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.

September 29, 2010

Enter to win a $100 gift certificate

While I generally like to keep the topics that I post about on this blog relevant to the subject of Girl Guiding and Scouting, occasionally when I feel that something is too interesting not to discuss it pops up here :-)

As I know many of my fellow patch collecting enthusiasts also have a broad range of other interests (including reading – which has always been a lifelong passion of mine), I thought that now would be a great time to tell you about a fantastic new book notification service that my husband (Tony) recently came up with.

Called, the straightforward website that my husband and I proceeded to produce works like this: you visit the site, select one or more categories from a list of (currently) 42 different genres of books (there truly is something for everyone!), enter your email address, and presto, once a week we’ll send you an email newsletter with a selection of newly released books in the categories of your choice (one email per category).

While, unfortunately, there are few books released that are specifically all about Guiding and Scouting, there are tons of books that can be applied to these areas. For example, cookbooks about outdoor cooking work great for those who love to camp and spend time outdoors, whereas craft books can provide tons of interesting ideas to help keep Guiding members of all ages occupied during meetings, sleepovers, and camps. Books about everything from being a team leader to history, sports to ecology and green living can be useful to those involved with Girl Guiding and Scouting - which is all the more reason why it’s super handy to stay abreast of new books that come out on such topics. Luckily, can help you do just that.

{From the youngest Spark to the most venerable of Trefoil Guild members, no matter your age or areas of interest, there are always terrific new books coming out that are worth knowing about. allows you to just that, thanks to its weekly email updates for the categories that you selected upon sign up. Brownie clipart image via Girl Guides of Canada.}

Any New Books? Is an entirely free email notification service that’s here to ensure that you never miss a great new book (on the subjects that are nearest to your heart) again. To celebrate its recent launch and to share this great site with my lovely blogging visitors and friends, Any New Books? and my vintage themed blog, Chronically Vintage, have teamed up to give away a $100.00 (US) gift certificate to one lucky reader!

For more details about, and to enter, the $100.00 gift certificate giveaway (which will run until Monday October 4, 2010), please be sure to swing by Chronically Vintage.

Thank you very much for checking out Please feel free to let anyone you wish (from fellow Guiders to your children’s teachers and librarians) know about this useful new way to stay up-to-date on terrific book release.

Many thanks again and happy reading, my fellow booklovers! :-)

September 14, 2010

Checking in with my fellow patch traders

Hi everyone, this quick little post is to say that, no, contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen off the face of the earth! :)

As those who follow this blog and/or know me from elsewhere may be aware, I’ve been going through a very challenging time with my health this year (well, for much longer than that, but 2010 has been fraught with new issues on the medical front).

About three weeks ago I surgery to (hopefully!) aid one of my (more recent) health problems, and remain steadfastly optimistic that I’ll eventually be able to get help for some of the other pressing medical issues that are dominating my life at the moment.

But enough of all that drearily serious talk! With the hours of sunlight already getting shorter each day and that familiar zesty nip of fall swirling through the air, there’s no skirting around the fact that (for those in the Northern Hemisphere) summer is gingerly meandering its way to a close.

As we slip into the familiar rituals of fall, I am, year after year, struck by the pleasantness of memories filled with childhood Septembers when new Guiding years commenced and once again weekly meetings brought evenings spent intently focusing on such things as badge work, challenges of all sorts, volunteer activity planning, cookie selling, campfires, rousing songs, lessons learned, and friendships formed.

I’ve always felt there was an undeniable buzz to September, rich as it is with new beginnings and anticipated events. From school years to the once-again wearing of cozy sweaters, the launch of the end-of-the-year holiday season (which, depending on who you ask here in Canada, kicks off with either Labour Day or Thanksgiving in October) to the autumn harvest teaming with toothsome apples, pears, and early season root vegetables.

With the fun-filled frenzy of another summer quickly falling behind us, the upbeat tempo of September gives way to a sort of magical autumnal tranquility. Lingering between the excitement of summer and the whirlwind weeks of December, this time of the year is one of the best in which to rekindle favourite pastimes – and what better hobby to once again dive headfirst into than Girl Guide and Girl Scout patch trading?

For those of us still diligently trading patches, the past few years have seen a sharp, ongoing decline in our ranks, but I know that there are still many of us, scattered as we may be around the globe, who are still passionate about this hobby (and/or who are looking to get back into it again).

