence of a new type of provincial structure that had not been seen in Canada before (to the best of my knowledge): the Community based system. Instead of a three-tier system, Ontario (and Nunavut, which is grouped together with Ontario) now consists of nearly 40 “Communities” areas, each of which is comprised of a part of the province. Sadly, as things have stood so far, these Communities have not been given geographic location specific names. Instead they are referred to simply as “Community 27”, for example. (I hope very much that one day they will be given actual names, as I feel that calling a Community simply by a number is too impersonal and bureaucratic sounding.)

As many collectors of Canadian patches may know, when Ontario scrapped the A/D/D system, they also stopped producing location specific patches for this province. To date, I am not aware of patches (similar to the classic A/D/D ones) being produced for the Communities of Ontario and Nunavut, though I hold onto the hope that they will be at some point (so that both Guiding members – especially the girls, for whom having patches to swap at camps and other events has always been important – and patch collectors alike will once again have something to collect from Ontario).

Recently my lovely friend Louise St. Germain brought to my attention the fact that over in British Columbia they've been altering their provincial structure as well. Thankfully however (for the time being), B.C. is still using an Area based system. At the moment, B.C. is comprised of ten different Areas (see image below), and is still has Districts (some of which – such as Fraser Skies - have recently put out some really stellar patches, that I’m sure many collectors will be very eager to try and get their hands on).

I would imagine that as the 21st century rolls onward, more and more provinces will be adjusting their Guiding structures to some degree, and think it will be highly interesting to see how such transformations unfold.
If you happen to know about any other parts of the country that have changed their provincial structure in a significant way recently, I would love to hear about it so that I could share that information with the readers of this blog (please feel free to contact me via email or in the comment section of this post, if you have such info).

As the old axiom says, change is inevitable. Sometimes change is good, others it’s not, but the one certainty of change is that it’s always bound to happen at some point. I’m not against change (though I am do not support the doing away with each province/territory having location specific patches – how could I? :-D), it can be great and help usher in a lot of positivity, which I sincerely hope will be the case for those parts of Canada that have altered their provincial structure.