B.C. Girl Guides are now earning twice the high school credits that used to be available — and it’s all thanks to a 12-year-old member on Vancouver Island.
The Ministry of Education doubled the available credits after it was found guides earned less credits than participants in other youth-serving organizations that have predominantly male memberships, including Cadets and Scouts.
Guides working towards the Canada Cord for girls ages 12 to 14, and the Trailblazer Leadership Gold Award for girls ages 15 to 17, can now earn four credits per award — the equivalent of one high school course.
Provincial Girl Guide commissioner Diamond Isinger says it was 12-year-old Kylar Tennert, a member of a unit in Ladysmith, who approached her with the issue.
“She shared with me that she and her friends should get a lot more credit than what they were getting” for their work, Isinger said, which includes weekly meetings, weekend trips, community service projects and many volunteer hours.
The Girl Guides sent the ministry a letter in May requesting the discrepancy to be changed, prompting a quick reply.
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“The ministry was very keen to help us resolve this,” Isinger said.
In a statement to Global News, the ministry said they were “pleased to respond” to the Girl Guides’ request “after a detailed review.”
Girl Guides members have been receiving high school credits since 1998. While it’s not known how many girls earned fewer credits under the old system, B.C.’s current membership of 18,000 now have Tennert to thank for the change.
Tennert says Girl Guides is her “safe place,” and she feels good knowing she’s helped make a change that could encourage more girls to take part in the organization.
For Isinger, the new system means making that safe place better for everyone.
“It’s a victory for girls, and doing what we call creating a better world for girls,” she said.
—With files from Jill Bennett and the Canadian Press