Now, as the cooler days slip into our midst and evenings spent at nestled at home seem inviting once more, why not take some time to reconnect with past swapping partners or to make new ones? Sort through your patch collection (who hasn’t gone to organize their patches before, only to find you had more dupes than you thought?), spend time sharing your zeal for patch collecting with the younger Guiding members in your life (it’s never too early to get children interested in this rewarding hobby), shot an email to a dear Guiding friend, and enjoy the simple joys that come with being a patch, badge, pin or any other sort of Girl Guide memorabilia collector.

{Autumn, as the new Guiding year takes off, is amongst the beast seasons during which to divulge in your love of patch collecting and trading. This photo, which I shot last fall, shows a small selection of the GGC fun/camp related patches in my collection.}

Though I know that until my health improves further I won’t be able to spend quite as much time online as I’d ideally like to, my email inbox is always open (and checked frequently). If you’d like to swap patches with me (or simply shot the Guiding breeze), be sure to swing by my Dupes and Traders list, than zip an email my way.

Gather together, fellow badge swappers, and lets all start autumn off on a stellar patch trading note! :)

June 11, 2010

Know what the Girl Guide and Girl Scout community needs?

Before I jump into the topic of today’s post, I really want to thank my darling husband for posting in my absence recently, to let the wonderful readers of this blog know that I’d be MIA for a while. I’m actually still quite under the weather (for a more detailed account of what’s been going on this regard, please the medical update post that my husband wrote yesterday for my blog Chronically Vintage), but wanted to take a few moments to share an idea with you all that I’ve been toying with for a few months now.

As many of us are keenly aware, the number of online Girl Guide and Girl Scout patch traders continues to dwindle. While there are no hard facts on just how many people actively swap patches these days, I know that that I’ve personally witnessed a drastic decline in the number of online patch traders over the past two to three years (especially from the spring of 2008 onward).

In speaking with Guiding friends and fellow collecting enthusiasts from Canada, America, UK, New Zealand, and Australia, I quickly came to realize that they too had noticed a sharp decline (both amongst online and "real world" traders, but all of the folks I voiced this concern to shared my sentiment that it's online trades in particular that have taken a nose dive).

While it would be easy to dwell on our diminishing ranks, little good can come from focusing on the negative side of things. Instead, the idea I’ve been thinking about implementing is the creation of an online directory (hosted on this blog) of people who are still actively collecting and trading GG and/or GS patches.

Of course this notion is hardly revolutionary. Directories of Girl Guide and Girl Scout patch collectors have been online since the early 90s at least, however the minuscule handful of those that still exist are (by and large) woefully outdated (as are, I’ve found, the directories on most patch trading related Yahoo Groups).

So far those in the GG and GS patch trading community that I’ve discusses this idea with have loved it and told me how much they’d welcome such a service (just as I know I would).

In terms of the information that would be required to join the directory (which of course would be 100% free!), all you’d need to do is email me with your name (just a first name or even online handle is totally fine), what country (state or province is optional) you live in, what kind of Girl Guiding/Scouting items you have available to trade (if you have an online link to your dupes list or photo album, by all means include that too), what sort of items you’re looking for (aka, what you collect), plus a valid email address (this would be how interested parties could contact you to set up swaps).

In order to help keep the directory current, once a year I would contact you via email to ask if you want to remain in the directory and if your information was still up-to-date. This measure would, I hope, help to keep this directory current and to reduce the number of bounced emails.

Before going ahead and putting together this directory, I want to gather some listings (of patch traders) together, so it may be a short while still before the directory itself materializes. I’ve been thinking that so long as I can find at least ten people who’d like to be a part of such a list, I’ll launch it and keep adding names as they come in.

If you’re interested in having you name added to this budding patch swappers list, please email me with your details and I’ll add you to my database of interested parties.

I truly believe in keeping the GG and GS patch trading community alive and sincerely hope that this effort with help to unite those of us – wherever in the world we may be located – who are still actively trading patches, crests, standards, silks, pins, buttons, scarves, books, uniforms, and anything else related to the perpetually wonderful world of Girl Guiding and Scouting.

~ PS ~

For those who are looking for other places in which to potentially connect with fellow swappers, be sure to check out the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Badge Collectors Club, a UK based group for patch enthusiasts the world over.

May 22, 2010

At the hospital

Hi everyone,

Jessica's husband here. Jessica was admitted to the hospital earlier this week and is currently waiting for surgery. It may get a little quiet around here for a few days. Please bear with us and a sincere thank you for your understanding.

Antonio (

April 29, 2010

The GGC and GSUSA are on Twitter!

While I’m the first to admit that I’m not the most prolific Twitter user (I like the site, but find the small character limit a bit irksome, as I rather adore having the freedom to use as many words as I please), it’s always a delight to find out that a person, business or organization I adore is using that site as well.

Very recently I discovered numerous Girl Guiding and Scouting organizations on Twitter, many of which I’ve listed below:

-Girl Guides of Canada

-Guiding Mosaic 2010

-Girl Guides Australia

-Girl Guides South Australia Inc

-Girlguiding UK

-Girlguiding 2010 (Centenary Camp)


-Girl Scouts USA (Note that in addition to the main GSUSA Twitter account, numerous Councils also have their own Twitter pages, just do a Twitter search to see if your Council is amongst those who are Tweeting)

-Guías y Scouts Chile (Guides and Scouts Chile)

-GuíasScouts Perú (Guides Scouts Peru)

-Our Cabana

-WAGGGS Challenge

-World Association of the Scout Movement

Whether you tweet morning, noon and night or just every great once in a while, if you’re a fellow Guiding/Scouting enthusiast, some or all of these accounts are ones that you may enjoy following. I’ve been tracking most of them and have enjoyed the great tweets they’ve posted recently.

(A screenshot of the Girl Guides of Canada's official Twitter account page, which is updated with Guiding related news and other information frequently.)

While Guiding is certainly a very venerable movement, it has always strove to keep abreast of the times, and the fact that many WAGGGS members the world over are now on Twitter further points towards how much Guiding is trying to stay current and relevant to its existing and prospective members.

If you’re on Twitter and would like to connect, you can find me here. Definitely feel free to let me know in the comment section of this post if you follow me (please include your Twitter account name), so that I can be sure follow you back.

Happy Tweeting to all my fellow GG and GS friends!

March 30, 2010

The Girl Guides of Canada unveil a new Promise

For many the first time they pledged the Girl Guide promise – often in front of a group of their fellow Guiding sisters and perhaps others, such as their parents – was a moment they would never forget. There’s something immensely impactful about taking an oath of any kind, but what has always helped the Guide promise stand out is its simple, timeless words that even the youngest member of the GGC can understand and appreciate.

Late this past January the GGC publicly announced that they had altered the classic Guide promise to help bring it into the twenty-first century. The new Girl Guide promise is as follows:

I promise to do my best,
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada.
I will take action for a better world
And respect the Guiding Law

I personally love the new promise. In order to make a broader range of people feel comfortable, the words “faith” and “God” are gone, in their place the all-encompassing word “beliefs” appears. I feel this is a wise choice that will hopefully make everyone from atheists to conservative religious Guiding members happy, as it doesn’t tie them to one word pertaining to their personal feelings or beliefs when it comes to matters of faith.

Likewise I really like the addition of the line, “I will take action for a better world”. In this rocky era of climate change, economic crisis, and constantly evolving technology, it’s import that girls realize that the changes they make today can have a real impact on both the present and that future.

This new rewording holds true to the classic spirit of Guiding, yet has come up to speed with the modern world we inhabit. I believe that it will resonate in the minds of many youngsters who make the Guide promise for the first time now, just as strongly as the words of those of its predecessors do in my own memory.

February 12, 2010

One Guiding grail down, so many more to go

After more than two years of patiently waiting and previously always being out-bid on eBay, this month I was finally able to win one of my Girl Guides of Canada “holy grails”: an All-Around Cord!

Interesting, whereas in auctions past I’d bid (usually along with several other collectors) on the cord itself, this time around I ended up coming out as the lucky winner on an auction that included a Guide uniform (the late 20th century royal blue dress style) and a necktie. Even with shipping (from a location within in Canada), I ended up getting the cord (which is in fairly good condition, the ends are a bit worn, but the body of the cord itself is highly presentable) for an absolute song!

I’ve yearned for an All-Around Cord (sometimes also referred to as an “All-Round Cord”) since I was a girl (I started my Guiding journey as a Pathfinder and as such had already bypassed the branch [Guides] in which a girl could earn the All-Around Cord), and though I earned my Canada Cord (which I love and treasure to this day), I could never shake off my longing for one of the gorgeous blue and white tasselled cords that the most accomplished of Guides had earned.

I’m on cloud nine this week because my newly won Cord has arrived in the mail and is every bit as wonderful in person as I always dreamed it would be. Yet as all collectors know, so much of the thrill of collecting any category of items, is the t hunt itself. We love finding those pieces that are chief amongst our most desired items, yet also greatly enjoy knowing that there are still (often many!) other items that we’re still looking for – at least this is how I personally feel.

The spectrum of Girl Guide and Girl Scout collectibles is a vast one that encompasses many decades worth of items and thousands upon thousands of pieces that one could potentially be on the prowl for. My own GG/GS collection is fairly diverse (I collect patches, proficiency badges, pins, GGC uniforms and scarves, stickers, buttons, magazines, books, dolls, etc), but naturally there are certain items that pique my interest the most and which I’m forever trying to track down.

Having now acquired an All-Around Cord (and prior to that an All-Around Cord pin, which was another one of my biggest GGC wants), I find myself reflecting on my other “Guiding Grails” (that is to the say those elusive items that we collectors are always trying to track down, much like some seek the Holy Grail of biblical and Arthurian legend).

Topping the list of hard to find items that I’m most interested in right now, are Canadian Area/Division/District (and provincial) patches from the Yukon, NWT and Nunavut, as well as those from my home province of British Columbia (I’d especially love to find more patches from the Thompson-Okanagan/Okanagan-Similkameen region of the province), and from Calgary, Alberta (all of these geographical locations are near and dear to my heart for various reasons).

Ranger badges (though it’s been a number of years since they were in use, at one point the GGC Ranger programme included proficiency badges), certain older Brownie and Guide badges that I’m lacking (such as the Brownie Baton Twirling badge), and also newer badges from all levels of Guiding are high on my list, too.

Perhaps however, the Guiding article that has most moved into the spot where the All-Around Cord once sat on my list, is the (even harder to locate!) Gold Cord, which was in use during the mid-20th century, specifically from the 40s or 50s until the 1970s (I could be mistaken, but it’s my understanding the Gold Cord was the predecessor to the Canada Cord for older Guides in the days before the Pathfinder programme was in place; a smidge more info on the topic can be found on the site

I’ve not been able to find very much information online about the Gold Cord (which is not the same thing as the modern day Chief Commissioner’s Gold Award) so far, but just as I’ll cheerfully continue to hunt for the Gold Cord, I’ll search more about its history.

{So elusive is the Gold Cord in fact, that I've not even tracked down a photo that I'm 100% certain is of it! The image above is from an sale that I discovered after it had ended (drat!) a few weeks ago, which listed this tasseled cord as being a Gold Cord. I do not know however if it was a Gold Cord from Canada, the UK or elsewhere, or if it is in fact an actual Girl Guide related cord at all. If anyone can provide more information on this cord or the GGC's Gold Cord, I would be most grateful.}

This post isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about my Guiding Grails, but as it’s a rare occurrence for me to actually find (and come into possession of) one of my most sought after of Guiding items, I really wanted to share my happiness with my readers and fellow collectors.

As always, I would love to hear about your own grails of GG/GS collecting, and welcome your comments and emails on the subject.

January 26, 2010

2010 GGC centennial merchandise is here!

After eagerly awaiting its arrival, the Girl Guides of Canada officially released its pint sized group of 100th anniversary merchandise a few weeks ago. The capsule collection includes two different patches, a metal pin, a metal cell phone/key chain charm, and a comfy 100% cotton t-shirt (which is available in assorted youth and adult sizes).

For those of us – both Canadian and international collectors alike – these pieces, which feature a colour pallet of blue and white, are long awaited treasures that help to commemorate the milestone anniversary that the GGC is celebrating this year.

All of the 2010 anniversary items can be purchased online from the Girl Guides of Canada’s ecommerce site or through this latest edition of the GGC catalogue. I’ve not heard any numbers in terms of how many centennial items have been produced, but given the interest that such pieces tend to generate, I’d highly recommend grabbing your anniversary merchandise as soon as you can.

{This lovely, cheerful patch is one of two different celebratory 100th anniversary designs that are available from the GGC this year; it’s available for $1.95 (CND) from the GGC's website or catalogue.}

If you’re going to buy some of these wonderful items, I'd definitely suggest picking up a few extra, as they will no doubt prove to be popular trading items both this year and in the future (especially with fans of GG/GS anniversary patches and pins).

Should you want a patch or pin of your own, yet live outside of Canada or do not want to order online or from the current GGC (paper) catalogue for whatever reason, please feel free to email me. I plan on placing an order for centennial items in the near future and would be happy to pick up an anniversary piece or two for you (you can either repay me for the cost of the item(s) via PayPal or we can work out a patch swap).

I’m delighted that the GGC has put out items to celebrate this momentous event! It’s not every day that an organization – let alone one as profoundly important as the GGC – reaches the venerable age of 100. I can’t wait to see what the future holds in stores for the Girl Guides of Canada – and WAGGGS members worldwide – in the coming century of Guiding life.